WILLIAMSTOWN — Voters here chose not to surrender their authority to elect their town clerk, while opting not to oust two members of the Select Board. “I’m on cloud nine,” Town Clerk Barbara Graham said moments after presiding over an election that ended with voters rejecting the Select Board’s proposal to make her position appointed instead of elected. That idea was rejected 255-192, with some voters publicly questioning the need to fix something they didn’t believe was broken. For Graham, whose husband, Rodney, serves on the Select Board, the vote represented vindication in what has devolved into a power struggle between the elected clerk and the elected board. Based on the results of Tuesday’s voting Graham will continue to answer to voters. Two members of the Select Board were re-elected in contested races. Selectman Francis Covey easily defeated Jessica Worn, 299-156, to win another three-year term and Selectman Ed McGlynn held off challenger Jasmin Couillard, 246-203, to win another two-year term. During Australian ballot voting voters also approved the town’s participation in the communications union district that will be known as Central Vermont Internet, 303-123. Earlier in the day a tardy town manager and a couple of time-burning recesses didn’t prevent voters in Williamstown from wrapping up their traditional town meeting before breaking for lunch. It was close, in part because Moderator Matthew Powell declared a 10-minute recess so the School Board and the Select Board could swap seats. Then, after reading the warning from start to finish, he declared another 15-minute recess because he was told Town Manager Jackie Higgins was on her way from Tunbridge. As a result nearly 100 voters who attended town meeting didn’t do much of anything in the first hour, though they were given plenty of chances to grab coffee and doughnuts in the lobby outside the gymnasium at Williamstown Middle-High School. Higgins finally arrived and shortly before 11 a.m. voters started plowing through the articles with either little or no discussion and, in most cases, no dissent. There was never a request for a paper ballot and the only amendment came moments after voters balked at Powell’s suggestion they break for lunch shortly after 11:30 a.m. with only one article left to tend to. In a move designed to provide additional funding for a local food shelf, Rama Schneider suggested voters tack $2,500 on to the volunteer organization’s $7,500 request. The amendment was easily approved, boosting funding for a collection of nonprofit organizations from the $40,847 that was warned to the $43,347 that was approved. Funding for the food shelf was the largest of the requests even before the increase was voted. Voters didn’t haggle with the Select Board’s $1.1 million general fund budget, despite an increase of $80,000, or 7.7 percent. The budget was approved by a unanimous voice vote after voters were told it included a 9.5 percent increase in health insurance costs and the first pay raise for employees in two years. The board’s $820,000 highway fund budget was also unanimously approved. It called for spending roughly $17,000 more than voters approved a year ago, an increase of 2.1 percent. Voters also unanimously agreed to place more than $34,000 of an audited general fund surplus into a tax stabilization fund and approved a plan to place nearly $68,000 in highway surplus money into a fund for future road rehabilitation.    

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