Vergennes City Voice 11-2017

Mayor, Michael H. Daniels

I would like to take this opportunity to bring everyone up to speed about large trucks coming through Vergennes. Some of you may or may not know the bridge on Route 17 over Otter Creek will be replaced in 2018. The bridge will be shut down on or around June 1st, 2018 and is scheduled to re-open around August 1st, 2018, just before Field Days. This closure will redirect about 250 large trucks through Vergennes daily.

We are also back at the table talking with state and local officials on how to decrease the number of trucks that come through Vergennes on a daily basis. There will be more meetings but, no matter the outcome, it will be years before anything will get done.

There is also discussion that the bridge in Vergennes over the Otter Creek will be repaired/replaced within the next five to ten years. As more information comes along I will share it with you either on Front Porch Forum or the City Voice.

I will be holding Cracker Barrel meetings starting in January or February 2018 to hear from businesses and residents about their feelings/thoughts in regards to Local Option Taxes. Those dates will be posted on Front Porch Forum. I know there are mixed feelings and we need to hear from you. The purpose of Local Option Taxes is to fund some projects that need to happen and I am in hopes that we find a way to fund these projects without having to raise everyone’s property taxes.

I would like to thank all those that are involved with the Holiday Stroll, especially the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes, Basin Harbor, Linda’s, Malabar and Raintree for the events on the City Green and tree lighting ceremony.

In closing, I wish everyone a Joyous and Healthy Holiday Season and New Year.

The Tree Warden
City Manager, Mel Hawley

Most everyone knows that along with being your city manager, I am the zoning administrator, health officer, and delinquent tax collector, but few know that I am also the TREE WARDEN.

So, what does that mean? In Vermont, every municipality is required by law to annually appoint a tree warden. Shade and ornamental trees within the public right of way and places are under the control of the tree warden. A public shade tree can only be removed or trimmed under the direction or approval of the tree warden.

Now let’s say there are one or more public trees in front of your house that are blocking your view and you want them removed. Firing up your chainsaw will result in a fine of $500 per tree. If the tree warden agrees that one or more should be removed, a public hearing is required so the public can weigh in.

I have been the tree warden going back to 1981 and I just held my first public hearing involving the Bixby Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees’ request to remove the two large Blue Spruce trees in front the library. The public notice was published and posted and adjacent property owners were notified. In this instance, there were no attendees desiring the trees be saved and the request was approved.

If there is a public tree that needs to be trimmed or appears to be diseased, please contact me.

City Clerk, Joan Devine

Did you know the municipal clerk’s position is among the oldest in local government, dating back to biblical times? The modern Hebrew translation of town clerk is “mazkir ha’ir,” which means “reminder.” Early archive keepers were often called “remembrancers” and before writing became common, their memories served as the public record.

When the early colonists came to America, among the first government offices they established was a town clerk or secretary. That person was charged with maintaining records for births, marriages, deaths, appointments, deeds, meetings and elections.

The town clerks were often given additional glamorous duties, such as sweeping the meeting house and selling the seats, ringing the bell, and paying the bounty for jays and blackbirds whose heads were presented by citizens. I suppose those duties fell under “other duties as assigned.”

Thankfully, in just under four decades as a city clerk, I’ve never been asked to sweep, sell seats or ring any bells. But the city clerk remains the hub of government and serves as a direct link between the community and its local officials. We also serve as historians with a community’s entire recorded history in our care.

In many cases, we are a citizen’s first contact with a local government, whose basic function is to serve its citizens. No matter what the situation, it’s important for us to help citizens with courtesy and respect by listening, responding and following up. There isn’t anything that occurs within our municipal organizations that we are not a part of – we either record it, archive it, prepare it, post it, publish it, engross it, enroll it, report it, facilitate it, organize it, handle it, manage it or lead it.

A city clerk should inspire public confidence and respect for government believing that honesty, integrity, loyalty and courtesy form the basis of ethical conduct for civil service. It should be remembered as we carry out the simplest of tasks or the largest of projects.

Winter Season is Upon Us!!
Chief George Merkel

The winter season is upon us! We at the Vergennes Police Department wish you a most happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

With the advent of winter, we all should be aware of some safety issues regarding this time of year. With the change of our clocks to Daylight Savings Time, the onset of darkness now comes at an earlier hour. Reduced visibility requires us to be even more vigilant while driving, especially in an urban area. Pay close attention for pedestrians when approaching intersections, crosswalks and roadside parking areas. Oncoming traffic, downtown lighting and inclement weather also present safety challenges to motorists and pedestrians. Encourage your children and other family members to wear bright and/or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight if they are walking or running at night. Do not cross the road unless you are in designated crosswalk area. Be sure to look both ways when crossing a street.

Make sure your vehicle is prepped for the harsh conditions of winter. Snow tires are a must! All-season radials are okay but do not provide the same traction as snow tires. Make sure there is adequate tread on your tires. Also, make sure your vehicle’s anti-freeze is fresh and your coolant system has been flushed. Your vehicle’s windshield wipers and defrosters should be in good working order. Never try to operate your vehicle when your windshield is ice and snow covered. Your vehicle also should have an emergency kit on board stocked with warm clothing, a blanket, warm footwear, and roadside flares.

Finally, road conditions can change quickly from daytime to nighttime. Black ice is extremely dangerous and hard to detect. Heavy and blowing snow can also create dangerous driving conditions. Make sure you allow extra time for travel and allow for a greater stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. It is a time for family and friends to get together and reflect. Take a moment to reflect this holiday season and give thanks for all that you do have. Share a smile and a hello. It will make your season that much more special! God bless you and be safe.

Vergennes Area Seniors, Inc.
Michelle Eastman

The Vergennes Area Seniors, Inc. is a non-profit group open to anyone age 60 and up. To become a member all you have to do is regularly attend the meals and events throughout the month. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday at Armory Lane Senior Housing at 50 Armory Lane. Doors open at 10 a.m.

If Bingo is your thing, we play 8-10 games every day. Cost is 25 cents for 6 cards. All daubers and cards are provided. Other activities and events include, but are not limited to, our monthly meeting held usually the 2nd Tuesday of every month, a SASH Health Topic presentation held the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Foot care is done on the 1st Tuesday and Tai Chi is offered both Tuesday and Thursday. Activities also include various entertainment, our quarterly Dime Fairs, Senior Paint and Sip, and our very popular Fall Foliage Trip. Each day we enjoy an Age Well Senior Luncheon at noon.

Suggested donation for the lunch is just $5. 48-hr advanced reservations are required if you would like to attend the meal. Transportation to the site is available through ACTR.

For more information, please contact Michelle Eastman at 802-377-1419.