Election Day to decide the fate of Shelburne’s library

Vermont’s mild autumn might trick some this week into forgetting that November is on the doorstep.

That means Election Day is nearly here with an important decision for Shelburne voters.

Absent lawn signs and nonstop political ads of Octobers in even-numbered years, this Election Day is a one-question affair with a decision that could have a lasting impact on an important institution in the community.

Will this November be the one when Shelburne residents decide to build a new library that will become a fixture in the community for years to come?

Early voting has already begun on the single question of whether voters will grant the town government permission to issue bonds for up to $6.5 million to pay for a new library on the site of the current Pierson Library, renovate the historic Town Hall structure, and make some improvements to the municipal office campus that sits in the center of the village.

At the start of this week, Town Clerk Diana Vachon said she had already sent about 200 ballots to voters who requested them ahead of time. Others are stopping by to quickly fill out a ballot. “It’s been a steady stream,” she said.

Turnout for single-item elections in off years is notoriously low, which means those behind a campaign for a lone ballot item may need to make an extra effort to capture voters’ attention.

The steering committee for the library project is still making the rounds with the project model and information. Members will be on hand at Village Wine & Coffee this Friday and Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 11:30 both days. They’ll have a spot at the Halloween parade on Sunday, too.

A final public meeting to explain the project details and answer questions is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at the town offices. Short of attending a meeting, voters can learn the details online on the town website, shelburnevt.org.

Those who would prefer to cast a ballot before Nov. 7 may do so in person at the town clerk’s office between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Voters may also call or email Vachon to request a ballot by mail. Call 985-5116 or email dvachon@shelburnevt.org.

On Nov. 7, the polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the gym at the town office building.

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