Glover tightens its belt

GLOVER, VT - Next Tuesday, the Town of Glover will meet for its annual Town Meeting. While this year there are no big ticket items, a few changes and suggestions are in the warning.As with every year, the election of officers will be one of the first articles to come before the town. Tara Nelson in not seeking reelection to the select board. Nelson said that after three years she is ready to step down.“It is a lot of work and it can be frustrating at times, but it can be really rewarding too,” Nelson said. With her kids in sports and her family, it's really hard to make the meetings, she said.An auditor, lister, and cemetery commissioner position are all up for election. All seats are for three-year terms, as is the select board seat.This year, Glover’s budget (to be raised by taxes) is up by $38,846.50. This brings the total budget to be voted on to $712,286.46. There is an anticipated surplus of $40,309.67, Nelson said, making this the third year in a row that Glover has been able to carry money over.“We are really lucky. Everyone that works for the town is really budget conscious and that helps with the bottom line,” she said.Slight raises in equipment maintenance, salaries, insurances, lights, and fuel for heating and equipment have all added to the budget going up, although none of these line items are up significant amounts. This year’s Road and Bridges budget is up slightly. With changes in the price and amount of asphalt for road repairs, some equipment maintenance, and fuel costs, the increase is $67,577.56. Normally the town asks for $80,000 to be put in an equipment fund for future needs, but this year the board is asking for $50,000. Nelson said there's no equipment in need of replacement and what the town currently has is in great shape; the select board felt that they didn’t need to ask for the usual amount.Last year, the sheriff’s budget caused a debate on the floor. This year that line item is up, though not by much. Nelson said the extra $350 being sought is due to cost of living increases. The select board is still asking for the same level of coverage that was voted on last year, which works out to about five hours a week patrolling, more during busy weeks and less through the winter. Nelson said that, according to a report from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to 39 calls in Glover, ranging from motor vehicle complaints to burglary to domestic violence. While some items in the budget are up, others are down or gone altogether. This year the select board is not asking for money for cemetery improvements or sidewalk projects, and budgeting estimates for Barton Landfill Monitoring and taxes to the county are lower than last year.Another cost that will not appear on this year’s budget is the annual appropriation for the Glover Emergency Medical Service. This year they will not be asking for their usual appropriation from Glover or Albany. According to the town reports, this is because of an increase in transporting. The report states that the addition of a second “truck” in 2010 has “more than tripled our run volume to more than 450 calls.” This has improved the financial standing of the EMS to where they do not need to ask for town appropriations, which totaled $8,000 last year.Two articles on this year’s warning may spark some discussion.Article 11 asks the town to “authorize the establishment of a capital reserve account for municipal gravel pit closure.” The town’s gravel pit was bought about eight years ago, with a proposed life of 20 or so years, Donna Sweeny, the town treasurer said. According to the Act 250 permit, the town must fill in the pit when it is finished using it, Nelson said. This means spending a good amount of money to replace the fill taken out of the ground. Nelson said the select board discussed beginning this fund when the pit was purchased, but the fund wasn't created, so the current select board wants to get it started. This year they are asking for $5,000. Article 13 asks the town if it would like to enter into a PACE District (Property Assessed Clean Energy). This program is new in the state and is run in conjunction with Efficiency Vermont. PACE hopes to establish low interest loans for energy efficient projects for residents of participating towns.This year’s school budget is up $60,295. Many of the increases are slight and appear under insurance and unemployment categories. There are also minor increases under the computer and special education budget. The school meeting is warned for 1:30 p.m. on Town Meeting Day.