Selectboard discusses capital planning, wastewater and visit to Town Pound

Parcel boundaries of the Town Pound with contours and bedrock outcroppings. From Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

The July 22 Selectboard meeting began a bit later due to a site visit to the Town Pound, described by the Chair as “a little known town-owned property,” in between Route 7 and Church Hill Road. The agenda started off with a discussion of capital budget planning and moved on to water-related infrastructure topics: the Thompson’s Point Association’s water system and the village wastewater system.

Capital budget planning
Richard Brigham, CPA of Sullivan Powers & Company opened the capital budgeting discussion by providing feedback on the previous ‘97-’02 capital budget and recommending the Selectboard perform a needs assessment, determine timelines, and cost estimates on anticipated projects. “Bridges, culverts, roofs–the major things–those are the things I would focus on,” he said. Chair Matt Krasnow explained the previous capital budget included Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (CVFRS), who now have their own general capital fund. Brigham explained once the capital budget is established, it only has to be looked at once or twice a year for reprioritizing, and “setting that plan into motion of what you are going to have in reserves, trying to keep those reserves flat, so the tax rate doesn’t get the big gyrations.”

Selectboard Member Louise McCarren suggested working with CFVRS and the road commissioner to “bring their expertise to the table” with regards to needs assessment and planning. No motion was made and the Selectboard agreed to continue the effort.

After an executive session on pending litigation, Nordic Holstein vs. Town of Charlotte, no action was taken. The Selectboard then motioned to approve the use of the Town Beach for two concerts featuring the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The first concert is this Thursday, July 25, and the second will be held on August 1st.

Thompson’s Point Association’s water system
The Selectboard heard from Dorothy Naylor and Lindsay Murray of the Thompson’s Point Association regarding their request for the town to provide a formal easement for the replacement of their water system. Naylor said they worked with the state to secure a loan for the project and hired engineers to design the plan.

“We’ve been pumping water from lake at the end of point since 1921 and treating it. We discovered our system is antique and out of date, and we can’t maintain it efficiently. The state is helping us to get it right.” The Association privately manages the water systems for 34 camps. Murray said that 30 have opted in and one has opted out.

She said, “Like the easement situation, there has no formal legal structure for our association. It’s been purely voluntary membership, in order to do this project and finance it we have had to bind ourselves to the association so the state will lend us money.” Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz asked for more specific mapping of existing system and the engineering design as addendums, and requested the formal easement include language similar to what is in the Thompson’s Point wastewater disposal ordinance and leaseholder guidelines before the board motioned and approved the chair to sign the formal easement.

Village wastewater ordinances
Several members of the West Charlotte Village Wastewater Planning Committee were present to discuss their draft ordinances and the committee’s progress. Committee Chair Dave Marshall spoke for the group and fielded questions from the Selectboard on current capacity and anticipated need. Krasnow asked the committee to conduct another straw poll of potentially interested parties and requested the committee bring their draft ordinances to a special Selectboard meeting on August 5. Representatives from the Charlotte Health Center and Charlotte Children’s Center were present, as well as a Ferry Road resident, all expressing interest in connecting to the village wastewater system.

Other Business
In other business the board motioned to select Wind River Environmental as the contractor for the town wastewater system maintenance and approved a request for proposal for engineering services for repairs to Monkton Road. Town Administrator Dean Bloch said VTrans indicated they will likely process the structures grant application.

The grant funds will cover 80% of the $50,000 engineering estimate. The Selectboard also approved Mow!, Mow! Mow! to assume the tree-mulching contract. According to the Town Administrator’s report, Chris’s Mini Excavating and Lawn Care “indicated that he is willing to give up this contract; he has not been able to complete the work on a timely basis.” Due to the height of surrounding overgrowth, Dale and Vanessa Knowles of Mow! Mow! Mow! recommended only mulching 64 previously tended trees and said they were willing to start the following day.

The Selectboard discussed the results of the earlier site visit to the Town Pound with McCarren describing it as a “land-locked, buggy, wet, poison ivy-infested piece of property,” adding that it did have a historic rock walls. Both Tegatz and Planning Commission Chair Peter Joslin asked about the history of the 33.2 acre property. Kate Lampton, member of the West Charlotte Village Wastewater Planning Committee said, “The first time in modern memory when people first realized we owned it was 1984. One committee was doing a lot of research into town properties (for the town plan) and discovered the town owned it … it was where loose cattle and livestock would be herded.”

McCarren asked, “Is there any value of buying the adjacent property and using that for wastewater?” Joslin supported the idea of investigating further. Tegatz asked the board if the town could task the planning engineer to research and provide some preliminary information on potential viability of the town-owned land.

Lastly, the Selectboard approved an offer of employment to Daniel Morgan for the zoning administrator position and authorized the town attorney to enter an appearance in the Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division regarding the appeal by Andrew Zins of a Planning Commission decision (Docket Number 85-7-19-Vtec).