All posts by Joan Devine

City Council Minutes 11-27-2018

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING

NOVEMBER 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                                   Police Chief George Merkel

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                  Sergeant Jason Ouellette

Alderman David Austin                          Corporal Patrick Greenslet

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                  Officer Adam O’Neill

Alderman Mark Koenig                         Officer Mark Stacy

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                     Officer Jill Harter

Alderman David Small                          Officer Mark Barber

City Manager Mathew Chabot       Officer Mason Coleman

City Clerk Joan Devine                        Officer Paul Felion

Elise Shanbaker                                       Dog Warden Richard Catchapaw

Reporter Andy Kirkaldy                     Officers’ Family Members

Tim Cook

 

VISITORS: Addison County Community Trust Executive Director Elise Shanbaker gave the City Council a quick update on the 24 units of mixed income housing ACCT and Housing Vermont are partnering to develop on Armory Lane. This is a 7 million dollar project, she advised, and they will need access to funds in the Community Development Block Grant program. The City will be the applicant so you are required to have a public hearing by the end of January to make the application deadline of February 12, 2019, she stated. The project will start in September.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $62,419.39 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meeting held November 13, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. Amendments were made on the second page under APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE. The word “personalities” was changed to “qualifications”. Under TRUCK TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE the word “economic” was added in the last sentence to read “. . would have a positive economic impact”. Under BASIN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENTS the words “Basin Task Force” were replaced with “Recreation Committee”. On the third page under MAHAIWE, LLC, the second sentence was amended to read, “He advised Zoning Administrator Peter Garon worked with Mr. Shlansky to create more clarity in the zoning regulations.” Under BIXBY LIBRARY TRUSTEE the words “ . . .Board of Trustees that represent Vergennes” was changed to read “ . . . Board of Trustees who reside in Vergennes”. A vote on the motion with corrections showed all voting in favor.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None.

POLICE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL RECOGNITION:  Police Chief George Merkel gave a brief outline of some unique opportunities and challenges the department faced during the year and spoke of advanced training acquired by many of the officers. The department is committed to ensuring the safety of our community, he advised, and operates on the principles of Sir Robert Peele, the forefather of community policing. Recognition awards were given for Meritorious Service, Heroism Award, Motor Vehicle Enforcement Award, American Legion Officer of the Year Award, and a Promotion Award. Officer Patrick Greenslet was promoted to Corporal.

GOVERNOR’S HIGHWAY SAFETY GRANT PROGRAM: Police Chief George Merkel advised Vergennes Police Department was selected as a recipient of a National Highway Safety Grant to implement a county traffic safety coordinator position. The grant will provide funding for a new officer position and provide critical funding for highway safety enforcement activities for 2018-2019. The $192,000 one-year grant will cover operation funding, overtime funds and education costs for motor vehicle enforcement in Addison County. They will coordinate with other departments for DUI checkpoints as well as speakers in the schools. Officer Mark Stacey will be the traffic safety coordinator for a year and Paul Felion will get a one-year program with the City; he will get training and certification.  Addison county, Chittenden county, Rutland county and Bennington county are the only four counties in the state that have a traffic safety coordinator.

APPOINTMENT TO DOWNTOWN-BASIN TASK FORCE: Mayor Renny Perry reported he has found his file for the committee that originally worked on the basin portion of the Downtown-Basin Master Plan. He advised there are 35 names to choose from and felt confident he could find two candidates that would be willing to serve on the Task Force.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported he is not seeing anything new in the budget report that he has not pointed out earlier. The City’s winter parking ban will go into effect December 1st. After checking the agreement with the State regarding the West Main Street Improvement Fund ($62,527) he advised the 15-year reserve is no longer committed and he will make recommendations for those funds at a meeting in January. City Manager Chabot reported he spoke with Fire Chief Jim Breur regarding Prospect Cemetery Association’s request to amend the Fire Station Use Policy to include their association. Chief Breur expressed concern to him with setting a precedent and felt the Bixby Library space offered up by Paula Moore would be adequate for their use. Manager Chabot also reported Karen Quigley has resigned from her position as a Lister. He inquired if the City Council wanted to fill the vacancy now or wait until the elections. Mayor Renny Perry advised the law says the vacancy shall be filled forthwith so we need to post it immediately. The vacancy will be posted at City Hall and on social media.

