STARKSBORO — This year the Starksboro Selectboard increased in size from three to five members, and the Chair of the Board couldn’t be happier.
Joining the board for their first terms are Koran Cousino and Keegan Tierney, both from established Starksboro families with histories of service to the community.
“It’s nice to have thoughtful, younger people on the board,” said Susan Jefferies. “They bring different ideas and ask questions about things that we’ve all taken for granted over the years, causing us to back up and explain. They want to do the best they can for the town and community.”
“I am very excited to have the time in my life now to serve the town of Starksboro,” said Koran Cousino. “My kids are all in Elementary School and I am lucky enough to work from home. My family has always encouraged me to become involved in town initiatives and serve the community as they they’ve done for nearly 70 years before me! I look forward to building on the tremendous work that has been done by the veteran selectboard members, especially with regard to public communication. This is not glamorous work, but it’s important work!”
Cousino and Tierney join Jefferies, Peter Marsh and Tony Porter to comprise the new five-member board. Each won a contested race, which is a rare occurrence in Starksboro elections, where in the past there have been few challenges to incumbents. The newly created positions elicited a robust interest in serving on the board from members of the community. The expanded Selectboard now has a Vice-Chair, Tony Porter, and they are seeking a Board Assistant to take minutes and handle administrative tasks.
Now that the new board is up and running, they are formulating some goals, both long and short term, starting with revamping the town’s website, which is old, clumsy and user unfriendly. Along that vein, they are assessing which social media sites are effective for reaching out to the most people.
Road equipment is another area that needs some assessment, according to Jefferies. The one-ton truck they currently have is not strong enough for the tasks it’s doing, and is always under repair. They are exploring options for purchasing something a bit more rugged, yet not the size or cost of a full sized town truck. In addition, they are mulling the purchase of a town pick-up for small jobs and town business.
One item of concern that will interest the town’s taxpayers is the issue of school property being transferred to the Supervisory Union under the new consolidation plan (Act 46). Robinson School owns a 13-acre parcel behind the school that was purchased by residents through their school taxes. The town is asking the school district to consider transferring that land to the town and not to the Supervisory Union, who could eventually sell it and keep the profits for themselves. “It’s owned by Starksboro,” says Jefferies. “Let’s keep it in Starksboro.”
Jefferies said that the board has started doing occasional “retreats” where they can gather and talk informally. In accordance with the law, the retreats time and location are always formally warned. “It’s at someone’s house, with a potluck dinner. There’s no agenda except for long term planning,” said Jefferies. She said they got the idea from the school board, who came up with some very good ideas as a result of meeting informally, taking a deep breath and talking things through outside the routine of a regularly scheduled select board meeting.
After years of discussion, it seems everyone is happy with the idea of a five-member Selectboard in Starksboro.