School budgets passes, floor meeting lives on
by Larry Bradley
COVENTRY — Coventry residents certainly take pride in their Town Meetings. During the gathering on Tuesday, March 7, there were elections, Australian ballots, several new proposals, and some homemade pastries and coffee.
Moderator Matt Maxwell kept the crowd focused and the agenda moving right along and Town Clerk Deb Tanguay, kept things organized to run smoothly. Ms. Tanguay was also voted in as school treasurer for a one-year term.
Several school directors were voted in: Jaime Stenger for a two-year term, Amanda Hussey for a three-year term, and Stephanie Rondeau for the remaining one-year of a two-year term.
The following planning commission members were also voted in, each for a two-year term: Carver Maxwell, Israel Sanville, and Stephanie Rondeau.
First and second constable positions went to Pedro Grondin and Israel Sanville, respectively.
A vote was taken by the town residents for a new select board member. In the running were Kerry Keement (27 votes), and Scott Morley (35 votes) for a three-year term. Mr. Morley was declared the winner and the board member-elect said he wants “to see more vision for the town.”
The voters also voted to appropriate $867,918.00 for town liabilities and general fund expenses and transfers.
The school board proposal to spend $4,438,600 for the coming fiscal year narrowly passed. The vote was 65 in favor and 62 opposed. Article 7, the proposal to borrow an extra $1,000,000 to build an addition to the Coventry Village School, was defeated, with 58 people in favor and 68 opposed. The amount of $3.2 million was already approved for the addition.
In his presentation Rocky Boucher said the town is working closely with Paul DeCelles regarding investments for the future.
There was a bit of discussion between Coventry residents about the proposal from select board Chair Scott Briere who said he thinks the appropriation to support the Coventry Town Foundation was too high. Mr. Briere wanted it lowered from $250,000 to $70,000. Residents voted to keep the higher dollar amount to support the foundation.
Assessing Clerk Kate Fletcher, who was also voted in for another term, said: “What makes Coventry special is our sense of community and caring.”
Her remark was certainly heard because article 19 was almost unanimously voted down. It would have eliminated the Town Meeting altogether and would have the town officers elected by Australian ballot only. Some also wanted a more “blended” approach to the Town Meeting and proposed to have the meeting occur the night before the first Tuesday in March. That idea was also voted down.
The proposal of $20,257 to appropriate funds for local nonprofits and service agencies was passed. The amount requested was the same as last year.
State Representative Mike Marcotte, who hails from Coventry, was on hand to update the meeting on what’s been happening in Montpelier and how it relates to the local residents. He said he favors reinvesting the money the town of Coventry now has rather than waiting until the revenue from the landfill is no longer existent.
He also mentioned that due to an overwhelming need for more mental health services in the region, the House passed a motion to have a new inpatient mental health facility built in the area.
Other business to come before the town included a proposal by resident Karen Hack to have a diversity committee established for local residents, and by others to have a speaker system installed since it was difficult for some members in the back of the room to hear the moderator and fellow residents’ comments.