April 6 2020

Burlington Annual Town Meeting Postponed Until June 10

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington Annual May Town Meeting will now be held in June due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. 


On Monday evening the Board of Selectmen met virtually and voted to postpone Town Meeting from May 11 to Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. This recommendation was made by Town Administrator Paul Sagarino who explained the date was discussed with Town Moderator Bill Beyer and Town Clerk Amy Warfield. 


Sagarino explained that while normally Town Meeting starts on a Monday and is continued until Wednesday (and then to the next Monday again) if needed they decided to push it back two days because the Town Election has been moved to that Saturday, June 6. 


“We may have new Town Meeting members and we wanted to give them a few days to review the items they would be voting on,” he explained


The board voted unanimously to change the date but raised a couple of questions on logistics. 


One question was, because the May session usually goes three or four nights, if it would be an issue to wrap-up on June 17, merely 14 days from the start of Fiscal year 2021. 


Sagarino said that as long as they are done by June 30 the town will meet the state requirements of having passed a budget before the end of the fiscal year. 


Perhaps more pertinently, Selectman Nick Priest as that because the town is not currently collecting as much as normal through the meals tax and hotel tax should any changes be made in terms of spending. 


Sagarino said the town’s financial departments will be meeting with Ways & Means in the coming weeks to discuss the different town budgets. He said at this time it would be difficult to make large changes with “massive disruptions” in town services. He also said that due to past planning the town is in a good position to weather some bad economic times. 


“We have a very conservative budgeting process here so we give ourselves a lot of room for error.,” he said. “We do that for a reason and that is to give us some room to move in situations like this.” 


He added that if the situation does not improve for a very long time there are ways the town can look to save money.


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