The Vermont Legislature is authorizing municipal governments and school districts to pass budgets with pre-printed ballots this year to help cope with the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
Those bodies are now also authorized to hold remote informational meetings where voters can discuss budget issues.
The Bennington Banner reports that quick passage was seen as essential to give municipal and school officials sufficient time to plan for the meetings. This year Vermont's traditional Town Meeting Day will be held March 1, although some communities and school districts use alternative dates.
If signed by Gov. Phil Scott, the bill would authorize measures similar to those put in place last year to help communities conduct local business while minimizing the risk from the pandemic.
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Communities are also authorized to move their meetings to later in the year when it could potentially be safer. The House gave final passage to the bill that was passed by the Senate on Wednesday.
Prior to the pandemic, many Vermont communities and school districts would hold public meetings at which budgets and other items would be decided after sometimes lengthy debates that would be decided with voice votes.