Cavendish Selectboard discusses ARPA

At the Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 Cavendish Selectboard meeting, State Rep. John Arrison discussed ARPA funds with the board. Photo provided

CAVENDISH, Vt. – The Cavendish Selectboard held their monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Chairman Bob Glidden called the meeting to order, and after a quick adjustment of the agenda from Town Manager Brendan McNamara, the meeting recognized Vermont State Rep. John Arrison, who was in attendance to address the Board in regards to Act 172. Part of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), Act 172 was passed during the last legislative session, and designates $45 million to be primarily used for energy related projects, with emphasis on non-fossil fuel proposals. As Arrison said, after funds for Buildings and General Services and the Regional Planning Commission are deducted, Vermont will be left with approximately $37 million, to be distributed between 2,000 municipal buildings throughout the state.

Arrison recommended that the Board lay out its plan and be prepared to apply for the grants as soon as they become available. “Have your ideas ready,” he said. “It seems like with these state programs, when the money becomes available, the first in line are the ones to get it.” He advised the selectboard to decide which facilities are considered most essential, and put together a budget.

Arrison’s last item regarded the testing of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in all state schools. Arrison reported that Cavendish Town Elementary School had been tested and no PCBs had been found. But, with only four out of 325 schools in Vermont tested thus far, Arrison expressed his concern over where the money would come from, to cover costs of cleanup or other expenses related to the removal of any found PCBs.

Sandra Russo asked about money earmarked to incentivize private citizens to convert to energy efficient sources. Arrison thought there were programs available based on income, and Margo Caulfield mentioned Efficiency Vermont, ( a good source for information on products, services, and rebates.

After Rep. Arrison’s presentation, McNamara addressed the board. His first item was the growing concern over short-term rentals, via companies such as Airbnb and VRBO, and their increasing, negative impact on town resources. The transfer station, municipal water, and wastewater systems have all been adversely affected, McNamara said. He mentioned that both Ludlow and Chester are beginning to regulate short-term rentals, and suggested that the Planning Commission look into what steps they are taking, i.e., special taxes or permit fees.

McNamara then brought up the potential sale of a “screening plant,” which sits unused on land belonging to Pieter van Schaik, and needs to be moved from its current location. He said he had already reached out to a few individuals who may be interested in purchasing the machine, estimating the sale could earn the town between $5,000 and $15,000.

The ongoing issue of five untethered dogs on Route 131 that present a danger to the community was introduced by McNamara. The board had a hearing about a month ago, but the ruling was not enforced. McNamara stated there will need to be another hearing within ten days, and it was agreed that the new date would be Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.

Regarding the paving of Tarbell Hill Road, McNamara announced that the bid had been awarded to Wilk Paving, and thought they would begin the work within the week.

It was announced that former Recreation Director Terry O’Brien had turned in his letter of resignation, effective Sept. 17, 2022. McNamara said he’d already been in contact with a potential interim director who he believes will be a great fit, and that O’Brien had offered to work with her during the transition.

McNamara introduced the topic of the junkyard ordinance, stating that, although some in violation have begun cleaning up their properties, there were others that were becoming a problem, some with abandoned vehicles blocking roadsides and sidewalks. After some discussion, the board determined that McNamara would provide a list of offenders, about 30 in total, and they would begin to work out a plan to address the issue.

A leak in the Whitesville Water Tank was discussed, and the repair will be scheduled, along with repainting the tank, according to McNamara.

The board discussed Town ownership of mineral rights at the Narbut property on Route 131, which is currently for sale. McNamara advised there were interested parties, but that the town was not planning to sell the mineral rights.

McNamara reported that he’d been working with Ludlow Electric to change the Proctorsville street lights to LED. Utilizing rebates offered through Efficiency Vermont, McNamara said the costs could be kept to a minimum, and that the old lights were becoming more expensive and hard to find.

Betty McEnaney asked about the potholes at the intersection of East and Brook Roads, and McNamara said they were to be repaired, as well as the damaged guardrail on that bridge.

The next selectboard meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 17, due to Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 10.

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