PUTNEY - Putney residents are going to be asked to reconsider the fiscal year 2015 budget at a special Town Meeting tentatively scheduled for Thursday May 22.
Town Clerk Anita Coomes said a petition was handed in asking for a budget re-vote with more than 85 signatures, the required number of signatures needed to call a special vote.
Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said the petition was handed in by residents who were dissatisfied with the Town Meeting amendment that added $22,000 back into the budget to keep Rescue Inc. as the town's ambulance service.
At Town Meeting this year the Putney Selectboard presented its $1.87 million budget with enough money in the ambulance line to fund a new contract with Golden Cross Ambulance of Claremont, N.H.
The controversial move set off a spirited debate between Golden Cross and Rescue Inc., which the town has been using for almost 50 years.
The board had suggested that Putney switch its ambulance service to save money, but after representatives from both ambulance services spoke at Town Meeting, Putney residents voted to add $22,000 to the budget to continue using Rescue Inc.
The amended budget, with the $22,000 in it, was then approved by Town Meeting voters.
The Selectboard Tuesday night accepted the petition calling a re-vote on, Article 17, the budget article.
The new Town Meeting vote will probably be held Thursday, May 22 at the Putney Fire Station.
Stoddard was going to finalize the time and place of the vote and print a warning in the next few days.
At the meeting on May 22 residents will once again be asked to consider the original $1.87 million budget.
If voters at that meeting want to support Rescue once again, the $22,000 will have to once again be added to the budget.
If the original $1.87 budget is approved, without the Rescue money, then it will be up to the Selectboard to decide if the town will switch over to Golden Cross, or continue using Rescue by finding the funding elsewhere in the budget.
The ultimate decision about ambulance service is up to the Selectboard.
Whether the Rescue money is added, or not, if the budget is rejected at the special meeting then the Selectboard will have to come up with another budget and call an additional Town Meeting to consider the spending plan.
The vote on the budget on May 22 will be held from the floor, similarly to how it is considered during Town Meeting in March.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.