• Town Meeting Preview: Berlin
    February 19,2013
     

    Stefan Hard / Staff File Photo A Berlin resident casts her vote during town meeting last year at Berlin Elementary School.

    BERLIN



    Town budget

    Proposed $2,459,279 – $26,480, or about 1.1 percent, more than this year’s budget of $2,432,799.

    Budget includes $831,067 to operate the local police department and $933,391 to maintain town roads.

    The police department budget is up $43,553, or just over 5.5 percent, while the highway budget reflects an increase of $1,409, or 0.1 percent.



    School budget

    Proposed $3,266,890 – $216,800, or 7.1 percent, more than this year’s budget of $3,050,090.

    Budget will be voted in two parts because the school district’s spending per pupil last year was more than the statewide average and this year’s proposed budget is greater than last year’s budget adjusted for inflation. Voters will first be asked to authorize the school board to spend $3,166,235 on the operation of the town’s pre-K-6 school during the coming fiscal year. They will then be asked to authorize the board to spend an additional $100,655 on school-related expenses. The board’s primary budget request must be approved in order for the vote on the secondary appropriation to be considered.

    The Berlin School Board has scheduled an informational meeting at the elementary school on March 4 at 6 p.m.



    Union high school budget

    Proposed $14,101,074 – $506,862, or 3.73 percent, more than this year’s budget of $13,594,212.

    Budget reflects a $140,389 reduction in the debt service payment on the school bond and $398,058 in increased costs associated with negotiated salaries and benefits for the faculty and staff at U-32 High School. Transportation costs are expected to climb by almost $37,000 and the budget includes funding for a paraeducator and several part-time positions.

    The fate of the U-32 budget will be collectively decided by voters in Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex and Worcester. The U-32 School Board has scheduled a public information meeting on March 4 at 6 p.m. in Room 131 at the high school.



    Special articles

    Shall the voters of the town of Berlin vote by Australian ballot to appropriate $190,985 for the operation of the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department?



    Shall the voters of the town of Berlin vote by Australian ballot to appropriate an additional $180,000 for the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department so that members can “… establish continuous in-station staffing at the Four Corners Station” by establishing a stipend program for its members?



    Shall the voters of the town of Berlin vote by Australian ballot to appropriate $26,925 for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier?



    Shall the voters of the town of Berlin agree to hold any surplus funds that are available after the Berlin School District’s books are audited later this year in a fund that can be spent at the discretion of the Berlin School Board?



    Shall the voters of the town of Berlin vote by Australian ballot to authorize any surplus funds that are available after the U-32 School District’s books are audited later this year be placed in a reserve account that can be spent at the discretion of the U-32 School Board?



    Contested races

    There are no contested races in Berlin this year. Selectmen Brad Towne and Ture Nelson and School Director Christopher Rice are among the incumbents running for re-election. Jeremy Hansen is running unopposed for the Select Board seat now held by Craig Frazier. Mike Law, who was appointed to the U-32 board last year, is the lone candidate for the two years remaining on that three-year term, and nobody is running to replace School Director Mike Stridsberg on the Berlin School Board.



    Meeting location

    Berlin voters will gather for a floor meeting in the gymnasium at Berlin Elementary School at 10 a.m. on March 5 to consider any town and school questions that do not involve the appropriation of money. All money matters, including the town, highway, school and union high school budget requests, will be decided by Australian ballot. Polls will be open at the school from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    www.berlinvt.org

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