I have been following the paper’s coverage of the town hall project, and the associated conversations on the editorial page, with great interest, shifting to surprise, dismay, frustration and anger. I am still uncertain how I feel about the project itself, with too many vague details and unanswered questions to allow me to be a sufficiently informed voter.
While we’ve discussing all things local in this column in recent weeks, there have been several substantial developments outside our immediate sphere that warrant inspection: the recommendation to increase the state education property tax base rate by 5 cents and Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith’s call to make ends meet this session by cutting spending and not increasing taxes.
The first two are intertwined and will have a substantial local impact in fiscal year 2015.
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents on Dec. 10 will be asked to approve an $850,000 bond to pay for the lion’s share of a proposed $1.05 million, 5,940-square-foot, six-bay highway department garage.
Balloting will be held on the same day as residents of Ferrisburgh and the other Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns will weigh in on a proposed $2.88 million bond to pay for repairs and upgrades to Vergennes Union High School, most notably its auditorium, kitchen and cafeteria.
MIDDLEBURY — Local merchants are offering Addison County shoppers an antidote to the frenzied shopping they may encounter at big box stores on “Black Friday,” the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving.
It is a “Small Business Saturday” raffle — a promotion that seeks to draw local shoppers into Middlebury businesses on the first Saturday after Turkey Day, and, of course, through the month of December.
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard has taken another step in making Frog Hollow a destination point by agreeing to establish an electric vehicle charging station at the municipal parking lot off Mill Street near The Storm Café.
The town will apply to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development for up to $30,000 to create the station. A local cash or in-kind match of 25 percent will be required to leverage the state funds. Grant recipients will be announced on Jan. 27, 2014.
BURLINGTON — The Vermont Department of Health is advising Vermont cooks to avoid the need for speed this Thanksgiving. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued guidelines on how to cook a turkey outside of the oven, for those who want it done faster and easier using a brine or frying method, but the risk of foodborne illness remains the same.
BRISTOL — The Bristol Downtown Community Partnership has hired a new executive director. Kate Selby of New Haven will replace outgoing executive director Carol Wells.
Selby, who has lived in New Haven for two decades, is a native of Westchester County, N.Y. She owns a horse farm called The Equestry, and said she wanted to take on something new.
VERGENNES — Vermont Gas on Tuesday announced plans to expand its award-winning energy-efficiency program to any potential customer located along a Vermont Gas service line, regardless of what fuel they are currently using for heat.