All posts by Joan Devine

City Council Minutes 10-09-2018


OCTOBER 09, 2018


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                                      City Manager Mathew Chabot

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                    City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman David Austin                             Sierra Bertrand

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                     Sue Ferland

Alderman Mark Koenig                            Paula Moore

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                         Doris Fritz

Alderman David Small



MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the Public Hearing/City Council meeting held September 25, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. An amendment was made on the first page in the last paragraph. “… an ordinance prohibiting this right” was replaced with “… an ordinance prohibiting violation of this right”. A vote on the minutes as amended showed all voting in favor.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $403,623.34 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. Alderman Donnelly pointed out a possible miscoding.


NIMS ADOPTION: City Manager Matt Chabot advised he is going to renew the City’s participation in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the basis for all incident management in Vergennes. This basically allows federal, state and local governments to work together to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents regardless of cause, size or complexity.

NON-RETALIATORY STATEMENT: City Manager Chabot provided a copy of the City Council’s Resolution they adopted in August 2017 regarding their values of inclusion, respect and justice. He advised he met with Robert Trepanier last week and they both agree the Resolution addresses being free of incrimination in public spaces and that it is inclusive of everyone. Mayor Renny Perry stated he spoke with staff at Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) who gave him their opinion regarding the adoption of an ordinance that specifically prohibits discrimination based on political party. Vermont is not a home rule state so we can only do what the State allows us to do; we do not have the power to do that.

DOWNTOWN-BASIN MASTER PLAN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENT: Mayor Renny Perry advised he is recommending the appointment of William Benton as a representative from Vergennes Partnership to the Basin Task Force. Alderman David Austin moved to confirm that appointment, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE TO BIXBY BOARD: Mayor Renny Perry advised the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees has identified Martha Mack as a candidate for consideration for appointment as the City Council’s designee to serve on the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees. Paula Moore, President of the Bixby Board of Trustees, reported Martha’s background and enthusiasm for Vergennes makes her an ideal candidate. Susan Ferland reported she was looking at the Bixby Library bylaws and the City Council appointing someone does not require a recommendation from the Bixby Library. Paula Moore advised she is aware the City Council appoints at their pleasure. The Board of Trustees has 4 representatives from Ferrisburgh and 1 from Vergennes so they felt Martha Mack will help balance representation, she stated, and she is an excellent candidate. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz stated the City Council was notified of Christine Bradford’s death. The City Council is not obliged to appoint Bixby Library’s recommendation so nothing has been violated. Mayor Renny Perry advised we asked for their recommendation as we do other boards when there is a vacancy on their board. City Manager Matt Chabot recommended tabling action on this appointment and putting a notice on Front Porch Forum advising of the vacancy as we did a few weeks ago for the alderman position. Alderman Lynn Donnelly advised we ask boards for recommendations; it is what we do. She wanted the record to be clear that this delay has nothing to do with Martha Mack’s character; it is all about due process.

MULTI-TOWN RECYCLING MEETING: City Manager Chabot reported he is delaying the multi-town recycling meeting for a bit. He spoke with Cheryl Brinkman this morning, our delegate on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD) Board of Directors, and they are going to meet on Wednesday with Joe Fortune and Christy Goyette (C&J Haulers) and Terry Kosinski (ACSWMD). Casella has stated they do not have the ability to handle trash and/or recycling for Vergennes and 4 additional towns beginning January 1, 2019. Mayor Renny Perry advised ACSWMD has a legal responsibility to take care of this problem; they are responsible for all waste management in Addison County. Sue Ferland questioned if there had been any effort to re-open the stump dump for local yard waste and suggested several sites. City Manager Chabot advised no action has been taken but ACSWMD is working towards a regional drop-off center in Addison County.

AMERICAN PUBLIC WORKS FIRST RESPONDER SYMBOL: A national public works first responder symbol has been issued by American Public Works Association as a result of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, advised City Manager Chabot. By displaying the symbol on vehicles, hats, clothing, etc., raises awareness among all citizens, government officials, and other first responders about the critical role public works plays in emergency management efforts. This will be an asset to our Public Works Department, he advised.

