Merger Charter “Good Enough?"
8/11/20 Trustee Meeting Rundown
George Tyler: “As far as the actual charter work goes, in my mind, it’s pretty much done. I think the most contentious parts are finished. What’s left… we had to make some kind of a decision about what we’re gonna do about a planning commission vs a development review board vs a zoning board and what the makeup of those boards would be.”
“Aligning ordinances ... could be done after our charter is approved.”
Dan Kerin: I think the charter is pretty much ready to go forward, but I think now there is cold feet on the other side [TOV]. …. They’re doing anything possible to find a way to stymie the process to keep it from going on the ballot. And I think we should move forward as a Village.”
Raj Chawla showed some initial resistance to plowing forward. He seemed to favor waiting until the recently requested separation numbers are in.
As always, the merger conversation brought up a few points about tax differentials among the two parts of town.
Tyler offered: “Evan said if you’re gonna merge or separate, ‘it shouldn’t be just about the money’. This in fact was stated by George Tyler at a recent Joint Meeting. “We keep saying that, year after year, that there is this fundamental economic injustice here going on that we see as very, very important.”
Dan Kerin: “When you say that if you are gonna merge it shouldn't just be just about the money. It is ultimately about the money. ’Cause that’s the reason the merger is failing. The powers that be that are opposed to merger are exactly using that as a reason not to merge.”
by Ken Signorello & Irene Wrenner
August 13, 2020
Close Park Terrace to thru traffic? The road has been used to bypass the Five Corners over time and is occasionally blocked by delivery trucks.
Public members present prefer no road closure. They also complained the agenda item was worded as a fait accompli. In the end, the Trustees asked staff to explore low cost alternatives (not to exceed $2,000).
Memorial Way Closure: The board decided to temporarily close off Memorial Way (slip lane between fountain and TD Bank) for the Open and Outside event, August 14-16, for which households will now receive $20 in vouchers.
Crescent Connector: Due to some complications with VTRANS, phase 1 timing is “very fluid”. Legal issues with an adjacent property owner are still pending. Federal funding for this project is fixed and not at risk.
Merger Vote in November: Trustees asked, could a merger charter be readied by the August 21st deadline and then put up for a vote in November?
Manager Evan Teich noted the November target date for merger would take advantage of an anticipated large voter turnout. With the big vote-by-mail turnouts we’re seeing, this point is no longer as relevant.
It took awhile, but by the meeting’s end, the Trustees had agreed to meet on August 17 to complete the draft merger charter themselves, which they plan to warn for a Village vote in November.
They hope to convince the Selectboard to warn it townwide for the November ballot at its regular meeting on August 18th.
On issues like representation, what might be in this Trustee Only version of the merger charter? Raj asked that question. He’d like to go back to the 2-2-3 model originally pitched. “I’m baffled by the sudden need for the TOV to get religion around [equal] representation, and… I don’t think our community wanted it... and I think it was just a tool to blow it [merger] up.”
Contrary to recent joint-boards discussions, Trustees suggested the charter needs little additional work.
Andrew Brown said: “99% of the charter, I believe, is done. … I wonder if the charter is good enough ... to get to the voters. … It may not be perfect, but is it good enough to get a vote, and should it pass, it then goes off to the Government Operations Committee. ... If there is a glaring hole, they can fix it.”