Out of Warren’s 1,574 voters, 197 (12.5%) cast ballots on Town Meeting Day, March 7, 2023. Due to a calculation error, a budget of $4,128,677 was warned, and was amended to $4,151,587 on the floor, passing with a voice vote. The town allocated $30,000 to the town’s conservation fund for future land conservation projects.
Representative Kari Dolan, Waitsfield, attended Warren’s Town Meeting. She and fellow Rep. Dara Torre took turns attending Town Meetings throughout The Valley on Tuesday, updating citizens on what they’ve been working on in the Legislature this session. At Warren’s meeting, Dolan said her priorities this session include housing, broadband infrastructure, child care and sustainability. She also sponsored a bill on household hazardous waste management.
Tuesday’s meeting was held at 4 p.m. at Warren Elementary School and went for 2.5 hours. After much discussion on the timing of Town Meeting for 2024, voters approved holding the meeting at 5 p.m. at the school. Some residents wanted the meeting earlier in the day, while others advocated for holding it later to allow people to attend without having to take time off from work.
Some also suggested moving entirely to Australian ballot, though several people spoke against that idea. “We are gathered here to hear what our neighbors think. If you vote Australian ballot, you vote in a vacuum," Chris Behn said. “Town Meeting Day is the most real example of democracy in the United States,” David Sellers said.
Under ‘other business’ in Article 9, select board member Bob Ackland shared proposed plans for building a new town garage. He said, though the town garage’s current location is ideal for building more housing, which the town needs, no alternate location for the garage has been identified and it is likely to be built at the current garage location by the school. Some residents expressed frustration that the process of replacing the town garage had gone on for so many years and several agreed that it was time to get it done.
Warren’s Town Meeting was followed by a chili dinner put on by the local PTO.
This article was written with additional reporting by Woody Laidlaw of the Community News Service.