Bellows Falls Trustees discuss road work, Westmister wastewater agreement

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On May 14, at the Bellows Falls Village Trustees meeting, Everett Hammond, director of Public Works, requested widening the sidewalk by Burt Street before the slated paving project takes place. Rob Wheeler, chief operator of the Wastewater Department, updated the Trustees on the Westminster and Fire District 5 wastewater agreement.

Trustees
Photo provided

Hammond, who serves as the director of Public Works, requested to shift the road at the upper end of Burt Street. By removing trees and installing a 70-foot retaining wall, this would allow the road to be 22 feet wide and widen the sidewalk from four to five feet. This would enable the use of the sidewalk plow, and the removal of the trees would increase traffic visibility. He added this would be a separate project. The Trustees approved the request.

Last fall, residents from the town of Westminster and Fire District 5 approached the Trustees with an appeal to update their 1982 agreement and help them with billing.

Wheeler, chief operator of the Wastewater Department, noted that the map was from the 1980s. Jonathan Wright counted 70 houses but said it was impossible to tell who was hooked up or not and it seems there are more units than the village is billing currently.

Wheeler advised the Trustees that they needed to come up with a better list of households. He suggested using a 911 map with street addresses instead of names and added his concern with the agreement were the single family homes that had been converted to multi-family units.

Stefan Golec asked if Wheeler felt they were missing out on revenue, and Wheeler explained he believed that the estimates on multi-family residences were low. Wright acknowledged they needed to address whether there was missing revenue and it was worthwhile to spend time on research. Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison said they could use village wastewater usage to establish averages and reminded the Trustees of Westminster’s prior request for the village to collect on bills.

Golec and James McAuliffe agreed it would behoove the village if payments stayed as is, currently FD5 collects from users in Westminster. Harrison said they may need assistance and Wright agreed it would be a gesture of good faith to offer to help.

Golec reiterated they needed to update information before negotiating anything and Wheeler said they were working on finding out how many and what type of customers were connected.

The next meeting of the Village Trustees is May 28 at 6 p.m. in the Lower Theater. They meet once a month for their summer meetings in June, July, and August. For more information, go to www.rockbf.org.

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