MAHAWI vs CITY OF VERGENNES: City Manager Chabot advised David Shlansky, owner of Mahawi, LLC, has filed a 60-day stay with the courts regarding his appeal on a zoning permit restriction. Our City Attorney has agreed to this and we are looking into how zoning can be easier.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported the Warrant includes a $6,500 bill for attorney fees associated with the Mahawi, LLC appeal. Other large expenditures were the paving of Booth Woods and Macdonough Drive along with a bond payment for the wastewater treatment plant. He continues to keep his eye on payroll in one of the departments. Alderman Bertrand questioned police revenue at 4%. City Manager Chabot advised Chief Merkel is very receptive to his directives on speed enforcement and he will talk to him.

RECREATION COMMITTEE: Alderman Lynn Donnelly reported the Recreation Committee and the Pool Advisory Committee met and a priority list was established. The Recreation Committee will focus on what we have and bring those facilities up to par. They would also like to combine the Pool Advisory Committee with the Recreation Committee, she advised. She stated she felt there was no check and balance for the finances of the pool so they hope to find a few volunteers to be in charge of that. The group is fabulous, she stated, very energetic with great ideas. They will begin meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at City Hall at 6 p.m.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported he is looking to create a truck committee that would have more focus on parts of the study. If an alternate truck route is to happen it will take a long time, he stated, so what to do in the interim is an area the committee could focus on. He would like Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz and Alderman David Austin to serve along with Heidi Mahoney who is employed by David Shlansky. Mr. Shlansky owns several commercial properties on Main Street so that input would be important. He is looking for two residents of Main Street to also sit on the ad hoc committee; it is his intention they will hold 2-3 meetings on this issue. Alderman Lynn Donnelly suggested one resident from West Main Street and the other from Main Street.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:15 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk


City Council Minutes 09-25-2018



September 25, 2018


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                                               Shannon Haggett

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                             Anna Rakowski

Alderman David Austin                                      Sierra Bertrand

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                              Summer Chabot

Alderman Mark Koenig                                     Carrie Macfarlane

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                                  Peter Garon (5:45 pm)

Alderman David Small                                        Robert Trepanier

City Manager Mathew Chabot

City Clerk Joan Devine

VISITORS: Mayor Renny Perry reported the City Council was waiting for a student to express interest in serving on the Recreation and Facilities and Programs Advisory Committee; we now have four interested candidates. He introduced Sierra Bertrand, Summer Chabot and Anna Rakowski and advised Jacob Kadric is also interested in serving on the committee but was unable to attend this meeting. Each of the students gave a brief statement on why they would like to serve on the committee. Mayor Renny Perry suggested maybe appointing 2 of the students as primary delegates and 2 as alternates. The appointment(s) will be made in accordance with the agenda.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meetings held August 28th and September 11th. That motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. An amendment was made to the August 28th minutes on the last page; under South Water Street Sidewalk the words “throw up the sidewalk” were replaced with “tear up the sidewalk”. Minutes to the September 11th meeting were amended on the first page under Visitors. The words “New Haven is contributing $2,000” were corrected to read “New Haven was being asked to contribute $2,000”. On the last page of the September 11th minutes, under City Manager’s Report, “was told by an Alderman to remove” was replaced with “was told to remove”. In the next paragraph “revolving flashing beacons” was replaced with “rapid flashing beacons”. Alderman Bertrand moved to accept the minutes as amended, seconded by Alderman Koenig, with all voting in favor.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $770,111.87 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. City Manager Chabot pointed out the Warrant includes the 1st quarter installment for the education tax.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: Robert Trepanier advised he is back to follow-up on a national issue he brought to the City Council a few months ago when he asked how the City Council stood on fair and equitable treatment. He cited the restaurant conversation he shared with the City Council regarding a patron being asked to leave a restaurant due to their political affiliation which is not protected under civil rights law. Unless a municipality has an ordinance prohibiting this right there is no standing in the courts, he stated. Mayor Renny Perry advised he has not been able to research this yet to make sure we can legally do it. Mr. Trepanier stated we, the citizens, want to know what protection we can expect in Vergennes so you looking into that would be much appreciated. Alderman David Austin did not feel that we wanted to enact an ordinance as the answer is complex and costly. We should respond to his concern with perhaps a resolution instead. Alderman Koenig suggested letting Mayor Perry do his part first and see if it is feasible and can we do it. Mayor Renny Perry advised he will work with VLCT and do some research.

