All posts by Joan Devine

City Council Minutes 03-27-2018

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING / PUBLIC HEARING ON

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE ZONING AND SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS

March 27, 2018

MINUTES

Mayor Renny Perry was unable to attend the meeting so, in his absence, Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. Those in attendance were:

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                               Andy Kirkaldy

Alderman David Austin                                       Robert Trepanier

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                               Shannon Haggett

Alderman Mathew Chabot                              Cheryl Brinkman (5:50 p.m.)

Alderman Mark Koenig                                      Tim Cook (6:00 p.m.)

City Manager Mel Hawley                                City Clerk Joan Devine

VISITORS: None

WARRANT: The Warrant totaling $179,032.40 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. City Manager Hawley advised the Warrant includes the fourth and final contribution of the fiscal year to VLCT-PACIF for insurance coverage.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting held on February 27, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER: Manager Hawley explained the City has in the past adopted Roberts Rules of Order for executive boards and small committees which waives various formalities and calls for the Mayor to vote on all motions. Alderman Mark Koenig moved to adopt Roberts Rules of Order for executive boards and small committees. The motion was seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand with all voting in favor.

ELECTION OF SENIOR ALDERMAN: Alderman Matt Chabot moved to appoint Jeff Fritz as the senior alderman. Alderman Lowell Bertrand seconded the motion with all voting in favor. Per the recently adopted policy, the senior alderman will hold the title of Deputy Mayor.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY: The Conflict of Interest Policy requires that it be reviewed by the City Council annually at the first regular meeting in March at which time it may be amended, repealed, or readopted. City Manager Hawley advised he does not feel this policy conflicts with Roberts Rules of Order as Alderman Donnelly suggested at a prior meeting. He advised that the City Council simply agrees to adhere to both Roberts Rules of Order and the Conflict of Interest Policy. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to re-adopt the Conflict of Interest Policy as presented. The motion was seconded by Alderman Matt Chabot with all voting in favor.

DESIGNATION OF NEWSPAPER: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to designate the Addison Independent as our newspaper of record, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor. City Manager Hawley explained that all legal notices will be published in the Addison Independent.

APPOINTMENTS: Deputy Mayor Fritz read a list of positions requiring re-appointment in March and the recommended appointees. He noted that any appointments involving City Manager Hawley will terminate on July 24, 2018.

Delinquent Tax Collector –  Mel Hawley

Tree Warden –  Mel Hawley

Service Officer – Joan Devine

Bixby Library Trustee Designation –  Christine Bradford

ACSWMD Board of Supervisors Member-Cheryl Brinkman

ACSWMD Alternate Member Mel Hawley

Alderman Mark Koenig moved to adopt the slate as presented. The motion was seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand with all voting in favor.

2018 LIQUOR LICENSES, OUTSIDE CONSUMPTON PERMITS, LIVE ENTERTAINMENT LICENSES, AND OUTSIDE SEATING AGREEMENTS: Liquor License applications, Outside Consumption Permits and Live Entertainment Licenses for 2018 were submitted by Addison County Eagles, American Legion Post #14, Antidote/Hired Hand, Black Sheep Bistro, Champlain Farms, City Limits Nightclub, Kinney Drugs, Pork Squid, LLC (Park Squeeze), Porky’s Place, Shaw’s Supermarket, Small City Market, Strong House Inn, Three Squares Café, Vergennes Laundry, Vergennes Redemption, and Vergennes Wine. City Manager Hawley requested the applications by City Limits Nightclub be deferred as he is waiting on a memorandum from Police Chief George Merkel regarding this establishment. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved, acting as the local control commissioners for the liquor licenses and outside consumption permits, to approve all applications as submitted except for those involving City Limits Nightclub. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor. A restriction was placed on all Live Entertainment Licenses that exterior doors and windows remain closed during periods of live entertainment.

ADVERTISEMENT IN VERGENNES MAP BY DOUGLAS LAZARUS: City Manager Hawley advised he does not generally pass every solicitation for advertisement to the City Council but felt if the City Council was inclined to pursue this particular offer, he would suggest the $350 come from the Otter Creek Basin Fund which derives revenue from donations by boaters at the docks’ collection boxes. Alderman David Austin stated the sample brochure looks good but was unclear what it was trying to accomplish. He desired more information about its distribution. Alderman Chabot suggested having Doug Lazarus come to the next meeting. Alderman Mark Koenig said that the docks are typically at capacity and did not see the need for such advertisement. Alderman Lowell Bertrand advised he likes the brochure but would also like to know more about the distribution.

