Select Board Seeks Town Input on ARPA Spending

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WOLCOTT – The select board worked through a list of town business items at their meeting on April 20, but also announced three special initiatives: a survey to gather residents’ input on how to spend American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, a special meeting in June to decide whether town officers will be elected by Australian ballot, and a community event later in the year to inform residents on important issues the board is working on.

The Northeast Kingdom Community Broadband requested the board appoint a representative from Wolcott and the board will make the appointment at its May 4 meeting.

The board received a request for a donation from Northern Rivers Land Trust. The board noted that the town has not previously made a donation to the organization and it was decided board members may make a personal donation, if they wish.

Board vice chair Kurt Klein reported that the town submitted an application for the Peter Welch Community Grant, with the assistance of Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC). If
awarded, the $375,000 of federal funds would be used for the planning and designing stages of a wastewater project in Wolcott. Rep. Welch is expected to determine which projects to award by May 6.

Klein is developing a 30-year sustainable road equipment plan that is intended to save the town money over time.

The town garage boiler was destroyed when it caught on fire. Bids were sought from Bourne’s Energy, Fred’s Energy, and County Plumbing for a replacement heating system. Bourne’s, which the town contracts for fuel, was the only company to submit a bid. The bid included an overhead heater, installation, disposing of the boiler, and switching tanks. The bid also included a two-year contract for propane at $1.953 per gallon. The town would hire an electrician for the installation with costs paid from the building maintenance fund. The board voted unanimously to accept Bourne’s proposal for $8,223.32.

Klein also gave an update on town technology improvements. A quote was received for making town records available online. Littleton, N.H.-based CAI will be asked to give a presentation to the board. ARPA funds could be used for this purpose.

An ARPA survey has been posted on Front Porch Forum seeking input from Wolcott residents on how ARPA funds should be spent. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the town office.
The road crew will start its four-day work week. The weight limit restrictions placed on roads prior to mud season will end on April 25. A Bulk Waste Day will be held at the transfer station on April 23. Certain bulk items will be free for Wolcott residents. Green-up Day is May 7 this year.

Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District (LRSWMD) director Susan Alexander updated the board on LRSWMD issues. Alexander gave some suggestions on how to keep costs down at the transfer station. Sarah Lillibridge, outreach coordinator, works with businesses, schools, and residents in the district on issues such as composting and reducing landfill toxicity. She is available to attend events to answer questions. Phillip Wilson is Wolcott’s representative on the LRSWMD board and will update the select board as information becomes available.

Next, the board reviewed a draft of a charter for the Town Forest Management Committee. A motion to adopt the charter passed; board member Kurt Billings, who is a member of the committee, abstained.

A special town meeting will be scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Wolcott Elementary School. The warning will address the petition asking that town officers be elected by Australian ballot. 

A town event will be scheduled for Friday, August 26, from
5 to 7 p.m. in the area between the town office, the library, and gazebo. It is anticipated that this event will be similar to the event held early last fall. September 9 will be the rain date.

A document prepared by the Vermont Cannabis Control Board was provided to board members for review. The select board is currently serving as the local Cannabis Control Board. The board will seek more information from the state before adopting a resolution.

Board chair Linda Martin reported that two paving grants have been submitted for the North Wolcott Road. Responses should be received by June. Martin met with District 6 technicians regarding the Town Hill culvert. The recommendation was to apply for a planning grant. Martin submitted a grant application for $60,000 to cover design of a new culvert.

Town Clerk Belinda Clegg provided the board with a list of owners who are delinquent on getting their dogs licensed. For those who remain delinquent, a dog warrant will be submitted to the select board on May 30.

The financial officer of the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union (OSSU) brought to school board chair Elliot Waring’s attention that a charge of $2,903.69 had been incurred for the school vote. The school district’s understanding was that the expense would be covered by a grant offered through the state, and that the town clerk would submit the grant application. Waring stated that the district has not yet been reimbursed and is seeking clarification on the status of the grant. Clegg will forward to Waring and the board relevant communications between the clerk’s office and the Secretary of State’s office. If necessary, the issue can be addressed again at the May 4 meeting.

Steve Princ, the town’s emergency management coordinator, suggested Elliot Bjerke be appointed to serve as his assistant, which the select board unanimously approved.

The next regular select board meeting is scheduled for May 4.