City Council PH 01-21-2020

VERGENNES CITY COUNCIL

PUBLIC HEARING – CITY CHARTER CHANGES

JANUARY 21, 2020

MINUTES

Mayor Jeff Fritz called the duly warned, posted and advertised public hearing to order at 6 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station. The purpose of the meeting was to hear comments, suggestions, and answer questions regarding proposed amendments that completely rewrite and replace the current City Charter. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Jeff Fritz                                             City Manager Daniel Hofman

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                     City Clerk Joan Devine

Alderman William Benton                      Mel Hawley

Alderman David Austin                            Michael Daniels

Alderman Mark Koenig                           Sue Burdick (6:07 p.m.)

Alderman David Small

City Manager Daniel Hofman advised he and Alderman Mark Koenig met with City Attorney Ouimette and his main concern was the corporate boundaries. He recommends we don’t proceed until we have those boundaries. Alderman Koenig stated it could take 2 to 3 years before this happens. Attorney Ouimette feels there is a court case that demonstrates the legislature determines boundaries in a situation like this, he advised, and we are also looking at adverse possession. FedX delivered documents to City Hall last week sent from the US Census Bureau who are also looking for our boundaries. Mel Hawley displayed a map of the City showing Vergennes’ true boundaries compared to the area we have claimed and taxed for over 200 years which is about 550’ on the north and 1,100’ on the western border. The Ken Grippin house on Monkton Road is the last property in Vergennes and abuts a 50’ strip of land in Ferrisburgh that goes to the solar panels. Across the street from that location is Ridgeview Drive, which does not line up with the other. As you can see, advised Mel Hawley, the location of the proposed economic corridor is in Panton as well as his own house.

Mel Hawley informed the Board they can continue to build their case for the local option tax and present it to the voters as an amendment to the current City Charter if they wished to move that portion along before the boundary lines get established. Mayor Fritz advised they will have advisory questions on the ballot regarding voting rights for legal non-resident citizens and possibly changing City Councilors’ terms from 2 to 3-year terms.

The 2nd public hearing scheduled for the proposed charter changes was cancelled. The warned and advertised meeting for January 28, 2020 was cancelled.

ADJOURNMENT: At 6:33 p.m. Alderman Bill Benton moved to adjourn the public hearing, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Vergennes City Clerk