Salisbury balks at BLSG funding increase

In early January, members of the board of directors of the Brandon-Leicester-Salisbury-Goshen Insect Control District (BLSG) visited the select boards of each town in the District. They announced that they were asking for a large increase in the funds to operate in 2019-2020 compared to the previous year. The average increase requested was $7,443 per town for a total of $37,215 or 31% more than last year. They explained that the increase was primarily to pay their attorneys who are representing BLSG in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit is an appeal of the decision made by the state to authorize BLSG to spray pesticides under Vermont’s Pesticide General Permit. Details of the lawsuit are here:

One of the towns in the BLSG District did not accept the surprise request for more funds. Salisbury, which was asked for 46% more money than last year, instead budgeted for a small increase for BLSG and created an article on the Town Meeting ballot for additional money for attorneys. On March 5, voters in Salisbury can vote for or against $5,500 to pay BLSG’s lawyers.

The Salisbury Select Board was responding to strong opposition in the town to supporting BLSG’s legal troubles. Many residents thought that accepting BLSG’s request for 46% more funds than it needs for day-to-day operations was sending an inappropriate message to BLSG and to town residents. The Salisbury Conservation Commission wrote to the Select Board that “Salisbury should not be held financially responsible for the BLSG’s legal fees. Therefore, we urge the Select Board to level-fund the BLSG in 2019-2020 town budget.”

It seems to many that the primary effect of making more money available to lawyers would be to prolong the lawsuit because the lawyers will end the lawsuit whenever the money runs out. Voting against this article in Salisbury could encourage a quicker end to the lawsuit and avoid the establishment of a costly precedent.  

For more information on mosquito control in the BLSG District see the FAQ here:

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