by Carolyn Nolan
A large turnout of voters elected Preston "Jack" Smith selectman by a nine vote margin. Garnering 54 of the 99 votes cast, Smith defeated John Rice. Smith, who is also road commissioner and a former selectman, repTaces Fred Bishop who did not seek re-election. Bishop, who had served as selectman for six years, was thanked by voters for his years of service.
Also thanked for his 10-year tenure as school director was Curtis Sjolander who chose not to run for reelection. Martin Holladay captured Sjolander's vacated post, defeating Jean Donnelly by seven votes for a three-year term to the Unified District 37 board of school directors.
Incumbents returned to office include: Moderator Curtis Siolander; Town Clerk and Treasurer Carol Rossi; Lister Katherine Schmidt; Auditor John Ayers; Tax Collector Audrey Smith; Second Constable Wendy Bora; Grand Juror Gaylon Smith; Town Agent to Convey Real Estate Anita Zentz; and Town Agent to Prosecute and Defend Zachary Rhodes.
Gaylon Smith was elected first constable; Donna Camber, cemetery commissioner and Donald Neff, cemetery sexton. All three positions were previously held by Edwin Berry, Jr. who did not seek reelection. Sandra Rice was elected auditor for two years replacing Mary Noyes who resigned.
Faced with a probable 30 percent increase in property taxes this year, voters were keenly interested in remarks by State Representative David Hathaway about the future of education funding in Vermont. Hathaway described the Ways and Means Committee's current fourpoint plan which includes a statewide nonresident tax, a statewide resident property tax, a state income tax, and a state sales tax. Stressing that the particulars of the bill will probably change considerably as it is drafted, Hathaway volunteered to hold an informational forum for local voters later this year "when we have something concrete."
The town road budget and general fund budgets also increased this year and voters requested a more coherent budget-reporting format before accepting the reports of the town officers. Janet Smith, reiterating a request she made at last year's town meeting, asked that next year's report list "in one place" the town's indebtedness, to whom money is owed, and the amount owed. Concerned that money raised at last year's town meeting for road signs to facilitate Enhanced 9-1-1 services was not spent for that purpose, Robert Smith and Tony Ameo were unhappy with the budget reporting procedure that asks for a new appropriation for the same signs this year.