City Council Minutes 08-14-2018


AUGUST 14, 2018


Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. The agenda was amended by adding Acceptance of Alderman Matt Chabot’s Resignation and Approval of City Manager Employment Agreement. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                      City Manager Mel Hawley

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                    City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman David Austin                             Robert Trepanier

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                     Chance Koenig

Alderman Mathew Chabot

Alderman Mark Koenig

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $991,380.75 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. The Warrant included $747,000 that was invested with EdwardJones.

MINUTES: Minutes to City Council meetings held July 24th and August 7th were presented for approval. Minutes to the August 7th meeting were amended to reflect Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz’s motion also included inviting City Clerk Devine to remain in the executive session. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to accept both sets of minutes as presented and amended, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor.

COMMENTS: Robert Trepanier, addressing Mayor Perry, advised a proclamation supporting values of inclusion, respect and justice in Vergennes was adopted by his predecessor and questioned if he and newer members of the City Council fully endorse the conditions therein. Mayor Renny Perry reported he had a copy of the resolution but was not sure of its entire content. Mr. Trepanier asked the City Council if they support the proclamation which they all affirmed their agreement and endorsement. Mr. Trepanier pointed out that a person can be asked to leave a restaurant based on their political affiliation unless the City has an ordinance prohibiting such. Mayor Perry advised he would have to explore and see what legal issues are involved as Vermont law only allows municipalities to adopt ordinances specifically authorized by stature but said he would look into it.

SOUTH WATER STREET BLOCK PARTY: The annual South Water Street Block Party is scheduled for August 26th from 5-7 p.m., advised City Manager Hawley. He will be issuing a Public Assemblage Permit for this event, he reported, but he does not take the liberty of closing streets for such events without City Council approval. Their email advises this is their 5th year and they would like to close a portion of South Water Street as they have in the past. Alderman Matt Chabot moved to authorize the road closing as requested, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor except Alderman Koenig abstaining who advised as he would be attending the event and is a resident of South Water Street.

OUTSIDE CONSUMPTION PERMIT: American Legion Post #14 requested a one-day outside consumption permit for their annual family picnic on August 26th. A space approximately 150’ x 200’ will be roped off from the building and will include portions of the parking lot and lawn area. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the permit. The motion was seconded by Alderman Matt Chabot with all voting in favor.

CORRECT ERRORS/OMISSIONS IN 2018 GRAND LIST: Manager Hawley advised there are a few errors/corrections needed in the 2018 Grand List. A mobile home owned by Addison County Community Trust (assessed at $15,300) was removed from Otter Creek Park in November so that parcel needs to be deleted from the Grand List. Comcast was late in providing their depreciated value of lines and equipment so their previous year value of $242,797 needs to be reduced to $235,711. He advised the Comcast correction will have no impact on the City as they only pay education property taxes. The Board of Listers is requesting the City Council approve these corrections. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the corrections as requested by the Board of Listers, seconded by Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz, with all voting in favor.

AMENDMENT TO FY2019 POLICE DEPARTMENT BUDGET: City Manager Hawley referred the City Council to the memorandum received from Police Chief George Merkel regarding the purchase of a 2018 Ford F-150 for $35,865; the Police Department budget allocated $40,000 for a new police cruiser. The cost for decommissioning the 2004 vehicle that will be returned to Addison County Sheriff’s Department and setting up the new vehicle with required equipment will be $14,574 creating the potential for overspending of the capital purchases line item by $10,439. City Manager Hawley supported the City Council amending the budget and said he will come back with a specific recommendation at the next meeting.

APPOINTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD MEMBER: Peter Garon resigned from the Development Review Board to accept the position of Zoning Administrator so that has created a vacancy, advised City Manager Hawley. They customarily run as a 7-member Board and Alderman Lowell Bertrand sits as an alternate on the Board. Mayor Renny Perry suggested the remaining members of the Development Review Board recommend a candidate to the City Council to fill this vacancy.

APPOINTMENTS TO RECREATION AND FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Mayor Renny Perry advised he has a few candidates who have agreed to serve on the Recreation and Facilities and Programs Advisory Committee. He recommended the appointment of Tim Cook, Erin Roche, and Linda Hawley as community members and Lynn Donnelly as the City Council representative. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to make those appointments, seconded by Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz, with all voting in favor.

ACCEPT ALDERMAN RESIGNATION: Mayor Renny Perry advised Alderman Matt Chabot has resigned from his position on the City Council to become eligible for the appointment of City Manager. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to accept the resignation of Matt Chabot, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor.

CITY MANAGER SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT: Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz reported the Search Committee had three final candidates to interview on August 1st for the City Manager position. On August 1st their first choice candidate withdrew followed by their second choice candidate withdrawing on August 7th. The third candidate was interviewed on August 7th and took another City Manager position in Connecticut on August 10th. This was the second session the Search Committee worked very hard on, he advised, and ended with no candidates. Alderman Matt Chabot expressed interest in the position at that time and he was interviewed August 10th by the City Council. The Search Committee recommends the appointment of Matt Chabot as City Manager.

APPOINTMENT OF CITY MANAGER: Mayor Renny Perry advised the City Manager appointment would become effective August 31st at 4:30 p.m. subject to a background check and signing of the employment agreement. Alderman David Austin moved to appoint Matt Chabot as City Manager with the aforementioned conditions, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor. Mayor Perry announced he is pleased to have Matt on board. Matt has lived in the city for 16 years and has extensive management experience.

APPROVAL OF CITY MANAGER EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT: The City Council had a copy of the draft employment agreement for the City Manager position. Mayor Renny Perry advised he has added a one-time $1,500 signing bonus under Section 6 and is looking for a motion to approve the agreement with the amendment. Alderman David Austin moved to approve the employment agreement as presented, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.


CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Hawley advised August 28th will be his last City Council meeting. He said he will have a swimming pool budget for the 2018 season and a Capital Improvements and Special Funds Report. He said that the Planning Commission recently approved a proposed amendment on the Land Use Map and a public hearing by the City Council will be needed in September.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported the 2nd Annual Eat on the Green, sponsored by Vergennes Partnership, is scheduled for Sunday, September 16th. This year they will close off North Green Street in addition to Park Street to create a safer space for pedestrians.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:15 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand reminded everyone that Vergennes Day is Saturday, August 25th with a street dance the night prior. He then moved to adjourn the meeting. Alderman David Austin seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk