VIENNA — About 65 residents took about 45 minutes Saturday morning to breeze through the annual Town Meeting, approving every proposal put before them in the fire station garage.

It was a meeting moderator Stephen Hayes was happy to oversee, after a year’s hiatus from the task, and not just because he considers town meeting to be the “ground level of democracy.”

He missed last year’s Town Meeting because he was seeking treatment for what he thought was a bad back but ended up being stage-four cancer.

He told voters Saturday that a year ago to the day, he was having surgery to have four tumors removed. He was told then that his odds of living even 60 days were slim.

“With a great deal of medical care and prayers, my cancer is in remission,” a healthy-looking Hayes reassured meeting attendees. “I’m happy to be here.”

Resident John Archard asked why the town was seeking $10,000 to pay tax abatements, an amount he said was “quite a bit more than the past year.”

Selectman Dodi Thompson responded that the amount was higher to compensate for last year’s lower amount, in the “big picture of abatements,” not to pay specific abatements.

As part of a general government warrant article, voters approved $62,000 for administration, $12,250 for insurance, $7,000 for the Vienna Community Building, $1,300 for elections and $2,500 for contingency, without debate.

The total municipal budget is $506,000.

An article that would have allowed the town to exceed the property tax levy limit set for it by the state was passed over without a vote. Hayes said it was not needed because the proposed budget would not exceed the limit.

Other spending items approved Saturday include $30,500 for Fire Department operating expenses, $3,500 to the town of Mount Vernon for the rescue squad, $152,000 for winter road work; $55,000 for road maintenance; $55,000 for paving; $1,500 for General Assistance; $55,000 for waste management; $2,964 for the state to provide public safety dispatching and public safety answering point services; and $13,999 for ambulance service.

In elections Friday, voters picked Annie Tibbetts as the new town clerk and tax collector by just a handful of votes over the incumbent, Connie Smith.

Tibbetts received 141 votes for town clerk in Friday’s elections, beating Smith by just five votes.

Last year the pair competed for the same two positions, with Smith winning the clerk’s race by just a single vote, 125–124.

Tibbetts is deputy town clerk in Farmington and has been deputy town clerk and deputy tax collector in Mount Vernon.

In the three-way race for road commissioner, Danny Goucher’s 123 votes bested the 79 votes of Alan Williams and 69 votes of Troy Bean.

The road commissioner’s spot was available because Linwood Meader Sr. retired from the post.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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