City Council Minutes 01-22-2019



JANUARY 22, 2019


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.


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.


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