07/02/2009

By Kara Herlihy

Members of the Moretown Select Board sought public input Monday evening, June 29, at a special town forum following the defeat of three separate articles requesting approval for additional spending.

The town will have to find approximately $50,000 to cover unanticipated expenditures and has asked other town departments to make cuts in their budgets as a result.

The special vote was held last Tuesday evening, June 23. Two hundred thirty-three of the approximately 1,330 registered voters cast ballots in the townwide vote. The three articles asked residents to approve additional spending to cover quarry litigation costs, finish the new town garage, and complete the 2008 audit.

THREE ARTICLES

Following the defeat of the three articles, the Moretown Select Board held a special meeting Thursday, June 25, to discuss how to move forward with funding the unanticipated expenditures.

At the special town forum, select board member David Van Deusen said, "Clearly, the town wants us to find the money from within the budget."

Select board chair Rae Washburn said the board is asking town departments to make cuts somewhere from within their own budgets to support the expenditures. A special meeting has been scheduled for July 13 to discuss the possible cuts.

Town Constable Ray Munn asked town officials if the last invoice from town attorney Ron Shems was "the final bill on legal fees."

LEGAL FEES

Van Deusen said, "Moretown doesn't have any intention of spending any more money on legal fees without a townwide vote."

Washburn said there is a question as to a final $1,200 invoice that the town has yet to and may not receive.

Town Treasurer Amy Deutl gave a brief financial update to town officials and said that, according to Shems' office, "There is some billing in progress," but it is unclear as to the amount, if any, to be billed to the town.

Deutl added that the audit is "very close to being done."

2008 AUDIT

The first article asked the voters to authorize the town to spend an amount not exceed $8,200 to pay invoices associated with quarry litigation. One hundred forty-four residents voted against the article; 89 voted in favor of it.

The second article asked the voters to authorize the town to take an amount not to exceed $15,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to cover costs associated with the 2008 audit. One hundred thirty residents voted against the article and 103 voted in favor.

The third article asked voters to allow the town to expend additional funds from the Capital Reserve Fund to pay for various items associated with the new town garage. One hundred forty-eight residents voted against the article and 85 voted in favor.

WITHIN THE BUDGET
 
Washburn assured community members that the select board is "working very hard to stay within the budget; we meet a lot, we talk a lot, it's very difficult."

Select board members said it is their hope that all parties and town departments agree to budget cuts as it is their goal to set the town tax rate by July 20. A special meeting is scheduled for July 13 at 6 p.m. at the Moretown Town Hall.

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