BRATTLEBORO -- The Selectboard has agreed to ask Brattleboro voters to weigh in on whether the town should adopt a 1 percent local option tax to help pay for the $14 million renovation to the police and fire stations.
At Tuesday night's Selectboard meeting the board voted 5-0 to have residents vote by Australian ballot on March 4, Town Meeting Day, on the non-binding resolution.
The board also approved an article for Representative Town Meeting for a binding vote on the local option tax.
Town Meeting Representatives overwhelmingly rejected the local option tax when it came before them at a special town meeting in October 2012.
The $14.2 million bond for the police-fire project was approved at that meeting.
Selectboard member Kate O'Connor said she did not like the idea of instituting a new tax, but she said residents should be able to voice their opinion on the idea.
"It is important that the entire town get involved in making this decision," O'Connor said. "There should be a townwide vote so we know one way or the other."
It is estimated that a 1 percent local option tax would raise about $650,000, which would offset the payments on the police-fire bond.
Selectboard member John Allen also said he was opposed to the tax, and he said he hoped the upcoming votes would at least put the issue to rest.
"I am not in agreement with a 1 percent sales tax. A tax is a tax is a tax," Allen said. "But we believe it should be brought up with all of the people in Brattleboro to give them a chance to vote. Hopefully we can lay this thing to rest one way or another."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org.