Side By Each: Simultaneous Meetings
by Ken Signorello & Irene Wrenner
September 9, 2020
Sept. 8th Selectboard Meeting Summary
Proposed Policy on Flags and Murals
Selectboard took no action, preferring to wait for the Trustees’ input on the same questions as wells as revised language from staff. As far as flags go, the question arose as to how many flags could be put on a flagpole.
One member suggested that murals needn’t be overtly political; therefore, the policy should be broadened to include non-political public art. Only two sites were deemed acceptable by the Public Works Director, due to safety concerns with regard to road art.
Add full-time position: Assistant Manager
Members generally agreed with the need for additional staffing, to allow the Finance Director to focus her energy on crunching numbers for two municipalities.
A new Town/Village Assistant Manager position would help to ensure staff have a realistic workload. For this additional full-time position, salary and benefits will be up to $130K, including benefits. The board deliberated over where the money should come from, including emergency fund balance.
Greg Duggan stated this position is needed with or without merger.
While the Town and Village were touting savings from consolidations over the past five years, some staff saw a doubling of their workloads. Savings came, in part, from deferred hirings, not consolidation.
VLCT Representative at Town Fair
Motion for Andy Watts to be the VLCT Rep at the Town Fair in October was approved unanimously. Conference will be held remotely this year. Free admission.
Several sections of the draft Merger plan were reviewed.
Another Meeting Scheduled
Members agreed to meet with Planning Commission and Zoning Board members, likely in October.
Rising Cost of Housing
Members noted how difficult the housing market is for local buyers. Real estate costs are being driven up by sales to out-of-state buyers. Whether or not homes are being turned into short-term rentals is hard to track, but Vermont has become more of a destination state since COVID.
Village Trustee Meeting
Decisions and Non-Decisions
Discussed hiring a Town/Village Assistant Manager at $85k-$110k + $20k for benefits to be funded by the Town (no motion made).
Decided: Approve appropriation of max $8K to publicize details of the Merger Plan for the upcoming merger vote. Passed 5-0.
Funding for Technical drawings (up to $5K) for 1 Main St Park (in front of Firebird Cafe) should come out of the leftover Open and Outside Event funds.
Trustees made Merger Charter changes to address issues raised by the Selectboard. Near-final draft to be presented at the next Trustee Meeting.
Murals and Flags Policy: no decision now; staff were asked to return with a revised version for reconsideration.
No Parking on Warner Avenue? No decision at this time.
No one nominated to represent the Village at the Vermont League of Cities & Towns’ Town Fair in October.
Next Trustee Meeting moved to 9/24.