John Hammer, Contributing editor
A presentation of the results of a survey on solid-waste collection and the potential for siting a drop-off center (DOC) in Charlotte was a focus of the Selectboard meeting on Dec. 19. The survey came after a 2010 Town Meeting advisory motion passed to investigate the siting of a DOC. Brian Wright, facilities manager for the Chittenden Solid Waste District, stated that 72 percent of those surveyed were in favor. CSWD is in the process of a reviewing its DOC coverage and would consider incorporating Charlotte if there is a desire. As of this meeting there did not appear to be much interest within the Selectboard for a DOC in Charlotte, but changes being considered in Hinesburg, where there is a DOC, may alter the balance of cost vs. benefits. This could come as soon as next summer. The results may be found online.
A review of the draft warnings for Town Meeting generated discussion on several points. The cost of $625,000 to replace the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service1980 pumper raised a serious discussion about its need. The initial issue was whether it should be bonded for 75 percent or fully. With full bonding, the cost would be borne by future residents. It was decided to warn the article for an Australian ballot vote combining the withdrawal of $156,250 (25 percent) from the CVFRS Capital Reserve Fund and raising the remaining 75 percent by bond.
Associated with this item was an animated renewal of audience comments asking why the town spends so much for fire and rescue equipment. Most of the comments suggested that there was not enough forward planning taking place, resulting in overburdening the Charlotte taxpayer. Moe Harvey and Selectman Tegatz agreed to resume Harvey’s 2012-3 study in which he compared the costs and benefits of Charlotte’s service with those of other towns.
Moving on, the board decided to forestall discussion on borrowing money from the Housing Trust Fund to fund the Lane’s Lane wastewater extension. The sticking point was a 16-year payback, which was considered too long to be encumbering that money.
An article asking the town to vote on authorizing “allocation of excess capacity of the municipal wastewater system in the west Charlotte village for private uses within the village” will be referred to the town attorney. He will be asked to review the question as to whether such a vote may be covered in an Australian ballot. An associated question concerning whether the term “excess” was correct went undecided.
The town’s Salary Administration Policy was finally put to bed with approval of an amending paragraph that addresses an “employee who objects to the factor scoring of his/her position or his/her step placement.” The new paragraph provides for review by the then-current Selectboard during the budget process and final approval of the change by the succeeding Selectboard. The addition was met with derision from the current town clerk/treasurer and her supporters. The primary argument against the amendment was that the potential resolution and resulting pay adjustment might be delayed by as much as a year or more.
Several administrative decisions were made, including approval of contracts supporting the Thompson’s Point wastewater system for the calendar year 2017. These included one with SJW Docks to operate the system and with Civil Engineering Associates for general engineering services and oversight of the bidding process for the Lane’s Lane extension.
Finally, five 20-year leases on Thompson’s Point were renewed:
- Lot 155 at 280 North Shore Road to Barbara J. Russ and Dean J. Williams
- Lot 47 at 508 Flat Rock Road to Robin Coleburn
- Lot 50 at 2751 Thompson’s Point Road to Dee M. Hodges, trustee
- Lot 114 at 768 Flat Road to Benjamin H. and Josephine T. Kaestner
- And Lot 14 at 2743 Thompson’s Point Road to Dorothy O. and Benjamin R. Naylor