Board Discusses East Hill Road Property

by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT – On September 21, the select board discussed what to do with a parcel of land on East Hill Road, and approved several initiatives, including funding an engineer for the Schoolhouse Revitalization Committee and hiring a part-time handyman for the town.

The first order of business was to address comments from the community. Bill Morrison, of Pond Brook Lane, presented his thoughts on what should be done with the property that was taken over by the town on East Hill Road through a tax sale. Morrison shared with board members a map of the nine-acre parcel, along with Bear Swamp. Morrison is concerned that if the property is sold to a private individual, and developed, it would negatively impact what is an exceptional natural area. Luke Hardt, of Cross Road, spoke about the special flora and fauna seen in the area. He added that it is part of the legacy of the town. The board noted that the parcel cannot be sold without authorization from voters at town meeting. It was noted that the town incurred legal expenses and paid for cleanup of the land. The board would like to recoup those expenses. Morrison will continue to investigate whether the land can be preserved in some way.
Lucien Gravel provided the board with an update on the Brook Road culvert project. Once guardrails are installed, the road can be reopened. The board should find out soon whether FEMA will reimburse the town for certain expenses involved in the project.
A resident asked the board for additional time to pay their taxes totaling $937.55. The resident cited health problems as the reason for the delay in payment. The board voted to enter into an agreement under which the resident will pay $468.77 by October 3, along with registration fees for dogs, and pay $468.78 by October 10, 2022.

The next agenda item was correspondence. The town has received a complaint about excessive garbage at a residence on Town Hill Road. It was noted this has been an ongoing problem. The board will reach out to a family member of the landowner to seek a solution.

The board also voted to accept a driveway permit submitted by Katy Leadbetter on Cross Road.
Board members reviewed an email sent by Paul McGrath, of Gulf Road, which will be made part of the record. McGrath requested the board revisit its decision not to pursue a speed study or reduction of speed on Gulf Road. Board members discussed the matter and then voted not to reconsider their decision.
Next, Jim Robert of the planning commission note that the Town Planning Commission, along with Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC), has been discussing a possible grant for a composting toilet that would be located near the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The cost of the toilet would be $75,000. A
20 percent, or $15,000, match would be required from the town. Discussion included possible location, and maintenance. The board determined there is no suitable land available. Concern was also expressed regarding the required maintenance that would fall to the town. Porta-lets were suggested as a possible
alternative. The board suggested that the Planning Commission pursue another idea for a grant, such as creating a pedestrian-bike lane along School Street.
In the project manager report part of the agenda, board vice chair Kurt Klein reported that the Schoolhouse Revitalization Committee is seeking authorization from the board to move forward with the hiring of an engineer. The engineer would be asked to outline the first steps necessary to shore up the building and identify what needs to be done to avoid further deterioration. LCPC is still checking on the cost of engineering services. The Schoolhouse Revitalization Committee has an assigned fund balance of $5,507.68. The board voted to approve hiring an engineer for up to $10,000, with $3,500 being paid from the assigned fund balance and any additional cost paid for with ARPA funds. 

The International plow truck ordered by the town has an expected delivery date of October 20. Financing has been approved by KS State Bank with an interest rate of 4.150 percent. The stated interest rate will expire on October 8. The board voted to authorize the financing under the terms presented. 

It was also reported that the group of towns discussing the idea of a shared assessor has not met recently due to schedule conflicts, that the online mapping project is moving forward, and that the transfer station received payment for trash that came from the recent Lamoille River cleanup.
The board then discussed the creation of a part-time handyman position. A potential applicant has already been interviewed. Job duties would include general maintenance, repair, and painting of
town buildings, as well as plowing, shoveling, and assisting the road crew in winter months. The board voted to hire Nathan Dawley as Wolcott handyman and plower for 16 hours per week
at $23 per hour starting immediately until June 30, 2023. Funding of the position may require approximately $11,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year, which could come from the Building Maintenance fund.
The board discussed getting a sander for the one-ton truck that could be used for the sanding of town parking lots. The sander that is currently available is a Snowex Helixx poly spreader at a cost of $9,623. The road crew prefers the poly spreader rather than one made of stainless steel because it is lighter for the truck. The board voted to authorize the purchase of a Snowex Helixx poly spreader using equipment funds.
The community barbecue and information sharing event was very well attended. The town received $170 in donations from the donation buckets on the tables, and another $35 donation. Special thanks were offered to SFC Matthew Cook and the Vermont Army National Guard volunteers who
helped set up the canopies. Wolcott Elementary School Principal Dennis Hill brought a lot of folks to the event, and Ballet Wolcott received rave reviews for their performance. The library was an active place, with balloon animals for children and games organized by the Girl Scouts. The fire department grilled hamburgers and hot dogs The board thanked all the volunteers who assisted with food and provided information to attendees. Thank you cards will be sent out. Next year more volunteers are needed so everyone can take a break and enjoy the activities. Leftover buns and hot dogs will be preserved for the fall Green Up Day event on Saturday, October 22. Volunteers who participate in cleanup can swing by the Gazebo-Pavilion in the afternoon for sloppy joes, chili, or chili dogs.
The date for cleaning and organizing the town office that had been scheduled for September 23 has been postponed to a date later in the year.
Next regular select board meeting is scheduled for October 5.