All posts by Joan Devine

City Council Minutes 01-22-2019

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING

VCDP IMPLEMENTATION GRANT PUBLIC HEARING

JANUARY 22, 2019

MINUTES

Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station meeting room. Following the Pledge of Allegiance the meeting was recessed to go upstairs to view the new fire truck. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                             Danelle Birong

Alderman David Small                                       Julie Baslow

Alderman David Austin                                    Samantha Dunn

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                             Elise Shanbacker

Alderman Mark Koenig                                   Jubilee McGill

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                               Jean Twilinger

City Manager Mathew Chabot                   Mary Chapman

City Clerk Joan Devine                                  Andy Kirkaldy

RECONVENE: The regular meeting reconvened at 5:55 p.m.

VISITORS: None

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $584,286.57 was presented for review and signatures of approval. The Warrant included payment of $530,287 for the purchase of the new fire truck.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the meeting held January 8, 2019 and was seconded by Alderman David Austin. On the second page in the last paragraph the last sentence was corrected to read, “He does not like that the first pages say that the financial statements do not present fairly the financial position of the City of Vergennes, but that’s because we are not compliant with the rules for accounting.” The minutes were approved as amended with all voting in favor.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None.

22A TRUCK TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE UPDATE: Mayor Renny Perry advised he would like to hold off discussion on this item of business due to Jeff Fritz’s absence. The Committee is getting a list together for VTrans which the City Council will review, he advised. A $100,000 truck study was done by VTrans that supports an alternate truck route around the city but that will not happen for 25-30 years so the Committee is working on alternatives for the interim.

DRAFT WARNING FOR ANNUAL CITY MEETING: Alderman David Austin moved to adopt the proposed Warning for the Annual City Meeting as presented. The motion was seconded by Alderman Bertrand with all voting in favor.

PUBLIC HEARING – VCDP IMPLEMENTATION GRANT: Mayor Renny Perry read the duly posted Notice of Public Hearing. He advised the City is applying for a $400,000 Vermont Community Development Grant from the State which will be used to develop 24 units of mixed-income housing on Armory Lane. The purpose of the public hearing is to obtain views and answer questions from citizens regarding this community development. Samantha Dunn, Developer at Housing Vermont, advised they have partnered with Addison County Community Trust (ACCT), to develop 24 units of mixed income housing that is not age restrictive on Lot 2 of their 3-lot subdivision on Armory Lane. She advised they will begin construction in August 2019. Elise Shanbaker, Executive Director at ACCT, advised they currently have 136 people on their waiting list for senior housing and the development of these units should help with that list. Jean Twilinger, the project architect, had drawings of the bent structure building that will be two stories in some areas and three stories in others. She advised the structure is of traditional design with different cladding in the center. Alderman Lynn Donnelly questioned why only 24 units were being built when there was such a demand for more. Samantha Dunn reported the maximum density for this lot only allows 25 units. Danelle Birong advised she supports this project that will bring in an estimated $20,000 in property taxes and our City Plan supports this type of housing. Alderman David Austin felt the State needed to change the way properties such as this are taxed as affordable housing can potentially negatively impact a community. He felt every town in the state should bear the burden for this needed housing and a more in-depth analysis of financial impacts to a community needs to be done. Mary Chapman advised she was born and raised in this town and is currently homeless and living at the shelter. She reported she was doing okay for herself with a fulltime job and a pension until she became sick and lost it all including one-third of her income. Your life is in chaos when you are homeless, she advised, and that she was present to support this project for income based housing. Mayor Renny Perry stated housing is a major problem in Vermont; Vermont Futures’ study shows work force housing is in need. Being within walking distance to downtown is a benefit with this project, he state. Mayor Renny Perry closed the public hearing at 6:30 p.m.

ADOPT RESOLUTION FOR VCDP GRANT APPLICATION AUTHORITY: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adopt the Resolution for VCDP Grant Application Authority that authorizes Samantha Dunn to be the Contact Person on the City’s behalf to provide all documents and information necessary for the completion of said application and designates Matt Chabot as the Authorizing Official for the Grants Management On-line System. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor. A copy of the Resolution is filed as a part of these minutes.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot advised the Public Works Department employees deserve a huge “shout-out” for their performance during last weekend’s snow storm.

PARKING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT UPDATE: City Manager Chabot reported changes to city ordinances require a public hearing. We will have to redo the 3-hour parking ordinance amendment from the last meeting.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT POSITION: City Manager Chabot advised the City Council approved a part-time position for an administrative assistant but we are not getting everything done. His concern was the balance between the manager’s office and the clerk’s office. He advised the clerk will be retiring in the future and we will face challenges when she leaves. No overlap or transition occurred between him and the previous manager, he advised, and he would like someone on board fulltime to make the next transition easier. For the balance of this year he can cover additional wages with the budgeted line item for the administrative position and unexpended funds budgeted for recycling. He advised his proposal for the part-time position netted 15 applications which he narrowed down to 3; not vested in the position we need. Mayor Renny Perry affirmed that position was fulltime for many years and stated there is work outside accounts payable and payroll that needs to be done. Alderman Koenig stated he felt it would be easier to outsource some of the work. Mayor Perry questioned whether outsourcing work was cost prohibitive. Alderman David Austin said you would have to look at the expense compared to the cost of benefits. Alderman Koenig suggested City Manager Chabot contact Susan “Ze” Anderson-Brown, who is the human resource manager at Addison Northwest School District, to see if she could offer some help. Mayor Perry advised we will proceed from here. City Manager Chabot told the City Council if they had any feedback, to please contact him.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported there is a meeting at the Bixby Library tomorrow at 9 a.m. specific to Vergennes Opportunities Zone. Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) is bringing in 3 people to talk about the new regulations available for those who want to take advantage of them.

