Around the Region: Spending on snow, rain adds up in Panton

PANTON — Panton selectmen have called a special town meeting on June 28 to deal with two financial issues. Both are related to the fact that the town is over budget. That’s because of high spending to maintain roads during the exceptionally snowy winter and the unknown of whether the town will get federal money to deal with this spring’s flooding.
Town treasurer M’Lissa Dayton the town could experience a shortfall. Selectmen at the June 28 meeting will discuss the issue and options for dealing with this.
At the same time, the financial crunch meant Panton did not spend $26,000 for Town Hall roof repair budgeted for the current fiscal year. Selectmen on June 28 will be looking for the authority to add that amount to the budget for the next fiscal year.
The meeting, to be held at Panton Town Hall, will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Selectmen have also spent time at their June 7 and two May meetings discussing staffing and hours for the town clerk’s office given the impending retirement of Town Clerk Sue Torrey, who has served for the past 13 years. Torrey’s Panton Road home is on the market, and she plans to move to Florida when it is sold.
Panton has hired a new assistant clerk, Jean Miller, who Selectman John Viskup said this past Wednesday would be a good candidate to replace Torrey. Meanwhile, Viskup said Dayton, who is relatively new on the job, wants to limit her hours.
Selectmen are trying to balance the desires of the town’s employees, the number of hours the office is open to serve the public, and the costs of keeping the office open, Viskup said.
On June 7, selectmen voted to close a tiny bridge on the Slang Road because the Agency of Transportation had deemed it unsafe. The AOT has been unable to inspect it this spring because of high water.
But after Selectmen Eric Carter and Viskup looked it over on June 8 and exchanged emails, they decided to reinforce it with steel piping, add gravel to either end, and leave it open to farm traffic only despite the AOT opposition.
Viskup said the bridge serves the Visser farm, and the farmers would have to drive 10 miles out of their way to use the land at great financial hardship if they could not use the roughly 24-foot-square bridge.
“It’s very important to a couple farmers in town,” he said.
Viskup acknowledged the town has liability if the bridge fails, but said the town would constantly monitor the span until it could be inspected after the water level drops.
“Let’s monitor it and leave it open … If it shows signs that it’s going to fail, let’s close it,” he said.
On May 10, selectmen held a brief hearing on the planning commission’s proposed town plan update. Planner Louise Giovenella told selectmen, according to minutes, “nothing major was changed from the previous plan.” Selectmen and planners discussed minor changes and the document was returned to the commission for those changes to be made; once that is done, it will be returned to selectmen for another hearing.
At that meeting, Panton also agreed to join Addison and Vergennes in jointly buying a wood chipper; Panton’s cost will be about $3,000.
The following real estate sales are among those that have been recorded in Panton since late October:
•  Oct. 25, 2010: Alroy and Marilyn Aunchman to Brian and Janelle Manning, home on 10.4 acres at 1944 Hopkins Road, $228,000.
•  April 1: Paul Bardoff to Vorsteveld Farm LLC, 108.85 acres on Route 22A, $200,000.
Addison adopts conflict policy
ADDISON — Addison selectmen on March 9 unanimously adopted a conflict of interest policy, one described in their minutes as the Vermont League of Cities and Towns model document.
According to the minutes, the town’s attorney told selectmen the policy “is only a guideline and is not legally enforceable.”
Some in the town had been critical of the board for not having such a policy, but selectmen said they wanted to be sure they had the right policy before they took action.
According to the minutes, Selectman Lisa Davis said, “It was talked about and last meeting the board wanted to make sure which way to go.”
In other selectboard business, on June 7 the board approved Lisa Rowell as the town’s website administrator. She will be paid $125 per month, assuming four-to-six hours of work. Two selectmen declined comment on the rest of the meeting; minutes were not available before deadline.
On May 3, selectmen also agreed to a joint purchase with Panton and Vergennes of a wood chipper, at a cost of about $3,000, and agreed to endorse the website that had been proposed by the planning commission as the town’s official website.
On April 5, selectmen met in an executive session to discuss a discrimination suit involving the board; an attorney’s letter filed at the clerk’s office dated April 11 indicated the action had been withdrawn. Selectmen and citizens also talked at length on school issues at that meeting.