ABATEMENT OF TAXES AND SEWER DUE TO LATE FEES: City Manager Hawley advised the voters approved a 15-day grace period for property taxes and sewer assessments that has worked marvelously. This particular situation deals with a payment mailed to the City postmarked February 15, 2018 (a copy of the envelope was provided in the City Council agenda packet) that was properly addressed to the City’s post office box. The envelope and check was returned to Marc and Denise Dukette by the post office several weeks after being mailed with a label indicating “return to sender, attempted – not known, unable to forward”. The City Council is the Board of Abatement under the charter, he stated, and recommended they abate $12.56 in property taxes and $9.54 in sewer charges due to an error made by the postal system. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the recommendation. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

CERTIFICATE – NO APPEAL OR SUIT PENDING: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to officially close the 2017 grand list as allowed by statute. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor. The certificate was passed for signatures of the City Council members and will be signed by the Listers.

APPOINTMENTS TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION: The Planning Commission normally operates with seven members. There are currently five members and filling those vacancies were deferred while the Planning Commission worked on proposed amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations, advised City Manager Hawley. Shannon Haggett, chair of the Planning Commission, has since advertised the two vacancies and three highly qualified residents have expressed interest in the positions. He and Shannon Haggett recommend all three be appointed and that the Planning Commission increase to having eight members for the time being. They recommended the appointment of Carrie Macfarlane for a term expiring August 1, 2018 and the appointment of Christine Garrow and Danelle Birong for respective terms expiring August 1, 2019. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the appointments as recommended. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

RECESS: Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz recessed the meeting at 6:00 p.m. to allow for the public hearing by the City Council regarding proposed amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations.

PUBLIC HEARING

Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz opened the public hearing regarding the proposed amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations at 6 p.m. and read the public notice. The purpose of the public hearing is to hear and receive testimony regarding the amendments as proposed by the Vergennes Planning Commission in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 4442. City Manager Hawley read a letter submitted by property owner and developer Scott Hardy who recommended reducing the minimum lot size in the high density residential district from 15,000 sf to 10,000 sf. His letter also supported the energy considerations and upgrades being proposed. Recognizing affordable elderly housing is important for a community, he also felt just age 55+ is not the best for the community as a whole; multi-generational living is best for everyone.

Planning Commission Chair Shannon Haggett advised the planning commission had a lot of discussion regarding making smaller lots for one-family dwellings in the high density residential district. It was their consensus to look at density bonuses first and speak with residents in and near these areas before proposing any changes.

As there was no further discussion, Deputy Mayor Fritz closed the public hearing at 6:13 p.m.

REGULAR SESSION – continued

REPORT OF THE CITY MANAGER SEARCH COMMITTEE: A copy of the formal posting, advertisement, city manager job description and application process were available in the City Council agenda packets. Deputy Mayor Fritz pointed out areas that were amended since the information was previously distributed. Alderman Chabot inquired how long the advertisement would be running. Deputy Mayor Fritz reported the job would be posted on Monday and it would be advertised through April 15th. He also reported the committee is recommending there be an employment agreement. The committee will meet again Thursday.

CITY COUNCIL CALENDAR: City Manager Hawley advised the City Council calendar for the year reflects two regular meetings per month with the exception of July and December that have just one regular meeting.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE ZONING AND SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS: City Manager Hawley advised this was the first public hearing on the proposed amendments. The purpose for the amendments was in part to bring them into conformance with the municipal development plan that was approved by the City Council in 2017. Shannon Haggett pointed out that all zoning permits have to comply with the existing zoning and subdivision regulations as well as the proposed amendments until such time as the proposed amendments are adopted by the City Council. They become effective on the 21st day following adoption. Alderman Mark Koenig moved the second public hearing on the proposed amendments be scheduled for April 24th at 6 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station meeting room. Alderman Lowell Bertrand seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

CITY MANAGER’S BUDGET REPORT: City Manager Hawley advised revenues appear fine with the exception of police fines. In the administration budget, the final contribution of the fiscal year for insurance has been paid so that line item should be near 100 percent. Medical insurance premiums have been paid through the tenth month of the fiscal year so he felt that budget was in pretty good shape. The police department expenses are at 79 percent of the budget, he advised, but the bond and bond interest for the police station have both been paid. The public works budget; well it snowed but he still feels good about where we are at. The fire and recycling budgets are both in good shape, advised Manager Hawley, and he feels pretty good at this point about the sewer fund budget.

