Board deals with Old Lantern (again), over-budget paving bill, open-water lake swim and a proposed addition to the Charlotte Library

The Town of Charlotte, VT

Public comment for the evening began with concerns for the Old Lantern Inn and Barn, which serves as a wedding and event space. The Selectboard was asked to make a summary of the venue’s permissible events public. The Old Lantern has previously run into legal troubles with neighbors who did not understand the property’s function as a legal year-round event space.

Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz said he would be leery of setting such a precedent for the town, stating that it has never been the Selectboard’s job to warn buyers about their property. “It’s my impression that Vermont has always been a buyer-beware state,” Tegatz said. A decision was ultimately made to include the legal summary of the Old Lantern’s functions in the public land record instead.

Public comment was followed by updates from the Selectboard. Tegatz presented a road paving invoice that was $72,000 higher than expected, stating that the paving company worked with an estimate different from the one they were given. Despite the paving company’s claim that the extra cost was included in its bid, footage from VCAM shows the Selectboard never received the second letter they supposedly were sent.

“We still signed off on it,” said Selectboard member Lane Morrison. “And there’s not much we can do now that the product has been delivered.” The Selectboard voted three to one to approve the new paving cost of $307,000. 

The Selectboard also voted to approve a corrected hourly rate of $68.17 for a State Police Contract 4-0. 

Following Selectboard updates, Race Director Christophe Lissarrague presented plans for the 2018 Lake Champlain Open Water Swim. The swim will take place August 18, starting in Essex, New York, and finishing at Town Beach in Charlotte. The 3.76 mile swim will likely see 30 to 40 swimmers, according to Lissarrague. The event is scheduled to go from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00  p.m. Lissarrague said Charlotte Fire and Rescue have already signed off on a safety plan. 

The Selectboard then heard plans for a proposed addition to the Charlotte Public Library. The addition would allow for new dedicated program space and an increase in the size of the children’s room. Library officials say they’ve seen an increase in the use of the library as a public work space and have received several requests to expand tutoring programs. Library officials said that the Friends of the Charlotte Library have already conducted a feasibility study for the addition and were met with positive response.

Without the 30-page feasibility study available, however, the Selectboard decided to delay any questions or decisions about the proposed addition. 

Hourly rates and pay for town employees were approved for the 2019 fiscal year. An agreement with Sullivan, Powers, & Co. for a financial audit of municipal accounts was also approved for the 2018 fiscal year.

Water operator proposals were delayed and four proposals were opened. One for computer network support and the other the replacement of the Charlotte Town Office.