MARSHFIELD — Voters took time out from a longer-than-usual town meeting to honor two long-serving firefighters.
The town made presentations to Tom Maclay for his 55 years of service. His son, Tim, was honored for 50 years. They both were presented with gifts and flags.
The town business, however, took nearly six hours.
Marshfield elects officials from the floor of town meeting. Incumbents were re-elected except for one Select Board member. Rich Baker defeated Jonathan Williams for the two-year position. Jon Groveman and Jill Wilson were re-elected to the School Board. For a library trustee position, Jane Caron was elected. Incumbent Bobby Buchanan was not seeking re-election.
Voters spent a block of time debating whether to do away with the office of lister in favor of hiring a town assessor. The town had been down to one lister, Meg Eberhardt, who had been appointed as assessor on an interim basis. Some of the floor discussion centered on the challenge of finding three people with the skills required for the job. Voters agreed to postpone the article vote until they had more information about people in town who were willing to serve.
Eberhardt was elected to the three-year term, Kathleen Hayes was elected to the two-year term, and Michelle Gonzales was elected to the one-year term. Voters then went back and defeated Article 2, opting to keep the listers over an assessor.
Voters debated ambulance services. Town officials have been discussing these services for a couple of years. Cabot has had a decline in volunteers, and East Montpelier has been covering more Marshfield calls through mutual aid with no funding. The Select Board had asked East Montpelier for a funding proposal, and that town came back with $20,000 for six months (July through December). The Select Board agreed to evaluate services in advance of next year's budget. Voters approved funding for the services currently serving the town.
Voters also agreed to take part in the Central Vermont Internet initiative.
On money matters, the municipal budget passed with no discussion. Also passing were appropriations for the library, historical society, cemeteries, commuter bus service and local social service agencies.
Also approved was the nonbinding climate change resolution that was being considered by more than 30 other Vermont communities. In Marshfield, the resolution was amended to say a letter from the town will be sent to the president, governor, congressional delegation, and local delegation. The article passed as amended.
Under other business, there was a lengthy discussion about how to get more people to participate in town meeting. The Select Board was advised by voters to put an article on next year's town meeting warning asking residents to choose the date of the 2020 meeting: Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, Monday evening, or the traditional Tuesday meeting. At the height of Tuesday's meeting, there were about 110 voters.
Town meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.