NORTHERN GATEWAY SIDEWALK PROJECT BIDS: We had a good response receiving seven bids, advised Manager Hawley. Although the project has not been awarded yet, the lowest bidder was Don Weston Excavating, Inc. at about $129,000. Engineering costs will be $50,000 to $60,000, management expense at about $30,000 and the low bid will allow us to complete this project well under the estimated budget of $305,000.

PERSONNEL POLICY UPDATE: City Manager Hawley reported Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT), after reviewing our personnel policy, had some recommended edits that focused on compliance with state and federal employment laws. He advised he did not want to hastily make those amendments so he will have it ready for review by the City Council at the April 10th meeting.

OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST: City Manager Hawley read a memorandum to the City Council regarding the written complaint by Shannon Mahoney. The memorandum will be filed as part of these minutes.

City Manager Hawley reported that he recently met with Lee Shorey, a counselor at VUHS, and student Carson Hoffman. They would like some improvements at the Skate Park. Amanda Guinness also emailed him today regarding the same topic. City Manager Hawley advised he felt the Skate Park was ill designed with a poor location and he and Mayor Renny Perry suggest the City Council conduct a site visit.

City Manager Hawley reported Jennifer Kingsley will return as the Pool Director this summer. The pool budget ended in good shape last year with much credit to her, he stated. Letters have been sent to lifeguards that worked at the pool last season to see if they have an interest in returning this year. He advised the cement has been order and is on its way for Mark Koenig’s repairs.

DEPUTY MAYOR’S REPORT: Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz apologized to all involved with the Shannon Mahoney complaint that was filed with the City Council. He explained the City Council did not have a procedure in place on how to handle a complaint and it was totally mishandled from the beginning.

Deputy Mayor Fritz read a Proclamation by Mayor Renny Perry proclaiming April 3, 2018 as National Service Recognition Day. The Proclamation will be filed as part of these minutes.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:48 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk

City Council Minutes 02-27-2018

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING

PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL HEARING – FIRE TRUCK BOND

February 27, 2018

MINUTES

Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                               Sarah Cowan

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz             Sarah Stroup

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                  John Stroup

Alderman Mathew Chabot              Darren Donovan

Alderman Mark Koenig                     Robert Trepanier

Alderman Lowell Bertrand             Andy Kirkaldy

City Manager Mel Hawley              Shannon Haggett

City Clerk Joan Devine                     Peter Jensen (6:15 pm)

David Austin                                           Peter Garon (6:15 pm)

T. Faith Terry                                        Cheryl Brinkman (6:00 pm)

Michelle Eckels

ADDISON NORTHWEST SCHOOL DISTRICT (ANwSD): John Stroup, a member of the ANwSD Board of School Directors, presented proposed budget numbers and addressed questions from the floor. He advised they are asking voters to approve a budget in the amount of $21,106,261 and, if approved, will result in education spending of $17,644 per equalized student. Security of school doors in the district were also discussed as well as other improvements planned as part of their proposed 7.6 million dollar bond vote.

VISITORS: Michelle Eckels advised she is not on the agenda but wants to let everyone know the swim team is in action ordering supplies. The hot water issue at the pool needs to be addressed soon, as well as other planning, and that she would like to be on the agenda for the next meeting.

WARRANT: The Warrant totaling $758,040.02 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. City Manager Hawley advised the Warrant includes the third quarter installment of the education property tax.

MINUTES: Alderman Bertrand moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting held on February 13, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. On the first page in the last paragraph the word ‘classes’ was amended to ‘classroom’. On the last page in the first sentence ‘GASB 34’ was corrected to ‘GASB’. A vote on the motion with corrections showed all voting in favor.

