Expanded role for Deputy Sheriff and looking ahead to 2023

CAVENDISH, Vt. – On Monday, Dec. 19, the Cavendish Selectboard meeting began with the appointment of Josh Temple to the Town Auditor position. Temple volunteered to serve as auditor after the last selectboard meeting, and has already begun the job. Bob Glidden moved, and Stephen Plunkard seconded the motion to make the appointment official through the next election in March 2023.

Town Manager Brendan McNamara gave an update on the changing duties of the Sheriff Deputy. He said that currently the deputy is in Cavendish 12 hours per week, mainly for traffic control, at a budget of $18,400. McNamara stated the actual expenses are higher, but they are partially offset by ticket revenues, adding that due to Covid the revenues have been lower the past few years.

The newly elected Sheriff, Ryan Palmer will take office on Feb. 1, 2023, and has said he plans to expand the Deputy Sheriff’s duties into broader community issues such as emergencies and civil matters, and increase the amount of hours per week. McNamara said additional time and services will increase costs, and since the town’s budget is generally set before Palmer’s term will begin, any changes may not be implemented until the next fiscal year.

Selectboard member George Timko suggested Palmer attend a budget meeting, and McNamara believed he would. Plunkard added it might be helpful to see crime data for the town. McNamara said he would ask Palmer to attend the January board meeting.

The board considered the appointment of Stu Lindberg to the Cavendish Fire District #2 Prudential Committee. McNamara said Bob Evens had stepped down, and Lindberg had offered to serve until the next annual department meeting. Sandra Russo moved to approve, Timko seconded the motion, and all voted in favor.

Regarding the formation of a town ARPA committee, which will serve as an advisory committee to distribute ARPA funds, McNamara said there had been a preliminary meeting held where proposed guidelines were reviewed by the board. The guidelines were accepted, and McNamara said the first meeting of the committee is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m.

Etienne Ting, Planning Commission Chairman was at the meeting to give an update on any progress on the adoption of the Energy Chapter. He expressed it’s been difficult to gather a quorum to hold meetings, and not all members have had an opportunity to review the 305-page Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, so it was decided to table the motion and discuss it again at their next meeting.

There was a vote to adopt the Declaration of Inclusion, encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to live and work in Cavendish. The declaration will be posted on the town website and in an updated employee handbook.

The application for a liquor license for The Crow Food Hall, LLC was approved.

An updated emergency plan with current contacts and phone numbers had been distributed to board members. Speaking on the recent storm, McNamara reported the heavy snow proved challenging for the town plows. But on a positive note, although there were power outages, the warming center opened very quickly, people seemed to check in on their neighbors, and damage in town was minimal. Unfortunately, the town’s trackless sidewalk plow is having transmission issues, repairing or replacing the machine could be very expensive, and a new one may not be available. He said he will continue to look for options and will keep the board informed.

McNamara announced that the transfer station will be closed on New Year’s day.

Plunkard presented an idea for a town registry of available beds to be utilized in case of emergency, or resettling refugee families, which he’d heard the city of Burlington had adopted recently. Saying that he has empty bedrooms in his house, Plunkard felt other people would offer their homes as well. McNamara said he could create a list of participating households to refer to should anyone contact him.

The next board meeting will be held on Jan. 9, and the first budget meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023.

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