Voters in Brattleboro overturned the town’s 2015 municipal budget in a town-wide ballot Thursday. The $16 million spending plan was approved at Brattleboro’s representative town meeting on March 22. But later, more than the required 50 town meeting representatives signed a petition to revisit the budget in a town-wide referendum. The budget failed by a wide margin, 771 to 478.
Brattleboro resident Spoon Agave supported the recall. He says the town’s $14 million police and fire facilities makeover, approved by town representatives in 2012, had a lot to do with the outcome of Thursday’s vote.
"The project, as planned, was going to cost the voters a million dollars a year for 20 years," Agave said. "And that felt like an exorbitant amount of money to be spending at a time when so many people are concerned about whether they can pay their rent or their mortgages."
Brattleboro Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland says he’s not sure why the budget failed or how the town’s select board will respond.
"It’s going to be up to the board at this point in time to consider what other options they would like to put together for the next budget," Moreland said. "That could include a change to the police and fire facility. It might not."
Either way, Moreland says, the board will have to craft a new budget and schedule another representative town meeting to vote on it. Brattleboro is the only Vermont town with a representative town meeting government.