Shelburne decides most town meeting business at the ballot box on Tuesday

Monday evening’s town meeting in Shelburne will be more discussion than decision-making because nearly all the key questions will be decided in ballot voting the following day.

The gathering Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Shelburne Community School gym will be a chance for people to ask questions and hear final details about the proposed town budget for 2018-19, a proposal to regionalize dispatching for emergency services in Chittenden County, and any other business people choose to discuss with town officials.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Town Clerk Diana Vachon said the community is invited to a lasagna dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. and catered by Cucina Antica; $10 per person. Cookies and coffee for $2 per person. State Reps. Kate Webb and Jessica Brumsted will give an update from Montpelier at 6:15 p.m.

The only spending item voters will be asked to approve Monday night are annual salaries for Selectboard members; they’re now $1,500 for the board chair and $1,200 for the other members.

On Tuesday, voting will be at the town offices from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Selectboard election has generated the most interest so far. Voters will decide three seats on the board. Two candidates are unopposed: Incumbent Vice Chair Jerry Storey is seeking re-election to a two-year seat; attorney Mary Kehoe, now chair of the Development Review Board, is the only candidate for a three-year term, as board Chair Gary von Stange decided not to run again.

The one race for Selectboard pits incumbent Jaime Heins, a lawyer and former Planning Commission chair who was appointed in November to fill a vacant seat, against Chris Boyd, a former fire chief who served a term on the board previously.

There are no other contested races for town offices on Tuesday’s ballot.

Voters will fill one Shelburne seat on the Champlain Valley Union School Board. Newcomer Barbra Marden is running for the three-year spot vacated by longtime board member Joan Lenes, who is not seeking re-election.

Both town and school budgets for 2018-19 are on the ballot.

The proposed town budget is $8,749,307, of which $6,397,010 would come from property taxes; it’s up 7.6 percent. A separate question asks voters to add $30,000 to the open space fund that’s used to buy and conserve land.

The school district is asking voters to approve a proposed $77 million school budget, which is up 2.3 percent.

The other big question for voters doesn’t involve any money yet — future spending would be decided by the Selectboard. Shelburne is one of seven communities asking voters whether it should participate in forming a regional emergency services dispatch system called the Chittenden County Public Safety Authority.

The new agency could replace the system Shelburne runs now, where it handles dispatching for its first responders as well as police, fire and rescue departments from a variety of other communities in Chittenden and Addison counties. Tuesday’s vote would not commit Shelburne to using the new service; rather, it would allow town officials to take part in creating the new agency.

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