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Waterbury residents vote on municipal bond for 3rd time - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Waterbury residents vote on municipal bond for 3rd time

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WATERBURY, Vt. -

A steady stream of Waterbury residents made their way to St. Leo's Church Hall Tuesday to make their vote heard for the second time in as many months. On the ballot-- whether to take back their Town Meeting Day vote approving a $2.9 million bond measure for a new municipal building adjacent to the library. That measure passed by a margin of just under 200 votes.

But opponents who gathered the signatures to get it back on the ballot say bottom line-- it's too expensive.

"It's too much money for what we're going to get. This is not a necessity. It is probably a nice thing to have, but right now we should be dealing with what is really needed," said Everett Coffey, who opposes the project.

And for Coffey that means restoring the old Town Hall. Along with leaving most of downtown Waterbury waterlogged, Tropical Storm Irene made a mess of the Town Hall, forcing staff to move to the second floor of the fire department where they remain three years later.

It's actually the third time around for voters on this issue. Nearly a year ago voters shot down a more ambitious $5 million plan to build on the old Waterbury complex grounds. Waterbury officials say they arrived at the latest proposal after extensive public review by both the town and the village.

"If someone comes to me and says 'I just can't afford this, I'm going to vote no,' I certainly understand that. I do not agree with the sentiment that this has not been fully vetted," Waterbury Municipal Manager William Shepeluk said.

Waterbury residents are no strangers to rescission votes with at least four in just the past 15 years. For some, this exercise in voting rights is wearing thin.

"This does seem to be happening a lot and I'm tired of it. And I don't think we should go cheap when it comes to important things like this," said John Hamacher of Waterbury.

Steve Jeffrey with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns says despite the frustration, rescission remains a useful tool.

"It's part of democracy, and we had to put something in the statute that allowed for voters to reconsider what they had done previously," Jeffrey said.

Voters trying to strike the right balance one more time.

The polls close at 7 p.m.

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