City Council Minutes 10-09-2018


OCTOBER 09, 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                                      City Manager Mathew Chabot

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                    City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman David Austin                             Sierra Bertrand

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                     Sue Ferland

Alderman Mark Koenig                            Paula Moore

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                         Doris Fritz

Alderman David Small



MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the Public Hearing/City Council meeting held September 25, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. An amendment was made on the first page in the last paragraph. “… an ordinance prohibiting this right” was replaced with “… an ordinance prohibiting violation of this right”. A vote on the minutes as amended showed all voting in favor.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $403,623.34 was circulated for review and signatures of approval. Alderman Donnelly pointed out a possible miscoding.


NIMS ADOPTION: City Manager Matt Chabot advised he is going to renew the City’s participation in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the basis for all incident management in Vergennes. This basically allows federal, state and local governments to work together to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents regardless of cause, size or complexity.

NON-RETALIATORY STATEMENT: City Manager Chabot provided a copy of the City Council’s Resolution they adopted in August 2017 regarding their values of inclusion, respect and justice. He advised he met with Robert Trepanier last week and they both agree the Resolution addresses being free of incrimination in public spaces and that it is inclusive of everyone. Mayor Renny Perry stated he spoke with staff at Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) who gave him their opinion regarding the adoption of an ordinance that specifically prohibits discrimination based on political party. Vermont is not a home rule state so we can only do what the State allows us to do; we do not have the power to do that.

DOWNTOWN-BASIN MASTER PLAN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENT: Mayor Renny Perry advised he is recommending the appointment of William Benton as a representative from Vergennes Partnership to the Basin Task Force. Alderman David Austin moved to confirm that appointment, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE TO BIXBY BOARD: Mayor Renny Perry advised the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees has identified Martha Mack as a candidate for consideration for appointment as the City Council’s designee to serve on the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees. Paula Moore, President of the Bixby Board of Trustees, reported Martha’s background and enthusiasm for Vergennes makes her an ideal candidate. Susan Ferland reported she was looking at the Bixby Library bylaws and the City Council appointing someone does not require a recommendation from the Bixby Library. Paula Moore advised she is aware the City Council appoints at their pleasure. The Board of Trustees has 4 representatives from Ferrisburgh and 1 from Vergennes so they felt Martha Mack will help balance representation, she stated, and she is an excellent candidate. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz stated the City Council was notified of Christine Bradford’s death. The City Council is not obliged to appoint Bixby Library’s recommendation so nothing has been violated. Mayor Renny Perry advised we asked for their recommendation as we do other boards when there is a vacancy on their board. City Manager Matt Chabot recommended tabling action on this appointment and putting a notice on Front Porch Forum advising of the vacancy as we did a few weeks ago for the alderman position. Alderman Lynn Donnelly advised we ask boards for recommendations; it is what we do. She wanted the record to be clear that this delay has nothing to do with Martha Mack’s character; it is all about due process.

MULTI-TOWN RECYCLING MEETING: City Manager Chabot reported he is delaying the multi-town recycling meeting for a bit. He spoke with Cheryl Brinkman this morning, our delegate on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD) Board of Directors, and they are going to meet on Wednesday with Joe Fortune and Christy Goyette (C&J Haulers) and Terry Kosinski (ACSWMD). Casella has stated they do not have the ability to handle trash and/or recycling for Vergennes and 4 additional towns beginning January 1, 2019. Mayor Renny Perry advised ACSWMD has a legal responsibility to take care of this problem; they are responsible for all waste management in Addison County. Sue Ferland questioned if there had been any effort to re-open the stump dump for local yard waste and suggested several sites. City Manager Chabot advised no action has been taken but ACSWMD is working towards a regional drop-off center in Addison County.

AMERICAN PUBLIC WORKS FIRST RESPONDER SYMBOL: A national public works first responder symbol has been issued by American Public Works Association as a result of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, advised City Manager Chabot. By displaying the symbol on vehicles, hats, clothing, etc., raises awareness among all citizens, government officials, and other first responders about the critical role public works plays in emergency management efforts. This will be an asset to our Public Works Department, he advised.

MAHAWI vs CITY OF VERGENNES: City Manager Chabot advised David Shlansky, owner of Mahawi, LLC, has filed a 60-day stay with the courts regarding his appeal on a zoning permit restriction. Our City Attorney has agreed to this and we are looking into how zoning can be easier.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported the Warrant includes a $6,500 bill for attorney fees associated with the Mahawi, LLC appeal. Other large expenditures were the paving of Booth Woods and Macdonough Drive along with a bond payment for the wastewater treatment plant. He continues to keep his eye on payroll in one of the departments. Alderman Bertrand questioned police revenue at 4%. City Manager Chabot advised Chief Merkel is very receptive to his directives on speed enforcement and he will talk to him.

RECREATION COMMITTEE: Alderman Lynn Donnelly reported the Recreation Committee and the Pool Advisory Committee met and a priority list was established. The Recreation Committee will focus on what we have and bring those facilities up to par. They would also like to combine the Pool Advisory Committee with the Recreation Committee, she advised. She stated she felt there was no check and balance for the finances of the pool so they hope to find a few volunteers to be in charge of that. The group is fabulous, she stated, very energetic with great ideas. They will begin meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at City Hall at 6 p.m.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported he is looking to create a truck committee that would have more focus on parts of the study. If an alternate truck route is to happen it will take a long time, he stated, so what to do in the interim is an area the committee could focus on. He would like Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz and Alderman David Austin to serve along with Heidi Mahoney who is employed by David Shlansky. Mr. Shlansky owns several commercial properties on Main Street so that input would be important. He is looking for two residents of Main Street to also sit on the ad hoc committee; it is his intention they will hold 2-3 meetings on this issue. Alderman Lynn Donnelly suggested one resident from West Main Street and the other from Main Street.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:15 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