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Busy town meetings scheduled for Monday

Busy town meetings scheduled for Monday

reporter photo

On Monday, May 13, Durham and Middlefield will host separate annual town meetings to vote whether to adopt their respective proposed town budgets. 

Both towns will also be electing Board of Education members. Durham-Middlefield Interlocal Agreement Advisory Board positions are also open. 

On Tuesday, residents in both towns approved Regional School District 13’s budget for $36,819,319 and capital improvement plan for $6.9 million. 


Durham’s annual budget meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. at the Julian B. Thayer Auditorium at Coginchaug Regional High School, 135 Pickett Lane. 

The budget, presented in April, calls for $7,335,884 in general government expenses, a $323,330 increase from current year. With $2,038,411 in “less state and local revenue,” the net town budget comes to $5,297,473. 

The total represents $6,023,892 for operations, roughly $500,000 to replenish the reserve fund and about $760,000 in capital funds. Capital and reserve funding together increased about 27 percent, or $266,896. This year the town is responsible for about $20 million in education costs to Region 13. 

During the meeting, residents are able to reduce the budget if a motion is made, seconded and approved by majority vote of those present. There is no limit to how much can be cut, although no items can be added to the budget at that time and nothing can be reallocated, according to Town Clerk Kimberly Garvis.

Residents will be asked to adopt this budget, as well as a five-year Local Capital Improvement Plan.

The meeting agenda also includes appointing members to Regional School District 13’s Board of Education. Philip Augur and Victor Friedrich’s terms are ending in June, and both plan to run for re-election. Augur has served one term and Fredrich two.

As one of the longest serving board members at this time, Friedrich said his historical knowledge is a benefit to the board. 

“Since I’ve been with those projects I have a perspective some of the newer members do not,” Friedrich said Monday. 

Because he’s been part of some projects that have not yet been resolved – including the deposition of Korn School and grade reconfiguration with the closing of Lyman School – he wants to continue on the board to see them through. 

Augur could not be reached for comment, but said he would be running for re-election in a Letter to the Editor to the Town Times. 

“With children with more school years ahead of them than behind, I have a strong vested interest in the quality of education available here, and work toward a consistently strong offering district-wide for all students of all ages,” Augur wrote. 

Resident Melissa Booth has also expressed interest in running for a seat on the board. As a parent of students currently in the district, and a person who has been attending board meetings and paying close attention to issues for the last two years, she feels she could be a benefit to the board, and ultimately the students – her main priority. 

“Being a parent with current kids, it’s a unique perspective,” Booth said. “I volunteer at the school like once a week … I feel like I’m there and I kind of have eyes and ears to what’s going on.”

Booth said she wants to close the gap of communication between the board and public. She currently serves as a community member on the newly-appointed Building Committee and has not run before. 

As of Tuesday, it was not clear if any other residents were planning to run, but anyone can be nominated and voted in during the town meeting. To be elected, a resident needs to be nominated and a simple majority will chose the winners. 

Board of Education members serve three-year terms. 

On Monday, residents will also be asked to elect two members to a two-year term on the Durham-Middlefield Interlocal Agreement Advisory Board, with terms to expire June 30, 2021; and elect one member to fill a vacant 2021 term on the Compensation Review/Personnel Policy Commission.  

The agenda also includes residents’ authorization of the Board of Selectmen to accept any and all Town Aid highway funds (transportation infrastructure) that may be due and available to the town for the current fiscal year, 2018-19. 


Middlefield’s town meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, 405 Main St.

The Board of Finance has proposed a total $16.5 million budget, including education costs, which would result in a tax decrease. It calls for a mill rate of 33.47, a drop of 2 mills from the current rate. 

The budget includes $4.9 million for municipal expenses, a $115,715 decrease from the previous year, and about $11.6 million for educational, a $535,745 decrease. The biggest savings comes from school district expenses, which decreased by about $535,000 since last year due to a decline in enrollment.

During Monday’s meeting, residents will also be asked to elect two people to expiring Board of Education terms. Members Lucy Petrella and Robert Yamartino’s terms are expiring this June and both plan to run for re-election. 

Yamartino, who also serves on the Board of Selectmen, will be running for a second term. 

“It’s an honor to serve on the Board of Education and I really hope I’m representing all the interests of the parents and the students and the administrators,” Yamartino said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of good that we are doing and a lot more that we could do.”

Petrella is also running for a second term. On the board, she currently serves as chair of the Human Resources Committee, co-chair of the Achievement Committee and is a member of the Policy Committee.

“With the educational initiatives and restructuring happening in the district, it’s critical that there be as much continuity on the board as possible,” Petrella said via email Tuesday. 

As of Tuesday, it was not clear if any other residents were planning to run, but anyone can be nominated and voted in during the town meeting. To be elected, a resident needs to be nominated and a simple majority will chose the winners. 

Board of Education members serve three-year terms. 

Twitter: @baileyfaywright