Rockingham designated a “Welcoming Town”

Rockingham Select Board
Rockingham Meeting House. Stock photo.

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – During an April 4 Select Board meeting the Town of Rockingham was designated a welcoming town. At a March 21 Select Board meeting Elayne Clift, who inquired about the welcoming designation, was unable to attend and Stephen Crofter spoke in her behalf. He related that the town was first settled by Europeans and our ancestors were immigrants so it is appropriate to make this statement of welcome. Crofter made it clear that there is no financial obligation to the town and is simply a statement of welcome.

Clift, saying she represented the Saxtons River Humane Rights Café and Brattleboro Indivisible, sent a statement to the board that read, in part, “Whereas Welcoming Cities, Towns and Counties have seen a growing network in which all community members acknowledge the benefits of building partnerships and stronger, healthier communities, Be it Resolved that the Rockingham Select Board declares Rockingham a Welcoming town.” Clift clarified that this was not to make Rockingham a sanctuary city. A motion to adopt the resolution passed.

Southeast Vermont Transit (SEVT) Act 250 Application for Underground Fuel Tanks: An overview to the Select Board from SEVT stated that the company is proposing to construct an addition to its existing building and a fueling station. Select Board members asked if there is a need for underground tanks and if there is a potential environmental impact from these tanks. Select Board Chair Lamont Barnett noted that the town was a part owner of the property and wanted to make sure there was no liability on the town’s part. SEVT CEO Randy Schoonmaker stated that the need is financial, convenience and safety. Schoonmaker stated that there is a potential $25,000 per year savings by being able to purchase fuel in bulk. He further stated, “We are a non-profit and finances are very tight.”

Roy Creley, Lake Region Environmental, responded to the environmental concerns expressed by the Select Board by presenting a detailed description of the tanks, the piping, the operating system, and the safety of the system that would be installed. Creley stated that he has been installing this type of tank since the 1980s and it is a steel primary tank in a fiberglass outer tank and can be isolated from corrosion. He further stated that the tanks have the strength of steel and the corrosion resistance of fiberglass.

Barnett asked what the cost of this system would be and Creley stated it would be $170,000. Creley noted that an above ground tank can be more expensive and would take up real estate while an underground tank would be undetectable and could be parked on. Select Board member Guitano Putignano asked what the financial obligation was for SEVT. Schoonmaker stated that there would be a $1.1 million loan and $50,000 to $70,000 of SEVT cash would be included as well. A motion to support the submission of the Act 250 permit application for Southeast Vermont Transit to install an underground fuel tank and fuel station passed.

Ribbon Cutting for Park & Ride: Interim Municipal Manager Shane O’Keefe stated that a ribbon cutting has been scheduled for April 28 and a representative from Senator Leahy’s office would be attending.

Finance Office: O’Keefe noted that they were now 75% through the year and everything looks fine. O’Keefe stated that the General Fund was at 89% but this included the TransCanada repayment and Highway was at 71.5% so this was in good shape as well.

Fire Equipment and Fire Reserve Fund Expense: O’Keefe distributed a handout to the Select Board showing the purchases of two fire trucks and an infrared camera that was approved by the board on June 7, 2016. O’Keefe noted that the Saxtons River fire truck had been authorized up to $250,000 and came in at $230,232; Rockingham fire truck authorized up to $295,000 and came in at $297,783 and the infrared camera for Saxtons River authorized up to $12,000 and came in at $11,799. These costs totaled $539,814.

O’Keefe noted that the voters approved $500,000 at the March 2016 annual meeting. He additionally revealed that the Fire Capital Account currently has a fund balance of $58,657 and there is an amount needed of $39,814 which would leave the Fire Capital Reserve Fund at $18,843. A motion to revise the Select Board’s June 7, 2016, authorization to purchase a new fire truck for the Rockingham Volunteer Fire Department from $295,000 to $298,000 and to authorize the use of Fire Capital Reserve funds of up to $39,900 for fire equipment purchases in FY2017, passed.

The meeting can be read on the town website, www.rockbf.org and watched at www.fact8.com.

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