Mont Vernon voters can weigh in on $2M town operating budget

MONT VERNON – Voters at Town Meeting this year will decide on warrant articles for the repair of a fire truck, the purchase of fire gear, the reconstruction of Carleton Pond, ongoing maintenance to the McCollom Building and a $2 million operating budget.

At the public hearing held Monday, Feb. 3, Mont Vernon selectmen went down the spending plan line by line for the approximately 12 people, mostly town employees and Budget Committee members, in the audience.

Selectman John Esposito called it a bare-bones budget with “no fat at all.”

Budget Committee members argued for a reduction in the $10,000 item for miscellaneous solid waste charges, money for disposal of large appliances, as well as the $11,000 item for direct assistance to welfare recipients.

Selectmen told them the town has to have enough money to cover possible unexpected expenses.

“If someone comes in and needs assistance, we have to do it,” said Esposito, and if the money isn’t available, selectmen would have to take it from somewhere else in the budget or petition the attorney general’s office to call a special meeting, which costs money.

There is an extra $1,500 in the Conservation Commission budget for spraying knotweed, an invasive species, that Fire Chief Jay Wilson said is making “a disgusting mess” around town.

Entrances to parking areas will be sprayed to see if the plant can be put under control.

The operating budget, totalling $2.13 million, also includes $25,500 for a town-wide and state-mandated property reappraisal.

Money to fund two capital reserve funds, one for rebuilding Carleton Pond and the other for new fire department protective gear, are in separate warrant articles of $15,000 each.

Another article is for the refurbishment of the McCollom Building. The $40,000 will pay for energy improvements, including a new furnace, windows and more insulation.

There is a $12,000 article for to repair the pump and replace springs on the fire department’s Engine 3, the 2001 International truck.

There is a $64,000 article for road reconstruction, and that money will be offset by a highway block grant.

Town Meeting is set for 9 a.m., Saturday, March 15, at the Village School.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@
cabinet.com.