Town Meeting 2019

McCarren and Tenney win Selectboard seats; Charlotte voters approve Library bond and purchase of CVFRS ambulance

Members of the Selectboard honor outgoing Chairman Lane Morrison. Photo by Melissa O’Brien.

Charlotte voters were feeling magnanimous on Town Meeting Day 2019, approving the Selectboard budget and voting favorably for a bond to support the expansion and renovation of the town library and the purchase of a new ambulance for CVFRS.

The Library bond vote passed with 629 of the total 870 votes cast, and the ambulance was supported by a wide margin as well, with 659 voters giving it the thumbs up.

In the race for the two-year Selectboard position, Frank Tenney held his seat with 440 votes to Nancy Richardson’s 358.

Louise McCarren was the victor in the three-way race for the 3-year Selectboard seat. She drew 332 votes, Jim Faulker, 313, and Ed Stone 174.

Town Meeting 2019 got underway in the Multipurpose Room at Charlotte Central School at 9 am on Tuesday. Moderator Charles Russell opened the meeting with the standard practice of explaining the purpose of the gathering and the rules of engagement. Approximately 100 town citizens were in attendance.

State Representative Mike Yantachka was the morning’s first speaker, warming things up with a request that voters complete a survey he had created regarding Legislature issue-related questions. Yantachka then spoke on the subject of climate change.

Nancy Wood, head of the Committee on Affordable Housing, stood next, with questions and concerns around the inactivity in regard to the issue of affordable and senior housing in Charlotte. Selectboard members Lane Morrison and Carrie Spear explained that more time and research was needed before moving forward.

Selectboard member Matthew Krasnow took a few moments to honor minutes-taker Kathy Furr for her many years of service as she has retired her pencil at the close of Town Meeting 2019. Outgoing Selectboard Chair Lane Morrison was recognized for his two terms of service with a half gallon of maple syrup and a standing ovation. Morrison promised to reappear in other ways in the workings of the town. “Duly warned,” Moderator Russell quipped.

Article One: to hear the reports of the town officers and to act upon the same, passed without incident.

Article Two was ushered in swiftly as well: the town voted to have property taxes payable on or before November 15, 2019.

Article Three was introduced about 30 minutes into the meeting and came to a close with an affirmative vote almost two and half hours later. Voters approved “the Selectboard’s budget of $3,264,779 for the fiscal year July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 of which an anticipated sum of $1,881,785 will be raised by taxes and an anticipated sum of $1,382,994 will be raised by non-tax.”

In accordance with the town charter, the approved budged won’t go into effect until it’s put to voters by Australian ballot in April.

During discussion of Article Three, voters heard from members of the Charlotte Library regarding the proposed renovation and expansion, members of Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue, in regards, to the intended purchase of a new ambulance and equipment to replace a 2006 ambulance, Tree Warden Mark Dillenbeck and local tree expert Greg Ranallo, of Teachers Tree Service, spoke on the subject of the Emerald Ash Borer and Charlotte trees.

Questions, comments and discussion ran the gamut on all fronts.

Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Business Manager Patrice Machavern gave a comprehensive presentation about the work and services of our volunteer fire and (paid) rescue women and men, the kinds of hours they devote to training and how fortunate we are to have such a skilled group in our community. She spoke about the necessity of keeping the equipment they use to save our lives and buildings up to date and in good condition.

Discussion around the proposed Charlotte Library expansion and renovation was led by Board member Danielle Menk, with questions ranging from the different funding sources to the possibility of integrating alternative alternative energy concepts into the project.

Discussion of Article Three wound down with a detailed proposed amendment made by Mary Mead to reduce the overall Selectboard budget by $157,500. The motion failed, and three hours into the meeting Article Three was approved.

The town voted to authorize the Selectboard to borrow money by issuance of bonds or notes not in excess of anticipated revenues for the next fiscal year (Article Four), and Under the topic of “any other business,” Article Five, a move was made to approve the Charlotte Climate Solutions Resolution; the motion passed.

Valerie Graham made a suggestion that the town consider the adoption of instant runoff voting in future situations in which there is a three-person race, and John Kerr made an advisory motion that the town eliminate the property tax on the Masonic Lodge; this motion failed.

The 2019 Charlotte Town Meeting was adjourned at three hours and twenty minutes. It can be viewed online in its entirety.