January 6th, 2011
Middlebury residents have received a real bargain from town taxes during the past two years as taxpayers have benefited from the same level of services with no additional tax increases. Think of that. While food prices have gone up, health care has skyrocketed 20 to 30 percent, and most other expenses have seen inflationary hikes of 4 percent or more, town taxes held steady.
It is not surprising, then, to see a projected increase of 2.13 cents on the municipal tax rate in the draft budget, and possibly more if the select board or townspeople think additional town spending is beneficial.
“Honey, listen,” my father says, “you and your brother are 99 percent likely to give back to society. But there’s always that 1 percent, and you’ve got some artistic tendencies.”
This was a motivational speech given to me the summer after my junior year of college.
Gov. Shumlin will submit his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 to the Legislature at the end of January. Opposition to Shumlin’s budget may be more intense among progressives than among Republicans.
The Republicans are too weak to be a major force in Montpelier. They hold fewer than one-third of the seats in the House and the Senate. The senior Republican, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, has made it clear that he does not see his role as leading the opposition to Shumlin.
It’s right about this time of year that some of us begin to wonder why we ever thought it was a good idea to live in Vermont in the first place: Two weeks after Christmas and three more months of wintry weather to come.
Couldn’t God have just skipped January (and maybe November) and given us only the shocking green of spring, the lazy warmth of summer, and the gold of autumn?
Sure, we’ll take a few weeks of late winter thrown in there for good measure, complete with longer days and fresh maple syrup.
But as for January? A lot of us would just as soon hit the fast-forward button.
Editor’s note: Gov. James Douglas bade farewell to the people of Vermont and to his colleagues in state government on Wednesday afternoon in a final address to the Legislature. The Middlebury Republican was due to complete eight years in the state’s top elective office on Thursday, when Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin was to be sworn in. Douglas, 59, was first elected to the Vermont House as a representative from Middlebury in 1972, and, except for two years, has served in the Legislature or in the executive branch ever since.
It’s no surprise that one year can sometimes blend into the next. The Addison Independent staff’s picks for the Top 10 local news stories for 2010 contain four that were also on the list in 2009. Our top story for this past year — the Cross Street Bridge in Middlebury — was No. 4 for 2009.