Home News and Features A Message from City Hall: Annual Voting on March 5

A Message from City Hall: Annual Voting on March 5

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The annual city election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, with polls open at City Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting starts in mid-February. Contact the City Clerk’s office for voting or election queries.

Key Ballot Items

Articles 1-3: Annual election of city, school, Green Mount Cemetery, and parks officials.

Articles 4-5: City and school budgets.

Article 11: Annual renewal of Downtown Improvement District tax rate, adding a 5.15-cent tax surcharge to downtown commercial properties.

Article 12: Petition for $440,070 for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, $32,296 more than last year.

Article 13: Petition for $23,500 for Central Vermont Home, Health, and Hospice, same as last year.

Article 14: Petition for charter change to authorize just cause eviction requirements.

Annual Report

The report will be available in hard copy at City Hall, library, senior center, and schools, also online at the city’s website.

FY25 Budget Highlights

Factors impacting FY25: July 11 flood, increased costs, updated funding needs, key infrastructure projects.

Guiding principles: Implement strategic plan goals, invest in infrastructure, deliver responsible services, stay within 3.2% inflation rate.

Strategic Plan Goals

  • Build and maintain sustainable infrastructure.
  • Create more housing.
  • Plan for future resilience in the face of climate change and practice good environmental stewardship.
  • Advance the economy to improve community prosperity.
  • Improve public health and safety for all.

Property Tax Impact

  • $11,860,353 in property tax revenues required, a 3.9% increase in the tax rate.
  • Average residential property tax rate increase of $134.46.

Budget Numbers

  • FY25 general fund budget: $17,330,793, a 2.6% increase from FY24.
  • FY24 general fund non-tax revenues: $5,470,440, a 1.5% increase from FY24.
  • Revenues from the state of Vermont adjusted based on experience.
  • Local rooms, meals, and alcohol tax revenues were estimated down by $142,000 to reflect the impact of the flood and the recovering business district.
  • Grand list value set by reappraisal and appeal process.

Infrastructure

  • Capital projects, equipment, and debt service program fully funded at $2,400,000.
  • $660,000 allocated for street paving.
  • Catch-up work slated for FY25 includes East State Street, Main and Barre streets intersection, Water Resource and Recovery Facility Phase 2, net zero energy plans, and Confluence Park (TBD).

Personnel

  • 5.25 FTE city staff positions reduced in the FY25 budget.
  • Leadership team opted for no cost-of-living adjustments, saving $54,547.

Operating

  • Police: Canine program eliminated, contractual relationship with Capital Fire Mutual Aid System for dispatching services.
  • Fire and Emergency Services: Paramedics successfully integrated, reduced overtime funds.
  • Planning, Zoning and Community/Economic Development: Budget largely unchanged.
  • Public Works: One position and overtime has been reduced. These changes will need to be managed to maintain services.
  • Government Services: The Finance, IT, and Manager departments are reducing one position and continuing funding for tech support. 
  • Community Justice Center: Budget includes all funding for all programs with commensurate revenue offsets. There is no net property tax funding projected.
  • Community Services: Includes Senior Center, Recreation and Parks/Tree departments. The combined tax appropriations for these three functions has been decreased by $55,082. There is a reduction of 1 full time rec position, 2 Americorps positions, and the full Montpelier Youth Conservation Corps program, which will have a major impact on summer operations and park maintenance.

Other Services

Reductions due to budget constraints:

  • Montpelier Alive funded at $32,600.
  • Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee reduced from $5,000 to $2,000.
  • Social equity consultant reduced from $10,000 to 0.
  • Green Mountain Transit My Ride system reduced from $40,000 to 0.
  • Homelessness Task Force reduced from $45,000 to $17,500.
  • Economic Development funding was reduced from $100,000 to 0.
  • Country Club Road project funding was reduced from $40,000 to 0.
  • Public Arts Commission was reduced from $10,000 to 0.
  • Committee Stipend Program was reduced from $20,000 to 0.
  • Legislative Advocacy was reduced from $15,000 to 0.
  • Wrightsville annual appropriation remains at $20,000.
  • Conservation Commission was reduced from $3,500 to 0.
  • Tree Board was reduced from $4,000 to 0.
  • Green Mount Cemetery tax funding remained at $131,364, which is $40,000 less than requested by the Cemetery Commission,

Items Not Included

To stay within the budget target, nearly $1.5 million in requests were cut, including an increase to the Community Fund, National Citizen Survey, additional Police Officer restoration, and over $1 million in projects and equipment in future capital plans.

Budget Process

Presented to the City Council on Dec. 13.

Council held budget workshops on Dec. 20, Jan. 3, and Jan. 10.

Public hearings, deliberations, and final decisions held on Jan. 17 and 24.

Thank you for your interest in Montpelier City Government. Contact me at wfraser@montpelier-vt.org or 802-223-9502 with any questions or comments.

This is a paid commentary and does not reflect the opinions, reporting, or ideas of The Bridge Newspaper.

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