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Town Meeting Day in Vermont

Today (Tuesday, March 6th) says “Vermont”.  At 5:10 am, the temp is -4 with wind gusts of over 40 mph.  Light snow is predicted.  However, the big event across the state is Town Meeting Day – a very special Vermont tradition on the first Tuesday of March.  Many businesses and schools (including VLS) are closed so that all can participate.

To quote the Burlington Free Press, “It’s that time of year again, when Vermonters gather in town halls, school gyms and fire stations around the state to conduct the people’s business.  It’s an example of direct democracy that is as much a part of Vermont as maple syrup and fall foliage . . . Town meetings still remain a central part of governing most communities here.”

The first town meeting in Vermont was held in Bennington in 1762.  According to the Burlington Free Press, some topics considered at early town meetings included whether to let pigs run free or to allow smallpox vaccinations in the town (some thought vaccinations were dangerous).  Voters also decided what goods or labor could be used as payment for taxes.  Today, we are more likely to vote on town budgets, local school budgets and various referendum and resolution measures.

I may be a considered a “flatlander”, but I am proud to live in Vermont!


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