Charlotte Selectboard signs off on budget, bond questions

By SCOOTER MACMILLAN

The Charlotte Selectboard on Monday approved the budget that will be presented to voters on Town Meeting Day, March 5.

The proposed $3.2 million budget, if approved by voters, will call for a tax rate of just over 20 cents or an estimated 3.8 percent increase over the current tax rate, said Town Administrator Dean Bloch.

This year’s tax rate actually went down when it was calculated in August because revenues and the value of properties that were assessed this year rose above what had been predicted. In Charlotte, only one quarter of the property is assessed each year, so property owners can count on their property being re-assessed once every four years.
The board on Monday also unanimously voted to put two articles on the Town Meeting ballot asking voters whether to bond for $700,000 for an addition to the Charlotte Library and whether to bond for $275,000 for a new ambulance for the Charlotte Fire and Rescue Services.

Under a special charter provision adopted in 2016, Charlotte voters on March 5 will get to discuss these financial items along with the town budget and vote on the budget from the floor, but the budget will not be approved unless it passes by Australian ballot vote on April 9. However, the bond articles will be voted on by Australian ballot on March 5. The charter exempts bond articles from being re-voted in April.

The two-part town meeting was established to encourage more people to participate in making spending decisions. It allows for discussion and a floor vote at the traditional Town Meeting Day meeting with a paper ballot vote a month later.
Town Administrator Dean Bloch said the charter is in effect for one more year after the coming Town Meeting, and so will not be discussed this year.

Selectboard chair Lane Morrison, whose three-year term is ending in March, said that he was not running for re-election. Frank Tenney, whose two-year term is ending, said he would run for another term.

Candidates for offices to be filled on March 5 have until Monday, Jan. 28 to file signed petitions with the town clerk to get their names on the ballot.

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