Polls are now open in the Municipal Gym located downtown between Main Street and College Street
The polls will be open today from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm in the Municipal Gym for Middlebury Town residents to vote on Articles 6 – 10 of the 2014 Annual Budget Proposal. These articles include a controversial building plan as detailed below in addition to other proposed expenses. Middbeat will often tell you what we think, but the goal of this blog post is simply to present the facts to help inform your decision at the polls today. Anyone registered to vote in Middlebury may participate, including students!
An image of the proposed Town Office building from the perspective of Two Brothers Tavern. Designed by Breadloaf Architecture, the building features a spacious lobby, flexible meeting room, and public restrooms.
Last night’s Town Meeting voted to approve Articles 1-5 and spent the remainder of the time discussing Articles 6-10. It was a remarkable show of Middlebury residents’ involvement in their community and local politics. The meeting took place in the Municipal Gym, the same building whose fate will be determined by tomorrow’s vote. Out of 4,607 registered voters in Middlebury, 280 were officially in attendance in addition to an estimated 50 attendees who did not check in or came from other Towns. Many College Faculty were there representing both sides of the issue. The meeting lasted more than four hours, with over an hour and a half spent on discussion of Article 6:
Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Middlebury in an amount not to exceed Six Millin Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, subject to reduction from available alternate sources of funding, be issued for the purpose of financing construction of (1) a town office building on the so-called Osborne House site, and (2) public recreation and athletic facilities on Creek Road, the total estimated cost of such improvements being Six Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, with the Town’s portion of the construction cost estimated at Two Million Dollars.
To hear a full recording of the discussion on this article, see the audio at the end of this post. The discussion began with an outline of the plan including details about the existing structures, the proposal, and the price (all details are available online). This presentation was followed by extensive debate, with Town residents expressing their opinions both for and against the proposal. As was the case in last week’s School District meeting, the majority of the speakers were vocal opponents of the plan despite the large number of supporters in attendance (judging by applause).
Read after the break for an account of the debate, more pictures of the proposed buildings, and a full audio recording of discussion on Article 6 and don’t forget to vote!
Check back for results around 10 pm tonight.