CALEX Vote During St. Johnsbury Town Meeting

St. Johnsbury TMD MunicipalST. JOHNSBURY—The town of St. Johnsbury is proposing an increase to the general fund budget as well as the highway budget that will be put up to the voters on town meeting day. The increase in the general budget is due to the town adopting a new housing program.

 "We've just adopted our housing program. We are just doing our inspections," said Chad Whitehead, St. Johnsbury Town Manager. "So there is one new position that is moving into the fire department that is going to be the code compliance, basically the inspector."

The town is proposing a %1.4 increase from the previous year for the budget, which would make the new total just over $3 million.

St. Johnsbury's town highway budget is also seeing a proposed increase for the next year, bring the new total to just over $2.73 million. This is a %1.1 increase from the previous year.

"We're still continuing on replacement of equipment. We kind of went a few years, actually went quite a bit of years where we didn't replace a lot of equipment," said Whitehead. "We are still playing catch up on that but we're really this year we are really put back on track with it."

One of the bigger issues facing the town concerns CALEX Ambulance, as they are looking to move away from being an appropriated item to a budgeted one.

"So we are looking at getting approval for town contracts," said Michael Wright, CEO of CALEX Ambulance. "I think what it does is it allows us to plan for a three year period for our budget. But it also allows the town to understand what those costs will be over a three year period as well so that they have those additional costs in their budget."

"Michael Wright and I have talked about it and we both believe that it should be a contract item," said Whitehead. "But at the same time with the rising costs of ambulance services, it's hard for the selectmen to just pull away from the voters and put that in the budget and say thats the way it is going to be."

"It basically allows expectations on both sides," said Wright. "Currently there is no written anything. It's just you call 911 and you expect the ambulance to show up. This contract will allow the town to understand what number of ambulances are covering the town, what level of care is being provided. It allows a written agreement with the town and provides those costs over that three year period."

CALEX is still asking for their appropriation this year, which is a near $8 dollar increase from the previous one.

At town meeting day, residents will put the issue to a vote.

"It's a non binding resolution which means, it is basically like a poll," said Whitehead. "It doesn't mean the town has to do it whether it passes or fails. But it is a good opportunity for the select board to kind of give an input from the public as to whether or not they want the board to engage in negotiation with an EMS provider."

If the town selects to move forward with the contracts, they would not go into effect until next year.

To see the St. Johnsbury Town Warning click here.


St. Johnsbury Town Meeting Day Preview from NewsLINC on Vimeo.

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