PLYMOUTH, Vt. – At the Plymouth Selectboard meeting on March 7, Town Clerk Sandie Small announced her resignation as Town Treasurer and Elaine Pauley, Assistant Town Clerk, accepted the position. Board members also discussed the town traffic ordinance, upcoming tax sales, a village center incentive program, and updates on the town building renovation.
Board Chair Jay Kullman announced the letter of resignation they received from Small, who will remain the Town Clerk, so there will be a few “shifting of duties” that will take place. Pauley agreed to assume the remaining term of the treasurer position, which is voted on every third year and expires in 2023. Kullman affirmed Pauley’s knowledge of the position, saying, “She has a lot of experience, she ran the family business,” and that she has experience with audits and accounting. The Board then thanked Small for her continued service of Town Clerk and Delinquent Tax Collector.
Small reported on the upcoming tax sales for the town, which has been divided into two parts: The non-Hawk properties up for tax sale on April 7, and the Hawk properties following at a later date. Steve Ankuda, the attorney working on the sales, recently sent out letters to property owners, some of who have already made payments towards their delinquent taxes.
The town’s traffic ordinance, which contains the town speed limits and other items, was approved without any changes. The Board discussed making changes to the document regarding lowering traffic on Route 100A due to the construction projects over the summer, but it was determined by the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission office that the projects would be completed before an adopted ordinance would be approved. Town Clerk Small will file the unchanged ordinance and forward a copy to the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department.
Kullman also reported on a village center incentive program in Vermont, which defines downtown areas and provides tax credits and incentives to renovate historic buildings. This can include small renovations, bringing things up to code, and other upgrades. The program credits last eight years before needing to be renewed, but is unclear on how old a building needs to be for consideration. The program states that communities may designate their own neighborhood areas, so the town would need to develop a plan and map out village centers, which have to be relatively contained. TRORC can help map the areas, while the Department of Housing and Community Development is the lead in making approvals. There would be a small cost for digital mapping.
The Board voted to designate Tyson, Plymouth Union, and Plymouth Notch as village centers. They indicated that certain structures, like the church or library, might be a good fit, along with other businesses such as the Echo Lake Inn, Good Commons, Salt Ash Inn, or the General Store. They also noted that state buildings are likely not eligible, which include the Coolidge buildings.
Kullman said that this incentive could “encourage building owners. If they want to do work, it could help them.” He also recommended the possibility of using a small portion of the ARPA funds to coincide with the program. “We could establish a little chunk of that money for little grants in the $5,000 range, used for specific uses in a period of time,” i.e., for something as small as repainting to make specific buildings and areas look good.
Rick Kaminski, who has been communicating with architects and recently met with the electrical engineer regarding the town building renovation project, reported that they have been making progress with the design and are still on track. Although they reached out to another contractor last week, who said they weren’t a good fit for the job, so the town is searching for another contractor. It was also noted that there weren’t many manufacturers in New England that produce the wall panels needed for the project.
“We have announced a pre-bid, pre-construction, walkthrough date of April 18,” Kaminski reported. He also referred to a bid date of May 2, a hope to have contracts by May 9, and project completion by Oct. 14. Those preliminary goals are “fairly aggressive,” said Kaminski, “but we’ll see. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
The Board agreed to skip the March 21 meeting, noting that April 18 will be a long day with a site visit and meeting at the Fletcher property for closure of Road 39, a class four road near Hale Hollow, and the regular Selectboard meeting to follow.
The next Selectboard meeting is April 4 at 6 p.m.