PARK STREET STREETSCAPE PROJECT: Mayor Perry advised the Downtown Transportation Fund Grant program requires a formal resolution as the motion at the last meeting would not meet the application guidelines. Sarah Stroup, a member of St. Paul’s Church, advised they were pleasantly surprised and pleased with the City Council’s action and advised the parish supports the project. As for participating in the cost of the project, they asked that the City Council make an exception to the formula of expecting adjacent property owners to fund 25 percent of the project. She requested the City fund the entire 50 percent match as these are City improvements. She advised they would be spending their limited finances on the project on their property but not the sidewalk portion within the public right of way. Mayor Perry reported prior streetscape projects have had a commercial value for the City’s investment compared to this project that will generate more parking spaces and improve sidewalk accessibility. He advised the resolution, when signed, says the City is committing to 50 percent of the total project costs regardless of whether the City is reimbursed. Alderman Lynn Donnelly inquired who was going to maintain this new park that is to be created. Sarah Cowan advised St. Paul’s Church is focused on letting the public onto church property; they have not discussed who will maintain it. Your thinking is way ahead of ours, she advised. The sidewalk is kept clear by our parishioners so attendees can get to the church so none of that will change. Mrs. Cowan hoped the expanded sidewalk would be done by the City’s sidewalk plow. Alderman Lynn Donnelly moved to sign the resolution for a Downtown Transportation Fund Grant for the Park Street streetscape project. Alderman Lowell Bertrand seconded the motion to allow discussion. Alderman Donnelly wanted confirmation on the amount the City would have to pay. Manager Hawley advised the Board is looking for a new motion or a change in the last one. Mayor Perry advised the City would be committing to $46,250 with the resolution regardless of what is received from St. Paul’s Church. Alderman Matt Chabot stated that he could not support an additional $23,125 from City funds. Alderman Koenig advised, traditionally, it has not been done this way and precedence has been set; this will only “muddy the waters”. City Manager Hawley reported the formula has had exceptions. For example, three of the projects he had been involved with, adjacent property owners put up 25 percent of the project; the “Old Theatre” property was financed with 25 percent from the property owner and 75 percent from the Water Tower Fund because the City was not awarded a grant for that project. He advised the small project in front of City Hall was paid half by a Downtown Transportation Fund grant and half from the Water Tower Fund. The Methodist Church and owner of 135 Main Street paid no share for the project in front of their buildings that would have been about $8,700 under the formula. He suggested possibly giving St. Paul’s Church a credit in the same amount towards the proposed sidewalk project.

The Mayor recessed the meeting at 6 p.m. for the public informational hearing pertaining to the $500,000 bond vote for the purchase of a fire truck to replace Engine #316.

PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL HEARING

FIRE TRUCK BOND – $500,000.00

Mayor Renny Perry called the public informational hearing to order at 6:00 p.m. and read the public notice. The purpose of the public informational hearing was to hear comments and address questions regarding a $500,000 bond vote on March 6, 2018 to replace Engine #316. Additional attendees for the hearing included Fire Chief James Breur, Captain Matt Crowley, Captain David DiBiasi, and Captain Liam Casey.

Fire Chief James Breur advised their committee spent many hours designing a truck that would meet the Department’s needs today and well into the future. He advised a lot of questions have been asked and knowledge acquired while designing this new truck that will cost us about $520,000.00 fully equipped. He reported they will be selling Engine #316, a 1994 vehicle, to recoup some funds that will be used to transfer equipment from one vehicle to another.

City Manager Hawley commented that $500,000 is a lot of money but there are no used vehicles available. He said that other departments are keeping their trucks longer just as we do. He said the department is having problems getting parts for the aging vehicles. Manager Hawley reported, if the bond vote passes, the increase for Vergennes resulting from the 20-year bond is less than one-quarter of a cent on the tax rate for the first year and approximately two-thirds of a cent for the following years.

Resident Bob Trepanier commented that the fire department should have extra parts on the shelf for vehicle repairs. Chief Breur advised technology changes and the current parts problem they are having deals with replacing a computer to dispense foam at a fire. That part alone costs between $10,000 to $15,000 and they have no idea how long that part will last. He went on to advise they have a great maintenance system and they do keep smaller items in inventory. The part they need is too expensive to sit on the shelf with the potential that it may never get used, he stated.

As there were no more questions or discussion, Mayor Renny Perry closed the public informational hearing at 6:17 p.m. and reconvened the regular meeting.

