Checking in on town meeting in West Windsor
03/05/08 6:34AM By Betty Smith-Mastaler
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(Host) Town Moderator Matt Birmingham started West Windsor's Town Meeting Tuesday fifteen minutes late in order to accommodate all of the people still hurrying up the walk into Story Hall.
VPR's Betty Smith was on hand to see if a year has brought any significant changes to this traditional Town Meeting.
(Smith) Extra folding chairs were needed for the late-comers and the balcony was full as the meeting was called to order.
(Birmingham) Welcome, and good morning to all of you. I'm your moderator, Matt Birmingham. It is not 9 o'clock sharp. It is 9:15 sharp but as I said earlier my prediction that the weather would keep the attendance down...it obviously did not. I suspect we're gonna set a record here today. Somebody just said to me, "Who says the town meeting is dead in Vermont?
(Smith) The crowd was in a good mood as they got down to the business. First they re-elected Birmingham as town moderator. Town Clerk Cathy Archibald took the gavel as Birmingham sat out the vote.
(Archibald) I'll now accept nominations for moderator (nominate Matt Birmingham, second) are there any other nominations? Hearing none I declare the nominations closed. Those in favor of Matt signify by saying Aye (Aye) those opposed? Matt you're... (laugher...applause) Birmingham: I've surreptitiously doubled my salary. You'll find that on page two hundred and (laughter).
(Smith) Then they methodically worked their way through 15 town articles and 6 school articles with little debate. At ten o'clock voting for the primary got under way with voters quietly casting their votes at booths set up along one side of the hall. The biggest excitement of the morning came as the results of a close select board race were announced.
(Birmingham) We had 193 people in the building, which is roughly 70 or 80 people more than we normally have at Town Meeting. As we said, there are some faces we haven't seen in quite a while, which is a good thing. Obviously this and maybe some other things on the ballot brought it out and this is a good example of how extremely important every single vote is. With 193 people in the hall, 192 people voted. 98 people voted for Tom Kenyon and 94 people voted for Ted Seigler. (crowd noise and applause)
(Smith) After that, business ran smoothly again, with occasional informational pauses and the meeting adjourned even a little early.
For VPR News, I'm Betty Smith in West Windsor.