VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING
FEBRUARY 26, 2019
Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station meeting room. He advised amendments to the agenda have been made under City Business; 6c is the submission of the City Council Calendar and 6d will be a report from the Basin Task Force. He advised Mike Winslow and Shannon Haggett will not be addressing this evening additional funding opportunities for proposed stormwater mitigation. Those in attendance were:
Mayor Renny Perry City Manager Mathew Chabot
Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz City Clerk Joan Devine
Alderman Lynn Donnelly Dexter Lefavour
Alderman David Austin Brent Rakowski
Alderman Lowell Bertrand
Alderman Mark Koenig
WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $756,244.92, which included the 3rd quarter education tax payment to ANWSD, was presented for review and signatures of approval.
MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the meeting held February 12, 2019. That motion was seconded by Alderman David Austin. On the second page under Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP), the eighth sentence was amended to read, “City Manager Chabot advised the objective of the Macdonough Drive pump station is to work at 100 percent and to do so it may need to be increased.” On the same page, under 22A Truck Traffic, the Truck Traffic Safety Committee meeting was corrected to read 6 p.m. rather than 9:00 a.m. The fifth sentence in the same paragraph was corrected to indicate they are checking into angled parking on Main Street from Green Street to North Maple Street. The minutes were approved as amended with all voting in favor.
VISITORS: Dexture Lefavour advised he is employed by Tata & Howard, Inc., consulting engineers specializing in water, wastewater, stormwater and environmental services. They have been retained by the City to do an infiltration study on the wastewater collection system and assess the wastewater treatment. He advised they are conducting a 6-week study that will end in April where they will be monitoring rain and snow melt events as well as stormwater and groundwater infiltration that enter the system through inflow and infiltration. These activities combined with sewage collection are causing lagoon overflows; the focus will be on the collection system and where infiltration is occurring. To address the wastewater treatment an inspection of the facility from beginning to end will be conducted. He reported there are some mechanical problems there that need to be resolved. He advised the City has to have a long term control plan in place with the State by October to comply with the 1272 Order. He did not feel they would have all the information they need by then so they may have to request a time extension in June if that is the case.
2019 CITY COUNCIL CALENDAR: Mayor Renny Perry advised he would like the City Council to review the proposed 2019 City Council calendar to see if they have any conflicts. If so, please contact City Manager Chabot.
STORMWATER MITIGATION PROJECTS: Brent Rakowski inquired if Mike Winslow and Shannon Haggett cancelled tonight’s presentation for any reason. City Manager Chabot advised they needed more time to find the right funding source for us. He departed at this time.
BASIN TASK FORCE COMMITTEE: Alderman David Austin, who is also Chair of the Basin Task Force Committee, advised they had their first organizational meeting on February 19th. He reported he was elected Chair and Mike Winslow the secretary. A general discussion on the lack of connectivity with the basin was had at that meeting. They will be meeting again February 21st at 6:30 p.m. in the city manager’s office. He advised they want to identify issues with existing pathways in the basin as it relates to water levels. They also felt the general public does not understand they have full access from the Benton stairwell on Main Street to the City dock; signage is needed and called for in the Downtown-Basin Master Plan. He told the Committee he would like them all to familiarize themselves with the Downtown-Basin Master Plan.
CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot gave credit to his team that has been out day and night trying to keep the road safe; hats off to all of them. He advised the Public Works Department’s equipment has been taking a beating this winter as well as their budget for salt. The Police Department revenues and expenses remain the same; there will be no more expenses unless absolute. Alderman Koenig stated the purchase of body cameras for the department was contingent upon staying on budget. City Manager Chabot reported there is no money for that this year but perhaps they could look for a VLCT grant. He advised he felt good about the budget in December; not so much right now.
Manager Chabot advised he has been working with Marsha Harris, the Director at the Bixby Library, on opening the parking lot in the winter for overnight parking. It is City property, he advised, and he will be working with them to ensure their patrons have parking. That will add an additional 20 parking spaces in the downtown.
City Manager Chabot advised he and Police Chief George Merkel met with Ferrisburgh’s Board of Selectmen on February 19th to discuss potential police coverage by our department in their town. He pointed out that a proposal to them was made just a year ago that proved cost prohibitive due to the level of services proposed. Addison County Sheriff’s Department has a limited contract with the Town of Ferrisburgh for $15,000 that will be expiring soon. He advised since 2014 there have been 427 occasions in their town by our department so it warrants further conversation. Social media feels we should be compensated if we are going to be there.
Eat on the Green has been scheduled for September 21st and Acorn Tour de Farm will be joining us again this year. The Vergennes Farmers Market is coming back to the City Green this summer on Thursdays from 2-6 p.m.
MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry spoke of the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), a Federal-State partnership for economic and community development within rural counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, that offers infrastructure grants to all of Vermont. He felt it may be easier to acquire a grant here because criteria would be half state and half federal requirements. A 50 percent local match will be required. He advised if the City Council is interested, a letter of ‘Notification of Interest’ would be needed by March 29th. A basin project could be accomplished such as the replacement of docks that have gotten old and tippy. In that letter he recommended leaning on the commerce end using boat traffic statistics. The grant deadline is May 10th, he advised, and he would be available to do that application if the Board found it worth pursuing. The full Board was in support of the idea.
He went on to advise that Congressman Peter Welch invited the eight Vermont city mayors to meet with him to better understand what infrastructure is necessary. Treatment of stormwater and wastewater were both expressed as they come with big price tags to fix.
Mayor Perry acknowledged this was his last City Council meeting and thanked everyone for their hard work. “It was my pleasure working with each of you for the last 7 years and I am glad you are all continuing on”, he stated.
JOURNMENT: At 625 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting. Alderman Mark Koenig seconded the motion with all voting in favor.
Vergennes City Clerk