By Jen Flaster
This year’s Town Meeting was well attended with more than 160 residents present, and it was over by 8:30, but voters overwhelmingly rejected the main town business for the evening, passing the town budget. This is the second year in a row that the town budget was voted down. The trouble this time, raised by a number of speakers, was too many errors in the budget numbers as presented. The budget article for FY2013 amounted to $945,907.22, a number that was amended from the original warned estimated expenses of $995,907.22. The selectboard, in response to a past request for a professional review of the budget, had engaged an accountant, but the accounting firm did not complete its review in time for Town Meeting.
A separate article asking the Town to raise $10,000 to install a generator at the Plymouth Elementary School to be used as an emergency shelter/command center passed on a hand vote of 114 for to 48 against.
The School District budget of $688,033.00 passed without much discussion. Eleanor Frechette, Business Manager, made a presentation on the per student costs and state calculations. In the 2012-2013 school year, Plymouth enrollment is expected to be 38 students. The state adjusts that number to determine a per student cost, which will be approximately $11,424, well below the state penalty threshold of $14,841.
The good news is that costs for educating Plymouth students has been consistently less each year in comparison to the last year the school was open. In 2012-2013, the cost translates to an estimated Municipal Home Rate of about $1.16-$1.17 versus last year’s rate of $1.24. The discussion included a proposal to purchase a new school bus, as the old bus will be fully depreciated this fall and repair costs are increasing. The old bus still has trade-in value and the school board will investigate whether a full-size bus or smaller bus will be more cost effective.
As a result of the no vote on the town budget, Plymouth voters will be meeting again at a date to be determined. In other business, Sue Poirier and Judy Michael are surveying Plymouth residents on their interest in holding a Farmer’s Market in town. Those who are interested can sign up at Municipal Building.
The Plymouth Historical Society will meet this Sunday at 3PM at Spike’s Place. The Historical Society is seeking Irene photos or stories that people would like to share.
Larry Lynds updated the attendees on the status of town road repairs – there are still many roads on the town highway list. A first payment of FEMA funding for repairs is expected in April.
Voting by Australian Ballot will take place today from 10AM-7PM at the Plymouth Municipal Building. Elections will be held for Moderator, Selectman, Lister, Collector of Delinquent Taxes, Grand Juror, Town Agent, Trustee of Public Funds, Auditor, School District Clerk, School District Moderator, First Constable, Second Constable, School Board Director and cemetery Commmissioner. There is an open 2-year School Board seat. Anyone interested in running for School Board should contact the Town Office. The presidential primaries will also be held today.