There's no benefit to proposed BF/Rockingham merger
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#1 May 17, 2010
Mary is absolutely right. This proposal is not even close to a compromise. It essentially gives everything to the town and nothing for the village.
It would at this point be far more appropriate to essentially kick the Town of Rockingham out of the village and become an independent city. Then, once Rockingham realizes they just lost 80% of their tax and payment revenue, we can then levy a city tax on town owned properties in the village and set whatever sewer rate we like on the village of Saxons River.
Pundits such as Northstardust love to say how the Village needs the town but the town doesn't need the Village. It would be nice to demonstrate just how incorrect that statement is.
#2 May 18, 2010
1 min ago Voters affirm village budget
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By Susan Smallheer STAFF WRITER - Published: May 18, 2010
BELLOWS FALLS Village residents approved a $1.6 million village budget on a 10-vote margin, with a minimum of questions Monday.
Voters however rejected a bid to have future village budgets decided by Australian balloting.
And, in an advisory-only vote, village residents narrowly directed the village trustees to look into hiring a village-only administrator, as part of what supporters said was a way of breaking the logjam over stalled merger talks with the town of Rockingham.
About 80 residents attended the annual meeting, held in the Bellows Falls Opera House. There was no move to amend the budget, and the few questions were strictly informational. After about 10 minutes of discussion, the budget was approved on a paper ballot, the $1,659,845 budget was passed 48 to 38.
The village finance director John O'Connor said that he expected a slight deficit, a result of overspending in the Bellows Falls Police Department.
O'Connor said the police department have overspent its budget for part-time officers by about $75,000, from a $50,000 budget to $125,000 expenditure.
He said the police department overtime budget had also been overspent by about $20,000. He said $55,000 had been budgeted, while $75,000 overtime had been spent.
O'Connor said the budget would mean a 3 to 4 percent increase in village taxes, or 1.5 cents in the village tax rate.
On the issue of deciding the village budget by Australian balloting, the measure was defeated 51 to 36, after several key village residents spoke against the proposal.
Former Select Board member Dennis Harty said having a discussion before the vote was the most democratic way of deciding a budget.
And Rockingham Town Clerk Doreen Aldrich said people wanted to move the Bellows Falls village meeting to May to increase voter turnout. She said it hasn't made a difference.
She said having future budget votes moved to Tuesday, the same as the annual village election, would result in low voter turnout as well.
Joe Brissette proposed the trustees consider hiring a village administrator, rather than continue under the current system of having a joint municipal manager with the town of Rockingham.
The town and village currently has an interim manager, Francis "Dutch" Walsh, who replaced Municipal Manager Jim Mullen, who resigned in December.
One of the big "snags" to merger, Brissette said, was that the village doesn't get the representation it deserves in any discussion with the town. Bellows Falls is an incorporated village within the town of Rockingham.
After considerable debate, the advisory opinion passed, 41 to 35.
"Each board should have its own manager," said Brissette, who is a school director. Brissette said that the village could use the money it has in its budget for the joint manager, about $40,000 to hire a manager.
Jim McAuliffe, another School Board member, said having two boards with two different managers would only make the issue more cumbersome.
"The solution is to merge," said McAuliffe, who had chaired a merger study group, which just last week came out with a new proposal. There was no discussion of the merger proposal at the village meeting.
McAuliffe said having one manager and two boards was a difficult position, and he noted that the town and village were seeking their fifth manager in the past five years.
To hire an independent village manager would be "going in the wrong direction," McAuliffe said.
Vote Falzo & Fox only do a bullet vote today. Obie is a nice guy but in the merger camp and has never cut a budget on the school board.
Since: Feb 10
S. Londonderry VT
#3 May 18, 2010
A pundit generally has expertise. I have never claimed such, nor does having a mere opinion make one so.
A pundit is someone who publishes their opinions, so that would make everyone who posts regularly a 'pundit', which would include you as well.
Why is Rockingham not forever desperately attempting to merge w/BF?
Could Rockingham leave the village and school district and become like other towns which simply allow individuals to decide where to send students and pay the tuition or a set amount?
I do not have the anwers but question the logic and motives of those who seem to think BF should secede if Rockingham will not be used the way the village wishes to use them.
If it were a gift horse w/any benefit, they would not be looking in its mouth...
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