Town Applies for Equipment Grant

by Gazette Staff

courtesy photo
The second meeting to meet Town Manager Opie Upson, was held at Brochu’s Pole barn on West Hill.

HARDWICK – Town Manager David Upson started the meeting with his report. Upson said that the town had applied for and received an $8,000 grant from PACIF (the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund) for an assortment of risk related equipment, including four body-worn cameras for the police department, a cyber security assessment, two eye wash stations, two flammable liquid cabinets and five office chairs.

Upson reported that he had participated in the second “Meet the Town Manager” series coordinated by the Hardwick Area Neighbor to Neighbor and that, so far, close to 100 people have participated. The next three meetings are scheduled for Atkin’s Field on June 20, Mackville Pond on June 22, and at the East Hardwick Grange on June 27.

Gary Nolan Consulting LLC is preparing a cost analysis presentation on the Davis gravel pit property. Nolan will also put together a plan for boring exploration to examine the amount of material left for extraction.

Next, Tom Fadden gave the road foreman report. Fadden reported that the road crew worked on a culvert on Brown Farm Road replaced a culvert on Kate Brook Road. The crew graded Mackville Road, Houston Hill Road, Hopkins Hill Road, Scott Road, Dutton Road, Stratton Road, and Carey Road. The sidewalk project on Church Street is underway, and they have also replaced airlines at the water treatment plant.

Board member Elizabeth Dow thanked Tom and the crew for helping the Historical Society move five heavy items.

Upson and Fadden mentioned that an agreement has been reached with the Town of Woodbury under which Hardwick plows West Woodbury Road and Woodbury will come to Hardwick and use the cutting head on their loader to trim some areas within town.

Town Manager Upson gave the Hardwick Police Department (HPD) report, noting that HPD has referred five cases to the Restorative Justice program, and two cases to the youth jobs program. Upson and interim Police Chief Mike Henry are working on getting the Restorative Justice program back into Hardwick.

Board member Danny Hale asked about unmarked cruisers. Upson stated that two of the cruisers were getting lettered soon.

He also mentioned that HPD assisted the Vermont State Police with a situation on Scott Road.
The Hardwick Electric Department (HED) report was given by HED Commissioner Nat Smith, who said that there was a ribbon cutting for the H11 solar project May 23. He also reported that the Wolcott Hydro has generated 1.16 million kWh so far this year, which is 36% over budget. The H11 project has generated 593,000 kWh so far this year, which is 8% under budget.

Purchase power costs are 30% over budget due to record market prices. HED hopes to recover some of those costs during the summer months. Revenues are 4% over budget, and expenses are 6.4% over budget.

Smith noted that HED has not had a rate increase since 2009. Currently, the basic monthly residential energy service bills are 42.2% lower than Green Mountain Power and 44% lower than Washington Electric Cooperative. HED and the Public Commissioners are looking further into this.

The board then voted to approve Irving for propane, diesel, and heating oil for FY23 and authorized the town manager to negotiate and sign a new contract with the New England Municipal Consultants.
The board then discussed the process of working on a performance review and renewing a new contract with the town manager. The hope is to have everything completed by July 31.

Board member Shari Cornish reported that she and seven other residents from Hardwick attended the Downtown Conference in St. Johnsbury on Friday, June 10.Under old business, board vice chair Ceilidh Galloway-Kane asked about the timeline for the ARPA applications. The board discussed holding a special meeting in the middle of July to go over the applications and reminds resident that applications are due to the town manager’s office no later than June 30.