Select Board Approves Hiring of New Police Officer

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by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – At its September 7 meeting, the Hardwick Select Board discussed river cleanup, flood recovery assistance, and the hiring of a new police officer.

Town Manager David Upson Jr. stated that the State of Vermont is going to lead the debris cleanup efforts along the Lamoille River. State authorities have asked that residents report any debris that has landed on private property to the town office. The state does not want the Town of Hardwick or private homeowners to put machinery into the river; it will clean up the debris properly without contaminating the water. There will be further information on the town website.

Upson also reported that there are several state and federal programs to help with flood recovery. In addition, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has extended its program another 90 days to help families with water and sewer bills. More information about these programs is also on Hardwick’s website.

The town is moving forward with the wastewater treatment plant upgrade, including sludge clean out. Currently, Lagoon One is emptying, which will make that part of town smell temporarily. Upson said that he continues to collect data, including an inventory of damage to the plant.

There is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) about the Pedestrian Bridge on the town’s website, where the public can comment on the project. In addition to the Pedestrian Bridge project, the foundation of the bridge on the Main Street side received damage due to the flood and will need to be replaced.

Tracy Martin, Hardwick’s Community Development Coordinator (CDC), has been looking into a Building Communities grant program for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). The grant would provide kiosks and sign stands along the LVRT to provide information to trail users. Martin proposed that Hardwick apply for a grant for two kiosks, one near Creamery Road in Hardwick, and another in East Hardwick. The application would include a grant request for three sign stands, two to be placed in Hardwick between the Depot and the Memorial Park, the third in East Hardwick. The five items in the grant application cost $15,340, but the East Hardwick Neighborhood Organization (ENHO), Hardwick Historical Society, and the Downtown Partnership have all committed money towards this project, leaving $1,370 for the select board to fund. The board voted to approve the grant.

Road Foreman Tom Fadden said that the following roads have been recently completed: Renaud Road, Hunter Lane, Tucker Brook Road, Smith Farm Road, and Morin Lane. Fadden reported that most of the roads have been graded, The new grader was expected to arrive on September 8. The road crew has also worked on some bridge abutments and installed some culverts, and work continues on Carey Road. Fisher Folly Bridge repairs have started and should be completed in a few weeks.

Next on the road crew’s task list are Stevens Lane, Cobb School Road, Catamount Road, and Kate Brook Road.

Police Chief Mike Henry said that the cruiser that was flooded in July is still being worked on. Twin State Ford fixed the engine; however, after receiving it back, HPD needed the cruiser to be reappraised for further water damage. The cruiser is now at Lamoille Valley Collision to fix the interior water damage.

Henry also reported that HPD has updated its public records request form. Individuals will be asked to use this form going forward. The department has also upgraded its security system in the office.

Lastly, Henry reported that HPD has hired Daniel Brunelle as a full-time officer. Brunelle has over 25 years of experience in law enforcement and has already started work. The board voted to confirm Brunelle’s employment.

Ryck Morales, a public affairs specialist with the Small Business Administration (SBA), presented to the board. Morales has been working with the town manager and Community Development Coordinator Tracy Martin to provide information on how the SBA and FEMA would be able to assist the community. Morales explained that if Hardwick were interested in setting up a meeting with a panel of FEMA representatives, it would be an opportunity to answer residents’ questions. Possible questions that could be addressed include why someone’s request was denied, or why someone received less assistance than they requested. The board decided to consider the matter.

The board also discussed several items that required its approval and voted to approve an application for a $25,000 Downtown Vibrancy Fund grant, the building design for the Town House project, and grant agreement resolution for the Jeudevine Memorial Library expansion.