City Council Minutes 10-23-2018


OCTOBER 23, 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 Basin Task Force Appointment and Truck Traffic Safety Coordinator. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Renny Perry                                 City Manager Mathew Chabot

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz               City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman David Austin                        Paula Moore

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                 Doris Fritz

Alderman Mark Koenig                        Erin Roche

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                   James Larrow

Alderman David Small                         Victor “Rick” Chaput

Andy Kirkaldy



MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meeting held October 9, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. An amendment was made on the first page under Non-Retaliatory Statement. The word “incrimination” was replaced with “discrimination”. A vote on the minutes as amended showed all voting in favor.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $110,924.92 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.


PRESENTATION: City Manager Matt Chabot advised he invited Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Rick Chaput and Public Works Supervisor Jim Larrow to do a presentation on challenges they face that are causing wastewater overflows at the Macdonough Drive pump station. Mr. Chaput advised the substation normally processes 840,000 gallons a day. When there is a rain event that number can jump to 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 gallons a day and an average storm raises it to 4,000,000 gallons a day. He provided charts that diagramed this activity. He advised infiltration is everywhere within 15-minutes of the rain hitting the ground to arriving at the pump station causing a drastic problem within a short period of time and often causing an overflow. Our 1272 Order from the State says we have to fix it and the solution is to install a tank on the other side. We need to attack it at the Macdonough Drive station and transport the gallonage over to the wastewater plant where it can handle it. Mr. Chabot stated they know what the problem is and where it is happening but the crucial step is going forward. We have to fix the collection side of the problem first. Mr. Larrow reported 40 percent of the City’s sewer lines are clay tile; the remaining lines are transited (asbestos-cement), ABS and PVC pipe. In addition to the infiltration we also have businesses and housing developments that all have sump pumps that add additional water to process and treat, he stated. Mayor Renny Perry advised the City Council has the authority to make them disconnect the sump pumps but there is no other place for the water to go. Mr. Larrow mentioned that East Street has no stormwater system so all the water runoff goes into catch basins or Mossy Brook. Mayor Renny Perry questioned if we had a plan in place to get some of this work done. Mr. Larrow reported he would need $2,700 a day for about 3 months to camera the lines and rent a vactor truck. He has to do camera lines now since Vermont Natural Gas installed their lines. This will be a long hard battle with not a lot of grant dollars out there to get this done. Deputy Mayor Fritz advised he has seen programs out there for assistance for homeowners. Rick Chaput reported they were required to put in an overflow meter a few years ago so now they can tell exactly how many gallons our overflow contained when reporting to the State. He also explained that 99 percent of sewerage overflow is water and not raw sewerage like the press would like you to believe. Both Mr. Chaput and Mr. Larrow departed at 6 p.m.

BANKING SERVICES: City Manager Chabot reported Citizens Bank is closing their branch office in Vergennes in the middle of November so he and City Clerk/Treasurer Joan Devine have been meeting with a few local banks. We are recommending moving forward with the National Bank of Middlebury, he stated. Alderman David Austin moved to authorize City Manager Matt Chabot to sign the Corporate Resolution for the National Bank of Middlebury, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

CLARIFICATION – BIXBY DEED AND BOARD APPOINTMENTS: City Manager Matt Chabot advised the deed to the City for the Bixby Library conflicts with the Bixby Library By-Laws so he had City Attorney James Ouimette determine what takes precedence. Attorney Ouimette says all documents are subjugated to the deed. The City Council is not obligated to accept the recommendation for Trustee from the Bixby Library Board of Trustees. In the interim 3 outstanding candidates have expressed interest in the position so he recommended the 3 candidates come to the November 13th meeting and speak with the City Council. Mayor Renny Perry explained the City Council designates a person for the Trustee position and the Bixby Library Board of Trustees appoints that person. If the City Council fails to make that designation then the Bixby Board of Trustees would move forward and fill the vacancy.

VRLF – SHACKSBURY CIDER: City Manager Matt Chabot reported the Vergennes Revolving Loan Fund Committee has met twice to consider an application from Shacksbury Cider for a 5-year $50,000 loan from the VRLF. It was the recommendation of the Committee to approve the application with restrictions as listed in the minutes to the October 11, 2018 meeting. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the loan as outlined in the minutes to the VRLF Committee meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Lynn Donnelly with all voting in favor. Mayor Renny Perry advised we need to make these funds available or the State will take them back as part of our closeout agreement.

BASIN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENTS: Mayor Renny Perry advised two more residents for appointment to the Basin Task Force are still needed as well as one member of the Recreation Facilities and Programs Advisory Committee. The Basin Task Force is a City Council committee so everyone should be helping to fill these positions, he stated.

TRUCK TRAFFIC SAFETY COORDINATOR: Mayor Renny Perry reported he was still looking for two residents of Main Street to sit on the committee at the last meeting. Mike Kennedy (West Main Street) and Emily Tupper (Main Street) have both agreed to fill those positions and will serve with Chair Jeff Fritz, David Austin, and Heidi Mahoney. The committee will meet the first week of November.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported he has authorized removal of a dying tree on the Bixby Library lot as it proposes a hazard. He advised he continues to work on the trash/recycling dilemma and has a meeting tomorrow evening with representatives from Ferrisburgh, Panton, Waltham. He does not have a lot of good to report but we only have until December 31st to get this solved and there are not many options available. They continue to look for an interim step until the transfer station goes up in Ferrisburgh. Vergennes Animal Hospital has contacted him and expressed they no longer wish to be the poundkeeper for Vergennes because they are too busy. He is working with Homeward Bound in Middlebury and there will be some financial ramifications, he advised. He hopes to have a contract available for the next meeting.

City Manager Chabot advised City Clerk Devine has requested the City donate $100 to Front Porch Forum. The City uses that site several times a year to communicate with our residents at no cost. There were no objections from the City Council. He went on to report the police department revenues were significantly low due to delayed payments from the State. We are now at 15.63 percent of budgeted revenue.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry read his Extra Mile Day proclamation designating November 1, 2018 as the day for individuals in the community to “go the extra mile” in their own life and to also acknowledge those who are inspirational in their efforts and commitment to make organizations, families, community, country, or world a better place.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:20 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