March 5, 2016

Hinesburg Improves Budget Increase

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Hinesburg (Feb 29)- Citizens at the Hinesburg town meeting voted to increase the town budget by $153,601. The FY17 proposed municipal budget is $3,369,689, a 4.78% increase from the FY16 budget.

The town meeting took place in the Champlain Valley Union High School auditorium, and was attended by around 130 community members. The meeting began with Selectboard Chairman Michael Bissonette asking those in the room who had ever volunteered for the town of Hinesburg to stand up. Around three fourths of the room rose and were thanked for their dedication to the town. Following that, a tribute was made to Selectboard member Jonathan Trefry, who is retiring this year after 17 years on the board. Jonathan’s tribute was met by a standing ovation from the audience.

The meeting moved on to discuss budget items, starting with the general government budget. The increase of 4.78% passed almost unanimously.

After general budget approval, the meeting moved on to discussing the budgets of the Highway

Department, Community Police Department, and the Fire Department. The highway budget of $853,149 passed easily after short discussion of brush clearing. The Police Department budget of $517,438 was approved almost unanimously. Discussion around the Police Department lasted a bit longer, with one resident expressing interest in finding out more about taser usage in the Hinesburg Police force.

While hearing about the Hinesburg Fire Department and the proposed budget of $314,623, meeting attendees were treated to seeing the fire department in action. In the middle of Fire Department discussion, volunteer firemen alarms went off, and the men jumped into action to attend to the situation. Quite the well-timed coincidence.

Residents wondering about the 4.8% increase in the general budget were informed that part of the reason was the first payments for the purchase of a new town dump truck and rescue pumper fire engine. One concerned resident stated that she thought the purchase of the fire truck was “underhanded” because she wasn’t aware of the expensive purchase. She was informed that the issue had been brought up before, and the firetruck was a much needed addition to the Hinesburg Fire Department.

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