Washington approves upgrades to library; still talking budgets #tmdvt

Washington’s afternoon town meeting got off to a fast start, but soon bogged down when talked turned to a proposal to invest in a handicapped accessible addition to the Calef Memorial Library.
Warned as a request to borrow up to $250,000 to fund an addition that has been in the planning process for 12 years, Library Trustee Andrea Poulin reduced the request to $215,000, encouraging voters to approve funding for an addition she and others said was long overdue.
However, questions about a financing package that included an ill-defined “balloon payment” coupled with concern that the project was a reach given the current state of the economy sparked a protracted debate that spanned 90 minutes, featured two paper ballots and generated a fair amount of division.
“Now is not the time to do this thing,” resident Linda Moran said, citing the price of the project in a troubled economy.
“The time to do this thing is now,” resident Bryan Brown said, suggesting the economy that had Moran concerned created a “buyers’ market” for contractors that could lead to favorable bids potentially reducing the cost of the project.
Poulin's amendment was approved, 50-13, on the first of two paper ballots. The article was ultimately approved, 39-19.
Although it took them awhile to get there, there Washington voters didn’t waste much time approving the $606,991 budget proposed by the Select Board.
Given rising fuel prices one resident actually suggested adding money to the level funded budget in order to avoid a possible deficit. However, he was assured the budget was sufficient and if fuel prices continue to escalate road the town would cut back on its plans for road resurfacing.

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