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Capital bill has some impact in county

MONTPELIER — There were no specific Addison County earmarks in the $74.8 million capital spending bill passed by the Vermont Legislature last week to rival the nearly $7 million appropriated for the courthouse and state office building in Bennington. But Middlebury and the surrounding towns will get some boost from the new law, which was passed last Wednesday on the final day of the Legislative session.
The biggest single amount allocated directly to Addison County in the bill — which assigns money for construction and maintenance of state properties in fiscal year 2011 — is $450,000 for “pump station work” in the town of Middlebury. The money will be used in a state-mandated project to fix the town’s primary sewer system pumping station off Seymour Street.
The money is coming from the federal government as part of last year’s big economic stimulus package. The earmark was no surprise, and the town had already budgeted to receive it.
Addison County only figures directly in two other appropriations.
The state Department of Buildings and General Services is tapped to get a $3,010 funds transfer “to defray expenditures” at a state-owned property off Comfort Hill Road in Vergennes. City Clerk Joan Divine was not sure late last week which state property that referred to, but doubted it would have a direct impact on city finances.
Also, the Agency of Natural Resources will receive $78,300 for safety improvements at three state fish hatcheries, including the one north of Lake Dunmore in Salisbury. Another $13,119 is earmarked for a generator for the Salisbury fish station.
Although that is the extent of money coming directly to the county, Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison County, said that state buildings in the area would surely get a share of the millions allocated to general maintenance of state properties.
And county residents who work for the state will likely feel the impact of $2 million allocated to the Department of Information and Innovation for upgrading the state’s financial and human resources system. Plus a new case management system for the attorney general’s office ($350,000) and a new health care eligibility and enrollment system ($1,456,000) will affect Vermont citizens statewide, including in Addison County.
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) received an appropriation of $5 million and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development got $180,000 for its historic preservation grant program. Although specific projects are not spelled out in the bill, area projects often receive funding through both of these state agencies. For instance, Gleason Grains of Bridport last week received a $15,500 grant from the VHCB’s Farm Viability program to expand and upgrade the current mill facility, storage and drying facilities, and Spotted Dog Farm in Brandon last month received a $10,000 grant from Historic Preservation to refurbish a 120-year-old barn.
John McCright is at news@addisonindependent.com.

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