Select Board Agenda Includes Cannabis Control Commission

by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – The Hardwick Select Board discussed topics ranging from police staffing to work on the Hardwick Downtown Designation Project. The board also discussed a resolution for forming a cannabis control commission.

The town manager’s report was given by town manager David Upson. He reported that he attended the Black Dirt Farm Compost Kickoff meeting at the town garage and that if any residents are interested in compost pods, they should contact Black Dirt Farm. He also reported that the town received $2,650 in the National Opioid Settlement that the town opted into about a year ago.  Upson is also looking into a town-wide messaging system and doing a town-wide property reappraisal a year earlier than scheduled.

As part of the discussion, the select board voted unanimously to authorize the town manager to sign a contract with NEK Community Broadband related to the disbursement of the ARPA
town funds.

Lastly, Upson had a few public service announcements. He asked that people not cross on the corner of Main Street and Wolcott Street, near the Village Restaurant, as it’s very dangerous. There’s a crosswalk on South Main Steer that should be used.
There has been a request to put more trash receptacles on Main Street as the ones in front of Positive Pie are often overflowing. Road Foreman Tom Fadden mentioned that Positive Pie had agreed to change the trash out if the receptacles got full and the town hadn’t yet picked up the trash. There are spare trash bags in the bottom for that purpose. The board decided against adding more receptacles.

Upson also mentioned that cars should not pull out of the parking lot next to the Village Restaurant and enter Main Street. They should use the Wolcott Street exit instead. Finally, a cemetery sexton is needed for Sanborn Cemetery. Anyone who is interested should contact the town manager’s office.

The road foreman report was given by Tom Fadden. Fadden reported that the sidewalk work on Church Street has been put on hold due to other, unexpected projects. However, he hopes that the work will be finished in the next two to three weeks. The highway crew responded to a water leak at the end of Cottage Street. This leak was leaking for a while due to old pipes. Work on Bayley Hazen has started, and the crew has been grading various roads.

Fadden also reported that the one-ton truck is out of service, the excavator has a hydraulic leak, and the F250 is still waiting for parts. Lastly, Fadden reported on some of the projects that are on the horizon, including working on the sprinkler system at the Depot, brush cutting, and fixing a three-foot culvert on Hardwick Farms Road.
Interim Police Chief Mike Henry gave the Hardwick Police Department (HPD) report. Henry reported that the 2017 cruiser has been sold, the policy updates have been completed, and that there is a new Hardwick Police website at hardwickpolicevt.com. Henry thanked Officer Paul Barnard for his great work with the website and the Facebook page.

Several select board members commented on increased police visibility and thanked the officers for their hard work.

Next, Heather Carrington of Carrington Community Development Services, a consultant working with the Downtown Commission, gave a report on the commission’s progress. Carrington stated that her work with the commission has been focused on an inventory and analysis of the town’s assets, challenges, and priorities. She noted that the town already has a number of projects underway and that efforts should focus on bringing those projects to completion rather than adding many more projects. Carrington also recommended that the town hire a consultant for 10 hours a week to work with the community development coordinator so that grant work isn’t being duplicated on these projects. Carrington expects to have her work completed by the end of December but will return in October to
provide the select board with another update.

The next agenda item was a review of police staffing and certifications, as well as a review of the budget. Interim Police Chief Henry and Town Manager Upson presented a memo on HPD staffing levels/certification and an initial view of FY23 budget. Henry mentioned that officers are working partially under grant funds that were given to the town. These funds need to be used by September 30, 2022. These will be considered net revenue for the town. The community development coordinator is looking for other grant opportunities to help with the overall police budget. Upson mentioned that the Town of Hardwick could also reach out to other towns for specific needs and negotiate contracts. An example would be covering a town for traffic control from July to September. This is a possibility that still needs to be worked out. The board asked to see quarterly updates on the HPD budget status and any changes in staffing.

Next, board member Danny Hale reported that he met with Community Development Coordinator Tracy Martin and
Dave Gross, chair of the planning commission, to determine if the town should apply for the “Safe Streets and Roads for All” grant. Martin researched grants and learned applications face a tight deadline and are very competitive. They also discussed the Better Connections grant and feel that it would be a better fit
for Hardwick. Hale also mentioned that he thinks Martin is doing a great job.

After some discussion, the board decided to form a task force to determine what the town should do with a property on Carey Road, including the possibility of selling it to Kingdom Bent, LLC, for housing. The task force will invite the zoning administrator into the discussion.

The final agenda item concerned the formation of a cannabis control commission. Upson presented a draft of a resolution for forming a cannabis control commission. Board members agreed that the select board should appoint members of the commission and asked Upson to make the changes that were discussed.The full minutes of the select board meeting, including attachments, can be found at hardwickvt.gov/government/selectboard/.