In just under 90 minutes, the Village Trustees allocated nearly a million dollars toward a culvert fix, a sidewalk plow, and several employee bonuses at their November 10th meeting.

 

It’s been a year since the Halloween storm of 2019 ravaged a culvert on Densmore Drive near Sherwood Square.  

 

So long as paperwork and procedures continue to follow FEMA’s strict guidelines, the Village expects to see an eventual 75% reimbursement of the $829,215 bid from S.D. Ireland which the Trustees approved. 

 

Stabilization of the channel for winter begins Monday. Installation of the box culvert will take place in the spring.

 

Next, the Trustees approved a bid for the purchase of a new sidewalk plow, which may or may not look exactly like the one in the accompanying photo, but it will be out at dawn clearing Village sidewalks on stormy days.  A five-year warranty was included in the $131,339 bottom line.

 

After returning from an executive session, the Trustees voted to award one-time bonuses equal to 5% of their salaries to three Essex Junction Parks and Recreation Employees. No indication was provided to the public as to why these women were being commended.

 

In other news, Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, outlined his organization’s priorities for the coming year.   

 

Amidst the CCRPC’s many legislative successes, his staff still struggle, along with their partner Champlain Housing Trust, to make significant progress in supplying affordable housing to meet the growing demand in this county.  

 

A surprising statistic quoted: only 4% of blacks in Burlington own their own home.  As such, racial equity is another one of CCRPC’s many areas of focus.

Unified Manager Evan Teich asked for a volunteer — and Raj Chawla stepped up — to serve on his team of advisors for when the results and recommendations from the racial equity consultants are published.  Release of their report is anticipated later this month. 

Million Dollar Meeting

11/10/20 Trustee Rundown

Members of the board were self congratulatory at their ability to sell their version of a merger charter to a large proportion of Village residents in the November 3rd election.

 

Teich’s enthusiasm was tempered. He noted, “It is very confusing [to residents], at times, what the process is. It just is.” He has been approached by more than a half-dozen residents who are confused about the repercussions of that vote, thinking a merger is imminent and not knowing the Town must also approve a merger charter before any forward movement happens.  Did these folks also believe their taxes would go down in a merger, something Teich has also tried to explain is unlikely?   

 

Chawla noted that 21% fewer residents voted on Village-only ballot than on the general election one. 

 

Much gratitude was directed toward the Town Clerk and her staff, the Board of Civil Authority, poll workers and others who ensured that the voting last Tuesday, as well as the tallying of mail-in ballots, went smoothly. It was an extremely long process that, overall, went off without a hitch.

Our on-site reporters confirmed a smooth process with results available within an hour of the polls closing. Even the idiosyncrasy of ballots cast at EHS by Pearl Street residents assigned to District 8-1 did not slow the process considerably. They were efficiently and securely transported to EMS for tabulation.

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by Irene Wrenner

November 11, 2020