PARK STREET STREETSCAPE PROJECT – Continued: Sarah Stroup commented that this is a capital improvement and economic development of City-owned property adjacent to the City Green. We are not just a religious institution as our public space is used by the Girl Scouts, events such as the Holiday Stroll, as well as participants in parades. We are trying to serve our community, she advised. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz questioned whether it was the amount of money involved or the loan term they are having trouble with. Sarah Cowan felt it was the amount, and yes they could cover the $23,000 in five years, but feel it is a City project. She advised they have spent a lot of time to improve their space and want people to use it. This is not about helping St. Paul’s Church; it’s about improving our downtown. Mayor Renny Perry inquired if St. Paul’s Church would go forward as planned. Sarah Stroup stated that they want to go forward. Alderman Lynn Donnelly advised there are single-file sidewalks on both sides of the City Green. She shared how she saw a mom pushing a carriage with a toddler following close behind her on the sidewalk and agreed this is an unsafe sidewalk and a project that needs to be done. Alderman Lynn Donnelly suggested changing the terms to a ten-year payback as a compromise. Alderman Matt Chabot reported the City has gone through a comprehensive study of our sidewalks and this is not the only unsafe spot but would support a 10-year plan. Mayor Renny Perry stated the sidewalk would need to be rebuilt by the City at some point. Sarah Cowan advised she has confidence the vestry would support the 10-year payback offer. Alderman Mark Koenig said the percentage could change. Mayor Renny Perry advised the City Council can revisit this and change the formula later. Alderman Lynn Donnelly reiterated the City will be on the hook for 50 percent of the project with an understanding with St. Paul’s Church. It was agreed by all to go forward. Mayor Renny Perry announced we can have a conversation in the future on the payment plan provided the grant is awarded.

RESOLUTION TO RE-ESTABLISH DESIGNATION OF SENIOR ALDERMAN AS DEPUTY MAYOR: Mayor Renny Perry explained the City Charter says, “In the case of the absence, resignation or inability from any cause of the mayor, the duties of the office shall devolve on the senior alderman, chosen by the city council, for the remainder of the mayor’s official term.” To eliminate confusion as to the responsibilities of the senior alderman, he proposed adopting the resolution that the senior alderman will be officially called Deputy Mayor. Mayor Renny Perry advised the title of Deputy Mayor has been used for at least the past 25 years and recommended the resolution. Alderman Mark Koenig moved to adopt the resolution, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

OPPORTUNITY ZONE DESIGNATION: Looking for Vergennes to be designated an Opportunity Zone, Mayor Renny Perry advised he has drafted a letter of request to Governor Phil Scott. He advised the poverty level in Addison County is 8.7% compared to Vergennes’ 11.5% along with other statistics which make Vergennes the only census tract eligible for the New Market Tax Credits in Addison County. Addison County Economic Development Corporation submitted a request to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development that the City of Vergennes be considered for this designation along with letters of support from Senator Claire Ayers and Senator Christopher Bray. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to support the letter as drafted. The motion was seconded by Alderman Lynn Donnelly with all voting in favor.

CITY MANAGER JOB DESCRIPTION: A revised version of the job description for the City Manager position was included in the City Council packets. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adopt the description as presented, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor. Changes can be made to the document by the City Manager Search Committee.

CITY COUNCIL CALENDAR: City Manager Hawley advised the City Council calendar was also in the packets and encouraged everyone to look at their personal schedules before the next meeting.

APPOINTMENT OF ALDERMAN: Mayor Renny Perry explained, due to Mayor Daniel’s resignation, he became the mayor so his alderman seat is now vacant but will expire March 6th. As there is no opposition in the Aldermen race on the ballot, he felt confident that he will be reelected and, since he cannot hold two seats on the City Council, he will resign from that elected seat. In the meantime, we have had two candidates who have submitted letters of interest to fill the vacancy in response to the notice directed by the City Council and we will interview those candidates now. David Austin, a resident and prior business owner in the city, advised he was interested in the position as a former alderman who served from 2004-2012. He also was Chair of the Planning Commission for several years and was part of the process when the City became one of the first Downtown Development Districts in the state. Between his experience with City government and his business background, he felt he would be of significant help facing the new challenges that will present themselves once City Manager Hawley retires. T. Faith Terry expressed her interest in filling the vacancy as a legal resident and voter of the City since the early 1980s. Her letter of interest also attached a document reflecting her community involvement which included co-Chair of Design Day “Finding Vergennes”, founding member of Friends of Vergennes Opera House and member of their Board of Directors, Coordinator of Greater Vergennes Traffic Impact Feasibility Study, founding member and Project Manager for Otter Creek Investment that restored the Basin Block, and various other environmental and revitalization efforts in the nationally designated historic district. Alderman Matt Chabot reported that a citizen had questioned her residency. T. Faith Terry advised her chosen residency is her home in Vergennes. Mayor Perry advised they would go into executive session to discuss appointment of a public officer at the end of the meeting.

