Ludlow Selectboard looks to tweak policies, hears Lake Rescue efforts

LUDLOW, Vt. – During their Feb. 1 meeting, the Ludlow Selectboard agreed to modify the town’s personnel policy to guarantee town employees that work on a holiday will receive an eight-hour bonus time in addition to time-and-a-half holiday pay. That time can either be used as additional compensation or more often is used to take a day off in future. This benefit has been an unwritten policy in the past, largely impacting the Highway Department, but was not spelled out with the recent Ludlow policy overhaul.

Board Chairman Bruce Schmidt said that he would feel comfortable continuing what’s already being done, although he’s mindful of the additional cost. “I wouldn’t want something like this to get in the way of the hard work that everybody does,” he said. He also agreed that it needs to be written into the policy so that it’s accurate.

This additional time for holiday hours already happens with Police Department personnel who are covered under their own union contract.

The board has also agreed to look again at an update to the Conflict of Interest policy, something that has not been recently updated. According to Municipal Manager Scott Murphy, the town has an existing policy from 2002 that is still in place for the town – the Village Trustees have their own COI policy in place. The board asked Murphy to pull together a comparison between what the older 2002 states versus the Village Trustees document for review next month.

The Lake Rescue Association presented a PowerPoint presentation to the board outlining concerns over the lake’s various ecological issues impacting the health of the lake including sedimentation buildup and excessive milfoil.

The association is in the process of fundraising $250,000 to finance two major projects: a lake dredging plan to remove a growing sandbar that has grounded many boats and is threatening the usability of the lake as a whole; and a milfoil eradication plan that includes purchase of their own specially modified boat for vacuuming milfoil from the lake bed.

Discussion began on whether the town might pave East Lake Road, helping to mitigate runoff that contributes to sediment accumulation with LRA’s Bruce Zanka saying that paving East Road would make a huge difference. LRA’s Kevin Golmont agreed saying he thought it would make a major difference with what was coming down from that side of the lake.

The idea of paving East Lake Road was met with push back in the past due to concerns over speeding, according to Schmidt.

To get a sense of opinion on paving among lake residents now, the LRA agreed to send out a survey to its 150-plus members, which it will share with the board once completed.

Murphy also updated the board on recent discussions concerning the red bridge area, a local gathering and parking spot near Lake Rescue that regularly causes problems in the area. The next meeting will be scheduled for mid-May to discuss possibly sending out a survey on solutions being considered to help make the spot “a nicer situation than it has been this past year.”

The High Street Project is moving forward with a pre-bid meeting scheduled for Feb. 16. Road closures and rerouting will be determined as work on the project draws closer, which is set to being this summer.

The Lister’s Office may be undergoing some changes as head lister Margot Martel is preparing to retire. The remaining lister staff will work with an assessor consultant once Martel has gone, to train staff on the systems. The Town Office will reassess keeping the consultant or whether they can wean away from the consultant over time. For now, they are set for the rest of the fiscal year but will revisit in the coming months.

The board issued a commendation for Ludlow Police Officer Kate Warner who was instrumental in saving both property and lives during a recent Jan. 12 fire at the Kettlebrook Condominiums. The commendation thanked her formally for her quick action and judgement.

The Ludlow Selectboard is holding their public information meeting Monday, Feb. 22 to discuss the town budget and articles prior to town meeting.

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