Town Meeting 2019 will be on Tuesday, March 5, at the Charlotte Central School Multi-Purpose Room.
The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. to hear the reports of the Selectboard and to discuss the budget presented for FY20. The budget may be amended from the floor but is not voted on until the special meeting held this year on Tuesday, April 9, which is an Australian ballot vote. The total dollar amount that is voted on in April is the budget, as amended (or not) on March 5 from the floor at Town Meeting.
There will be four Australian Ballots on March 5 to vote on which include the town officers ballot, Champlain Valley School District ballot, $275,000 ambulance bond and the $700,000 library addition bond. The two bond votes will be discussed the night before Town Meeting at the Charlotte Central School Multi-Purpose Room starting at 6:30 p.m.
The $700,000 bond for the library is half of the anticipated cost of the addition, with the expectation that the other $700,000 will be raised by private donations. There is a spreadsheet in the Town Report for the Charlotte Fire & Rescue Capital Fund that projects anticipated expenses for equipment and apparatus purchases over the next 10 years.
In FY20, the Town will be making bond payments for the fire station, 2004 Pumper, 2017 KME Pumper, 2019 ambulance (if the vote passes) and library bond (if the vote passes). The total cost in bond payments for FY20 would be in the neighborhood of $120,500.
The fire station bond will be paid off at the end of FY20 as we pick up the bond for the ambulance. In two more years, FY22, there is a request to bond for a $475,000 tanker and in FY24 a request to bond for a $675,000 pumper. The spreadsheet estimates the payments for those trucks over the next 10 years. The principal and interest payments for the $700,000 library bond are approximately $55,000, with the first year being the lowest cost at approximately $21,000 for interest only.
If all of the anticipated purchases are approved, within five years the Town’s bond payments increase from $120,500 to an estimated $247,000.
When discussing the financing of different projects and equipment purchases it’s important to look at the whole picture: the cost of what the Town is already financing plus new money requests and Town priorities.
The March Town Meeting ballots will be available Feb. 13 at the latest. You are welcome to request an absentee ballot in person, by mail, over the phone, by email or online. You are welcome to vote in the Town Clerk’s Office as well. When you are requesting an absentee ballot, don’t forget the April 9 town budget vote and request that ballot at the same time.
Mary A. Mead