The Vermont Legislature is working on a bill to allow municipalities to move the date of their annual March town meetings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The House passed the measure, which is now in the Senate, the Times Argus reported.

Town meeting will likely be a month later in the towns of Marshfield and Plainfield if the bill passes. The Twinfield School Board held a joint meeting with the two towns' select boards Tuesday night to discuss the plans.

School Board chair Patrick Healy says school budgets may not be on the normal schedule, and budget information from the state came in at the end of December rather the beginning of last month.

“It’s just been a crazy year with COVID. So we felt that we should start the process of talking about logistical changes to changing the date of the town meeting,” Healy said.

In a typical year, the board would have already held an informational meeting for residents about the proposed school board budget but has not done that yet due to a lot of COVID-related activities, he said.

Marshfield will conduct town meeting business by Australian ballot rather than the floor because of the pandemic.

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THE NUMBERS

Vermont reported 197 news cases of the coronavirus, for a statewide total to date of 9,573 since the pandemic began.

The state reported four more deaths, bringing the total to 162.

According to the Health Department, 44 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including eight in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 85.14 new cases on Dec. 30 to 172.86 on Jan. 13.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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