Selectboard welcomes new municipal manager

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Rockingham Selectboard meeting Tuesday, July 3 opened with the introduction of the new municipal manager, Wendy Harrison. Originally from Florida, she has lived in Vermont for the past few years and is excited to work with the Town of Rockingham. Harrison brings many years of local government experience with her to Bellows Falls, from assistant town manager to recycling and solid waste management. She also spent time as an elected official on the town council. She worked on historic preservation and neighborhood programs and most recently for the Windham Windsor Housing Trust. Harrison’s background on the Planning Commission and respect for historic protection gives the Town of Rockingham a well-rounded perspective for its newest municipal manager.

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Rockingham Selectboard introduced Wendy Harrison as the new municipal manager. Photo provided.

Harrison’s first manager’s report detailed her meeting with the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and noted public transportation issues were discussed in length, including comments on bicycle safety.

In addition to the new municipal manager, Myles Mickle and Chuck Wise were recently appointed to the planning board for three-year terms. Harrison also introduced Everett Hammond as the new public works director.

Development Director Gary Fox requested funds from the revolving loan fund in collaboration with the Sustainable Valley Group for the Green Island Project and their proposed incubator business program. The revolving loan fund helps start up businesses and expansions with low interest rates through a partnering with People’s United Bank and the Town of Rockingham.

Although the Selectboard supported the project, the cash flow and collateral was not sufficient to support the loan request. Peter Golec noted one such loan was defeated earlier this year by the bank. Fox demonstrated that the RLF stays above $250,000, and that currently the town has almost $400,000. The fiscal year ended June 30, and three outstanding loans were just paid in full. Peter Golec acknowledged if the businesses involved submitted their application for the Board to review, the loan would be approved.

The sticker permits program went into effect July 1, 2018. The stickers are mandatory for the transfer station and recycling facility to show proof of residency. Residents of Westminster and Rockingham may be issued the free permit stickers at their town office. Non-residents must purchase the sticker permit at the Rockingham Town Clerk’s office.

Public Works Director Everett Hammond discussed the sidewalk and paving construction, noting that the engineer at Bazin Brothers was on vacation until Monday, July 9. Mobilization for the paving project would take place the next week. The subcontractor for the project requested to do the structure work during the day so as to stay on schedule.

To end the meeting, Deborah Wright of the Planning Commission urged the community to take part in their Town Plan survey. It takes only 15 minutes and is a great way to get your voice heard. For the survey, go to www.rockinghamplanning.org.

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