Weybridge Voters Budget Embezzlement Reimbursement

Sep 26, 2013

Weybridge voters decided Wednesday night what the town will do with a sudden influx of cash.

The money comes in the form of a $475,980 insurance payout, reimbursement for roughly the same amount of money embezzled by former town clerk Karen Brisson. She is currently serving a two-year term in federal prison.

Town voters decided to split the money up for a variety of projects and funds.

The largest amount – $210,980 – went into a reserve fund, select board member Gail Hurd said.

"It would reduce the need to borrow money in anticipation of tax receipts to pay bills during the summer," she said, "and it would be available for new projects or initiatives in the future that would be voted on by the town at a regular or special town meeting."

The town also approved $150,000 to be spent re-paving a one-mile stretch of town highway.

Another $100,000 of the insurance payout will establish a $100,000 "major equipment fund," which can go toward major town equipment such as a new fire truck or dump truck, Hurd said. Any spending out of the fund would have to be approved by voters at a town meeting.

Voters approved a $15,000 upgrade to the town garage to be more energy efficient. The upgrades are estimated to save taxpayers $3,000 annually.

A $50,000 proposed property tax rebate was defeated by voters in favor of the other ideas.

As part of her sentence, former town clerk Karen Brisson agreed to pay restitution of $400,000. That money would cover the town's legal fees and expenses for a forensic audit conducted to determine the scale of the embezzlement and any remaining money would be repaid to the insurance company, but Hurd said she doesn't think Brisson will pay.

"I think the chances of any of us getting any money [from Brisson] is slim at best," Hurd said. "She has nothing."