The Town of Charlotte, VT

Last week’s Selectboard meeting covered some general yearly items, an end-of-year report from the fire department, and touched on the ever-present issues of wastewater, traffic and development.

Housekeeping—literally and figuratively
The Selectboard opened a bid from Michelle Nolan Cleaning service to clean Town Hall at a rate of $700 monthly, with an hourly rate of $35. Four board members approved a motion to use the service, and Fritz Tegatz abstained from the vote because he uses the cleaning business personally. The service was then approved for the contract at a special meeting on Aug. 20.

After a site visit earlier in the evening, the Selectboard approved application for a Highway Access Permit at 7427 Spear Street.

The wastewater discussion continued, slowly moving toward a resolution between the town and the West Village Wastewater Committee. Discussion of town ordinances included Selectboard member Frank Tenney providing specifics regarding zoning definitions. Charlotter Moe Harvey raised concerns about the potential for additional town buildings in the future and how allowing other buildings access to the septic system would impact those buildings; he also wondered about the current impact increasing septic use would have on surrounding wells.

No motion was made, and the Selectboard will devote an hour to wastewater and septic at its meeting on Aug. 26.

The Selectboard also approved an application for a wedding at the Town Beach and asked the Recreation Committee to come up with a policy to address future requests.

The board briefly convened in its capacity as the Liquor Control Board and approved Philo Ridge Farm, L.L.C.’s request for a first-class liquor license to serve beer and wine.  A brief discussion on the request included Interim Director Tad Cooke representing Philo Ridge Farm.

Tenney asked if the beer and wine would be “considered to be an ag product.” Cooke said they would use “as much agricultural product as possible, with cider and wine a priority over beer.” He said that’s why the farm is not applying for a third-class license at this time. “We would like at some point to cater with spirits and have events, but at this point will just sell alcohol made by Vermont companies and carry forward our sales philosophy in our farm store,” he said.

Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services reports
CVFRS presented its fourth quarter and end-of-year financial reports to the board. Board president Tom Cosinuke said, “For the year our budget was $783,000, we came in about 2 percent over in terms of expenses. A few items that were unforeseen we found ourselves making the decision to spend on. Things like narcotics safes, for obvious reasons, and some significant repairs.”

The board also purchased new mannequins for CPR training and nitrous oxide for ambulance patients. Despite the extra expenditures, the department reported that income exceeded their original expectations due to an upgraded ambulance billing capability and other billing and accounting improvements. Cosinuke said, “As a result, we were more efficient about billing and [had] more revenue coming in.”  He reported that with the three percent increase in revenue, the final result was a $6,000 budget surplus.

Fire Chief Dick St. George noted potential financial stresses on the horizon. “The warning I will give the board is in this EMS district there are wage pressures,” he said. “Part of our budget this year was addressing wage pressures to attract and retain employees.” He added, “It’s going to get worse.” He said area EMSs are no longer staffing with volunteers and may have to offer increased wages to stay competitive.

Selectboard Chair Matt Krasnow gave the CVFRS board his thumbs up for their report, and said, “It’s great that this year there’s more money going into the reserve.”

Town Plan and speeding public comment
The Selectboard had its second public hearing for proposed amendments to the Town Plan. Town Administrator Dean Bloch said the main focus of the amendment is addressing energy use and energy siting.

Krasnow scheduled a special meeting to discuss the amendment for Tuesday, Nov. 5, with the hope that the amendment is ready for Charlotte to vote on at Town Meeting in March.

The Selectboard, in conjunction with Planning Commission Chair Peter Joslin, discussed doing traffic studies in the village area of East Charlotte, on Ferry Road and on Charlotte Hinesburg Road. Research will be done to assess whether an application for a traffic study can encompass such a large geographic area.