ADJOURNMENT: At 7:05 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 01-8-2019

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING

JANUARY 8, 2019

MINUTES

Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:32 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station meeting room. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                              Alderman David Small

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                City Manager Mathew Chabot

Alderman David Austin                       City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                 Shannon Haggett

Alderman Mark Koenig                       Andy Kirkaldy

Alderman Lynn Donnelly

VISITORS: None

WARRANTS: Three Warrants were presented for review and signatures of approval. Two of the Warrants, one was $290,708.19 and the other $24,425.03, were presented at the December 18, 2018 City Council meeting but failed to get signatures of approval. The third Warrant, totaling $126,643.85, was reviewed and approved.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meeting held December 18, 2018 and was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. A change was made to the first page under R&L RUBBISH. In the third sentence the word “directly” was injected to read “… and will be paid directly by the customer.” Under COMMENTS on the last page, the second sentence was corrected to read, “Mayor Perry advised criteria needs to be met such as traffic volume and pedestrian volume but we can look into it.” The minutes were approved as amended with all voting in favor.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None.

APPOINTMENT TO THE BOARD OF LISTERS: Mayor Renny Perry reported there has been no interest expressed for the vacant lister position. We may need to hire and appoint an outside assessor for this year. City Manager Chabot and City Clerk Devine will look into our options.

PROPOSED PARKING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT: City Manager Chabot reported feedback from his letter to the merchants was that the 2-hour parking limit in the central business district was not enough time; it did not allow enough time for people to shop, run errands and enjoy a meal. He submitted a proposed amendment to the 2-hour parking limit that would replace it with a 3-hour parking limit instead. The remainder of the ordinance would not change. If adopted the ordinance change will take effect in 60 days, he advised. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to adopt the amendment as presented, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

WATER TOWER FUND ALLOCATION – CITY HALL: City Manager Matt Chabot advised everyone agreed City Hall was in need of refurbishment. The project began with the conference room but will also include City offices. He prepared a cost estimate to replace frayed carpets, ceiling tiles, new tables and chairs, buying paint and hiring a painter, installing a baseboard heater, electrical work, tile flooring, led lights and a phone system totaling $18,616.00. He requested an allocation up to $20,000 from the Water Tower Fund for the completion of this project. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to approve that allocation, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor. He advised additional cosmetic improvements would be included in his FY2020 budget.

WATER TOWER FUND LOAN – FIRE TRUCK: City Manager Chabot explained the $500,000 bond from the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank, $20,000 from the sale of fire truck Engine 316, and $10,800 from the Fire Department Vehicle Replacement Fund will pay the bulk of the cost for the new fire engine ($537,000) but we still need $7,000 more. He suggested a $7,000 loan from the Water Tower Fund similar to what we did last year for the police cruisers. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the request, seconded by Alderman David Austin, with all voting in favor.

RECOMMENDATION FOR APPOINTMENT OF CITY HEALTH OFFICER: Mayor Renny Perry advised City Manager Matt Chabot is recommending himself to serve as the Town Health Officer effective January 9, 2019; this will need approval by the VT Department of Health. He advised he has been filling this seat since City Manager Hawley retired in August. Alderman David Austin moved to recommend Matt Chabot as the City Health Officer effective January 9, 2019. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot advised certain budgets will require City Council attention; some line items are out of our control such as heating the wastewater treatment plant, fire station and police station. It’s his understanding that no pre-buy was done for those facilities as they were going to be hooked up to natural gas. That did not happen, he reported, so he is not confident he can stay within budget. Tim Ryan advised him that the connections would be done in the spring.

A statewide CAT 4 Exercise will be conducted in Vergennes October 23, 24, and 25 of 2019, advised City Manager Chabot. This emergency comprehensive exercise will involve public works, police, fire, and rescue who will practice using ground resources at the site.

City Manager Chabot reported he was invited to a meeting of the Waltham Planning Commission. Currently they are looking at areas to promote future growth and development in their land use plan and are focused on land south of McKnight Lane off Green Street. He advised they would like to extend the sewer from that location to the new site they are looking at. Shannon Haggett advised he sits on the Addison County Regional Planning Commission so he has seen their plan and feels it is a very good one. Vergennes Planning Commission’s consensus was that it was the best area for development but will require a City vote to do that sewer extension, he stated. He went on to advise Waltham is looking at that site for population growth. City Manager Chabot reported this is all very premature but wanted City Council awareness. They are looking at going from 10-acre lots to .3 acre requirements.

Again our audit report notes we are not compliant with general accepted accounting and financial reporting as we are not GASB compliant, City Manager Chabot stated. He advised he would like to see us work towards elimination of this annual notation. Mayor Renny Perry advised our audit would be more understandable to the average person. He does not like that the first few pages say that we don’t present ourselves fairly but that’s because we are not compliant with the rules for accounting.

The switch to R&L Recycling has generated only one formal complaint to him, advised City Manager Chabot. Following Wednesday’s drop-off he had heard there are four unhappy people; Saturday was better. Next year he will change the traffic pattern for the first few visits after Christmas to eliminate any backup.

He has received a permit from the State, he advised, so we can begin clean-up at the stump dump. He reported public works will break down the pile into smaller burns as there is some concern with what might be in there. Once the site is manageable, hopefully by spring, they will open it up to the public.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported he is working on restarting the City Ordinance review; what have we done and what else needs to be done. He felt the City Charter also needs a review for updating.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:05 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. Alderman Lynn Donnelly seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk