Food was a major part of the first in-person Town Meeting since 2020 in Fayston. Held at the Fayston Elementary School starting at 9:30 a.m. some 60 people filled the chairs in the lunchroom.
Coffee and tea were available along with a collection of baked goods that included donuts, cookies, banana bread, mini-pumpkin whoopee pies and more. While voters enjoyed those treats (donations for baked goods raised funds for the school’s outdoor learning program) Rick Rayfield was reelected moderator. He recognized state representative Dara Torre, D-Moretown, who filled folks in on her work at the State House so far this year.
Voters then discussed whether to change the term of the town clerk and town treasurer from one year to three. Current town clerk and treasurer Patti Lewis, who was up for reelection and was reelected, explained that a three-year term is more attractive to potential town employees and also told the crowd that she may retire at some point during her new three-year term. Lewis was also reelected as delinquent tax collector.
Select board member Chuck Martel introduced the various reports from town officers and noted that the budget is up due to inflation, supply chain issues, health care costs and the town’s need to increase road crew wages this year to avoid losing road crew members. Martel also reported that road rebuilding work last year unveiled materials used in the past in roads, including tree stumps and old stone walls.
Voters learned that the town is leasing land by the Fayston town garage to the Mad River Ridge Runners for an equipment storage structure and that the local snowmobile club has not had a home of its own since it was formed in 1968. The town is also going to revisit the issue of replacing the town garage where space is very cramped.
Voters heard from Carrie Thomas of the conservation commission about public input on the town’s Boyce Hill Farm and planning commission chair Rebecca Baruzzi asked voters to consider serving on the commission, noting that the seven-member board currently has only four members. Lister Doug Mosle reported that the town’s Common Level of Appraisal was down to 80% which triggers a mandatory reappraisal, but due to backlogs with appraisers throughout the state, this is expected to be delayed for at least a year.
Having heard and accepted the reports, voters turned to select board member Mike Jordan’s bid for reelection to the select board. Former select board member Ed Read said he supported the work Jordan had done in the past but had concerns about his level of participation over the last year. Karen Sauther echoed his concerns and one of her own about Jordan’s input during the Boyce Hill Farm public outreach.
The moderator pointed out that absent any other candidate to challenge Jordan for the seat, voters had no choice but to consider his candidacy. He was reelected.
Outgoing school board member Mike Bishop, who did not run for reelection, said he would be willing to be appointed if no one else ran and also said he’d run as a write-in candidate. Both he and Danielle Dukette were elected to the school board as write-in candidates.
After other positions were filled, voters approved a budget of $1,627,750.989 as well as $7,500 for stewardMRV. Voters discussed a request by a townsperson to move the start time of next year’ s meeting to late afternoon, but turned it down.
When the meeting adjourned those present were treated to a lunch put together in large part by Holliday and Rick Rayfield, with help from Sauther, Freddie Graves, Nicole DiMario, and others.
Fayston has 1,229 registered voters, of whom 8% (99) cast ballots this week.