By Juliann Phelps
On Monday the Selectboard again met virtually, with members discussing austerity budget measures, approving reappointments, and reviewing draft request for bids for siding repairs on the Senior Center and construction of the next section of the Town Link Trail on State Park Road. The Selectboard also approved the warnings for the public information hearing and subsequent Australian ballot vote on the FY21 budget for Tuesday, June 23.
Trimming the FY20 budget
Selectboard members discussed the remaining FY20 budget, including updated expenses and revenues and recommendations from Town Treasurer Mary Mead. Chair Matt Krasnow said, “The goal is to build up any amount of surplus to anticipate any possible shortfall in revenue.” Similar to last meeting, the board agreed to have Krasnow draft and send an email to all the authorized purchasing agents for committees, commissions and boards requesting a five-percent cut in their budgets.
Road Commissioner Jr Lewis asked, “If somebody can’t take it out of this year’s [budget] will it be taken out of next year’s automatically?” Krasnow responded, “We have not talked about next year’s budget, but yes, austerity has to go on as long as the recession goes.” Charlotte Library Director Margaret Woodruff asked for clarification on the type of budget reductions. The board clarified that the request for reductions will not include payroll, spending related to health and safety, or “statutorily necessary advertising” for zoning and planning.
“The hard work is going to come next year,” said Selectboard member Louise McCarren. “In a perfect world, we would do strategic budget reductions, not across the board. That’s a very hard lift—going through and figuring out the priorities for the town.”
The board also reviewed a list of contracts that Town Administrator Dean Bloch said “typically renew each fiscal year, unless there is a reason to go out to bid. Some are structured to renew automatically.” The Selectboard asked that the town attorney be added to the list, which includes contracts for water system maintenance, police services, Town Hall cleaning and IT support.
The Selectboard approved the following reappointments: David Ziegelman to the Trails Committee, Judy Hill and Jeff Giknis to the Recreation Commission, Robin Coleburn to the Thompson’s Point Design Review Committee, Roeluf Boumans to the Conservation Commission, and Dorothy Hill to the Charlotte Park & Wildlife Oversight Committee.
Request for bids: State Park Road trail
Members of the Trails Committee presented a draft request for proposal for the construction of the next section of the Town Link Trail on State Park Road. Last fall, volunteers cleared this section of the trail and the road commissioner installed drainage. Trails co-chairs Laurie Thompson and Margaret Russell, along with David Ziegelman and Jim Donovan, fielded questions and feedback on the proposal from the Selectboard.
Krasnow suggested the request for proposal should be changed to a request for bid and asked for the town purchasing policy criteria to be added. Tenney asked the committee to add a request for an estimated timeframe to the document, similar to the ash tree removal RFP. After a bit more discussion, the Selectboard recommended an updated draft be presented at the next meeting. In addition, the committee said the estimated trail construction cost will be fully covered by the current amount available in the trails reserve fund. Thompson said, “We did well with fund raising this year. We had a good year.”
The Selectboard approved a request for bid for siding repairs to the Senior Center. The Center’s board president, Lane Morrison, said the work would commence in July. When the Selectboard discussed the state’s phased approach to re-opening businesses, Morrison said, “I think we are going to be one of the last facilities to open up.”
The board also approved a revised job description for the new town assessor position, which replaces the Board of Listers as approved by voters at Town Meeting in March. The board also approved an application to VTrans for a structures grant for Monkton Road and a request from the Green Mountain Bicycle Club to use the southerly portion of Greenbush Road for time trials.
The next regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting is May 11 at 6:00 p.m.