Residents at Benton’s annual Town Meeting on Saturday are scheduled to vote on warrant articles by secret ballot, after having had an opportunity to discuss them at virtual forums March 10 and 11.

Voting will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the town office.

Doug Dixon, chairman of the town’s Select Board, said earlier this month that the annual Town Meeting was organized differently this year to try to ensure residents’ safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the town held the annual meeting outside in a parking lot.

This year, residents were given an opportunity to vote by secret ballot Saturday or submit absentee ballots. Elections will be wrapped into the four-page ballot that includes warrant articles.

Dixon is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Select Board. No one is running for a one-year term as road commissioner, but write-ins for that office will be accepted. Former Road Commissioner Todd Littlefield resigned from the seat.

Dixon said officials worked hard to avoid increasing the current tax rate of $15.70 per $1,000 worth of valuation this year, and if all articles on the warrant are approved, there will be no increase.

Warrant articles 3-41 include requests for $336,028 for general government, $300,754 for public safety, $205,234 for winter roads, $91,996 for the transfer station, $61,704 for public sewer and $76,273 for highway maintenance.

Articles 42-45 include requests for approving a general government ordinance adoption and language to be included in that ordinance. The proposed language deals with political activity, board membership and conflict of interest issues. For instance, proposed language says town employees may seek or accept nomination or election to any office in town government provided they not hold elective office while employed by the town. So, an employee elected to a position must resign prior to taking office.

Also being proposed is language that says a person serving on a town board may not hold another office that is incompatible with the position. Two offices are considered incompatible if “the duties of each are so inconsistent or conflicting that one person holding both would not be able to perform the duties of each with undivided loyalty,” according to the proposed language.

Also, town boards may not have members who are immediate family or individuals living in a member’s household. No selectperson may simultaneously be an employee of the town or hold any other position for which the town pays compensation. Residents last year postponed voting on the ordinance matters.

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