New Rules!

2/1/21 Selectboard Meeting

by Ken Signorello & Irene Wrenner

February 4, 2021

Chair Elaine Haney opened the February 1st Selectboard Meeting with new restrictions on public comment.

 

Public members had no advance notice; the board hadn’t discussed or voted on altering the rules of engagement.

 

These changes may have been a response to the prior meeting, in which public members attempted to cede time, as allowed in the past, to a resident who expressed a wish to speak for five minutes.

 

February’s first public hearing on the merger plan followed a traditional pattern, with a 33-minute  power point presentation by Haney and the two other pro-merger members of the Selectboard.

 

Using their two-minute allotments, the public weighed in with praise or pan of the plan to merge the Town and Village budgets. Comments reflected what the community has been saying all along.

 

There were complaints about how the plan would shift taxes from the Village to the Town-outside-the-Village, which has had no say in formulating the plan. Those in favor said the price tag would be worth moving past the conflict these perennial merger conversations generate.

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Long-time Selectboard member Andy Watts is one of two board members who has maintained that the merger plan is incomplete. Watts, whose input has been limited by Haney of late, expressed concern that “the minority positions on the Selectboard are not represented anywhere in the merger material. … We’re not sharing all the information we have.”

 

Andy Snyder, a member of the public, suggested the board take up the residents' challenge to debate the merger. Speaking for herself, Haney declined to accept the challenge. “We are simply doing the job of delivering the information about what we want to move the community forward with.”

 

She said Watts is welcome to agree to a debate or to otherwise express his minority concerns or different interpretations.