Unanimous vote for Starksboro general town budget - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Unanimous vote for Starksboro general town budget

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Frank Bryan says he never misses a town meeting if he can help it.

"Went to town meetings since I was in Mrs. Buntson's 7th grade in Newbury Grade School in Vermont. I've been to 60, no, 70 in my life," says Bryan of Starksboro.

Once a year, residents get together to discuss issues facing their town. Around 20 years ago Starksboro moved its town meeting to Saturday so more people can come. Among the topics discussed was the general town budget - more than $500,000 for the coming fiscal year. It passed unanimously.

"People who show up today, they have an agenda, and they want to have their voice heard. It's a way where democracy truly works, instead of checking off something in a voting booth," says Dan Dubenetsky, the Starksboro Town Meeting Moderator.

One of the major issues being discussed at the Starksboro Town Meeting is the school budget. More than two million dollars in funds is going towards Robinson Elementary School.

"Goes for maintaining the school, for lunches, for teachers, for support staff... all geared towards giving the best education that we're able to for the kids in Starksboro," says Bonita Bedard, the Robinson Elementary School Board Chair.

Dubentsky says 10 to 15 percent of Starksboro's population attend the town meeting.

"A lot of difference of opinions in this town, but the beauty of it - we talk about it, talk about it, and then we vote on it. And then at the end of the day we all eat lunch together and put the chairs away together. It's a very respectful town," says Dubentsky.

This year the meeting went smoothly. All residents of Starksboro voted to pass the town and school budgets, and even for money to buy solar panels for Starksboro.

"We vote in public, we debate in public, we govern ourselves face to face and it doesn't get any better than that," says Bryan.

A way for Vermonters to gather together and voice their opinions as a community.

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