Annual Town Meeting

Town Meeting – The Vermont Way

The annual town meeting is very much a Vermont tradition exemplifying the ideal of citizen driven direct democracy. The meeting is always the day before the first Tuesday in March when the budget is voted on. So think of Town Meeting as a dinner with two courses… the first course is the “meeting” part that happens the evening before, and the next day when you vote is the second course. Monday is where the annual report, next year's budget, ballot items, and topics specific to town meeting will be discussed. Town Voting Day is on Tuesday and is when you will vote on the budget, and vote for the Select Board and School Boards.

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Town Meeting 2023 - Monday March 6 (Voting Day is Tuesday March 7)

WARNING: TOWN OF BENNINGTON 2023 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
The residents of the Town of Bennington qualified by law to vote in Town Meeting are hereby notified and warned to meet in said Town on Monday, March 6, 2023, at 7:00 p.m., (or immediately following the Southwest VT Regional Technical School District’s Annual meeting should that run over) to transact the business specified to be done from the floor. Provisions for the hearing impaired will be in place for this meeting. Following the completion of such business, the Meeting will stand adjourned to Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at The Bennington Fire Facility on River Street (Lincoln Street entrance). The Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for the election of officers and voting on all ballot articles specified. However, those on the checklist to vote in the Village of North Bennington shall vote for the election of officers and on all ballot articles at the North Bennington Village office on Main Street in North Bennington. The Bennington Fire Facility above mentioned, is hereby established as the central polling place for those on the checklist to vote in said Bennington. Residents of Bennington and North Bennington may register to vote at the Town Clerk’s Office, 205 South Street, Bennington, Vermont. Eligible residents registering on Election Day must do so at the polling place where they will cast their Town Meeting ballot.

READ THE FULL SIGNED WARNING WITH BALLOT ITEMS HERE


Town Budget
Work on the town budget takes up much of the month of January. Information about the proposed budget and any notices about budget meetings can be found on the Select Board page. The proposed budget has been approved by the Select Board and is linked below. Town residents will vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday, March 7th.

View the proposed 2023-2024 Budget
View the proposed 2023-2024 Agency Funding Requests from the Ballot



Bond Votes

The Town is seeking voter approval for two Bonds for improving our water system. Two areas of our town suffer from low water pressure during high usage events; the central downtown area around Gage Street and the south end area around Jefferson Heights and Crescent Boulevard. Improving those water lines are a requirement of our water permit with the state, and we have been slowly plugging away at the project to the tune of $400,000 per year. The total cost of these needed infrastructure improvements is $5.8 million and the town is asking residents to approve bonds for that purpose. Making these improvements to the water system are a requirement of the town by the State. We have no choice about doing it, but HOW we do it can have a big impact on how much we pay both in the short term and long run.
 
The cost to our town budget is actually less per year if we do the work by using a bond. If approved by voters, the bond would be funded through a “Drinking Water State Revolving Funding” loan which is a 30 year repayment plan with only 2% interest. The result is an annual combined payment of just $259,000 per year vs. the current $400,000 a year we are currently paying to do the work piecemeal. Other advantages include having the work done quickly and avoiding future increases in project costs that are inevitable when doing the work slowly over time. And of course those sections of town with water pressure issues will no longer have those problems. 

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Elections for the Select Board and School Boards - DEADLINE January 30
Traditionally, candidates for these positions begin campaigning right after the holidays, but can start anytime in December. The deadline for all required paperwork and petitions is six weeks prior to Town Meeting. This year that makes the deadline to be on the ballot January 30, 2023.

How to Run for Select Board and School Boards
Candidates for the Select and School Boards usually begin campaigning right after the December holidays. To run for a seat on the Select Board or a School Board, you should start by visiting the Town Clerk. Forms are available in December. To be on the ballot you need to fill out a “Consent of Candidate" form and have a petition signed by 30 registered voters in the Town that is specific to the position you are seeking. The Town Clerk will guide you on how to properly fill out the form and petition to ensure there are no problems. The form is available by the secretary of state on the Vermont.gov website, but it is highly recommended that you pick it up at the Town Clerk’s office so they can assist you and prevent errors. See below for deadlines for submitting paperwork.

Seats Up For Election at Town Meeting 2023:

Town Select Board
2 seats,  3-year term

MT. Anthony Union School District
1 Moderator, 3-year term
2 Bennington seats, 3-year term
1 North Bennington seat, 3-year term
1 Shaftsbury seat, 3-year term
1 Pownal seat, 2-year unexpired term

SW. VT Union Elementary School District
1 Bennington seat, 3-year term
1 Pownal seat, 3-year term
1 Woodford seat, 3-year term 
1 Pownal seat, 2-year unexpired term

SW VT Regional Technical School District

3 seats, at large, 3-year term



Now Make Sure to VOTE! March 7, 2023,  7:00 am to 7:00 pm

Participating in the Town Meeting is the first step, but the critical next step is to VOTE and make your voice heard. In addition to voting on the budget, residents will be voting for three Select Board members, a Town Moderator, and a Town Treasurer.

EARLY VOTING will begin by February 15. We DO NOT automatically mail ballots; they MUST be requested from our Town Clerk. You can email townclerk@benningtonvt.org or call 802-442-1043 to have one mailed to you, or stop by the Town Offices located at 205 South Street in Bennington. You may also use our official ballot drop box located in front of the Town Office to return your ballot until 4:30 pm on February 28. The ballot box is under 24 hour video surveillance and is checked daily. NOTE: The ballot drop box is NOT AVAILABLE on March 7; ballots must be brought to the polling place (see in person voting below). You may also mail it to us at PO Box 469, Bennington, VT 05201.

IN PERSON VOTING will be on March 7, 2023, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. The polling place is the Bennington Fire Facility located at 130 River Street (use Lincoln Street entrance). For North Bennington residents, your polling location is at the Village Trustees Office on Main Street (also known as the Old Train Station).