Leicester Town Meeting should be calm

OVUU SB hopefuls can still run a write-in campaign

LEICESTER — Those Leicester residents who come to town meeting on Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Leicester Meeting House, may not have much to talk about. Selectboard members will discuss the budget they have fashioned, but the difference from last year isn’t that great.

Residents will vote on town and school budgets by Australian ballot on Tuesday, March 5, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., at the Leicester Town Office. 

At the polls they will also vote on a handful of elected positions. Two selectboard spots will be on the ballot: a two-year spot held by Diane Randall and a three-year spot held by Brad Lawes.

When it comes to the municipal budget, residents will be asked to OK a 2024 spending of $809,686, which is an increase of less than $10,000 from the figure OK’d last year, or a hike of around 1%. The town is asking to raise $617,965.96 in property taxes to pay the bill. That represents an increase of $23,720.66, or about 4% from what was collected in 2023.

Specifics on the town budget are proposed at $341,495.72, with the amount raised by taxes pegged at $ 256,057.68. This would be a 3% increase in town spending. Proposed spending on roads is $468,190, with the amount to be raised by taxes $361,908.28. That’s just $600 more than was spent on highways last year.

The big-ticket item on the Leicester ballot this year will be a Fiscal Year 2025 Otter Valley Unified Union (OVUU) school district budget of $27,247,823. That budget represents a 12.71% increase over the current year’s spending, but on an equalized pupil basis, it is a 9.74% increase.

Calculations in January showed this level of spending would drive up education property taxes in the six town district between 17% and 28% for those who pay based on their income (70% of Vermonters pay less for their school taxes because of state support).

Leicester residents may cast ballots on the board representing the OVUU, but this year there will be few names to choose from. There are no contested races, and only two board members are seeking re-election: Natalie Steen of Brandon and Fernanda Canales of Goshen. Several board members aren’t running, and a couple are stepping down mid-term, including Leicester rep. Jeremy Gildrien and at-large rep. Greg Bernhardt of Leicester. On the ballot with no candidates are a Brandon seat with one year remaining on a three-year term, a Leicester seat with two years remaining on a three-year term, and three-year terms for seats in Whiting, Pittsford and at-large.

It’s too late to get your name on the ballot, but anyone who wishes one of these school board seats ca run a write-in campaign. 

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