This year, Eden, Waterville and Belvidere all decided to forgo town meeting on the traditional first Tuesday in March and gamble instead with the hope that an in-person meeting would be allowed by June. Now, the smallest three towns in the county are ready to conduct the annual business of electing people and passing budgets.
The dates may have changed, but there’s still something about doing business on a Tuesday.
Belvidere and Waterville hold their respective annual meetings next Tuesday, June 8. Eden holds its meeting the following Tuesday, June 15.
The Belvidere selectboard noted in its town report that “COVID-19 dominated the year 2020 and affected our town’s day-to-day business in many ways.”
Because of the pandemic, an assessment of damage from the 2019 “Halloween Storm” that was eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds wasn’t done until last summer. Some FEMA-related work was done last fall, with the rest slated for completion by mid-July, with requests for FEMA reimbursements to follow.
Partly because of those anticipated federal funds, Belvidere’s budget is more modest than current-year spending. The 2021 proposed budget — Belvidere operates on a calendar fiscal year — is $282,028, ringing in at roughly $84,000 less than the current year.
If approved by voters June 8, the town will need to raise $166,416 in property taxes to pay for the budget.
Business in Belvidere is conducted from the floor, and that includes elections. The following seats are up for re-election, and the people who currently hold them just might find themselves nominated again next week — all are 1-year terms unless noted:
- Moderator: Mary Hysick
- Town clerk and treasurer: Cathy Mander-Adams
- Three-year selectboard term: Kenneth Adams, Jr.,
- Three-year lister: Stephanie Draper
- Three-year auditor: William McLean
- Road Commissioner: Kevin Leavitt
- First constable: Christopher Slayton
- Second constable (if necessary): Conrad Slayton
- Collector of delinquent taxes: Mary Hysick
- Town agent: Joseph Murray
This year’s town report is dedicated to three long-time Belvidere residents who died over the last year. Clement Cox, who with wife Shirley ran Cox Trucking for many years; Durwood Preston, who served as ballot clerk and assistant fire warden and was a member of the Belvidere Cemetery Commission; and Roger Coburn, who the report says “supported the town in many ways and always had a smile on his face.”
Like Belvidere, Waterville operates on a January-December fiscal year and this year’s budget calls for $357,057 in total expenses, a dip of more than $3,600 from what was spent in 2020. Almost half of those proposed expenses come from $170,000 budgeted for the highway department, which spent $181,942 last year, about $10,000 over the budget.
Townspeople will also vote whether to appropriate a total of $7,329 to a dozen organizations requesting funds from the town. That sum is included in the $357,057 budget figure.
There are 19 elected positions up for grabs next Tuesday, from the moderator and town clerk/treasurer through various members for various town boards.
Waterville’s town report includes an annual snapshot of who was born — five babies in 2020 — who died — six people from Waterville, ranging in age from 90 to 39 — and who got married. Four Waterville couples tied the knot.
And lest one forgets the four-legged census, the town registered 25 dogs last year.
The Waterville town report is dedicated to Debra Farrell, who died suddenly from cancer last year at age 70. The report notes Farrell’s involvement on the town historic preservation board and her acumen at quilt-making, which she brought to townspeople starting in 1987.
“Despite her quiet demeanor, she invited many neighbors and friends for winter snowshoeing and gatherings at her and (husband) John’s cabin in the woods,” the report reads. “She often found ways to bring people together and was open and inclusive.”