Village of Waterbury Votes to Dissolve Into Town of Waterbury

The vote to change the Village charter passed by a vote of 224 to 83

WATERBURY, Vt. - The Village of Waterbury has officially voted to dissolve into the Town of Waterbury.

Earlier in the year, village leaders warned a vote to become a utility district and dissolve the village, which would include eliminating the police department. It passed 79 to 13.

The vote to change the village charter passed 224 to 83 Tuesday night, almost three to one in favor of the article.

Village officials say 307 out of 1,400 registered voters (22 percent) took part in the special election.

"We were hoping for at least 300. We would have liked more, but for a non-election time of year, we had the vote now hoping to catch people; school is out, before they went on vacations. There are 125 people who voted by absentee ballot in the 30 days before Tuesday, and the rest of them voted Tuesday. And 300 is a good, a fair turnout," said Skip Flanders, President of Waterbury Village Trustees.

Local 22 & Local 44 clarified what the difference between merging and dissolving means.

"If you merged, the town would have had to vote on it and agree to how you settled your assets and claims. By dissolving the village, the town didn't have to vote, and it's just the village deciding how we wanted to be organized into the future," said Flanders. "We've tried a dozen merger votes in the past; they always passed in the village, and the town turned them down, because they didn't want their taxes to go up."

Because the vote passed, the village police department will also dissolve. The department will be funded until December 31st.

Village leaders previously said the department became too expensive to afford.

Flanders said police costs were 90 percent of the village budget. With two officers working five days a week, Flanders said coverage was inadequate.

Vermont State Police will eventually take over coverage for the area.

Now, Flanders says there's hope they will eventually have a town police department that's affordable.

Flanders calls Tuesday's vote historic, and "changes the face of Waterbury that was here for 135 years."

"The village existed and formed in 1882 to have a fire department and a police department. When the town didn't need those facilities, the town has changed, and now that historic vote is reversed in this vote. And what the village existed for before will now be supplied by the town of Waterbury as a whole," said Flanders.

The village will be converted into a utility district, which maintains water and sewer systems.

The changes will go into effect July 1, 2018.


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