City Council Minutes 04-23-2019


APRIL 23, 2019


Mayor Jeff Fritz called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall in the conference room.   Item 6e, Northlands Job Corps Update, was added to the agenda. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Jeff Fritz                                               Alderman David Austin

Deputy Mayor Lynn Donnelly                City Manager Mathew Chabot

Alderman David Small                                City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman Mark Koenig                              Matthew Crowley

Alderman William Benton                        Julie Baslow

Alderman Lowell Bertrand

VISITORS: City Manager Chabot advised Matt Crowley, one of our Public Works Department employees, was his guest this evening. He stated he invited Matt to this meeting to publicly thank him for the excellent job he performed transforming the prior police station into the beautiful conference room it is today.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $64,932.10 was presented for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: Alderman Bertrand moved to approve minutes of the April 9, 2019 meeting. That motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. The minutes were amended on the first page under ‘RT 22A ALTERNATE TRUCK ROUTE’. In the last sentence the word ‘construct’ was replaced with ‘draft’. A vote on the amended minutes showed all voting in favor.

VERGENNES ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (VEC) RESOLUTION:  A draft resolution in support of the VEC that was prepared by City Manager Chabot was read by the Mayor. The document was circulated for signatures of support and is recorded as part of these minutes.

2019 CITY COUNCIL GOALS: Mayor Fritz advised he prepared a spreadsheet of the City Council’s goals expressed at the last meeting that included Community Prosperity, Environmental Stewardship, Sustainable Infrastructure, and Inclusive, Equitable and Welcoming Community. He stated he would like to leave the goals on the agenda as we move forward so they are always on the forefront.

CITY ORDINANCE REVIEW: Alderman Mark Koenig advised marijuana is now legal so that ordinance may need to be revised or eliminated. City Manager Chabot reported he will get revenue numbers from Chief Merkel for the next meeting. There are other areas of the ordinances that refer to State law that have been repealed so a general clean-up is needed. Alderman Benton advised the ordinances he was working on during his last session are about 80 percent done.

ADDISON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION UPDATE: Alderman David Austin advised he has a meeting this Thursday at ACEDC and they are also having a retreat at the Basin Harbor Club on May 13th. Discussions at their Board meetings have included the creation of the Economic Corridor and it is being seen as good for the area and not just Vergennes.

ASSESSOR SERVICES AGREEMENT: City Manager Chabot reported he has engaged NEMRC for services related to the grand list that used to be accomplished by former Manager Mel Hawley. The services will also include maintenance to the grand list.

CERTIFICATE – NO APPEAL OR SUIT PENDING: City Manager Chabot advised this Certificate officially closes the 2018 grand list as allowed by statute. Once endorsed, the validity of the grand list shall not be put in issue by any party to any action in any hearing or trial in any court. The Certificate was passed for signatures of the City Council members and will be signed by the Listers.

BIXBY LIBRARY – SERVING ALCOHOL ON CITY PROPERTY: An application was submitted by the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees to serve alcohol on their premises at the Bixby Gala scheduled for May 31st. Certificates of educational training and a letter showing the Board of Trustees voted to allow serving of alcohol on that date accompanied the application. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to grant permission to serve alcohol as requested by the Board of Trustees. The motion was seconded by Alderman David Austin with all voting in favor.

BASIN TASK FORCE UPDATE: Alderman David Austin, Chair of the Basin Task Force, reported their Committee had their scheduled walk-thru from the bridge to the City Dock amidst the seasonal flooding. He reported Public Works Supervisor James Larrow had some great ideas including creation of a pathway with millings (ground asphalt). There is not a lot of current in that area so it should last a long time. The group also identified public parking areas and Tim Cowan marked off the high waters. This year their focus and work will be on the Macdonough Drive side of the basin. Alderman Austin advised they will have cost estimates for the City Council in May to cover the work they want to do this year. Freeman French & Freeman, Architects have invited the City to participate in a Charrette they are doing in Burlington free of charge. They will attempt to design a brand/logo for Vergennes. Long-term goals for the Committee will be identified in the future, he stated.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE SUPPLY EQUIPMENT (EVSE) GRANT: City Manager Chabot advised he is writing a grant application for an electric car charger station. The closest one we have in town is at DR Power. He advised the costs are not exorbitant but it will require an underground 110 charge line. Alderman Small inquired how one pays for kilowatts used. Manager Chabot reported a credit card swipe can be used but the fee will be minimal. It’s basically offering a public service.

STUMP DUMP OPENING: City Manager Chabot reported the stump dump will open on Saturday May 4th at 8 a.m. until noon and will remain open each Saturday morning for the month of May. Brush and stumps no larger that 4” will be accepted. The stump dump will be remain open the first Saturday morning of each month through October and is available to Vergennes residents only.

GREEN UP DAY: Alderman Lowell Bertrand, Chairman of Green Up Day, advised May 4th he will be on the City Green from 8 a.m. until noon to disperse bags and gloves to those volunteering to clean up the city. Bags can be picked up at City Hall for those getting an earlier start. He advised filled bags can be left on the side of the road and the Public Works Department will pick them up. City Manager Chabot advised there will also be a work day at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday May 4th beginning at 9 a.m. until completed.

SPRING CLEANING: Approximately 20 Vergennes Union High School students have been working for the Public Works Department this week helping with the annual spring cleaning, advised Manager Chabot. They are doing a terrific job, he stated, and thanked them.

JOB CORPS UPDATE: Manager Chabot reported there has been a spike in negative behavior at the Northlands Job Corps facility that has been a drain on the Police Department. Since January there have been 25 calls for service; 8 of those calls involved assaults. He advised Chief Merkel met with the administration a few weeks ago to discuss this activity. Again, last Saturday they had a student who was provided alcohol who registered a 0.214 BAC. The behaviors are becoming pervasively bad so this has become a front burner issue, he advised. Chief Merkel wrote the administration in Boston a letter calling attention to the dangerous behavior that, if continued, will result in serious injury or death and civil liability for Northlands Job Corps. Chief Merkel laid out expectations for the trend to cease immediately. Alderman Benton suggested sending a copy of the letter to our senators and representatives. Manager Chabot advised they wanted to work locally first but if there is no change, we will move forward until the behavior stops.

VERGENNES ECONOMIC CORRIDOR UPDATE: Mayor Jeff Fritz reported he met with Senator Ruth Hardy to discuss in depth the proposed bypass. Stantec, Inc. will also provide addition information. She was very supportive of the project as are our representatives, he stated.

CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS: Mayor Fritz advised we have a few more issues to be addressed in the City Charter before we submit it for public comment. Hopefully this will be done about June. We need to get through the required public hearings in time for the proposed amendments to be presented to the voters in March.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: At 6:15 p.m. Alderman Bertrand moved for an executive session to do evaluations on public employees. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. The executive session ended at 6:29 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT: Mayor Jeff Fritz declared the meeting adjourned at 6:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk