Dunbar requests write-in against Bora and Tenney

Hi neighbors:

For those who don’t know me, I’m Mike Dunbar. I am currently serving Charlotte as auditor, and you’ll see my name on the ballot for the two-year Selectboard seat.

Things you should know about me:

  1. I LOVE Charlotte─living here, building my business here, and raising my children here. My wife and I don’t plan ever to leave.
  2. I’m an engineer and love things to work well and efficiently. This is what I want to bring to our town.
  3. I respect Charlotte’s vision for the future of the town and want to work to help this continue to be a great town to live in for decades to come.

Through this process, I have gotten to know Lewis Mudge. He’s great, and he has excellent ideas for our town as well. Rather than run against him, I would like to run with him. I have received numerous calls and e-mails from Charlotters suggesting that I mount a campaign to get written in for the three-year seat.

I am asking for your vote as a write-in for the Selectboard three-year term. Please vote for Lewis Mudge for the Selectboard two-year term. Again, please write in Mike Dunbar for Selectboard three-year term on the blue ballot (back page). Thanks for your consideration. I hope to be able to serve you in this position.

Mike Dunbar

Vote Yes!

To the editor:

By the time you read this, Town Meeting Day is days away and due to the pandemic there is no actual meeting, only our responsibility to be informed and cast a vote. Proposed amendments 6, 7, 8 and 9 will strengthen our ability to preserve cherished farmland, open space, maintain areas of high public value as outlined in the Town Plan, and provide enhancements to encourage modest development in the East Charlotte Commercial District and provide farmers flexibility developing accessory farm business.

These are perhaps the most important attributes to Charlotters which have been continually enhanced and approved in the Town Plan and the Land Use Regulations. The results of which are all around us, vast expanses of open space, beautiful vistas, farms, parks and trails. To reiterate, nothing in these proposed amendments compromises our ability to continue to maintain these cherished attributes.

The cost of a home in Charlotte has escalated drastically over the last 20 years making home ownership virtually impossible for people of modest income, my family included. Additionally, our town, like the state, is aging. For Charlotte to remain healthy and vibrant we need to take steps to enable modest growth so folks of various income levels can become part of the town fabric. Amendments 6 and 7 are such steps. Please VOTE YES for articles 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Peter Joslin

Selectboard actions do not align with community interests

To the editor:

During this voting period when the composition of the Selectboard is on people’s minds we’d like to share some of our experiences with energy planning. We believe the actions of the Selectboard do not always align with the interests of our community. With an overwhelming majority of 82% of the vote, Charlotters passed the energy plan amendments to the Town Plan in November 2019. We’re eager to put in the volunteer hours to do the work, but we need the whole town to pull in the same direction if we are going to make any progress.

Last year we presented the Selectboard with two different solar proposals for the town. One was a net metering opportunity which would have cost us nothing and saved the town 12% on its electric bill. Another was for solar panels on the roof of the library addition—a construction project that was specifically designed to be net-zero with solar-power. Again, that would have cost nothing upfront and saved around 5%. The Selectboard rejected both proposals, depriving taxpayers of clear cost savings.

This winter, our program focus has been on weatherization. We partnered with the library, the food shelf, and the Button Up campaign to create a program helping households use cost-free options to identify sources of wasted energy. We created an “energy shelf” to support lower-income Charlotters with customized kits of DIY materials to weatherize their homes.

The food shelf was almost overwhelmed because of the pandemic and didn’t have space to store the energy shelf materials. No matter! We found volunteers willing to crowd their personal space so that we could still run the project. Supporting Charlotters to weatherize their homes is not a one-year task; it should continue until we’ve assisted all of our neighbors who can’t afford improvements. The program costs just $1,000.

We discussed the energy committee budget at three Selectboard meetings, each time explaining the program in detail. We were told there would be no more changes to our budget. Then, at the Selectboard’s final budget meeting (Jan. 25), without notifying us, the Selectboard cut the energy shelf from the budget. Not one board member defended the program. The Charlotte Selectboard ended the program to weatherize low-income housing.

As is often said: Watch what they do, not what they say. Words supporting the town’s energy goals are meaningless on their own. Please bear this in mind when voting for Selectboard candidates this year.

