Examining
Vernon’s budget

Editor of the Reformer:

Parliamentary strategies and tactics customary among savvy legislative pros are inappropriate at amateur Town Meeting.

At the May 5 special Vernon Town Meeting to reconsider the original article (11) funding the town budget, it can be passed over, preventing reconsideration of closing the Vernon Police Department, or quickly amended to close it again and force an immediate and final vote. Friends of grassroots Vermont democracy can defeat them.

To ensure that we can make informed and democratic decisions about how our money shall be spent to protect and serve us, Vernon voters can instead:

First, invite the Vermont State Police, Vernon Police Department and Windham County Sheriff’s Department to begin the meeting by presenting their services and annual costs of a range of weekly hours of policing and law enforcement, then answering our questions.

Second, amend the original town-budget line item for policing and law enforcement to create a blank to be filled in with whichever among these three policing and law enforcement agencies receives a majority via paper ballots, initially or in a top-two runoff.

"In filling blanks, the number of alternatives is not limited; voters have an opportunity to weigh all choices before voting and to vote on them in a fair and logical order" (Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition, 2011, pp. 162-7).

Finally, further amend that line item to create a blank to be filled in with whichever among the budgeted annual dollar amount and others suggested by voters present to fund policing and law enforcement first receives a majority, debated and voted on from highest to lowest.

We also can cut our town budget as much as we please: Amend the original article to create a blank to be filled in with whichever among the budgeted annual dollar amount and others suggested by voters present first receives a majority, debated and voted on from highest to lowest.

For example: 1) proposed $2,112,785; 2) 10 percent cut to $1,900,000; 3) 15 percent cut to $1,800,000; 4) 20 percent cut to $1,700,000; 5) 25 percent cut to $1,600,000; 6) 30 percent cut to $1,500,000; etc. The first amount receiving a majority would be raised and appropriated.

Howard Fairman,

Vernon, April 3

Support for 1% tax
in Brattleboro

Editor of the Reformer:

Many of us are still dismayed that the Town Meeting Representatives did not support the non-binding referendum from Brattleboro residents to an increase in the sales tax. I am embarrassed that the Selectboard then went to the state to ask for help.

No one would notice the increase, and it would raise thousands of dollars in much-needed funds for the town. Manchester has done that very successfully. In the attempt to "save" the town businesses, they will put an added burden on the already overtaxed residents, and thereby reduce their ability to shop in those businesses. And there is no reason why the businesses should not share the tax burden.

Perhaps this decision could be reconsidered at the re-vote on the budget on April 17.

Elizabeth Moore,

Brattleboro, March 31

Support our police,
fire departments

Editor of the Reformer:

Recently, two Boston firefighters died trapped inside of a burning building, and this past Sunday morning, two troopers with the Vermont State Police were wounded by shotgun blast. Closer to home, a Brattleboro police officer was involved in a fatal shooting at a local motel on Friday, April 4, at 6 a.m.

It is right that we express our gratitude and admiration and appreciation to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping our community safe and being there for us in our moments of need.

Public safety officers are our employees. They require and deserve a workplace environment that is equal to the task we have entrusted to them. Make no mistake: the vote on Thursday, April 17, will be an indication of our support.

Please vote "Yes" on the town budget.

Robert J. Stack,

Brattleboro, April 9