Minutes of the Hinesburg Annual Town Meeting

March 3, 2008

Town of Hinesburg, Vermont

Selectboard: Robert S. Bast, Chairman, Howard E. Russell, Randall C. Volk, Andrea Morgante and Jonathan S. Trefry

Town Clerk / Treasurer: Melissa B. Ross

Town Moderator: Joseph Fallon

Joseph Fallon called the meeting to order at 7:28 on March 3, 2008.  He reviewed Roberts Rules of Order and how he planned to facilitate the meeting.  Mr. Fallon read the warning:

“The legal voters of the Town of Hinesburg, Vermont are hereby warned and notified to meet at the Champlain Valley Union High School auditorium, in said Town of Hinesburg, Monday evening March 3, 2008 at 7:30 PM to transact business on all articles except Article 1 which will be voted upon by Australian ballot Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at the Town Hall in said Town of Hinesburg.  Polls will be open at 7:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM.  The March 3, 2008 meeting to be adjourned to the Town Hall in said Town of Hinesburg at 9:00 AM March 4, 2008, if necessary, to act on any business left unfinished when met.”

Mr. Fallon then recognized the attendance of Diane Snelling and Bill Lippert as state representatives.

Each article was read to the audience before any action was taken.

ARTICLE 1:  To elect the necessary town and school district officers by Australian ballot Tuesday March 4, 2008 (see Officers for Election list in the Town Report).

No action required.

ARTICLE 2:  To hear the reports of the Town officers and take action thereon.

Mr. Fallon recognized Randy Volk, town Selectboard member.  Randy recognized Rob Bast, a retiring Selectboard member and his nearly continuous service to Hinesburg since 1979.  Randy outlined the numerous accomplishments by the town during Rob’s tenure and his key participation in this process.  A plaque was presented to Rob as a thank you for his service to the Town of Hinesburg.  The audience recognized this service with a round of applause.

Rob Bast gave a brief report of town activities and noted completion of a number of projects using a power point presentation.  He then outlined projects on the horizon.  These include the wastewater upgrade and expansion, sidewalk on the west side of Route 116 between Charlotte Road and the community school, and recreation path/sidewalk to CVU.  Rob asked everyone to look at the tax rate chart in the town report.  He noted our tax rate has been fairly steady over the last several years.  Rob then acknowledged the town staff including the highway department, police department, water and wastewater, buildings & facilities, and town hall staff.  Rob also highlighted the positive notoriety the town has received recently through awards and recognition in the media.  Finally, Rob thanked the Selectboard and town administrator for their respectful interactions over the years and reiterated how much he had enjoyed his years as a member of the Selectboard.

The motion to accept the report was moved and seconded and the report was approved by voice vote.

ARTICLE 3: Shall the Town appropriate $831,123 to defray the general expenses of the Town?

The motion was moved and seconded.  Discussion and questions asked about specific budget numbers.  It was pointed out that there have been changes in the way grant monies are accounted for in department budgets.

Katherine Goldsmith asked to amend the article to change the amount to $841,123 for the purpose of extending the sidewalk on Commerce Street where there will be a gap between Dark Star and the new National Bank of Middlebury.  There is a vacant lot with no plans for development at this time and she hoped this additional money could be used to finish this section of sidewalk.  The motion was seconded.  A number of questions were asked and answered by audience members and Selectboard members, with pedestrian safety being the main consideration.  

Jonathan Trefry spoke about sidewalk and recreation path projects already on-going in the town.  There is a lot of funding currently budgeted and he suggested other sidewalk projects may have a higher priority.  Howard Russell said that in his opinion the section from Lyman Meadows to the crosswalk in front of Hinesburg Community School would be more important to complete.  People asked if whoever does ultimately develop the vacant lot would be required to build the sidewalk and if there would be a mechanism for the town to recoup the money if the town were to construct it first.  There is no known way to force a developer to pay if it is already constructed.  The town would also need to obtain an easement.

Mr. Fallon then called the question regarding the amendment to Article 3 and it was defeated by voice vote.

He then called the question for Article 3 and it passed by voice vote. 

ARTICLE 4:  Shall the Town appropriate $772,354 for highway purposes?

The motion was moved and seconded.  In response to a question, there was some clarification on what is proposed for Pond Road vs. Pond Brook Road.  The paving work is for Pond Road.  The article passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 5: Shall the Town appropriate $471,944 for the general expenses of the Community Police Department?

The motion was moved and seconded.  Howard Russell made some comments on this article and some of the budget numbers, especially compared to 2007.  Overall, the new budget represents about a one percent decrease.  He also noted the strategic plan is on the town website and he encouraged all to review this document.

There were questions about specific items including how the town gets money from moving violation fines.  Chief Morrell explained that it was based on a formula set by the State.  There were also questions about dispatch and the cost of this service.  It was explained that we have a contract with the Town of Shelburne and our costs are based on the number of calls they receive from Hinesburg.

The motion passed by voice vote. 

ARTICLE 6: Shall the Town appropriate $164,100 for the Carpenter Carse Library?

The motion was moved and seconded.

There was one question about the wind turbine and whether the library had realized any cost savings yet.  It was noted that it has taken some time to get the turbine on-line so that it is too early to ascertain what the savings might be.  There was also a question about the cost of on-going maintenance.  The Selectboard noted the turbine should not require maintenance for a number of years.

The motion was approved by voice vote.

