City Council Minutes 11-27-2018


NOVEMBER 27, 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                                   Police Chief George Merkel

Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Fritz                  Sergeant Jason Ouellette

Alderman David Austin                          Corporal Patrick Greenslet

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                  Officer Adam O’Neill

Alderman Mark Koenig                         Officer Mark Stacy

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                     Officer Jill Harter

Alderman David Small                          Officer Mark Barber

City Manager Mathew Chabot       Officer Mason Coleman

City Clerk Joan Devine                        Officer Paul Felion

Elise Shanbaker                                       Dog Warden Richard Catchapaw

Reporter Andy Kirkaldy                     Officers’ Family Members

Tim Cook


VISITORS: Addison County Community Trust Executive Director Elise Shanbaker gave the City Council a quick update on the 24 units of mixed income housing ACCT and Housing Vermont are partnering to develop on Armory Lane. This is a 7 million dollar project, she advised, and they will need access to funds in the Community Development Block Grant program. The City will be the applicant so you are required to have a public hearing by the end of January to make the application deadline of February 12, 2019, she stated. The project will start in September.

WARRANTS: The Warrant totaling $62,419.39 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve minutes to the City Council meeting held November 13, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig. Amendments were made on the second page under APPOINTMENT OF TRUSTEE. The word “personalities” was changed to “qualifications”. Under TRUCK TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE the word “economic” was added in the last sentence to read “. . would have a positive economic impact”. Under BASIN TASK FORCE APPOINTMENTS the words “Basin Task Force” were replaced with “Recreation Committee”. On the third page under MAHAIWE, LLC, the second sentence was amended to read, “He advised Zoning Administrator Peter Garon worked with Mr. Shlansky to create more clarity in the zoning regulations.” Under BIXBY LIBRARY TRUSTEE the words “ . . .Board of Trustees that represent Vergennes” was changed to read “ . . . Board of Trustees who reside in Vergennes”. A vote on the motion with corrections showed all voting in favor.


POLICE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL RECOGNITION:  Police Chief George Merkel gave a brief outline of some unique opportunities and challenges the department faced during the year and spoke of advanced training acquired by many of the officers. The department is committed to ensuring the safety of our community, he advised, and operates on the principles of Sir Robert Peele, the forefather of community policing. Recognition awards were given for Meritorious Service, Heroism Award, Motor Vehicle Enforcement Award, American Legion Officer of the Year Award, and a Promotion Award. Officer Patrick Greenslet was promoted to Corporal.

GOVERNOR’S HIGHWAY SAFETY GRANT PROGRAM: Police Chief George Merkel advised Vergennes Police Department was selected as a recipient of a National Highway Safety Grant to implement a county traffic safety coordinator position. The grant will provide funding for a new officer position and provide critical funding for highway safety enforcement activities for 2018-2019. The $192,000 one-year grant will cover operation funding, overtime funds and education costs for motor vehicle enforcement in Addison County. They will coordinate with other departments for DUI checkpoints as well as speakers in the schools. Officer Mark Stacey will be the traffic safety coordinator for a year and Paul Felion will get a one-year program with the City; he will get training and certification.  Addison county, Chittenden county, Rutland county and Bennington county are the only four counties in the state that have a traffic safety coordinator.

APPOINTMENT TO DOWNTOWN-BASIN TASK FORCE: Mayor Renny Perry reported he has found his file for the committee that originally worked on the basin portion of the Downtown-Basin Master Plan. He advised there are 35 names to choose from and felt confident he could find two candidates that would be willing to serve on the Task Force.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Chabot reported he is not seeing anything new in the budget report that he has not pointed out earlier. The City’s winter parking ban will go into effect December 1st. After checking the agreement with the State regarding the West Main Street Improvement Fund ($62,527) he advised the 15-year reserve is no longer committed and he will make recommendations for those funds at a meeting in January. City Manager Chabot reported he spoke with Fire Chief Jim Breur regarding Prospect Cemetery Association’s request to amend the Fire Station Use Policy to include their association. Chief Breur expressed concern to him with setting a precedent and felt the Bixby Library space offered up by Paula Moore would be adequate for their use. Manager Chabot also reported Karen Quigley has resigned from her position as a Lister. He inquired if the City Council wanted to fill the vacancy now or wait until the elections. Mayor Renny Perry advised the law says the vacancy shall be filled forthwith so we need to post it immediately. The vacancy will be posted at City Hall and on social media.

RECREATION COMMITTEE UPDATE: Tim Cook, Chair of the Recreation Committee, advised they have had two meetings so far and have developed a mission statement and set goals for the Committee. Erin Roche is the Secretary of the Committee that consists of 6 adults and 4 high school students. Rehabilitation of facilities at Veterans’ Memorial Park is their priority interest. The tennis courts have recently been resurfaced so they are looking at Phase 2 now; improvements to the Sam Fishman Pool. Phase 3 will involve repaving the ice rink/basketball courts. They have been looking into a Vermont Outdoor Recreation Communities (VOREC) pilot grant offered by Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation that has an application deadline of December 15th. City Manager Chabot advised the City would not be able to get the application together quick enough as we do not have a proficient grant writer on staff. Deputy Mayor Jeff Fritz moved to authorize a Vermont Outdoor Recreation Communities (VOREC) grant application, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor. Should a grant writer surface, advised Deputy Mayor Fritz, he wanted to ensure an application could be submitted immediately.

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Renny Perry reported there will be only one regular City Council meeting in December that will be held on December 18th at 5:30 p.m. at the Fire Station meeting room.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:35 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