On March 9, the board re-elected Jeff Kauffman as chair, said Jersey Street and Jersey Street South would be paved if paving grants were forthcoming, and heard from the town attorney that the town should go through a full hearing process for changes to zoning regulations first made last summer and then rescinded in February by the town’s planning commission, even if officials believed the changes were minor.
Meanwhile, planners — including newly appointed member Kimball Provencher, a former longtime selectman — began work on those issues, many to do with lakefront zoning waivers, rights of way, and setback requirements, including on private roads.
According to May 16 minutes, planning chairman Frank Galgano has received 57 letters and seven phone calls from residents worried that zoning being considered “will make it difficult for them to do anything with their property.”
Many of those letters were apparently sparked by an earlier anonymous letter signed “Citizens for Fair Zoning.” According to minutes, planners do not believe zoning will be too restrictive: They state, “This is far from the situation.”
Planner Charles Kelly offered to draft a response explaining what is being considered and inviting those concerned to attend planners’ meetings to become better informed.
The following real estate sales are among those that have been recorded in Addison since late October:
•  April 2: Allen Olsson Addison House LLC to Robert DeGraaf, home on 1.75 acres at 5018 Route 22A, $195,000.
•  March 31: Fauser Trust to Nicole Burgos, home on 1.35 acres at 151 Algonquin Drive, $275,500.
•  March 18: DeVries Trust to Vermont Land Trust et al., development rights on a 432-acre farm on Route 17, $340,000.
•  March 10: Stanton and Janet Kirby to Steven Heitkamp, home on 0.63 acre at 60 Cedar Drive, $197,000.
•  Feb. 24: FNMA to Gary Hutchinson and Melissa Streeter, home on 1.61 acres at 425 Pheasant Lane, $350,000.
•  Feb. 24: FNMA to Hans Vorsteveld, home on 0.65 acres at 1197 Jersey Street South, $55,000.
•  Jan. 6: Lois Fauser to Ashley Plantier, home on 1.35 acres at 151 Algonquin Drive, $166,801.
•  Jan. 3 Mary Toczo to Ian Sutherland and Susan Burch, home on 10.4 acres at 3324 Jersey Street South, $460,000.
•  Dec. 29, 2010: Evelyn and Charles Chapman to Tamzen Chapman, home on 0.79 acres at 240 Cedar Drive, $307,500.
•  Dec. 23, 2010: Paul Valois estate to Jonathan and Roxanne Audy, home on 23.3 acres at 7383 Route 22A, $255,000.
•  Nov. 10, 2010: Donald Bacon to Raymond Dykema, mobile home on 0.72 acre at 2283 Nortontown Road, $25,000.
•  Sept. 24, 2010: James and Louise Parkinson to Christopher Carella and Meghan Burakowski, home on 30.44 acres at 7638 Route 22A, $275,000.
•  Sept. 13, 2010: Paul Sanders to Cynthia Bystrak, home at 836 Jersey Street South on 0.5 acre, $87,950.
Ferrisburgh bridge work starts soon
FERRISBURGH — Replacement of the Old Hollow Road bridge in North Ferrisburgh should begin soon after the close of the school year and take six to eight weeks, Ferrisburgh officials said.
Travelers will have to find alternate routes during the project. Officials believe the work will be done before the start of the next school year.
In other highway news, on May 17 selectmen agreed to lease an excavator for a year for $12,000, and on March 15 they thanked the entire road crew “for the great job they did plowing during one of the snowiest winters on record.”
On May 3, selectmen heard a proposal for a five-year lease for Vtel to install wireless broadband broadcast equipment in the Grange Hall cupola. Company representatives said five such installations would be needed to cover all of Ferrisburgh.
On April 19, selectmen agreed to buy a $2,775 town website package, an upgrade that they hope “will be ready for rollout on July 1.”
At several earlier meetings, the board met in executive session to discuss the property at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A that the town is trying to sell. At one open meeting selectmen discussed with a representative of the Historic Preservation Trust what that organization might like to see on the tract; he told selectmen the group would develop a list.
Meanwhile, the Ferrisburgh Planning Commission has continued to look at updating its zoning along Route 7. Its next meeting for that purpose is set for June 15 at 6:30 p.m.
The following real estate sales are among those that have been recorded in Ferrisburgh since late October:
•  Oct. 25, 2010: Robert and Lucy Jimmo to Jolley Associates, motel on 2 acres at 6990 Route 7, $175,000.