RECREATION COMMITTEE UPDATE: Tim Cook, Chair of the Recreation Committee, advised they have had two meetings so far and have developed a mission statement and set goals for the Committee. Erin Roche is the Secretary of the Committee that consists of 6 adults and 4 high school students. Rehabilitation of facilities at Veterans’ Memorial Park is their priority interest. The tennis courts have recently been resurfaced so they are looking at Phase 2 now; improvements to the Sam Fishman Pool. Phase 3 will involve repaving the ice rink/basketball courts. They have been looking into a Vermont Outdoor Recreation Communities (VOREC) pilot grant offered by Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation that has an application deadline of December 15th. City Manager Chabot advised the City would not be able to get the application together quick enough as we do not have a proficient grant writer on staff. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to authorize a Vermont Outdoor Recreation Communities (VOREC) grant application, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor. Should a grant writer surface, advised Deputy Mayor Fritz, he wanted to ensure an application could be submitted immediately.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported there will be only one regular City Council meeting in December that will be held on December 18th at 5:30 p.m. at the Fire Station meeting room.

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

 

Vergennes City Council 11-13-2018

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING

NOVEMBER 13, 2018

MINUTES

Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. The agenda was amended by adding Mahaiwe, LLC vs City of Vergennes appeal. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                           Michael Daniels

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                          Sheila Turpin

Alderman David Austin                                  Paula Moore

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                           Tania Bolduc

Alderman Mark Koenig                                  Erin Roche

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                               Shannon Haggett

Alderman David Small

City Manager Mathew Chabot

City Clerk Joan Devine

 

VISITORS: Mayor Renny Perry explained the procedure for the City Council designation of a trustee for appointment to serve on the Bixby Library Board of Trustees. He advised the Bixby Library Board of Trustees does the actual appointment of the individual. Three candidates have expressed interest in the position and two of the candidates are here to tell us a little bit about themselves, he advised. Tania Bolduc stated her children have grown up so she is focusing on shifting her community service efforts from school related organizations to a wider community base. She feels the library is an asset to our community and has had involvement with them on her radar for a long time. She finds the library an interesting area with much potential. Erin Roche reported she moved here 8 years ago but grew up on Long Island and went to college in Chicago. She currently works for a non-profit agency in Burlington and has been an educator, worked in sales and marketing, etc. so she brings lots of diversity. She is also the mother of a 10-year old, she advised.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $593,065.84 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meeting held October 23, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. Amendments were made on the first page under PRESENTATION. Mr. Chaput advised the substation normally processes 840,000 gallons a day was corrected to read “Mr. Chaput advised the substation normally processes 340,000 gallons a day”. In the same paragraph ….water runoff goes into catch basins or Mossy Brook was corrected to read “….water runoff goes into catch basins and into Mossy Brook”. A vote on the motion with corrections showed all voting in favor.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None.

REQUEST TO USE FIRE STATION MEETING ROOM: Michael Daniels and Sheila Turpin, both officers of the Prospect Cemetery Association, requested the Fire Station Policy be amended to include Prospect Cemetery Association as an approved organization to use the facility. Michael Daniels advised the City of Vergennes deeded the Prospect Cemetery to them August 4, 1892. At least once a year the Association is required to meet as a non-profit organization and they need to meet in a handicap accessible location. Mayor Renny Perry advised the policy restricts use of the fire station meeting room to government associated uses. Paula Moore advised the Bixby Library meeting room downstairs is available, handicap accessible and offers parking. Alderman Lynn Donnelly advised she would like the City Council to not make a decision on this request until the fire department has been consulted. City Manager Chabot stated he would speak with Fire Chief Jim Breur and work on some proposed language for a policy amendment at the next meeting.

APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE TO BIXBY LIBRARY BOARD: Mayor Renny Perry announced the City Council will put this item at the end of the agenda to allow for an executive session to discuss personalities of the applicants for the position.

