By Gwen Stanley, Standard Staff
The Town of Barnard passed a FY14 budget of $1,822,440 — $826,590 of which would be raised by taxes — after some explanation by Selectboard member Tom Morse. The school budget of $1,045,214 passed after it was voted on in two parts, as is required by law for school budgets that are above a certain amount.
•The following were elected to office positions:
Peter Sullivan — Auditor
Lois Resseguie — Lister
Tim Johnson — Selectboard Member (3-year position)
Moderator — Paul Doton
Tax Collector —Diane Rainey
Delinquent Tax Collector — Diane Rainey
First Constable — Jeff Tracy
Second Constable — Wes Henning
Town Grand Juror — Thurston Twigg-Smith Jr.
Town Agent — Thurston Twigg-Smith Jr.
Trustee of Public Funds (3-year term) — Joseph Takarski
Library Trustee (5-year term) — Susie Hickey was nominated
Cemetery Commissioner (5-year term) Phillip Lewis
Auditor — paper ballot
Library Trustee — Ann Jacobs
For complete coverage and results from the Barnard Town Meeting, look inside the Vermont Standard’s March 7 edition.
The following story was first published in the February 28, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard, in the town meeting preview pages.
$1.8 Million Budget Before Barnard Voters
Barnard voters will be asked to vote on a budget
that’s $183,562 higher than last year’s approved
budget but, Selectboard head Tom Morse said,
but residents should know that this budget is closer to
what the town’s actually been spending.
Additionally, costs from Irene repair account for
much of it.
“You have to keep in mind that $550,000 of that
represents spending by FEMA and a state grant that is
offset,” Morse said.
Last year’s amount to be raised by taxes was
$643,028 and the FY14 figure is $826,590 out of a
“If you’re going to compare it to last year’s, you
have to look at the FEMA expenses, and the road
money,” he said.
“Most of the ‘up’ is in
highway, for items like
gravel, sand, fuel and
insurance,” Morse said.
Morse said that even
with those considerations,
“the amount to be raised
by taxes is up, but it’s shrinking and we intend to see it
shrink more next year.”
The town’s current tax rate is 23 cents per $100
of assessed value, the lowest municipal tax rate in
The new tax rate won’t be set in stone until a threepart,
town-wide appraisal is finished.
“It’s been a three-year rolling appraisal and we
expect the final part to finish up in April,” Morse said,
“and until that’s finished I won’t have a firm hand on
the grand list until then.”
However, he said, “If I were to guess, I’d say we’re
adding about three cents onto the current rate.”
Morse said that Vermont towns are waiting longer
than they have in years past to figure their tax rates.
“We don’t hurry that up anymore because we don’t
get the state education tax right off the bat,” he said.
“It used to be possible to set a tax rate earlier. Now we
have to wait for the state.”
One article on the warning asks if the town will vote
$15,000 toward a feasibility study on construction of a
new emergency services building and fire station. The
$15,000 would cover a survey, septic design plans, an
engineering study and architectural presentation. The
current building is old and in need of repair.
The building would be located on land near the Town
Hall that the town already owns.
“When we bought the Town Hall,” Morse said, “the
town approved purchasing the land, with the idea that
in the future we’d want to put a Post Office or a fire
station or something like that here.”
“It’s not something the selectboard initiated, but it’s
something we approved,” Morse said of the article.
One selectman, Tim Johnson, has a term ending, but
no one has stepped forth to challenge his seat.
The budget for Barnard’s school district has a much
more subtle leap; this year’s figure of $1.05 million is
an increase of 1.9 percent over the current $1,026,043.
An approved school budget would add about 2.4 cents
on the tax rate.
School Board Chairman David Green said Tuesday
that the town’s school budget will be voted on in two
parts, due to a state law. The first vote will be for
$1.04 million and the second will be for the remaining
“The legislature a number of years ago wanted to
sort of slow the pace of increase in the school budgets,
because they’ve historically been rising in the state
with inflation — and we have a declining student
body,” Green said. “My understanding is there have
been very few of these split votes in prior years. This
year, I understand that there are something like forty in
Green said the school opted to cut out use of one of
the two school buses it uses, rather than cut hours of
any staff or teachers for the upcoming budget.
“We are always hesitant to make any changes to
personnel when we have students who work closely
with and are accustomed to them,” he said.
“In Barnard we kept our gross expense increase
down to less than two percent. But what they really
measure is what’s called the net expenditure – salary,
buses, heat, minus revenue that comes in from the
state. And our revenue went down,” Green said. “Plus
traditionally we’ve had one tuition student, and this
year we’re not sure if one’s going to show up for next
Green said the school had a fourteen percent increase
in the projected cost of health care for employees.
“You do all this budget stuff in a vacuum without
really knowing how many students, the state tax rate,
and so you’re sort of reaching out in the dark,” Green
— Gwen Stanley