Charlotte Energy Committee
Matt Burke
Jacqui DeMent
Rebecca Foster
Suzy Hodgson
Deirdre Holmes
Doug Paton
Carolina Sicotte
Chloe Silverman

Vote for new energy and change

To the editor:

Instead of an endorsement for a particular candidate, today I write to urge all Charlotte residents to get out and vote this town meeting day. We live in an amazing town. A town that frankly has it all. Close to Burlington, lake access, beautiful open spaces, a beautiful village, kind residents, great schools, and more. Our town has what most towns in the country aspire to be: a great place to live.

And right now, people want to move to Vermont, specifically towns like Charlotte, and Vermont desperately needs new residents and new taxpayers. The problem is that our town doesn’t tend to welcome new residents with open arms. A big reason is town zoning and our overall approach to zoning, development, and economic progress.

Town zoning is divisive, dysfunctional, and rooted in a classic NIMBY attitude that discourages development, renovations, or frankly anything that is based in common sense. Five zoning administrators in 7 years tells one part of the story. A member of the zoning board that also sits on the Selectboard, with the Selectboard having direct oversight over the ZBA?  This is a glaring conflict of interest.

Just look at the number of building permits issued in Charlotte every year (most years less than 10) to tell the story of how difficult it is to build a house or renovate a house in this town. But I digress, this piece about the upcoming election. My suggestion is only this: vote for progression and change. Vote for new energy and new ideas. Unless you want the same Vermont and the same Charlotte we’ve had for 25+ years, which is a state that is almost the oldest in the country and has almost zero population growth.

I’m a lifelong Vermonter and proud Charlotte resident. Right now is Vermont’s moment to shine. People want to move to Vermont and Chittenden County specifically because of the jobs, schools, proximity to BTV and UVM Med, the lake, the mountains, and more. Will we be the state and the town that welcomes new residents with open arms, or will be the state and the town that continues to say, “No thanks, move along, find another town to buy or build a house in”?

It’s your decision this town meeting day. Voters have the power. We are the ultimate decision makers. It’s up to us all to use it. Get out and vote.

Eli Lesser-Goldsmith

Mudge for Selectboard

To the editor:

I’m writing to support the candidacy of Lewis Mudge for Selectboard. In speaking with and learning about Lewis, I have been impressed with his background and experience and his commitment to Charlotte. With his work in the Peace Corps and as the Central Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, he has demonstrated his altruism and concern for others.

His roots growing up in Orange County, Vermont, give him a connection to the values and character of Vermont. Since moving to Charlotte three years ago, Lewis has attended Selectboard meetings to learn what matters to Charlotters and how our town is managed. He appreciates the beauty of Charlotte and will work to preserve it. He is willing to listen and make himself available. And he is willing to dig into the details of an issue before making a decision.

We need Lewis on the Selectboard. Please join me in voting for him.

Mike Yantachka

School district’s proposed budget

To the editor:

FY22 budget season is upon us. As Finance Committee chair, I am pleased to offer you the following summary to prepare you to vote early or on March 2. Our priority is the safe return to full-time in-person learning. The Champlain Valley School District’s FY22 budget was developed with a goal to return to the familiar 5-day-per-week instruction this August.

This year, there are nine articles (ballot questions) for voter approval.

Articles I-VI may look a little strange to you. Typically, these articles are voted upon in person at the CVSD Annual Meeting, but they appear on the ballot due to COVID-19 meeting restrictions.

Articles I-VI pertain to specific district business: the election of three non-voting board positions, short-term borrowing for cash flow purposes, annual report distribution, and setting the annual meeting date.

Articles VII-IX focus on the proposed budget, including fund balance and bus purchases. Each year, the CVSD Board works to develop a fiscally sound and community-minded budget. Many of you respond to our yearly budget surveys. You remind us that the community values experienced educators, small class-size, and a commitment to the arts and languages. This information plays an essential role as we formulate our budget and district goals.

Article VII, the proposed budget, represents a 3.5% increase from last year. Article VIII requests voter approval to apply a portion of the district’s fund balance to ease the voter’s tax burden. Understandably, for many of us, this has been a challenging year. If approved, these funds help lower the percentage increase to 1%. Given this year’s spending forecasts, we anticipate all FY22 excess funds will return to the fund balance. Additionally, the district will again receive federal and state COVID relief funds to help cover any unforeseen COVID-related expenses.

For current information, visit www.cvsdvt.org/budget, or please reach out to me if I can help answer your budget questions: [email protected] I look forward to the continued educational and fiscal success of the Champlain Valley School District. On behalf of the CVSD School Board, we appreciate your generous support through this unprecedented year.

Kind regards,
Kelly A. Bowen,
Chair, Finance Committee
CVSD School Board