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The Promise — And Limits — Of Local Control In Vermont

Early voters casts a ballot in Plainfield in 2008.
Toby Talbot
Early voters casts a ballot in Plainfield in 2008. "Vermont Edition" looks at the challenges around local control in Vermont.

When Vermont towns want to add sidewalks, change traffic patterns or add a "rooms and meals" tax, they usually have to go to Montpelier for permission. It's one way "local control" may be less local, and offer less control, than many might think. We're talking about Vermont's tradition of local control, it's limits in 2019 and efforts to bring more decisions back to the local level. 

Susan Clark, Middlesex town moderator and co-author of Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Homejoins the show to discuss the value of local control and how its implementation in Vermont has changed over time. 

And Karen Horn, director of public policy for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and longtime participant in her local Moretown government, talks about the mechanics of the "Dillon's Rule" form of government in Vermont and efforts to expand local decision-making in the state.

We'll also hear from Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell talks about what changes the city has enacted on its own and what requires the approval of lawmakers in the capitol.

Share your thoughts or questions on local control in Vermont below.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, May 28, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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