By MICHAEL DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
ISLE LA MOTTE -- Isle La Motte voters re-elected Selectboard member Rusty Spaulding and approved a proposed $533,971 budget for calendar 2021 Friday during a delayed Town Meeting Day vote.
Taxpayers also voted 138-69 to tell the ILM Selectboard to consider relocating the municipal offices to the Isle La Motte Elementary School, which no longer has classes. It was a non-binding advisory vote designed to get a sense from the community.
Spaulding defeated former Selectboard member Sylvia Jensen 135-74 in a sometimes contentious race for a 3-year seat. Jensen is believed to be the only woman ever to serve on the Selectboard in the history of the island town.
"It's time to move forward," Spaulding, the senior member on the board, told The Islander on Friday evening. He said Jensen offered him congratulations.
Eight other posts were filled by people running unopposed and other minor ballot items were approved.
The budget was approved 131-82 during balloting, which ended at 7 p.m. Town Clerk Sarah Noble said about 1:30 p.m. there had been heavy early voting and less than two-dozen people coming to the polls.
Jensen has been part of a group of residents that had questioned how the 3-member Selectboard has operated. They also raised issues about transparency, the annual budget and a little-known effort to move the town offices to the school. Spaulding said he expects the oversight of the Selectboard will continue.
The original ILM Town Meeting Day on March 2 was postponed because Vermont's Attorney General sided with Jensen's formal complaint that the Selectboard had violated the Open Meeting Law. The Selectboard failed to warn at least two budget workshops for the public to attend, had no meeting minutes and also approved the budget without allowing any public comment, officials said. As part of the signed settlement with the Attorney General, the Selectboard agreed to attend Open Meeting Law training.
A second ILM Town Meeting Day in early April was postponed after the Selectboard said its legal warning needed to be corrected. The third voting date was Friday and some residents have questioned if that legal warning was properly distributed as required by law.
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