Chuck Wise presents clock tower upgrade, restoration to Selectboard

The Clock Tower in downtown Bellows Falls. Photo provided
The Clock Tower in downtown Bellows Falls. Photo provided

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the Rockingham Selectboard discussed the clock tower as well as Town Meeting Day.

Town Planner Chuck Wise gave a presentation to the board on the condition inside the clock tower of the town hall. By video, he showed the interior of the clock and commended the extensive clean up by Jones Brothers Roofing. Wise explained some of the lights were burning out, causing the current fading upon the clock face.

Historic Preservation Commission Coordinator Walter Wallace was researching replacement bulbs in LED with an historically accurate warm tone. Wise said the LED lights were available with multiple color options and suggested that the town could change the light colors for holidays.

Stefan Golec asked about the added cost for the colored lights, and Wise explained that the colors were standard fixtures and part of the light purchase. He said that with the ease of mobile technology, the light changes could easily be done by phone from downstairs.

Wise displayed the interior rust on the iron frame and said Development Director Gary Fox and Wallace were looking into funding options for a full restoration. “Everything is in extraordinarily good shape,” Wise said. A lot of the work could be done from inside the clock tower.

He estimated that typical lighting for a clock tower was $10,000 to $15,000 but “All we need to do is match the illumination of these existing fluorescent bulbs.”

Wise is working with Efficiency Vermont and looking at Phillips Hue Technology for a cost of $160 per fixture with two for each face on the four sides.

Turning to preparation for Town Meeting Day, Finance Director Shannon Burbela explained that the audit, town report, and handouts would be available both at the Informational Meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 and at Town Meeting March 1.

Susan Hammond asked how the Feb. 18 meeting would be different from the Town Meeting. Burbela explained that it would offer information and preparation for a remote Town Meeting with all articles being voted entirely by Australian ballot. She said it would give residents practice getting on Zoom and the ability to ask questions about the Australian ballot process. “It should be pretty brief.”

Hammond wondered if any of the warning items would be discussed. Chair Gaetano Putignano suggested that the meeting should be about “how our business meeting will be run” and informational only.

The next Selectboard meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Lower Theater of the Bellows Falls Opera House. The Informational Meeting is Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Bellows Falls Opera House. Town Meeting is Monday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Voting will be by Australian ballot Tuesday, March 2, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Masonic Temple. The Zoom links and the report are available on

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