BY JOEL SLUTSKY
BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – A wastewater project bid was awarded to James Oil Company for LP gas tanks and appurtenances during a May 10 trustees meeting. Municipal Manager Chip Stearns stated that the project calls for a conversion from diesel fuel to propane. Stearns added that bids were solicited and it was the recommendation of the engineers, Aldrich & Elliott, to award the bid to James Oil Company for the base amount of $40,269. Stearns also noted that following this project the wastewater fund will own the new tanks.
Manager’s Report: A letter was sent by the Town of Weathersfield Selectboard expressing their appreciation during the structure and brush fire at the Yankee Village Hotel. The Selectboard emphasized that the rapid response and professionalism displayed by the Bellows Falls Fire Department helped to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent properties and lowered the risk of personal injury.
Final taxes were due on May10 by 4:30 p.m. Interest and penalty has been added and those delinquent should contact the town office immediately to make arrangements for payment. The tax sale process will begin by week’s end and water shut offs are occurring this week. The sidewalk on Meadow Lane is nearly complete. The sidewalk along the exit side of the parking lot between the Legion and Vermont Pretzel is being repaired and should be open by this Friday. The landing on the stairs from Church Street into the square will be repaired starting next week along with the sidewalk up Church Street along the Baptist Church. Leaf and lawn debris is being picked up Mondays and Fridays only, time allowing. The state signage along Route 5 (Atkinson Street) is nearly complete and the highway superintendent is working with the project engineer on a punch list. Annual Village Reports, if any are left, are available in various locations and can be picked up at the town offices. The report can be found on the town website.
Agenda: Village Ordinances One Way Streets – Oak Street Limited Parking Areas – School Street: The board would like to add that there be no parking on the north side of Oak Street. This ordinance will be revised and the board will take action at the June 14, 2016 meeting. It was noted that Oak Street used to be a one way street. If this action is taken enforcement would begin July1st.
Updates: Unsafe Buildings: Stearns stated that he has talked with the owner of the Chemco building, Steve McAllister, and has put him in touch with the Voices of Rockingham and Rockingham for Progress Groups. On behalf of the Bellows Falls Historical Society, Stuart Read has had a discussion with Stearns regarding the TLR building and a meeting will be held with the State Historic Preservation to see if the building can be rehabilitated. The Robertson Paper Company building is still being evaluated for hazardous clean-up and removal.
Finance Office – Chip Stearns: FY2016 YTD Budget Status: Trustee Sandy Martin asked what portion of the fund balance will be retained for this fiscal year and Stearns stated $40,000. Stearns also noted that out of the $1,941,102.80 of billed taxes; $58,499.11 has not been collected, which calculates to a 3% delinquency. The state average for delinquency is 8%. Stearns also thanked Martin for his attention to detail and diligence with the financials each month and stated that he will be missed on this board.
Trustee Items: Discuss Merger Hearing: It was the consensus of the board to move forward with the merger plan vote on May 17. The final public hearing will be held Saturday, May 14 at 11 a.m. for the village and 2 p.m. for the town.
Ratify Vote of April 12, 2016: A motion to ratify the vote taken on April 12, 2016 authorizing the Bellows Falls Police Chief Ronald Lake to sign the contract as presented with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department for transportation services passed unanimously.
Other Business: Trustee Colin James stated that he was very impressed with the community’s show of support for the Sebastian 5K run and noted that all the money needed was raised and the service dog would be funded for this child.