By Stephen Seitz
February is almost done, and that means town meeting is around the corner. This year it is on March 3.
Towns in Windsor County and across the state will choose their officers and decide on their budgets, among other things, that day.
Woodstock Town Clerk Jay Morgan said, as always, he’d like to see a strong turnout.
“We’d like to have as much participation as we possibly can,” he said. “We want to have a good discussion about any and all issues that are important to the town.”
Bridgewater conducts all its business on town meeting day. The meeting will take place in the Bridgewater Village School’s multipurpose room, beginning at 9 a.m.
“We’re an open meeting town, so everything’s from the floor,” said Bridgewater Town Clerk Nancy Robinson. “We don’t hold an informational meeting because we’re not an Australian ballot town.”
One issue Bridgewater voters will no doubt be discussing is whether to send their elementary school students to Pomfret for grades kindergarten through six. There will be four articles on this proposal to decide: 1. whether to send the students; 2. if so, whether to approve a Bridgewater school district budget of $3,000; 3. an article to appropriate $1.5 million for the combined school district (Bridgewater would be contributing $653,701 to that); and, 4. if the proposal fails, whether to authorize a school budget of $877,581 for the next school year.
In Chester, there is one contested race: Heather Chase is challenging long-time incumbent Derek Suursoo for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen.
Assistant Town Clerk Julie Hance said there were no warning articles out of the ordinary. The business meeting will be held Monday, March 2 on the second floor of Chester’s Town Hall, beginning at 6 p.m. Voting takes place in the same location on March 3 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Plymouth’s Assistant Town Clerk Jodi Blanchard said that the only contested race is for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen; incumbent Russ Tonkin will face a challenge from Andrew Crossman.
There are only two articles requiring voter consideration: whether to appropriate about $10,000 to support various social service and civic organizations, and whether to raise $1,088,429 in taxes.
Ludlow has no contested races, but is facing a dearth of candidates for local office. No one is running for moderator, town agent, school district moderator, school district clerk, school district treasurer, or a three-year seat on the school board.
The informational meeting will be held in the Ludlow Town Hall on March 2 at 7 p.m., with voting in the same place on Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Rochester will conduct all its business on March 2, beginning at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Besides choosing officers, voter will be considering a town budget of $913,592; whether to appropriate just under $92,000 for social services and civic organizations; $85,000 for the highway equipment reserve fund; and $25,000 for the fire department equipment reserve fund.
Woodstock will conduct its business meeting on Feb. 28 in the town hall theatre at 10 a.m. Voters will consider a town budget of $4.7 million, and whether to adopt a 1 percent local options tax on rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverages. Voting take place at the town hall theater between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.