February 5th, 2015
BRISTOL — A group of Bristol Elementary School parents have expressed concern about local control of how their education tax dollars are spent, and are urging the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union to be more transparent.
“It seems that currently the budget is developed with a small handful of people with little opportunity for the public to weigh in,” said parent Kristin Siringo. “It’s not entirely clear how much the board is even involved in the process.”
FERRISBURGH/STARKSBORO — Wildlife enthusiasts in northern Addison County have something to be excited about. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently closed on properties that will expand two popular wildlife management areas (WMAs).
VERGENNES — Vergennes aldermen on Jan. 27 met for the second time in two weeks behind closed doors to discuss a land deal with Mayor Bill Benton and his sister Betsey Benton.
Ownership of that land, along Otter Creek, could help the city create a park on the river’s east side while connecting the city’s MacDonough Drive docks with Main Street. The city has, since 2010, leased the parcel from the Bentons for a nominal annual fee. The land is in the flood plain, limiting its value.
MIDDLEBURY — Four Vermont companies, one with a decidedly local flavor, are in the running to develop 1.42 acres of prime real estate in downtown Middlebury.
At issue is a town-owned parcel of land located behind the Ilsley Public Library, off Bakery Lane. Middlebury officials have, for the past several years, sought to market the property for some kind of mixed-used development that would complement the existing business scene and draw more shoppers to the downtown area.
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents in March will be asked to approve a 2015-2016 town budget that calls for the first recent significant spending increase, a 5.6 percent hike to about $1.77 million.
Line items pushing spending higher include increased hours for town office workers, an additional road crew employee, a deficit from the current year that must be retired, and projected higher insurance and road resurfacing costs.
BRISTOL — Kaitlin Heffernan, like many 25-year-olds, keeps her cell phone on her at all times. But it isn’t to text friends, check emails or browse the Internet.
At any moment, any hour of the day, the Bristol resident could get a call from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, telling her to leave immediately and prepare for a double lung transplant. She’ll have just three hours to prepare for a major surgery that could take 6 to 12 hours — and will likely save her life.
BRIDPORT — Members of Addison County’s agricultural community are concerned about how they could be affected by the state’s latest push to clean up Lake Champlain.
Gov. Peter Shumlin in his January inaugural address cited cleanup of the lake as one of his top priorities for the 2015-2016 biennium. He noted that farmers must play a key role in that effort, through water quality initiatives that are in part designed to reduce manure runoff into Lake Champlain. Manure is a leading source of phosphorous pollution in the lake.
WEYBRIDGE — Weybridge officials are proposing to change the municipality’s charter in a manner that would allow for its town clerk and treasurer to be appointed by the selectboard, rather than elected by the public.
This means that the person or people taking these positions would no longer have to reside in the town of Weybridge and would be appointed by the selectboard. Panton approved a similar charter change last year.