Town May Receive $2 million Wastewater Grant

by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT – The November 2 select board meeting agenda covered topics ranging from the Wolcott Town Forest, to the cost of composting to a significant grant for wastewater treatment.

The first presentation was by Kate Wanner, senior project manager with the Trust for Public Land, who provided an update on purchasing land for the town forest. The Bourne’s property is under contract and will close within 18 months. There was a good turnout on October 22 for the guided forest walk. So far, 139 responses to a community survey have been received. Wanner is in contact with the planning commission on progress for trail development.

The Trust for Public Land is partnering with Lamoille County Habitat for Humanity. A small parcel of land will be subdivided from the Bedell property along Vt. Rte. 15 to be donated to Habitat for Humanity. They will construct a duplex that will be available to families in need. This affordable housing lot is needed for funding purposes. There is no cost to the town, and the land and structure would be added to the Grand List. Kipp Verner, interim president of Lamoille County Habitat for Humanity outlined the basics on how Habitat for Humanity operates.
The project manager report highlighted that the town’s handyman has been doing a lot of work in preparation for winter. The tire corral at the transfer station was rebuilt, and improvements will also be made to the chain and fencing. Other tasks include work on library fixtures, vent cleaning at town hall, scheduling furnace repair, boiler room door repair at the garage, and patching holes at the town office. Painting of the town garage has been completed. The handyman has also been working with Tom Martin to dispose of items from the old schoolhouse prior to the funders meeting on November 4. The road crew has been working on grading roads. The town may want to pre-buy salt in the event of a
railroad strike.
The Helpsy textile donation bins are in place at the transfer station. Donations should be clean and bagged before depositing in the bins. The litter committee is working with Helpsy on a pickup schedule.
Black Dirt Farms has increased their price for pickup of compost from $20 to $24 per tote. The board will look into available options to avoid raising the price on compost.
Next, the board reviewed the profit and loss budget against the actual printout. Town Clerk and Treasurer Belinda Clegg stated that the town is on budget. The transfer station continues to show a loss, with $700 coming in and $1,800 going out. The Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District may be able to provide some tips.
The next topic was the budget for law enforcement services. At a previous meeting, the board had agreed not to use ARPA funds to pay for the increase in the cost of coverage by the Lamoille County Sherriff’s Office since using one-time funds would create a future shortfall. The Town of Johnson is also opposed to the use of ARPA funds to cover their increased cost.

The previous three-year contract allowed for a 3% annual increase. To continue coverage by the sheriff’s department beyond the current contract would cost 8% more. The communications charge from the sheriff’s department would also increase by 7%. It was noted that Elmore pays the sheriff’s office for only a set number of hours of patrol each month, and that Eden pays for police services by the hour, as needed. Wolcott representatives plan to meet with their counterparts from Johnson and Hyde Park, but no date is set yet. The board will consider whether to present the sheriff’s budget as a separate article on the warning or include it in the board’s budget under Essential Services.
The town received a village ARPA grant for wastewater in the amount of $2,565,000. The grant agreement should be received within three to six months. The state would pay 90% of the total project cost. The town’s 10% contribution would total $256,500. Once more details are worked out, the matter will go to voters to determine whether to move forward or not.
The board then voted to commit to paying a pro-rated share of the cost for an assessor for four hours per week. The Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) has been working on behalf of the Schoolhouse Revitalization Committee to obtain a municipal planning grant to study the feasibility of using the schoolhouse as an economic driver and meeting place, and also to look at parking issues in the area. The board signed a resolution of support, and LCPC will submit the paperwork by December 1.
The board then voted to approve a $6,025 proposal to scan, upload and index approximately 400 surveys to Town Fusion so they can be viewed and downloaded by the public. The cost will be covered by using $4,000 of ARPA funds, with the balance coming from restoration fee funds.