Budget delay keeps fate of two Vergennes police officers in limbo

Local News

The Vergennes Police Department will have to wait a while longer to learn the fate of two of its officers.

City Council has approved a tax increase in an effort to avoid laying off the officers, but more than a week into the 2020 fiscal year, the city still doesn’t have a new budget in place.

The city’s budget proposal has become a lightning rod for controversy. It would eliminate the jobs of two of the police department’s seven full-time officers, a move that Chief George Merkel strongly opposes.

Deputy Mayor Lynn Donnelly said the council still needs a complete inventory of the city’s revenue before it can pass a budget that would include funding for the two officers.

But the Council took no action on the budget Tuesday evening, adjourning after an executive session on an unrelated matter

City Manager Mathew Chabot said Tuesday he had no update on the budget situation, but he expects the council to discuss the revenue situation at its next meeting, scheduled for July 23.

Some people in Vergennes have said publicly that they think the police department may be too large for a city that has fewer than 3,000 residents.

Chief Merkel has told the council that he would take a $10,000 pay cut if it would help the budget. The council members have not taken him up on his offer.

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