JAMAICA — Voters were able to gather in person to decide on the yearly items needed to make the town run.
“It went well, considering all the different nuances to it,” Select Board Chairman Greg Meulemans said Sunday in an interview.
On Saturday, voters met at the Jamaica Town Garage. Like others across Vermont, the town usually holds its annual meeting on the first Tuesday of the month.
Meulemans said it’s unclear if the schedule change affected turnout. He counted about 100 people in attendance.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, municipalities in Vermont were able to reschedule their meetings to later in the year. Meulemans described the meeting working out “perfectly” because the weather allowed for doors to be opened for good ventilation and the space is about three times bigger than Town Hall, where the annual meeting is typically held, so people could keep their distance.
All Select Board seats had contended elections and were voted from the floor. Jessica Pollack secured re-election in a three-year term and Tom Tolbert was re-elected for a one-year term. Kate Ullman, a recently retired teacher from Jamaica Village School, was newly elected to a one-year term.
Meulemans said with several resignations from listers recently, three positions were filled. He noted there had been a challenge in finding a Jamaica representative for the West River Education District Board after Keighan Eaker decided not to run again but Heather Bartels stepped up for the two-year term.
An amendment proposed to change next year’s annual meeting to a Saturday failed. That was the only article that had any “real back and forth,” Meulemans said, “but they settled on keeping it the first Tuesday in March.”
Voters also approved the proposed $1,089,844 fiscal 2022 budget, which is about $17,486 more than last year. The budget shows no one item driving the increase.
Meulemans said every year, people want to keep the budget from going up.
“I think we’ve been able to do that considering everything,” he said. “That really was pretty marginal as far as increases go.”
Meulemans said voters recognized Karen Ameden, who recently sold the D&K’s Jamaica Grocery and serves as a justice of the peace in town, and Paul Fraser, who ran for open seats on the Select Board but was not re-elected and served on the board for many years.