Turnout was heavy at Vernon’s annual meeting Monday night. Voters debated school expenditures until so late in the evening that discussion of the town budget was postponed. The meeting will continue Tuesday evening.
Vernon select board chairwoman Patty O’Donnell said the strong attendance reflects concerns about losing Vermont Yankee, the town’s biggest employer and taxpayer.
O’Donnell said the proposed town budget is down almost $400,000 from last year’s without cutting programs like the town recreation department or police.
“We’ve reorganized, we restructured, we found new revenue sources for these programs, We looked at ways of bringing revenue in instead of having to cut. Because at the end of the day if we lose everything we have in this town, there really is no value to living in Vernon," O'Donnell said.
Vernon resident Ellen Merkel said people are worried.
“When Vermont Yankee was paying $1.3 million into our town budget we had low taxes, we were getting everything we wanted, everybody was fat and happy. Now all of a sudden it’s all going to be gone. And of course some people want to keep things some people want to cut more things. When it comes to money, everybody’s there," Merkel said.
Vernon’s School Budget will be decided Tuesday by Australian Ballot. The town budget will see a floor vote Tuesday evening.