Montpelier automatically mailed Town Meeting Day ballots to all registered voters a year ago. However, the city is not providing for universal voting by mail for local elections this year.

Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 1. Before making a decision on universal voting by mail, Montpelier officials wanted to see what the Montpelier Roxbury Public Schools did with their ballot issues.

The Roxbury Town Selectboard held its first meeting of the year on Monday. Montpelier City Clerk John Odum told city councilors Wednesday night that their counterparts in Roxbury settled the mail-in voting issue for them.

“They did not authorize the school board to proceed with a (universal) mail-in election,” he said. “They are going to send out postcards to folks, encouraging them to vote absentee.”

If the City Council were to allow universal mail-in voting anyway, only a ballot for city officials would go out to Montpelier voters automatically. They’d still need to ask for absentee ballots for the schools and for ballot issues regarding the Central Vermont Public Safety Authority, among other things.

“I mean, I hate to say this because I’m such a fan of the mail-in voting, but my advice would be to not go that route because people would be too confused,” Odum said.

Several council members noted that Roxbury essentially forced the city’s hand. Given that, a resident said Montpelier might as well revert to the normal Town Meeting Day procedures.

“If we have two different ones and people have to actually come in to vote on the school budgets and those other budgets, they’re still going to have to come in,” Vicki Lane said. “It’s not going to be of any benefit to mail in one and have to go in for another.”

The city also asked last last year if the community would be willing to support a possible fiscal 2023 tax increase to fund city services at their current levels. Montpelier had to implement budget cuts for both fiscal 2021 and 2022.

Thirty-five percent of the respondents were willing to support the potential tax increase. Thirty-nine percent did not, and the remaining 26% were neutral.

City Councilor Dona Bate pointed Wednesday night to Montpelier’s infrastructure needs.

“We know people have trouble with our roads,” she said. “We can’t do that without the bonds. We can’t do that without the staffing.”