City Council Minutes 11-26-2019


NOVEMBER 26, 2019


Mayor Jeff Fritz called the regular meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room at City Hall. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Jeff Fritz                                           City Clerk Joan Devine

Deputy Mayor Lynn Donnelly            Shannon Haggett

Alderman William Benton                    Scott Hardy

Alderman David Austin                          Sierra Bertrand

Alderman Mark Koenig                          Tim Clark

Alderman David Small                            Carrie McFarlane

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                   Tim Cook

City Manager Mathew Chabot


WARRANTS: Two Warrants were presented for review and signatures of approval. The Warrant in the amount of $891,938.18 was from the previous meeting and the other in the amount of $118,277.24 were both approved.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the minutes of the November 12, 2019 meeting and was seconded by Alderman Koenig. On the second page under Health Insurance Plan and Suggested Guidance, the fifth sentence was corrected to read, “Alderman Koenig, who sits on the ANWSD Board of Directors, reported the school district does an 80-20 split with an HRA.” He also suggested that updated figures for additional revenue anticipated to be generated from the sewer rate increase be clarified. City Clerk/Treasurer Devine had emailed Mayor Fritz estimating $121,502 would be generated annually as a result of the increase ($424 to $500 annually – a 17.9% increase) based on the previous year’s revenues for user fees. The vote on the amended minutes showed all voting in favor.

MACINTOSH PARK – BIKE PARK PROPOSAL: Scott Hardy advised Addison County Bike Club (ACBC), a group of motivated community members and local riders who have joined forces to provide mountain biking awareness in Addison County, have been working on laying out a .5 and a .6 mile mountain bike trail at MacIntosh Park. In addition to trail building, maintenance and signage will also be part of the project so all riders have an opportunity to connect with each other with group rides and trail workdays. Mr. Hardy advised no Act 250 or State permits are needed for the project. Signs can be posted that riding is at your own risk or we can do like the Town of Montgomery did and get a blanket rider policy that covers all our bike trails. There will be no budgetary requests to the City, he stated, as they are all volunteers. City Manager Chabot reported Northlands Job Corps’ forestry program can also assist with trail development.

RECREATION COMMITTEE PROPOSAL: Recreation Committee member Tim Cook advised he has been working with Carrie McFarlane and Brent Ratkowski to create a network and loop of trails, paths and sidewalks that connect schools, recreation areas, businesses and other points of interest in and around Vergennes. There are several segments of trails already in place, he advised, that need connectors to one another creating trails that would be used by pedestrians, bikers, snowshoers and skiers. Their priority will begin in areas surrounding the downtown and would spread out over the years. Approval of the concept is needed, advised Mr. Cook, before they can move forward and apply for a Safe Routes to Parks grant. If the City Council supports this proposal the Planning Commission can include this project in the City Plan which will help them when they apply for the grant, advised Shannon Haggett, Chair of the Planning Commission. Alderman David Small moved to authorize Tim Cook and the Recreation Committee to investigate this further and authorize a grant application when needed. The motion was seconded by Alderman Austin with all voting in favor.

SUCCESSION PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mayor Fritz advised the Succession Planning Committee continues to meet and move forward.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mayor Fritz advised the City Council needs to go into executive session as allowed in Title 1 V.S.A. §313 to perform scheduled interviews with candidates for the City Manager position and to discuss an employees’ contract.   At 5:55 p.m. Alderman Bertrand moved for an executive session, seconded by Alderman Koenig, with all voting in favor. The executive session adjourned at 8:04 p.m. on a motion by Alderman Benton, seconded by Alderman Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

REGULAR SESSION: Alderman Mark Koenig moved to approve City Manager Chabot’s request to reduce his work schedule to Tuesdays and Thursdays and on an as needed basis. Alderman Bertrand seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

ADJOURNMENT: At 8:06 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the regular meeting, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk