Cavendish sets tax rate for FY 20178-2018; addresses dog issue

CAVENDISH, Vt. – The Cavendish Select Board convened Monday, July 10, 2017, to receive updates on ongoing business, as well as to set the tax rate.

There being no citizen items, the meeting proceeded to approvals of various annual loans, from Berkshire Bank to maintain town cash flow, pending collection of revenues: a grant revenue anticipation note for $150,000 pending FEMA reimbursement; a delinquent tax note to cover shortfall in tax revenues for $250,000; a solar bond anticipation note on the town’s solar array for $329,000; and a tax anticipation note based on projected tax revenues, for $200,000.

Town Treasurer Diane McNamara presented her FY2017-2018 tax rate calculations as follows.

Town tax rate (non-school), both residential and non-residential: 0.3691.

School tax rates (as set by the Vermont Dept. of Taxes using the Common Level of Appraisal): Homestead, 1.3945, and non-residential, 1.4057

The total tax rate including Fire District #1 is 1.8282 for residential and 1.8394 for non-residential

The total tax rate including Fire District #2 is 1.8150 for residential and 1.8262 for non-residential

The total town valuation for all properties is $300,445,147, and deducting exempted properties leaves a net municipal grand list of $2,877,479 (value/100).

The educational grand list for homesteads is $814,706 and for non-residential is $2,062,144.

The tax rates were moved, seconded and approved by the Select Board.

The board next took up an issue of dangerous dogs running free in town. Town Health Officer Doris Eddy described a situation where two dogs get out of their enclosure at home and run together, biting passersby at random without apparent provocation, requiring visits to the hospital. She said that one dog appears to be a “pit bull type” and the other is a shepherd mix.

Town Manager Brendan McNamara added that he had witnessed an attack on Monday, July 3, when a woman was bitten while picking up her mail at the post office. McNamara investigated, then found that a young boy had been bitten by the same dog that same day. He said the same dog bit a resident on Depot Street in May, and he knows of “five or six” unreported incidents. “People are petrified to walk down Depot Street,” he said. McNamara went to the owner of the dogs last week and learned that the dogs are still not vaccinated nor registered. He observed that the fence is inadequate, as the dogs are somehow getting loose. He described the dogs at the residence as “vicious.”

Eddy stated that the dogs had been quarantined on May 24 for 10 days, during which time no rabies appeared. She reminded that the Select Board, acting as the board of health, has the right to take action.

Timko proposed giving the owner 10 days from the last incident on July 3 to register, immunize and “lock up” the dogs, or the dogs will be taken away. That would give the owner until July 13.

It was moved, seconded and passed to have Town Manager McNamara draft a letter immediately, imposing the above terms and conditions.

Following the dog discussion, Mike Smith of Weston and Sampson, an engineering firm, reported on progress with the aeration system replacement. He has submitted a preliminary engineering report to the Agency of Natural Resources describing the necessity and scope of the work. He expects the job to go smoothly, and Randy Shimp, chief operator for the town water system, is collaborating with Weston and Sampson.

Town Manager McNamara gave a progress report on Bridge #58 on Depot Street. The project is moving faster than expected, he said. VTrans requires the Select Board to give written consent for directional boring underneath the river. It was moved, seconded and passed for McNamara to write the letter, and Mike Smith offered to help with the wording. VTrans wants to lay the utility pipe under the river in 2018, and will reimburse for the cost. The bridge work is to begin in 2019.

Town Manager McNamara updated the board on the town garage replacement. Asbestos removal is scheduled for July 24 and then the building can be demolished. Bid requests have been issued with a deadline at the end of the month for building replacement, concrete work, electrical and plumbing.

Assistant Town Manager Bruce McEnaney said a resident has proposed a 5-year contract for sidewalk plowing with his own equipment at $15,000 per year. McEnaney said the town’s trackless is getting old. Timko commented that there is nothing in the budget to replace the trackless and suggested looking at other options. No decision was made.

Bruce McEnaney reported that the regional planning commission has written a letter of support to install a flashing beacon at the school crosswalk.

The meeting can be viewed at

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