Home News and Features Montpelier Ballot: Article 14 Revised Bond Language Concerns Public

Montpelier Ballot: Article 14 Revised Bond Language Concerns Public

Photo by John Lazenby
On Town Meeting Day, Montpelier voters will be faced with new language on bonds they’ve already passed, some of it to allow for a longer financing term and some of it to make funds “a little more flexible,” according to city manager Bill Fraser at a Feb. 22 public hearing about Articles 14, 15, and 16 on the Town Meeting Day ballot. 

Up for discussion were Articles 14, 15, and 16. Articles 15 and 16 change the timing of financing, and Fraser said he did not consider them substantive. Article 14 revises the language on a $1,815,000 bond passed by voters in March 2022 and encompasses a variety of projects. 

Fraser stressed that flexibility in funding in Article 14 related to financing the Department of Public Works revised heating project, although the bond also includes highway, infrastructure, and Confluence Park. 

Steve Whitaker and Peter Kelman both indicated that the council’s decision to include multiple items in one bond article was confusing and might lead some voters to reject the article altogether. Fraser stated that it was a council decision to include multiple projects in one article. Whitaker noted that the public is concerned that more bond money could be shifted to the Confluence Park project, and Fraser concurred, saying “it similarly gives the council latitude to shift money away from Confluence Park to another project.” 

Fraser also indicated that there will be a cost-benefit analysis of the DPW garage heat proposal, as required by the city’s net-zero plan, before the project moves forward.

Not discussed were Articles 5 and 6, which severs the city’s participation in the Central Vermont Public Safety Authority. Articles on previous ballots, and included in this year’s ballot, include a special assessment on retail space that benefits small business owners, an appropriation to Kellogg-Hubbard Library for $411,774 (a 4% increase over last year’s appropriation), and to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice for $23,500, plus compensation for city council members, the mayor, and school board officials.

A separate ballot for the Central Vermont School District (CVSD) annual school meeting is included in the city ballot. While voters are asked to approve an expenditure of $4,135,692, this amount is already included in Article 8, the $28,608,500 FY24 school budget. Montpelier voters will also elect two members to the CVSD board; Lyman Castle and Terri Steele are on the ballot for the two open seats.

Montpelier’s election will take place on Town Meeting Day, March 7, with voting by Australian ballot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at city hall. Registered voters can also request and file mail-in ballots from the Vermont Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.