CITY MANAGER’S BUDGET REPORT: City Manager Hawley advised the Administration budget is in good shape; the Police Department is not. Public Works Department is good right now until it snows again so we may hold off on some of the spring highway projects. The Sewer Department is okay, he advised, but said he needs to examine revenues given the new rate increase.

WATER TOWER FUND: An updated report on the Water Tower Fund and the Water Tower Continuation Fund was prepared by City Manager Hawley. He advised there are four leases that provide revenue for these funds; two entities pay in a lump sum for the year and the remaining two pay on a monthly basis. Another $25,000 is expected to arrive by the end of the fiscal year, he stated.

PRELIMINARY 1272 ORDER – SEWER OVERFLOWS: The draft 1272 order was provided by Liz Dickson from the Agency of Natural Resources, advised Manager Hawley. This will not be the last 1272 order as we continue to battle infiltration resulting in overflows at the Macdonough Drive pump station. This order requires so-called “minimum controls”, which are designed to maximize pollutant capture and minimize impacts to water quality, to be implemented. The City will be required under the order to create a long-term control plan within 18 months and submit it to the secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation.

NORTHERN GATEWAY SIDEWALK PROJECT BID OPENING: City Manager Hawley reported the bid opening for the Northern Gateway Sidewalk Project is scheduled for March 21st. Hopefully, the bids will be within budget and additional funds from the Water Tower Fund will not be needed. If the bids result in the project going over budget, the City could abandon the project but would have to refund grant funds already used for engineering and project management.

CITY HALL CONFERENCE ROOM PROJECT: The line item in the budget for City Hall building maintenance is nearly spent, advised City Manager Hawley. He suggested authorization to use funds from the Water Tower Fund to complete the project. An estimate of $10,000, which includes purchasing furniture, should be sufficient. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to allocate up to $10,000 from the Water Tower Fund to finish the renovation of the City Hall conference room. The motion was seconded by Alderman Matt Chabot with all voting in favor.

PERSONNEL POLICY UPDATE: City Manager Hawley reported he has made several proposed amendments to the Personnel Policy but most were for clarification and are of little significance. He would like to have action by the City Council on the proposed amendments at the March 27th meeting.

OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST: City Manager Hawley reported he will not seek reappointment as City Manager in July. In accordance with the City Charter, he advised the City Council shall appoint a City Manager at their first meeting of the fiscal year. The City Council meets July 24th so he will no longer be the City Manager as of that date. Although originally considering continued employment on a part-time basis, he has decided that he will also resign from his positions as zoning administrator, administrative assistant to the Board of Listers, and Planning Commission Clerk at that time, he stated. He advised the applicable statute calls for the Planning Commission to recommend a candidate for zoning administrator but it is ultimately a decision of the City Council.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Perry advised he has put together a City Manager Search Committee by Mayoral appointment. Committee members will be Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz, Alderman Lynn Donnelly, Police Chief George Merkel, former alderman John Emerson, and St. Albans Town Manager Carrie Johnson who grew up in Vergennes.

Mayor Perry reported that the complaint filed by Shannon Mahoney against City Manager Hawley and City Clerk Devine will be dealt with at their annual evaluations in April. He reported this is amicable to the complainant.

Mayor Perry stated he now is the Mayor and President of Vergennes Partnership which some people perceive as a conflict of interest. He advised he would like the City Council to decide if his resignation as President of Vergennes Partnership is needed. Alderman Chabot reported he does not see that as a conflict and doesn’t have an issue with it. The other members concurred.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: At 7:25 p.m. Alderman Bertrand moved for an executive session to discuss the appointment of a public officer. The executive session adjourned at 7:35 p.m. on a motion by Deputy Mayor Fritz, seconded by Alderman Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENT OF ALDERMAN: Alderman Mark Koenig moved to appoint David Austin as the new alderman effective March 7th. Alderman Matt Chabot seconded the motion with all voting in favor. Mayor Perry explained the City Council chose David Austin because he has served on the City Council previously, has business experience, previously chaired the planning commission, and has lived here most of his life. T. Faith Terry, although very experienced and an excellent candidate, is a registered voter but not a resident of Vergennes and the law says when a town officer removes from town the office shall become vacant.

ADJOURNMENT: At 7:40 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk