HALIFAX — Voters approved a paper last year to expand the select committee from three to five members and a competitive election ensued, but for the annual municipal meeting this time no one is showing up for both seats open.
“I’m very disappointed that we don’t have any nominees for the Select Board,” board vice-chairman Peter Silverberg said in a briefing last week. “We ran five people last time. This time we don’t.
A report on Tuesday’s poll asks voters to decide whether Halifax should return to a three-member council. Mary Brewster, a town lister, said she hopes to keep the board as it is because of the improvements she’s seen over the past year.
“I think that’s great,” she told the board, “I think each of you brought a perspective that we haven’t seen in years.”
Board member Edee Edwards said having five board members spreads the work more, making engagement less onerous. Appointed after the death of Earl Holtz in December, she cited her busy schedule for not running for office.
In January, the select council postponed the annual municipal meeting to May 3 to allow an accountant to complete a formal audit of the city’s finances for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Tuesday’s vote will take place at Halifax Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Edwards said the city opted for ballots over in-person meetings due to concerns about COVID-19.
The proposed budget of $1,634,459 for fiscal year 2023 is approximately $7,000 less than the current budget. Edwards noted that there have been increases over the past two years.
Bob Teree of Halifax asked to have a specified amount on items to move overages to reduce taxes. Item 3 on the ballot contains no numbers.
Since no one is running for the select board or cemetery commission, the board expects to have to advertise positions and then make appointments. Written candidates need at least six votes and should accept the position.
Halifax School Board President Homer “Chum” Sumner is running again for a three-year term on the school board.
“I think the strength of the board right now is its ability to read the budget,” he said. “Children’s education is important to me and has been for years and years. That’s why I keep racing.
A paper for the school district asks for permission to establish a maintenance fund. Another asks to fill it with $50,000 from the surplus.
“Our boilers are getting old,” Sumner said. “They cost us more money every year.”
Not knowing when the boilers will stop working, Sumner said it made sense to create a reserve fund for possible replacement. He noted that the remaining surpluses of $72,868 should be used as revenue for future budgets.
The school district is now separate from that of Readsboro; the two had merged as the Southern Valley Unified School District under Education Bill 46 of 2015. The proposed FY23 school budget in Halifax is $2,152,350.
Briefings can be viewed by searching Halifax Selectboard on YouTube.com.