By Lisa Loomis
The third time was the charm for Waitsfield's municipal water project, which passed by 33 votes on Election Day.
Voters cast 593 yes votes and 560 no votes, with 27 blank votes. The $7.5 million project first came before voters at Town Meeting in March where it (and a proposal for a municipal sewage project) was voted down by 44 votes, 442 to 398.
The town modified the water project to extend the service area, allocate more grant funding towards it and provide fire hydrants along the service route, then brought it back for a revote on June 10. That time, it was voted down by 13 votes, 219 to 206.
Town residents petitioned the town for a revote and that vote was successful. The town has approximately $3.6 million in grants towards the project. The project will provide fire protection to the service area with hydrants.
A new state law went into effect in July which required that when a project comes up for a revote, it must receive at least two-thirds of the number of votes from those who prevailed in the previous (June) vote. In this case, the voters who prevailed in June cast 219 no votes, so the November 4 could pass by a simple majority if the yes votes exceeded 146 (two-thirds of 219 no votes from June).
According to Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, this vote cannot be petitioned for reconsideration and the town now has the authority to move forward with the project.