Select Board Adopts a Declaration of Inclusion
by Gazette Staff
WOLCOTT – At the November 16 meeting, the Wolcott Select Board discussed budget submissions, the status of the new plow truck, and a Declaration of Inclusion.
The first topic for discussion was budget submissions. The library submitted a written budget proposal for the same amount as last year, $9,925. Tom Martin, zoning administrator, submitted a. written budget proposal for $10,625, essentially the same amount as last year. Permit fees will need to be raised to cover the increased cost of publication of notices. Martin also informed the board that it would be prudent to start looking into a town-wide reappraisal since there are so many towns already in the queue, pushing the time for completion years into the future.
Deb Klein presented a proposed budget of $25,400, a slight increase from last year. The board will address the $11,440 proposed budget for an assessor when putting the full budget together.
Michelle Cortes-Harkins, chair of the junk and litter committee, reviewed the committee’s proposed budget. There was a discussion about the activities the committee sponsors, such as Bulk Waste Day, Green Up Day in both spring and fall, Lamoille River cleanup, the Helpsy textile bins at the transfer station, and the Don’t Trash Wolcott signs. It was suggested that Bulk Waste Day and Green Up Days come out of the transfer station budget and go into the junk and litter committee budget. There was also discussion about how to handle fees coming to the town for textile recycling through Helpsy. Further discussions are planned.
On behalf of the park and recreation committee, Kee Gillen requested the same amount as last year, $1,000. It was noted $600 of that amount goes toward the porta-potty.
In the project manager report, board vice chair Kurt Klein reported that he recently met with Rob Moore from the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) to view work done by the road crew on several road segments, particularly Marsh Road and East Hill Road. Both Moore and Jim Ryan from VTrans said the crew did an excellent job. This work paves the way to the town being awarded a grant.
Klein stated that a desktop computer is needed for the emergency management desk at the town office, and a new computer is needed for the project manager’s office. A quote was received for $1,025 for the new desktop computer. The board voted to approve the purchases.
The new plow truck is still at Viking waiting for the plow attachment to arrive. Viking has been promising that the plow will be delivered “next week” for several weeks now. With the last snow fall, some roads had to be plowed with the one-ton truck, which is not good for the truck. It may be that the town will need to take delivery of the new truck and attach the old plow to it until the new plow comes in. The handyman has been training with the road crew on plowing and operating the loader.
The schedule for preparing the town report will be determined in the next couple of weeks.
Potential funders, representing several different agencies and groups, recently toured the old schoolhouse. Funding for the work would be for separate projects, with one on planning, one
on engineering, and one on construction, for example. High interest was expressed for utilizing the space as a café and for the historical society. The select board had previously authorized $10,000 for engineering services at the old schoolhouse to evaluate the project and set priorities. LCPC sent out Request for Proposals (RFP). Three engineers responded to the recent site visit. Their proposals should be received in early December.
The board had recently been approached, along with other towns in the state, to adopt a Declaration of Inclusion. The board had forwarded the request to the planning commission for input.
The commission recommends the board adopt a declaration that states: “The Town of Wolcott condemns racism, sexism, classism, ableism, ageism, religious intolerance, and homophobia, in all forms. The Town of Wolcott welcomes all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, or physical and/or mental capabilities, to participate in governance. The Town of Wolcott is committed to fair and equal treatment of everyone in the community. The Town of Wolcott strives to ensure all Town actions, policies and operating procedures reflect this commitment.”
A brief discussion ensued, after which the board voted to adopt the declaration.
A Wolcott resident, a single parent, requested to make payments on back taxes in the amount of $25 per week. With that schedule, the back taxes would be paid before the May tax bill is due. Discussion ensued. The board voted to accept the request.
It was suggested that the board consider gift cards for employees for Thanksgiving. Following discussion, the board declined.
In updates from the chair, board chair Linda Martin stated that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the towns of Hyde Park, Johnson, and Wolcott to share the costs of a part-time assessor. LCPC will advertise the position. Greensboro has expressed interest in joining the group, but LCPC will need to discuss that since Greensboro is outside Lamoille County. It is hoped other towns will join in.
Martin would like the town to place an order for E-911 signs for all 911 properties in town. If the signs are ordered in bulk, there should be a 10 percent discount. The signs could be produced over the winter and be ready for installation in the spring.
Martin stated there was a communication issue on renting out town hall and the ballet was not informed to pick up their gear. The renter told Martin it took her an hour to prepare town hall for their use. Martin suggested the renter receive some compensation. The board voted to reduce the rental fee for this particular user from $65 to $30.
Moving forward, town hall rentals will be scheduled through Martin, who will create a form for better communication between renters and the ballet.