Although the board would not reveal any specific information their letters of resignation contained, and the listers were not present, the selectboard members explained that financial differences had led to the listers’ departure. “When we did the budget and set up the payroll we gave the listers 10 hours a week and $9,000 total for the year,” explained selectboard member Ray Eilers, “They’ve exhausted that amount early.”
Noting the listers’ budget was $600 over the allotted expenditure for the year, selectboard member Teddy Hopkins said, “We had informed them that we would not pay after August 4th.”
Town administrator Mark Shea added that the board had previously voted to ensure that any extra time the listers needed would require a specific proposal to validate cause and income. The board was seemingly relieved to accept the resignations and moved swiftly, deciding on immediate job vacancy posts, and approving money for training new listers if necessary.
The resignations leave the town with two job vacancies and Larry Hopkins as the only remaining lister. In the event that there are no applicants for the job openings, the board also asked Shea to investigate the cost of a private assessor for the town. “This is simply a backup plan,” Eilers reassured.
After years of planning and patience, work by Reuland Brothers will begin soon on Tunnel Street’s Bridge #32. Teddy Hopkins said he is glad to finally see this project take off. “This bridge construction plan has been going on for 20 years,” he remarked. “When I was on the board back in 1998 we started putting aside money for it.”
The project will begin with the mid-October installation of a temporary bridge on the up-river side of Tunnel Street, with demolition of the old bridge also beginning this fall.
The project will take an estimated two years and will require moving a town water line to run across the temporary bridge, a change in speed limit from 25 to 15 mph, and the installation of a traffic light for the temporary bridge. The removal and capping of a fire hydrant in front of the American Legion at the south end of the temporary bridge will also be required. Eilers also requested the town keep concrete from the old bridge for other uses around town.
The selectboard is also considering pursuing an extension for using money allotted to the town to fix a culvert on Ruba Road. FEMA has given the town $32,582 of the $36,000 allotted for work to Bailey Hill Road and Ruba Road following damage by Tropical Storm Irene last summer. While the town would like to put a three-foot culvert in place of the one that washed out last summer, a Vermont Agency of Transportation hydrology report has recommended a new six-foot structure be installed, citing “The existing structure is not adequate hydraulically.” Any new construction will require a stream alteration permit before any action is taken.
A new tracking device will be purchased by the town to enable precise measurements of personal water usage by the hour. Costing approximately $360, this new tool, armed with a USB port, can be used to scan individual water meters. When plugged into a computer, exact water usage by the hour over a 40-day period can be analyzed.
Shea believes it will help residents pinpoint their exact usage, and help identify whether a residence may have a leak: “Every meter is trackable. If a customer says they are in no way using the amount of water they are charged for, you can help that person realize if they have leaks because it shows if water is being used at three or four in the morning.”
The board also selected West Oil as the town’s supplier of on-highway diesel fuel at $3.62 per gallon, beating out bids from Sandri and Guy E. Nido.