Town to vote on airport dispositionBy Gordon Dritschilo STAFF WRITER | February 23,2010Cassandra Hotaling / Rutland Herald
The Fair Haven Air Park in Fair Haven gets some rare winter sunshine on Monday. In a nonbinding ballot measure, voters will be asked to decide whether to sell the property.FAIR HAVEN — Voters will have their say on proposals from restoring a sidewalk to selling the air park.
A ballot item asks if the town wants to sell the former airport property west of Munger Road at fair market value as determined by a Vermont-licensed appraiser. It was placed on the ballot by petition.
Select Board Chairman Ron Adams said the vote would be nonbinding, but the board would benefit from a feel for public sentiment on the question.
"Right now, I have no desire to sell that property," he said. "Right now, my opinion hasn't changed from four years ago. If someone approached the town, wanted to buy it and put a factory up there with some jobs in it, I'd have to look at that."
Adams said he was not aware of any potential buyer and that he would oppose selling the property for short-term gain.
"I feel my job is to protect that land," he said. "Maybe the next generation will be smarter than we are."
Also nonbinding is the vote on restoring a downtown crosswalk. The crosswalk was eliminated during the Route 4A project last year, and some in town said they felt it made the area less safe. Adams said it was probably the most-discussed issue of the year, coming up at three or four different meetings.
"At one of the meetings, I said, 'Get a petition and we'll put it on the warning,'" he said. "They did. … It means a lot to some people."
A vote that will be binding calls for the elimination of the town auditors. Dani Roberts, who turned in the petition, did not immediately return a call.
Shaun Tomasi, one of the auditors, said while the town's volunteers may not be able to do the job of a professional accountant, they serve as an extra set of eyes and provide the town with added protection.
Another vote asks whether the town should pay its clerk an annual fee in lieu of salary.
Monetary items include a bond of up to $225,000 for a new fire truck, with an equal amount coming from the fire department's equipment reserve fund for a total of $450,000. A $15,000 article would pay for new equipment at the playground, where volunteers corrected drainage problems last year.
The town budget went from $1,769,792 to $1,911,069, an increase of about 8 percent. However, only $1,432,994 of the new budget is to be raised by taxes.
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