BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – At an executive session at the April 4 joint board meeting two significant issues affecting the town and village were discussed – an extension of the interim municipal manager’s contract and the village’s obligation to pay back the town for their portion of taxes to TransCanada.
Municipal Manager’s Contract: During the March 28, 2017 joint board meeting the board had authorized Select Board Chair Lamont Barnett and the Village President Myles Mickle to negotiate with Interim Municipal Manager Shane O’Keefe for a contract extension. Barnett stated during that meeting that he and Mickle discussed the terms of a contract and were comfortable with the outcome of the meeting. The session resulted in the extension of O’Keefe’s position from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2018.
O’Keefe assumed his interim municipal managerial role in November 2016 and recently had his contract extended until July 1, 2017. O’Keefe had commented on the potential contract that he was open to an extended position partly because with more experience he would be better able to hire a financial manager. The extension is subject to village and town attorney approval.
TransCanada Payments: the status of the trustee’s payments to the Town of Rockingham for the TransCanada tax reimbursements was adjusted. Mickle stated that the trustees had requested this special meeting to ask the select board to consider restructuring the payment to the town over a four or five year time frame. Barnett asked if this would include the yet to be determined repayment for FY2015 & FY2016 tax payment and O’Keefe stated that the amount recently budgeted of $39,000 was included. Trustee Steve Adams stated that by spreading out the repayment to the town, the trustees were planning to rebuild a seriously depleted fund balance and would be in a better financial position. O’Keefe noted that the village should have a $300,000 fund balance and the best case for this fiscal year is that the village will have a fund balance of $81,000.
A motion passed to extend the repayment to the town from the village for the TransCanada tax reimbursement from three to five years, interest free. The refund was for excessive taxes paid by TransCanada for the years 2012-2014 of $346,264.51, comprising taxes of $224,552.83 and interest of $121,711.67. The town of Rockingham agreed last month to issue a tax refund check to TransCanada for $346,264.51, in agreement with a September 9, 2016 Vermont Supreme Court decision.