Marlboro voters chat and question Rep. Marek, voters pass major budget items
by David Amato
Mar 16, 2014 | 4186 views | 0 0 comments | 63 63 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jen Carr, chair of the Marlboro School Board, with (from left to right) Forrest Holzapfel, Will Brook-deBock, and Steve John, Superintendent and Town Meeting moderator.
Jen Carr, chair of the Marlboro School Board, with (from left to right) Forrest Holzapfel, Will Brook-deBock, and Steve John, Superintendent and Town Meeting moderator.
MARLBORO- At a cold Town Meeting last Tuesday, voters elected officers for the upcoming year, passed a series of budget items, and had an opportunity to speak with Rep. Richard Marek about their concerns affecting Marlboro. The major budget items approved by voters last Tuesday, other than the $2,706,545 school board budget, were $225,000 for the general fund and $315,000 for maintenance of town highways.  The allocations for the general fund and highway maintenance were level-funded from last year.

Voters also approved continued funding for the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Company, as well as Rescue Inc. and Deerfield Valley Rescue, which respond to emergencies in Marlboro.  In addition, funding was allocated to support Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS), Grace Cottage Hospital, the American Red Cross, Green Up Vermont, the production of the bi-weekly Marlboro Mixer newsletter, and a variety of social service agencies throughout the area.

Rep. Marek, who represents Marlboro, Newfane, and Townshend in the Vermont Legislature, spoke to voters on a variety of issues.  He began by mentioning Gov. Shumlin’s unexpected State of the State theme from January: rising instances of opiate addiction in Vermont. “The governor chose to rattle people’s perception of Vermont,” said Marek. “Opiate addiction is a real problem in the state, and it feeds a lot of other problems. The governor was pushing, I think, an approach that says, ‘let’s put more money into treatment.’”

Several voters expressed concerns over the prospect of school systems being forced to consolidate.  Marek stated that the House education committee is at work on a bill that “basically tries to consolidate supervisory unions and tries to push for consolidated K–12 districts. My worry about what I’m hearing about that bill is that it’s overly prescriptive.”  

He continued, “There are areas where creating some degree of consolidation will get around the problem” of sharp budget increases for small schools.  “I have real skepticism about the way it’s being done,” he said, referring to the education committee bill.  “The counter-proposal is: go around the state, do a number of hearings, let the public have input, listen to the people who are directly affected in any number of ways—school boards, teachers, taxpayers—and try to come up with something that provides options but isn’t as directional as that bill is.”

Later in the meeting, a proposal for the creation of a state bank was voted down.  The proposal, which came from a petition circulated by townspeople, would have directed the selectboard to urge the state to move its assets into a state-controlled bank.  Currently, most of the state’s funds are held in TD Bank accounts.

A resolution proposed by Constable Clarence Boston was passed.  The resolution asks the Legislature to consider making Town Meeting day a paid holiday in Vermont.
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