This Week in Town

UNOFFICIAL TOWN WEBSITE
Mike Denault noted that CJ Vadnais does a great job and obviously puts a lot of time into his website, but the highlights can easily stir the pot.  Bill Levine agreed that the website is an editorial and is a private enterprise.  Bill Levine stated that CJ Vadnais does not want to lose control nor his ability to edit the website.  Mike Denault suggested having our own town website would create an official place where the people can read the facts.  Lori Shepard stated that if the town was in charge of the website, the Selectboard agendas could be posted and people could come to meetings to participate in topic discussions instead of reading about them later in the minutes.  Town documents such as building permit applications and ordinances and by-laws could also be posted for review which would be beneficial.  Chris Warren recalled that the Selectboard didn’t want an official town website because of the open meeting laws.  Chris Warren said a domain name could be purchased for $30.00-$50.00 per year and said building a website was quick and easy.  The Selectboard could permit access to whoever they choose.  Chris Warren offered to put together a draft of what to expect for the next meeting.  Nancy Bushika thought the town may need to adopt a policy.

{I generally do not comment on items selected from the Selectboard meeting minutes, but since my name was mentioned directly in the meeting without opportunity to respond, I will gather my thoughts for a response next week.}

CREDIT CARD COMPANY ISSUE
The town continues to have problems with the Satellite.Biz credit card company.  At the suggestion of Chris Warren, the treasurer requested information concerning the problem, the risk of town and customer information and how they store and protect the information.  The board suggested that the treasurer look into other credit card companies and push for a quick resolution

VERMONT STATE POLICE
1. Lt. Mozzer from the Vermont State Police advised that he will be unable to offer any patrol services to the town based on unanticipated commitments. The Selectboard has a contract with the Bennington Sheriff’s Department which expires in June.  Their rate increases in the proposed contract from July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.  There was not enough money budgeted in December to provide for the increase at 22 hours per week.  The board may choose to reduce the sheriff’s services to 20 hours per week.  The decision to accept the July through December contract with the Bennington Sheriff’s Department will be discussed another time.

2.  Sheriff Chad Schmidt had previously suggested that the town combine with other neighboring towns to commit to 40 hours per week.  Nancy Bushika was not sure if other towns were willing.  Mike Denault said Searsburg is not ready right now.

REVIEW CANDIDATES FOR LISTER CLERK POSITION
1. The town office has not received any applications. Nancy Bushika asked Debbie Darling if she was interested but she declined.  Debbie Darling said she felt sorry for the position the Selectboard is in.  When she asked for a rate increase, she had another person interested in serving as lister and they could have made it work, but when the raise was denied, the person didn’t come forward.  She has been working with the NEMRC representative.  Before the town negotiates another contract with NEMRC, Debbie Darling feels the town should make sure they get the services they want.  The board should request that he fill out the papers and do the assessments the way the town has done them in the past, instead of determining the assessment in his head.  She also cited several discrepancies in the grand list and recommended that the town start the reappraisal process now.  Tomorrow is her last day, but she has an appointment on Wednesday to meet with NEMRC to finish updating the grand list.
2. Nancy Bushika said she received a phone call from someone with lister experience who is willing to help the town get through the grand list season. They did not want the position permanently.  Nancy Bushika requested permission to contact this person and hire them through the end of June and pay the current lister rate.  Debbie Darling asked how the board could evaluate a candidate and choose a pay rate when they don’t even know what the job entails.  Mike Denault feels the salary can be based on the experience of the person on an individual basis.
3.  The board will advertise the Lister Clerk position in the VLCT newsletter, on Berkshire Jobs, indeed.com and will look into other resources as well.

 

One thought on “This Week in Town”

  1. Just wanted to say that Roy and I love this website and hope it keeps going, even if the town gets its act together and creates its own official website. The idea that your posting of selectboard minutes somehow “stirs the pot” and the town doesn’t want you doing that anymore is really disturbing. They don’t have the right to censor you. Keep up the good work!

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