Vienna Fire Chief Brian Church, left, casts his votes Friday for the town of Vienna warrant as Steven Richardson, the ballot clerk, observes. This year’s Town Meeting was held via secret ballot due to public health restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

VIENNA — During Friday’s annual Town Meeting, voters approved the proposed $605,000 spending plan and filled the vacant town treasurer’s position with a write-in candidate.

While most spending stayed at the same level as what was approved a year ago, voters did support higher spending for winter road costs, town administration costs, ambulance services and waste management.

The property tax rate in Vienna is currently $19.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. It’s too soon to know whether that will change; Kennebec County and the Mt. Blue Regional School District in Farmington, which includes Vienna, have not yet completed their budgets.

Traditionally Vienna holds its municipal election on Friday and its open Town Meeting on Saturday, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health restrictions in Maine, officials in this northwest Kennebec County town opted to hold the town’s annual budget vote as a referendum vote in conjunction with its municipal election on Friday.

Town Clerk Annie Tibbetts said 66 of the town’s fewer than 600 residents cast votes Friday at the Community Building. That turnout was larger than the most recent selectman’s election, but within the range of live attendance for Town Meetings in recent years.

None of the races in Vienna were contested this year. Daniel Goucher was reelected road commissioner, Jeffrey Rackliff was reelected third selectmen and Tibbetts was reelected town clerk and tax collector.

Kerry Cosey was elected treasurer with 15 write-in votes to fill the vacant position. She had already been interviewed to be hired, Tibbetts said.

All elected positions are for three-year terms.

In addition to approving spending, voters endorsed applying town and state revenue estimated at $180,000 — from excise tax on vehicles and boats, fees and permits, state revenue sharing and road assistance funding among other sources — to reduce the tax commitment.

The balance will be paid by Vienna property taxpayers.

Town voters also approved sending — by a 50-11 vote — a letter to the town’s elected state and federal representatives endorsing a carbon cash-back plan that would charge fossil fuel producers for their carbon pollution and rebate the money collected to all residents on an equal basis.

“We expect our representatives to lead in this critical moment for the health and well-being of our citizens and for the protection of Maine’s natural resources on which we rely,” the article states.

That article was included on the Town Meeting warrant via a citizen’s petition.


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