City Council Minutes 01-8-2019


JANUARY 8, 2019


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


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.


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