LUDLOW, Vt. – Ludlow Selectboard meeting Monday, May 5 lasted a brisk 35 minutes, working quickly through the town business and beginning with an opening announcement that the town office is now open to visitors. Social distance and masking guidelines should still be followed.
Steve Laskevich has been appointed as the animal control officer to work on a per call basis, which he will bill according to “fair market value” depending on the task or animal he is handling. Board Chair Bruce Schmidt expressed some reluctance without seeing the rates in advance but agreed, along with the rest of the board, after Municipal Manager Scott Murphy said that if rates proved too costly, they could make another decision.
Toole Design has been selected to conduct a Microtransit Feasibility Study for the Okemo and Ludlow area, which will look at possible transportation options in and around Ludlow especially in the evenings after Okemo Mountain has shut down. The study will be funded by a Vermont Agency of Transportation grant totaling $30,000. Toole plans to have a presentation for the town by December’s meeting.
The board approved the purchase of a used tractor mower for $85,000. The town had been planning on the purchase of a new mower, which would cost approximately $135,000, but new equipment delivery delays have impacted that plan. Murphy was asking the board to make an exception to their usual practice of obtaining three bids since the delay could mean they would not get a mower in time. There is currently $90,000 in the town budget for a mower purchase.
Schmidt discussed concerns over repair costs associated with a used mower that already had 2,300 hours on it; however, Brett Sanderson clarified that the cost was for a tractor and mower, not just the mower arm itself, and the board agreed it was a good deal and approved the purchase.
The board approved a new dispatch communication recorder system for just over $11,000 from a trusted vendor, which will record all emergency incoming calls. Murphy said that recorded calls will be mandated in 2022.
Murphy gave the board a financial update on the Ludlow Ambulance budget, which has been incurring a deficit throughout the year. As they approach the end of the fiscal year, the deficit looks to come in at approximately $85,000, up from the anticipated shortfall of approximately $73,000. The town went before voters for next year’s ambulance budget to approve funds needed and avoid the issue next year. Murphy said they would likely be using unassigned funds once the final number is known.
Murphy gave an update to the Lister’s department, which has undergone a structural transition in recent months with the retirement of a long-term lister and the introduction of lister’s consultants. Listers will be busy in the next few weeks, sending out preliminary assessment notices in next several weeks and will schedule informal hearings after that.
On June 4, after Grand List extract is delivered, grievance hearings will be scheduled after that. Brief outline will have actual numbers next time. They anticipate a lot of grievances particularly after a new appraisal and since the market has exploded.
Murphy informed the board that the Amherst Lake dam is failing and the state held a meeting with private owners along with neighbors to look for solutions. The private owners, who bought their property just a few years ago, were never told they were responsible for the dam and do not have the funding to fix it. Nor does the state. There is some funding to have a study done to look for some answers, but adjustments may result in the lake level being lowered slightly as they deal with the issue.
The next Ludlow Selectboard meeting date is scheduled for Monday, June 7 at 6 p.m.