Town Meeting

Troy Town Meeting

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Troy voters wrap up quickly

by Matthew Wilson

NORTH TROY — It was easy going at the Town Meeting in Troy on March 5.  A crowd of about 60 citizens trooped into Troy Elementary School here to participate in setting the budgets for their town and school.  The meeting moved quickly, with the town’s meeting done in around 40 minutes.  The school board meeting afterwards went just as smoothly, a presentation on factors contributing to the increase in education taxes filled most of the time.

The meeting began with State Senator Robert Starr of North Troy leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  As the first order of business the town reelected the senator town moderator.  Mr. Starr directed voters to the printed reports of the town officers, which they approved.  Gaston Bathalon was reelected to a three-year select board seat.  The town constable and delinquent tax collector also kept their jobs.  The people also approved of the general fund for the town.

When it came to roads, there was some discussion.  Town resident Arthur Limoges spoke up to give his opinion.

“I think the highway fund is getting carried away,” he said.  “It’s an awful lot of money for 42 miles.”

Mr. Limoges also said he believes there’s a lot of wasted sand put down onto the roads, making things dusty.

“I think they could use a whole lot less,” he said.  Mr. Limoge said that he has pulled yards of sand out of his lawn.

“I think a lot of people should slow down,” Claudette Limoges said.

The road budget was passed unanimously without further discussion.

The gathering moved to approve all town appropriations to organizations around Troy.  Only a couple of items were discussed before the group approved requests for funding.  One resident asked noncritically for clarification about what services are given by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.  A deputy at the meeting explained the contract pays for patrol hours that put officers in their community.

Michael Starr of the American Legion asked that the appropriation to the Legion increase by $100 to help cover the higher cost of flags for veterans.  His request was granted.

Voters set November 7 as the deadline for payment of property taxes.

“You folks have been really good today.  We’re going to run out of work before lunch,” Moderator Starr remarked.

Mr. Bathalon spoke about NEK Broadband expanding into the area.  He said that areas of the town will have access to fiber-optic-based high speed internet by the end of the year.  Mr. Bathalon encouraged people to sign up for it online early.

“We’ve had 27 people pre-registered for this service so far,” he said.  “NEK Broadband is here and it’s coming as an option in the near future.”

Roebert Starr then spoke about the high speed internet connection coming to the community.

“With the federal money we received during COVID, the state has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into that to take care of rural areas.  It’s good to see that there’s a little fruit coming off of that tree.”

When the opportunity came for residents to ask about any unwarned items, some individuals were curious about the repair of a covered bridge on Veilleux Road.  The bridge accidentally burned when a snowmobile malfunctioned inside.

“We’re just waiting for funding,” select board member Robert Langlands said.  He said that the project is on a list, but the timeline for the work is currently unknown.

Michael Starr spoke on behalf of the town’s American Legion post once again at the end of the meeting.

“At the present time, we’re in a revitalization process to keep our Legion post open,” he said.  He explained some desired to close the post, but others refused to do so and worked to continue keeping it open.  He said that the Legion hosts a regular breakfast and also is open for birthdays and other celebrations.  Michael Starr said that he’d like the post to be a part of the community that welcomes all and invited people to come by for more than just a beer but some good company as well during the post’s open hours.

The gathering took a small break before hearing from members of the school board.

Mr. Bathalon gave a presentation that dove into the details around increases in the education tax rate.

“I know the news media have had us sitting on the edge of our seats talking about a 20 percent property tax increase,” he said.  “They’re sensationalists.”

He explained why the tax rate was rising, as well as going over some of the individual factors that increased costs at the school.  He said certain funds allocated to schools during the coronavirus pandemic are set to end this year, shifting costs for ongoing services and staffing onto school budgets.

Mr. Bathalon also talked about the impact that property values have on the education tax and how inflated prices on real estate have caused some issues.  Many properties sold since the pandemic have been purchased at prices higher than their appraised values.  The difference between the actual value of the properties and the price by which they were sold place a large part in why rates increased.

“The bottom line is that it has a lot to do with the homestead tax,” Mr. Bathalon said.  He noted that the current tax percentage is currently 3.3 percent of the value of property owned.  “That is a whole lot less than what was reported,”  Mr. Bathalon said.

After his presentation voters approved the school budget.


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