STUDENT NOMINEES TO RECREATION COMMITTEE: Because four students were interested in being on the recreation committee, discussion was had on how all students could participate with their busy schedules. Mayor Renny Perry advised the Charge addresses it being a 7-member committee but we could appoint all four students who collectively would have up to two votes at a meeting. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to appoint Sierra Bertrand, Summer Chabot, Anna Rakowski and Jacob Kadric to the recreation committee with a limit of two votes. Alderman David Austin seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

PUBLIC HEARING: At 6 p.m. Mayor Renny Perry called the duly warned and posted public hearing to order regarding an amendment to the Land Use Map of the Vergennes zoning and subdivision regulations as proposed by the Vergennes Planning Commission. The Notice of Public Hearing, as required by 24 V.S.A. §4442, was read by the Mayor. As no one wished to give testimony on the proposed amendment, Mayor Perry closed the public hearing at 6:01 p.m.

TRIANGLE BIKE LOOP FUNDING: Carrie Macfarlane, a member of the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County, advised the Town of New Haven has approved their request for $2,000 towards the local match ($3,500) and she hopes Vergennes will support them and approve the remaining $1,500 as was requested. The grant will allow them to hire a consultant who will develop a master plan for a designated bicycle route connecting Addison County’s Designated Downtowns (Vergennes, Middlebury, and Bristol) and New Haven’s Village Center and it is in agreement with Vergennes’ Municipal Plan. City Manager Chabot reported the $1,500 can come from the Water Tower Fund. Alderman Bertrand inquired why Middlebury and Bristol were not contributing to this project. Carrie Macfarlane advised Middlebury cannot be an applicant because they already have a grant and the Town of Bristol does not have a Town Plan so they are not eligible either. Neither one of them is qualified to be applicants of this grant. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the request for $1,500 towards the matching funds and the fund to be taken from the Water Tower Fund. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor. A FY19 Municipal Resolution for a Municipal Planning Grant was circulated for signatures from the legislative body.

ACRPC TOWN ENERGY PLANNING ELEMENT PILOT: Shannon Haggett, Chair of the Planning Commission, reported Addison County Regional Planning Commission has State funding to assist three towns within this Region with development of city plan energy elements that are consistent with the provisions of Act 174. These grants require no matching investment, he advised. A letter of intent is needed from him as the Chair and a decision is likely next week. Unanimous City Council support was offered; Mayor Renny Perry will sign Shannon’s letter indicating that support.

ALTERNATE TO ACSWMD: City Manager Matt Chabot suggested he take retired City Manager Hawley’s position as the alternate delegate on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District’s Board of Directors. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to appoint City Manager Chabot as an alternate delegate to the ACSWMD, seconded by Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz, with all voting in favor.

VLCT DRAFT MUNICIPAL POLICY: Mayor Renny Perry advised he sent a copy of the draft municipal policy to the City Council early so they would have time to review it. The VLCT policy is their guidance manual. As he is on the F.A.I.R. Committee he should be voting what the City standing wants and not what he wants himself. The election portion was discussed and the City Council supported no “gap” day as it relates to elections.

DOWNTOWN-BASIN MASTER PLAN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENT: Mayor Renny Perry advised Kathy Rossier was appointed to the Basin Task Force as a community representative but she should be switched to a Vergennes Partnership representative as she sits on that Board. Mike Winslow will remain a community appointee. He advised he would like to recommend David Austin for the Council representative and we will wait for the recommendation from the recreation committee for their representative. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to appoint Alderman David Austin to the Basin Task Force as the City Council representative. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE TO BIXBY BOARD: Mayor Renny Perry advised the Bixby Memorial Free Library will make their recommendation for a new trustee that will replace Christine Bradford. That appointment to the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees will occur at the next regular meeting.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported we will be having our firewall replaced this week and are expecting two short blackout periods on Thursday. The Citizens Bank branch office in Vergennes is closing about November 17th so the Clerk/Treasurer and I are searching out and interviewing alternative banks, he advised. Scott Gaines reported to him a Vergennes Day Little City Race profit of $627 and recommends $500 be donated to Vergennes Area Rescue Squad and the remaining $127 be kept by the City for additional signage and supplies for next year. A budget report was made available to the Board. He informed the City Council that he is watching the overtime line item, supplies and equipment, as well as discretionary uniforms in the Police Department budget. He is establishing monthly meetings with each department.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reminded everyone that the State’s public hearing regarding truck traffic on Route 22A is tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Opera House. He hopes a lot of people attend and offer input. VTRANS initiated the consulting firm (Stantec) to do this study which indicates we have their attention. Alderman David Austin stated he felt the City Council should take a position on a bypass. He feels it would discourage truck traffic and promote pedestrian safety

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:35 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk