Guardians ad litem needed

Guardians ad litem are trained, court-appointed community volunteers who look out for the best interest of a child going through the court process.  These volunteers make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children.  National studies have shown that children with a volunteer GAL spend less time in foster care and do better in school than those without a GAL.

Unfortunately, more GALs are needed in both Chittenden County and throughout Vermont.

If you would like to learn more on how to make this important difference in a child’s life, there will be an informational meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. at Costello Courthouse, 32 Cherry St., Burlington.

The judges, GALs and GAL coordinator of the Chittenden Family Court will make a one-hour presentation on this extremely worthwhile program.

For further information and to RSVP please contact me at connie.ramsey@vermont.gov.

Connie Ramsey
Assistant judge, Chittenden County


Property tax help available

If you qualify, the State of Vermont wants to help you pay your property taxes. They need your information to make that happen. 

Regardless of any need to file an income tax return, to get this help, you need to file at least the Homestead Declaration (Form HS-122) and Household Income (Form HI-144). This is a two-step process first declaring your home to be a homestead and second informing the state of your household income.

If you meet the following requirements, file the two form above along with your annual state income tax return.  The deadline is the same date. If you do not need to file an income tax return, file these two forms anyway.

Requirements: 1. You are a Vermont resident and 2. You own and occupy a homestead on April 1, 2018.

If you miss the filing deadline of the income tax filing date, you have until October to file, but there may be a penalty for late filing. 

If you don’t have a computer to access these forms online, there are public computers in the Milton Town Library. 

The town clerk/town treasurer’s office staff and library staff are here to help; however, we cannot provide financial advice. This note and our comments are simply to help remind you of the need to file these forms.

John C. Gifford
Town of Milton treasurer


Regarding Sen. Ingram’s op-ed on a higher minimum wage

Sen. Debbie Ingram’s op-ed in the Jan. 11 Milton Independent suggests that a higher minimum wage and creation of a family and medical leave insurance program would attract more people into the workforce and thereby boost Vermont’s economy. She calls for a gradual increase from $10 to $15 by 2022. I too support a higher minimum wage, and tentatively support the insurance initiative pending specifics, including projected costs.

Sen. Ingram asserts that Vermont has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and that stagnant wages and benefits have caused the “jobs problem”. Here too I agree. Try getting a plumber or an electrician without an exhaustive search. Note the numerous help wanted signs throughout the area.

However, another factor causing the “jobs problem” rests in the fact that, since abortion became legal in 1972-73, close to 100,000 preborn babies have lost their lives in Vermont due to abortion (Vital Statistics Reports, 1972-2014, with an estimated 1390 per year for 2015-2016). Abortion is legal in Vermont with no restrictions at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason: no required safety standards; no parental notification or informed consent; and invasive, surgical abortions can be performed by non-physicians.

Planned Parenthood’s research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, confirms these facts on a Jan. 2018 factsheet: “Vermont does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.”

In addition, Vermont ranks fourth among states with the largest per-capita, elderly population, behind only Florida, Maine and West Virginia, according to WorldAtlas.com. Could there be a connection?

I applaud Sen. Ingram’s initiative, but the “jobs problem” in Vermont runs far deeper than a higher minimum wage and a family-focused insurance program.

Bob Sekerak
Milton