BELLOWS FALLS — Bellows Falls village voters will decide the stubborn issue of whether to vote on all money articles by Australian ballot Tuesday during a special floor meeting.
“We have to have a vote on the floor,” said Village President Deborah Wright, a long-time supporter of having money issues decided by all-day Australian balloting.
Voting on the village budget and election of village officers will be next Tuesday, May 17.
Tuesday’s business meeting will be held in the Bellows Falls Opera House Lower Theater, with the meeting starting at 7 p.m.
Wright said Monday that while the village voters thought they had resolved the Australian ballot issue back in 2020, the village didn’t follow the proper protocol. Any decision to switch from a floor meeting process to the Australian ballot must be made during a floor meeting. Two years ago, Wright said, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, village voters overwhelmingly approved switching to Australian ballot — but that vote was made by Australian ballot.
Wright said it’s very important that people show up in person Tuesday to vote on the Australian ballot issue. But, she said, turnout for village floor meetings historically has been very low.
“Nobody shows up for those,” she said.
Residents will not be able to vote remotely during Tuesday’s floor meeting, she said, because of a ruling from the Vermont secretary of state.
The meeting will be held virtually on Zoom, and people will be able to ask questions via Zoom and otherwise participate, but they won’t be able to cast a vote, she stressed.
After the Australian ballot issue is resolved, people will be able to discuss the proposed $1.6 million village budget, the vast majority of which goes toward funding the village police department. While people can ask questions, they will not be able to amend the budget, Wright said.
Voters next week will cast ballot for village president. Wright is running unopposed for the one-year term. Three people are running for two-year trustee positions, including the two incumbents, Jeff Dunbar and Wade Masure, as well as former village trustee Jonathan Wright (no relation to village president Deborah Wright).