Pomfret debates increase in town spending

03/08/06 12:00AM By Betty Smith-Mastaler
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(Host) It was standing room only in the Pomfret Town Hall, as residents met to debate a proposed increase in town spending of more than 54%.

VPR's Betty Smith was on hand to observe the proceedings.

(Sound of a gavel)

(Moderator) "Legal voters of the town of Pomfret are hereby warned ")


(Smith) All the chairs and benches were full and there were people standing in the back of the hall as town moderator Robert O'Donnell called the meeting to order.

Attendance was high because the select board had recommended road repairs in the 2006 budget projected to cost nearly $500,000.

That would have meant a 54.5% increase in town spending.

But when it came time for discussion, Selectboard Chair Jim Havill informed the crowd that the amount requested had been substantially reduced.

(Havill) "Originally we had put $500,000 in the budget to do Stage Road because it's in bad shape. But we feel that the way the budget is, that we're going to cut that back to $300,000 so we're taking $200,000 off from that and then we got - we had $5,000 in for a band rail that we can get by without so there's the other $5,000 that is gonna be cut from that figure."

(O'Donnell) "Thank you. Are there any questions or comments on the motion before the floor?"


(Smith) There was a further effort to cut the highway budget by deferring purchase of a new truck for another year, but voters were persuaded that wouldn't be practical.

(Havill) "If you don't want any salt spread on the roads for another winter, why that'd be fine."

(Smith) So in the end, Pomfret voters approved a scaled down version of the budget - allowing for the most pressing of the road repairs - but not reaching quite so far into taxpayer pockets.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Betty Smith.
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