Wolcott Road Crew Reports ‘No Major Breakdowns’

by Doug McClure

WOLCOTT – At the Feb. 3 Wolcott Select Board meeting, Road Foreman Dillon Cafferky reported there were “no major breakdowns, no complaints. We’re doing pretty good.”

Cafferky said he followed up on researching iPads the department could use to document roadwork for grants and estimated a $300 iPad would suffice. The application, which “works with the camera” and “would work really good for grant work” tags photos for date, time and coordinates, he said. The cost of the application is five dollars.

Cafferky suggested funds the town expects to receive as payment for scrap metal taken to All Metals Recycling could offset the cost of the iPad. Town Clerk Belinda Clegg said the town had an iPad in the office he could test out in the meantime.

Roads Commissioner Lucian Gravel updated the board on the status of major repairs lingering from the Halloween Storm and the status of reimbursements from federal agencies. The reimbursement amount for Brook Road remained unclear. He explained the federal agency must first send the funds to the state, which then pays Wolcott. 

Gravel and board member Linda Martin have been working on a process for receiving federal reimbursement for damage to the town’s roads. Martin said Elmore Pond Road exceeded the reimbursement time limit by one day, resulting in a cost of $3,190 for which the town would not be reimbursed. North Wolcott Road also exceeded the threshold, she said, but in that case the work qualified for reimbursement.

“This never ends for you guys, does it?” Board Chair Kimberly Gravel remarked.

Lucian Gravel said the board should start thinking about the more expensive culvert replacement. The town would need to come up with as much as $618,000 to get the project rolling and pay contractors, he said. Martin said the lack of specificity as to federal agency reimbursement amounts is problematic. She did not recommend moving ahead with the work until that amount could be known.

Introduced as a new feature in the meetings was a report from Town Administrator Randall Szott. The board felt updates from Szott on his current projects would be helpful for the board and the public.

Szott described work on the revised personnel policy which he said was “kind of ready in draft form” with many questions still be discussed to “fill out the bones.” Szott said he was working on a “bunch of highway-related stuff” and was coordinating with Cafferky to compile a list of emergency equipment the road crew could order without select board approval in case of a major event like Halloween Storm.

Szott said a Better Roads Grant Application was submitted for Elmore Road and a workplace grant from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns had been awarded. In other work, Szott attended a Lamoille County Chamber of Commerce legislative update and signed up for a local roads roundtable meeting to be held today. He is also working on the floodplain and wetlands restoration projects currently underway.

The board heard from Zoning Administrator Tom Martin that he reduced permitting fees for subdivided lots to be in line with surrounding towns. He did not see a justification for keeping the fees higher, he said, as Wolcott had few subdivisions to begin with and no recent developments. “It costs a lot of money to subdivide, and the majority of our subdivisions are family members,” Martin explained. He estimated the largest development in Wolcott was nine acres that took place approximately 20 years ago.

Wolcott will host a budget informational meeting to answer residents’ questions on February 24, at 6 p.m. Zoom and phone information for the meeting can be found on the town’s website at wolcottvt.org.