Pedestrian Bridge Planning Continues as Resident Input Survey Closes

by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – At its Nov. 17 regular meeting, the Hardwick Select Board covered topics ranging from the wastewater plant project to Hardwick Electric Department finances and next steps in the Pedestrian Bridge reconstruction project.

Town Manager David Upson reported that a new lagoon liner has been installed at the wastewater treatment plant, and that the project is on schedule. Upson said that the town purchased four mobile homes at a recent tax sale. Owners have a year and a day to settle their tax bills. Otherwise, ownership transfers to the town.

The Pedestrian Bridge survey closed this Monday; more than 70 responses have been received. Once the survey responses are compiled, a final design will be selected, after which permitting work will begin.

Upson also reported that Community Development Coordinator Tracy Martin will complete an application for a grant under the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Community Recovery and Revitalization Program. The grant would cover additional items for the wastewater treatment project for which the town does not have funding. The program has a total $40 million available, and Hardwick will apply for approximately $700,000.

The town has received a second opioid settlement payment in the amount of $2,786. With the first payment, Hardwick received
$5,400. Town Manager Upson would like to use some of the money to revitalize the senior side of the public safety building so that it can be used as a community center.
See attachments for the full report.
Interim Police Chief Mike Henry gave the Hardwick Police Department (HPD) report. The new Explorer is outfitted and on the road. The older sedan is stripped and is for sale. Anyone interested in purchasing the vehicle can call HPD at 472-5475. HPD plant to list the car on Facebook Marketplace, as well.
Henry reported that Officer Steven Mitchell completed the Taser Instructor course, so HPD now has an in-house trainer. Officers need to retrain for tasers annually, so this will be very helpful to the department, as they have relied on other departments for the training recently. Henry also shared that a couple of the part-time officers went to a drug detection course to learn how to detect impaired drivers.
Chief Henry wanted to thank the Hazen staff who have worked with struggling students. There have been some challenging situations and that were handled with grace. There are high school and middle schoolers using the community center regularly now as a safe space. This is all a part of the relationship that the Police department has formed with the schools to assist them with students who are struggling.
Commissioner Roger Prevot gave the Hardwick Electric Department (HED) report. HED has been depleting its cash reserves at a rate of about $50,000 a month due to the increased cost of purchased power. The cash reserves are largely proceeds from the embezzlement settlement from a lawsuit that was concluded several years ago. HED is working on a rate increase to help mitigate the drawdown and is exploring battery storage to offset peak demand.

Prevot shared that HED continues to look at Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which provides automated meter reading and automated outage reporting. HED is partnering with other Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA) utilities, as the project is too large for HED to undertake on its own.