The tax rate would increase 2 cents based on zero grand list growth and the likelihood of another downgrade in value of the Green Mountain Power hydro dams. If passed, the town portion of your property taxes on a $250,000 home would increase annually by $53. We have important and competing priorities – some that require major investment and some that must be completed in order to maintain critical infrastructure. This budget will not fund some of the major challenges we face but, I feel this is a responsible budget that meets the immediate needs of the town.

Winter has continued to provide lots of work for the highway crew. The highway department had 12 more call-ins in December which exceeds what was budgeted for the entire season, working 209.5 hours above and beyond their regularly scheduled shifts. Further, to date we have spent $108,000 of our $180,000 salt budget. It is likely that with another large storm bearing down on us this weekend we will exceed the salt and overtime budgets for the fiscal year. No major equipment problems to report.

The selectboard approved a design for bridge No. 5 (near Hall Farm) on East Road earlier this month. Engineer Jon Olin of Hoyle Tanner Consulting Engineers proposed raising the grade of the road by five feet. This will drastically improve the approach from both ends of the bridge and overall safety. Both bridges will be constructed at the same time with East Road closed at each location. This should save money and will allow the projects to proceed without interruption in hopes they will be completed by the end of 2019.

The finance department led by director Jessica Morris does an exceptional job managing both the town and school finances. We received the annual town audit report last week. The report is very positive and the town is in good financial shape. Thank you Jess, Jackie, Celeste, Hally and Doris.

Please feel free to contact me at the town manager’s office 893-6655 or email, and I will be happy to assist.