CAVENDISH, Vt. – At their Dec. 13 meeting, the Cavendish Selectboard adopted a townwide mask mandate, termed a “rule,” requiring that all individuals within Cavendish and Proctorsville wear face coverings indoors while in locations that are open to the public. The board adopted the guideline as a rule, not an ordinance, so it cannot be repealed by petition.
Town Manager Brendan McNamara said that the rule would not be an enforceable mandate, but that it would stand as more of a recommendation from the town. He said he had heard from several residents who were in favor of a mandate “especially with the influx of population coming in for the ski season.”
The vote from the board to approve the measure was unanimous, but board members Mike Ripley and George Timko both expressed concern that the measure might pit people against each other. Board member Sandra Russo also expressed concern, but said it was better to issue a mandate, versus not. “It’s the right way to go.”
Town Health Officer Doris Eddy was asked to weigh in from the audience and agreed. “We should certainly encourage people to be wearing their mask,” she said.
Exceptions to the rule include children under 2, those with disabilities that make mask wearing impossible, and those eating and drinking once seated at a restaurant.
The rule will be in place for 45 days and then will need to be renewed every 30 days thereafter.
McNamara updated the board on his ongoing efforts to move forward with projects that can be covered under the American Rescue Plan Act funding, which will total upwards of $420,000. He has been in discussions with regional planning and other town managers to confirm that his projects will be eligible for funding under the state guidelines, which he termed “ongoing and ever changing.”
Projects McNamara is pursuing for the town include two culvert replacements and ditching equipment, which as “a storm water” issue may now be under the ARPA umbrella. He is also continuing to gather cost estimates for projects he had identified in previous meetings including Pump Station upgrades, digitizing land records for Town Clerks Office, software upgrades for holding hybrid meetings, and replacing all the water meters in town.
McNamara said he wants to have the projects ready to go once approved so they can hit the ground running to secure engineers and contractors to work on the projects, which must be done by 2024. He said he would have full details for the board in the coming months.
The board discussed a letter received by the town from Vincent Narbut concerning a 65-acre property he owns on Route 131. Narbut is trying to sell the property but the town owns the mineral rights – something a new potential buyer is protesting. Narbut is requesting that the town give up the mineral rights to the property.
Timko said that was done to protect the town so that a highly visible property wouldn’t be dug up and be an unsightly stretch on scenic Route 131.
McNamara said he was having the town attorney weigh in on the matter. He confirmed that the town was not going to give up their mineral rights but could agree that the town would not extract anything from the property for a certain amount of years. The board agreed it should be a good compromise.
The town budgeting process will begin with a meeting Wednesday, Jan 5, from 6-8 p.m. The next regular Cavendish Selectboard meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cavendish Town Office.