Selectboard deals with trails, Trust and tractors

The Town of Charlotte, VT

Selectboard designates tractor parade as official town event

At its September 23 meeting, the Selectboard heard requests from the Trails Committee on trail expansion, the Energy Committee on library solar panels, and the Charlotte Land Trust on FY2021 budget requests. The Selectboard also designated the East Charlotte Tractor Parade, to be held this year on October 13, as an official town event, named committee members, and agreed to continue to sponsor the annual event.

Trails Committee prioritizes trails and requests funding
Laurie Thompson, co-chair of the Trails Committee, opened discussion by outlining the three sections of town trails the committee is prioritizing for future funding: a half-mile trail on State Park Road, a half-mile trail on Ferry Road from the West Charlotte Village to the train station, and two miles of trails connecting the co-housing trail to the West Charlotte Village. Reading from a prepared statement, Thompson outlined each section of trails and their anticipated costs, estimating them to be approximately $20 a foot. She said, “The $313,200 we are requesting over five years would get us from Mt. Philo State Park all the way to Lake Road.”

She also asked the Selectboard to authorize $30,000 in available funds to initiate the State Park Road trail, with the goal of completing the trail with volunteer help by November. The committee also sought the board’s approval to submit an amendment to the existing Act 250 permit for that section of trail. Board members expressed concern that the application was not available to review and approve and planned a site visit before approving the funds request.

Energy Committee gets go ahead to explore solar collectors
John Quinney, a member of the Energy Committee, presented a proposal to the Selectboard seeking approval to continue the committee’s efforts to develop a request-for-proposals and cost-effective solutions to install solar collectors on the Charlotte Library roof. Quinney outlined a plan where an investor or developer would pay to install the system “and be able to take advantage of accelerated deprecation and federal tax credits.” After a period of time the town would purchase the system at a reduced cost, he explained.

Selectboard members Fritz Tegatz asked about the logistics of a contractual commitment over five years, noting “our budget cycle is one year, anything we’ve done over that is a bond agreement.” The Selectboard approved the Energy Committee to continue developing its RFP, with Tegatz adding a condition that the motion does not approve putting solar on the library. Four members voted aye; Spear abstained, citing the need for more information.

Charlotte Land Trust (CLT) presents budget request
Kate Lampton presented the Charlotte Land Trust’s budget request for FY2021 and described the four conservation projects the CLT is currently working on, explaining that the trust’s funds are used for management of conservation easements and items like ecological assessments and easement defense insurance. With regard to the Conservation Fund, CLT is asking for an allocation of $50,000, which Lampton said “is consistent over the past several years.” She said last year, $79,000 was allocated to preserve a mile of Lewis Creek waterfront. Selectboard member McCarren asked for additional clarification about the administration of the Conservation Fund, and Lampton offered to return and give a Conservation 101 explanation to the Selectboard.

Tractor parade now an official town event
Selectboard member Carrie Spear spoke briefly about this year’s East Charlotte Tractor Parade, highlighting the work the committee members have done to date and thanking the town for its continued support of the event. She expects about 125 to 150 tractors at this year’s event. This year the event will be held on Sunday, October 13, beginning at 11:00 a.m., with the parade commencing at 1:00 p.m. Spear said next year would be the 20th year of the parade. The Selectboard approved a motion to designate the parade an official town event and appointed residents Carrie Spear, Deb Christie, Cindy Bradley and June Bean to the Tractor Parade Committee. According to the town administrator’s report, by designating the parade as a town event, the event will now be covered under the town’s insurance, with the additional requirement the Selectboard appoint the event committee.

Other business
In other business the Selectboard approved a contract with Dubois and King for the engineering repair of Monkton Road, agreed to hold a public informational hearing for the Town Plan on Monday, November 4, during a regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting, authorized Teacher’s Tree Care to perform additional brush hogging on Thompson’s Point and the Burns property, approved a contract with The Janitors to clean Town Hall for the remainder of the fiscal year, and approved the purchase of builder’s risk insurance for the library addition.