The Town of Charlotte, VT

Monday’s special Selectboard meeting got off to a slow start but concluded with a revote on West Village wastewater ordinances, which was required due to a legality. Selectboard member Louise McCarren motioned, Fritz Tegatz seconded, and the board approved the ordinances 4 to 1, with Vice Chair Frank Tenney voting against.
Prior to the Jan. 6 meeting, Town Administrator Dean Bloch wrote in an email, “We have been advised that an ordinance cannot be adopted with an ‘adoption date’ other than the date on which the board approves a motion to adopt the ordinance. The Selectboard’s vote on December 16th to adopt the ordinances with an adoption date of January 6 may be considered invalid.  Therefore, the Board is going to revote the ordinances on January 6th.”

During discussion at Monday’s meeting, Selectboard member Carrie Spear said, “My own conclusion is this is really in the best interest of the town.” She asked the board and West Charlotte Village Wastewaster Planning Committee chair Dave Marshall, “If the town is going to take over and take care of all the [fees] and permits out of this building, I wonder if we want a governing body doing that or did you explore a private group coming in and saying, ‘this is what we want to do.’”

Tegatz replied, “Are you talking about administrative work for the town? There’s very few parcels this is going to tie to.” Spear responded, “I want to be sure the taxpayer outside of the village does not have to pay for it and it’s included in the fees.” McCarren responded, “We can do a rate design that’s fully compensatory.” Marshall added, “We did spend a lot of time to make sure this program did not create an additional burden on town staff.”
Spear then asked Marshall, “Are you in a conflict of interest here?” Marshall responded, “There is that potential.” He continued, “I made it clear in the other meeting that there is the potential. The committee members crafted the ordinances, my job was to organize. I didn’t impose my will on the group.”

Tegatz supported Marshall, noting that any potential conflict was stated in the village wastewater committee meetings. Marshall is a principal engineer with Civil Engineering Associates, Inc.

Tenney, as he had in previous meetings, raised his concern about the septic design. “I wonder if the in-ground system is the best choice … We are limited to a certain number of gallons. To look farther and farther ahead, could we have this plus something else, or do we step into the something else first?”

McCarren said, “There’s no agreement in town on this issue. This has to be respected and will probably go to Town Meeting.”

To which Spear replied, “I really believe this is a turning point in Charlotte.”