Bakersfield residents discuss the town’s proposed budget during Town Meeting Day 2020. Most towns will not conduct floor votes in 2021 due to COVID-19.

BAKERSFIELD — Town Meeting Day in Bakersfield will be conducted by Australian Ballot this year. For those who would like an absentee ballot they can request for it online, and it will be sent to their house as soon as possible, or there is the option to vote in person on March 2 at town hall.

“I miss the old fashion Town Meeting, but on the other hand because it is during the day and not everyone can go, it’s not fair to some of the people in the town who can’t make it to a regular Town Meeting,” said Selectboard Chair Lance Lawyer. “Putting everything up for Australian ballot like it is this year is new for us but I think it is going to give us an opportunity to hear from the townspeople on issues that are normally voted on during the day.”

Article 11 asks if the town should appropriate $265,000 for general expenses for the town. This is an increase from the general budget appropriated from last year, according to town officials. Some of the expenses that caused the general budget to go up for this year were the growing expenses of the Fire Department, dispatches, ambulances as well as Franklin County Court costs.

On Wednesday, February 24 as well as on Friday, February 26 there will be an informational meeting via Zoom to discuss articles 4-22 for anyone interested in getting more information about Bakersfield Town Meeting Day this year.

Article 8 asks if the town would want to appropriate $300,000 for road work.

Bakersfield is still in a financial deficit due to a storm in October 2019. This storm caused a lot of damage and flooding, and it is estimated to have caused more than $5 million in damage to roads across the state. Money from the state as well as FEMA is yet to come in, but the town is hopeful that this money will come soon and will help the town out of its financial deficit.

Article 12 asks if the town should allocate $55,834.84 for trucks. Article 18 asks if the town should appropriate $35,000 for the H.F. Brigham Library for 2022.

The officers that are being voted for are a selectboard member for three years, a selectboard member for a two-year term, a town clerk for a two-year term, a treasurer for three years, a lister for three years, another lister for two years of a three-year term and an auditor for a three-year term.

The town officers that need to be elected are a first constable, second constable, collector of delinquent taxes, grand juror, town agent, cemetery commissioner for a five-year term, two library trustees for a three-year term, trustee of public funds for a three-year term, hospital committee for a two-year term and a Brigham Academy Committee person for a three-year term.

“I hope that everyone gets out to vote!” said Selectboard member Samuel Cribb.

The town is hopeful that the changes to this year’s Town Meeting Day will result in more voting and more people will have the chance to be involved.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Madison Froelich, a reporter with the Community News Service, a collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program.

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