UPDATE-TRUCK TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE: Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz advised the committee has met and acknowledges they are probably looking at 10-years before a bypass happens. In the interim they are keeping the momentum and out in front. Mayor Renny Perry advised the ad hoc committee has been looking at an alternate truck route and whether it would have a positive impact. Deputy Mayor Fritz reported they will be meeting again December 5th.

BASIN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENTS: City Manager Matt Chabot reported he has spoken with Tim Cook and the Basin Task Force will be meeting next week. Two more residents are needed for appointment to the Basin Task Force. A notice to the public will be put on Front Porch Forum advising of these two openings.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported the Booth Woods paving project went over budget but Public Works Supervisor Jim Larrow will bring his budget in line by cutting back in other areas. The line item in the budget for the State stormwater fee that is $640 annually had another permit that was required this year and cost $500. The City Hall conference room project is something the public works department works on during rainy days; he feels the window of time is approaching to progress a little more. He pointed out there is no budget for this project.

VTrans’ 2020 paving project for Vergennes will be repaving Main Street from city line to city line and down Green Street as far as the diamond, he advised. They will also re-do all the parking lines involved. VTrans has given us the ability to make specific requests on a planned project. He reported they will do engineering studies for us too such as a bike lane in the downtown corridor. Night paving is also available if we speak up and request it. Shannon Haggett, Chair of the Planning Commission, reported they will pull out some recommendations from the Basin-Downtown Master Plan to present with the bypass plans. The committees representing recreation and the basin can all do the same, he stated. He assured the City Council there is definitely room for negotiations with the State.

ACSWMD/VERGENNES RECYCLING UPDATE: City Manager Matt Chabot reported Requests for Proposals that are due next week have been sent to two haulers to do a trash and recycling drop-off site during the interim from January 1, 2019 and the opening of the new regional facility in Ferrisburgh. He will be meeting with the haulers and representatives from the 5 towns on November 28th. Mayor Renny Perry reiterated that this is not a Vergennes problem; it belongs to Addison County Solid Waste Management District and they should be the ones doing interim steps necessary and create the permanent solution. City Manager Chabot advised something will be available January 2, 2019. Manager Perry stated ACSWMD is working on establishing a regional facility in Ferrisburgh and they will manage it.

MAHAIWE, LLC VS CITY OF VERGENNES APPEAL: City Manager Matt Chabot reported David Shlansky, owner of Mahaiwe, LLC, will voluntarily dismiss his appeal with the City in Supreme Court. He advised Zoning Administrator Peter Garon worked with Mr. Shlansky to assist him with understanding our zoning regulations. Peter Garon took the initiative and got the best solution, he stated. Mayor Renny Perry stated the need for more clarity in the process; there can be no ambiguity.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported he and City Manager Chabot met regarding his performance evaluation; he is on probation until March. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz and Alderman Mark Koenig put together a form a few years ago but March is inadequate time to accomplish this. The City Council and the City Manager will meet in February when Manager Hawley and City Clerk/Treasurer Devine will establish their goals for the ensuing year.

BIXBY LIBRARY TRUSTEE: Mayor Renny Perry advised the Bixby Library Board of Trustees can make their own appointment if the City Council does nothing or the City Council can designate a candidate for their appointment. Alderman Mark Koenig felt the City Council would be negligent in their duties if they did not appoint a designee. He also pointed out that Martha Mack and two other candidates are out there waiting for a decision from the City Council. In the conversation it was mentioned that two members already on the Board of Trustees that represent Vergennes are Peter Welch and Nial Rele. At 6:40 p.m. Alderman David Austin moved for an executive session to discuss the appointment of a public officer. The motion was seconded by Alderman Bertrand with all voting in favor except Deputy Mayor Fritz and Alderman Donnelly. Alderman Mark Koenig recused himself from participation due to a conflict of interest (his wife is an applicant). At 6:48 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the executive session, seconded by Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz, with all voting in favor.

Mayor Renny Perry announced the Board was unable to make a decision. Alderman Lynn Donnelly advised the City Council feels there are three excellent candidates who want to be on the Bixby Library Board of Trustees and want to leave the decision to the Bixby Library Board of Trustees to choose the one that best meets their needs and supports their mission.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:50 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