ARTICLE 7:  Shall the Town appropriate the sum of $7,500 for the purpose of obtaining options and/or the acquisition of lands, or those rights in land, which would preserve open space and natural resources, any unexpended portion of such sum to be placed in the Land Preservation Reserve Fund established?

The motion was moved and seconded.  An audience member asked if there is any limit to the amount of land the Town needs to conserve.  Andrea Morgante noted that the town is presently studying this very question in the overall town plan and that the planning and conservation commissions are working on it.  She suggested that considerations such as sensitive natural areas, wildlife habitat and corridors, and areas where trail connections might be needed would be looked at.

The motion passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 8:  Shall the Town appropriate $5,000 for the Hinesburg Land Trust?

The article was moved and seconded.  John Kiedaisch gave a brief overview of the land trust activities and thanked the Bissonettes for their support of the large conservation project the town supported last year with $100K.  There was a question about the difference between article 7 and 8.  John explained the difference.

The motion passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 9:  Shall the Town appropriate the sum of $10,000 for the purpose of supporting the Sustainable Community Project, an initiative resulting from the work of the four Community Task Forces created as part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development Community Visit?

The motion was moved and seconded.  Carl Bohlen gave a brief discussion on this article and the actions of these volunteer committees.

The article passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 10:  Shall the Town appropriate $600 for the Lake Iroquois Recreation District as Hinesburg's share? 

The motion was moved and seconded and passed unanimously by voice vote.

ARTICLE 11:  Shall the Town vote to raise the sum of $26,342 to be disbursed as specifically designated to the following agencies/organizations?


Funded 07-08

Budget 08-09

Women Helping Battered Women



Center for Independent Living



Hinesburg Community Resource Center



Visiting Nurse Association



Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS)



Champlain Valley Area Agency on Aging



Hinesburg Community Meal Site






Vermont Adult Learning



Howard Center for Human Services



Vermont Works for Women






The motion was moved and seconded.  A question was asked about how these agencies are included in this article.  Howard Russell answered that they are automatically included in the appropriation for this article if they were on it the year before and that they are given a cost of living adjustment.  Further additions to this article are made by motions from the floor at the annual meeting.

An audience member made a motion to increase the article amount by $1,850 with a recommendation to the Selectboard to use the money for the purpose of funding the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and Chittenden Community Action.  There was discussion about whether these organizations provide services to the Hinesburg community.  Rob Bast noted some information provided by the two organizations including numbers of residents who received services.  There were a number of comments about the cost and benefit.  One audience member suggested that a committee could help the Selectboard decide which agencies should be included in this article each year.  The amendment passed by voice vote.

The new article now included a total allocation of $28,192.  The motion passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 12:  Shall the voters authorize the Selectboard to furnish the Town of St. George fire protection and first response coverage at the sum of $20,095 for the period of one year?

The motion was made and seconded.  There was no discussion and the motion passed by voice vote.

(If all articles are approved as printed, a total of $2,290,813 will need to be raised for town government.  This total will come from two sources:  $2,214,262 shall be raised in taxes and $76,551 shall be utilized from the Town's fund balance.)

ARTICLE 13:  Shall the voters authorize the Selectboard to borrow money when needed to meet current expenses and indebtedness of said Town?

Motion was made and seconded.  There was no discussion.  The motion was passed by voice vote

ARTICLE 14:  Shall the voters authorize the payment of real and personal property taxes for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 payable in full to the Town of Hinesburg in one installment, with the due date being November 15, 2008.  Any and all payments received in the Town Treasurer's Office later than midnight on November 15, 2008 will be considered delinquent and will be subject to the collection of interest at the rate of 1% per month or fraction thereof for the first three months and thereafter at the rate of 1 1/2% per month or fraction thereof.

The motion was made and seconded.  No discussion. Passed by voice vote

ARTICLE 15:  To transact any other business proper to be brought before said meeting.

A motion was made by an audience member to ask the two Selectboard candidates to talk for 5 minutes each about their positions.  The motion was seconded and passed by close voice vote.  The candidates were Tom Ayer and Ken Brown and both gave a brief outline of their platform and reasons for running for Selectboard.

It was noted that the Lion’s Club farmer’s market was extremely successful this year and town residents were thanked.

Marge Sharp wanted to ask Hinesburg residents if they would allow channel 17 to start broadcasting town meetings. She made this into a motion, which was seconded.  There was some discussion.  The motion passed by voice vote.

One audience member supports the wind turbine but wants the town to come back next year with a definite plan on the costs and benefits.  A motion was made and seconded.  This motion passed by voice vote

Motion to adjourn was made at 9:41.  It was seconded and the motion to adjourn was passed by voice vote

Respectfully submitted,

Philip Pouech

We have read, approved and accepted these minutes as a true record of the proceedings that were held at the Hinesburg Town Meeting held on March 3, 2008

/s/ Jonathan S. Trefry
Chairman, Selectboard

/s/ Kenneth Brown

/s/ Andrea Morgante

/s/ Howard E. Russell

/s/ Randall C. Volk

I hereby certify the foregoing to be a true record of the proceedings that were held at the Hinesburg Town Meeting on March 3, 2008.  Witnessed and attested to the _____ day of ________, 2008 by


/s/  Melissa B. Ross

Town Clerk / Treasurer

Minutes of Hinesburg Annual Meeting, March 3, 2008

Copyright © 2008 Town of Hinesburg, Vermont.