City Council Minutes 09-11-2018


September 11, 2018


Mayor Renny Perry called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                                    Shannon Haggett

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                                  Bret Rakowski

Alderman David Austin                                           Julianne Jones

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                                   Carrie Macfarlane

Alderman Mark Koenig                                          Doug McKain

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                                       Larry Buck

Alderman David Small

City Manager Mathew Chabot

City Clerk Joan Devine

VISITORS: Carrie Macfarlane advised she is a member of the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County and they, with a combination of municipalities, are attempting to hire a consultant to develop a master plan for a designated bicycle route connecting Addison County’s Designated Downtowns (Vergennes, Middlebury, and Bristol) and New Haven’s Village Center. They intend to apply for a $35,000 Municipal Planning Grant that requires a 10 percent local match ($3,500) and are asking the City of Vergennes for support in the amount of $1,500; New Haven is contributing $2,000. The Town of New Haven will be the lead applicant for the grant and Addison County Regional Planning Commission will be the coordinating agent. Carrie Macfarlane advised two-thirds of the bike loop will be located in New Haven. She also reported there is lots of support from ACRPC and the proposed project complies with Vergennes’ Plan.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $51,344.16 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: Minutes to the City Council meeting held August 28th were deferred.

APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE TO BIXBY BOARD: Mayor Renny Perry reported, due to the recent death of Christine Bradford, we will need to fill the vacancy on the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees.

APPOINTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD MEMBER: Mayor Renny Perry advised we need to fill a vacancy on the Development Review Board created when Peter Garon resigned to become the Zoning Administrator. He further advised the Planning Commission interviewed two candidates who expressed interest in the position but one has withdrawn so the Planning Commission is recommending the appointment of Teresa Hyndman for a term expiring August 1, 2020. Alderman Lowell Bertrand made that motion, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENT TO RECREATION AND FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Mayor Renny Perry advised a student still needs to be appointed to the Recreation and Facilities and Programs Advisory Committee. Alderman Mark Koenig advised the school has posted this available position so hopefully someone will step forward soon.

DOWNTOWN-BASIN MASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION TASK FORCE: Alderman David Austin moved to create the Downtown-Basin Task Force in accordance with the Charge. Alderman Lowell Bertrand seconded the motion with all voting in favor. Mayor Renny Perry recommended the appointments of Kathy Rossier and Mike Winslow to the Basin Task Force as they were both part of the original basin committee. Alderman Lowell Bertrand made the motion for the appointments as recommended, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported everyone has a copy of the Sidewalk Inventory and Improvement Recommendations that was prepared by the Planning Commission in July 2016. Mayor Renny Perry advised decisions on paving or sidewalk replacement is the City Manager’s job to take all politics out of the decision making. City Manager Chabot advised Public Works Supervisor Jim Larrow told him that he was told by an Alderman to remove a portion of the sidewalk on South Water Street and to replace it with grass seed. He advised he will work with Jim Larrow and report back to the City Council. Shannon Haggett, Chair of the Planning Commission, advised they prepared that document in 2016 as guidance for needed sidewalk extensions and replacements. He is adverse to removing sidewalks; we are a city. Mayor Renny Perry advised he looked at a total rebuild of the street when he was the City Manager because the street is narrow, no drainage, deteriorating sidewalks, etc. but the price was huge. He suggested leaving it with City Manager Chabot to contact property owners for their feedback on whether to replace or remove sidewalk on the lower end of South Water Street and then make a decision. Julianne Jones, a resident of South Water Street, requested, if the sidewalk remains, that it be plowed all the way down the street. She also suggested signs at the elbow instructing motorists to share the road with kids. Alderman Austin stated he has always felt someone was going to get killed on that corner and is a supporter of traffic calming devices.

City Manager Chabot updated the City Council on several topics. He is working with Brian Goodyear at Vergennes Area Rescue Squad on next year’s contract. The auditors will be here next Tuesday. The revolving flashing beacons have been installed at several locations and Chief Merkel will put out an awareness article on Front Porch Forum.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported he will be attending the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) annual business meeting on October 3rd. The City Council needs to designate a voting delegate for this event. He advised he is willing to be that designee if no one else is interested. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to appoint Mayor Renny Perry as the City’s voting delegate for VLCT’s annual business meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Austin with all voting in favor.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:13 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