•  Nov. 1, 2010: Merle and Michelynn Bishop to Jonathan and Jessica Wieman, home on 5 acres at 324 Field Road, $300,000.
•  Nov. 5, 2010: Gregory Fisk to Ian McEwen and Stasia Dziubek, home on 6.7 acres at 2983 Little Chicago Road, $205,000.
•  Nov. 15, 2010: Sidney Claflin III and Dawn Ridolfo to Vermont Land Trust et al, development rights on 199-acre farm on Old Hollow Road in Ferrisburgh and Monkton, $565,000.
•  Nov. 30, 2010: Thomas and Carol Spencer to Jeffrey and Janet Cogger, 2.49 acres on Arnold Bay Road, $115,000.
•  Dec. 1, 2010: Leslie Wright to Jamey Holstein, home on 11.53 acres at 329 Tow Path Lane, $70,000.
•  Dec. 8, 2010: Mary and Timothy Shields to Frank Lunster, home on 23.09 acres at 251 Wing Road, $300,000.
•  Dec. 30, 2010: Betty Michael to Anthony and Rosa Castellano, home at 361 Old Hollow Road, $355,000.
•  Jan. 13: Donald and Patience Sisters to Town of Ferrisburgh, home on 2.01 acres at 3245 Route 7, $150,000 and rental considerations.
•  Feb. 2: Merchants Bank to Dockview LLC, motel at 2956 Route 7, $175,000.
•  Feb. 8: Peter Doremus, Trustee, to Jon Ralph and Patricia Gibson, Trustees, seasonal home at 630 Mile Point Road, $1,645,000.
•  Feb. 9: Wesley Oosterman to New England Federal Credit Union, home on 10.06 acres at 96 Westin Road, $179,000.45.
•  Feb. 11: Karlene and Randy Devine to Danyow Trust, 37.1 acres of farmland on Little Chicago and Hawkins roads, $37,000.
•  Feb. 11: Karlene and Nancy Devine to Vermont Land Trust et al., development rights on 37.10 acres of farmland on Little Chicago Road, $120,000.
•  Feb. 15: Brian Zeiner to Edward and Diane Stein, seasonal home at 75 Kimball Point Lane, $650,000.
•  March 3: Irwin’s Tack Shop Inc. to 2470 Route 7 LLC, store on 2.3 acres at 2470 Route 7, $500,000.
•  March 11: Alyth and Melody Hescock to Kevin and Rebecca Fitton, 8.55 acres on Fuller and Shellhouse Mountain roads, $80,000.
•  March 30: John Hawkins estate to Carolyn Mitchell, home at 504 Little Chicago Road, $65,000.
•  April 7: FNMA Corp. to Amy and Daniel White, home at 96 Westin Road, $261,600.
•  April 7: Joanne Milano to Michael DiPalermo, home on 50.5 acres at 404 Pea Ridge Road, $550,200.
•  April 27: Richard Corbiere Jr. to Kurt and Elizabeth Vala, home at 852 Stage Road on 7.69 acres, $335,000.
Waltham Eyes Road Project
WALTHAM — On June 6 Waltham selectmen decided to get a quote for chip-sealing Middlebrook Road. They hope if funding permits that work can be extended to both ends of Route 66.
Also on June 6, selectmen signed a new recycling agreement with Vergennes that will allow residents to continue to use the city’s Canal Street recycling center. The cost to Waltham dropped by roughly $1,000 because of lower tipping fees charged to Vergennes.
On May 2 selectmen said they would switch from plastic to galvanized culverts for future road projects because the plastic culverts were not holding up well.
On April 4 selectmen reappointed “all board members as is.”
The following real estate sales are among those that have been recorded in Waltham since late October:
•  Nov. 10, 2010: Paul and Stacie Bodington to Evelyn Sears, mobile home on 1.83 acres at 1814 South Middlebrook Road, $110,000.
•  Dec. 13, 2010: FNMA Corp. to Gary Manning, home on 1.8 acres at 7686 Route 7 in Waltham and New Haven, $99,900.
•  Dec. 30, 2010: James Schaefer to Craig and Kathryn Newton, 445.1 acres on Route 7 in Waltham and New Haven, $618,700.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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