Bristol selectboard OKs water, sewer budgets

BRISTOL — The Bristol selectboard kicked off its Monday meeting by holding annual public hearings for the water district, sewer district and landfill.
All three spending plans for next fiscal year reflect decreases from this year. Next year’s spending level for:
•  The landfill was set at $155,250, down 1.5 percent from this year’s budgeted spending of $157,600.
•  The water district was set at $247,700, down 5 percent from this year’s 260,700.
•  The sewer district was set at $32,552, down 7 percent from last year’s $35,056.
Town Administrator Bill Bryant pointed out that those funds are not raised by taxes.
“Those are all enterprise funds, so no tax rates are set from those budgets,” he said. “They are user fee-based operations.”
Bryant also noted that water rates for the water district would increase for the first time in almost two decades because surplus funds have been dwindling. Since water system problems are expensive to fix, Bryant wants to build up the surplus fund in case repairs are needed.
Also at the meeting, the Bristol selectboard:
•  OK’d a bid for Case Street Redimix  to build more than 800 feet of sidewalk for $29.50 a linear foot. That will amount to roughly $24,000.
The project will replace 440 feet of existing sidewalk on Liberty Street and add an additional 265 feet. The town also hopes to replace 94 feet of sidewalk on North Street from the Terasem Movement Foundation building to a point across the street from the Almost Home Market.
•  Met with Terry McKnight, director of the Addison County Community Trust. Selectwoman Sharon Compagna is working with the trust to build a housing development that would feature affordable starter and ender homes for new families and those looking to downsize.
McKnight informed the board that the trust is undertaking a market study to explore the feasibility of such housing developments in four parts of Addison County, including a Bristol-New Haven block. The report, which should be available by the end of July, will explore the demand for such a development.
Bryant explained that this type of study is necessary before breaking ground on a large development.
“This is not a field of dreams,” said Bryant. “You don’t build it and hope they come. These housing projects are financially complicated and performance counts on full occupancy. So you want to make sure you’re building the right number of units for the community.”
•  Listened to the concerns of Jim Lathrop, who is worried that his family’s business — Claire Lathrop Band Mill Inc. — is placed in a zone that doesn’t permit certain uses. Although the mill was grandfathered into the current Mixed-Use zone, he’d like the new zoning bylaws that are under the planning commission’s scalpel to put the business in a zone that permits lumber mills. He explained that since the business technically isn’t in a zone that allows lumber milling, it’s difficult for the long-standing company to obtain bank financing, and the zoning diminishes the value of the property.
•  Spoke with Bob Hill of Four Hills Farm about the unsafe sight lines at the intersection of Burpee and Plank roads.
 “It’s been identified as a relatively high accident intersection,” said Bryant.
The town and the Addison County Regional Planning Commission are working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to find ways to make low-cost safety improvements.
•  Approved the landfill’s purchase of a John Deere 750 bulldozer for $25,000 from the landfill capital fund to replace a 1969 BOMAG used for crushing trash.
•  Met with members of the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership to talk about hanging baskets of flowers from light posts in town. The partnership is looking for $200 sponsorships for each pole. Plaques will be placed in storefronts thanking sponsors. For more information call 453-7378.
•  Met with Kevin Harper, one of the founding partners of the BristolWorks business campus on Munsill Avenue. He’s working with the town to obtain permits for the new Bristol Internal Medicine facility, which will be located on the campus, and a curb cut to reconfigure a gravel parking lot into a paved lot. This project, said Bryant, will have storm water and traffic implications and zoning permits must be issued for conditional uses on the property.
•  Did not have time to discuss town plan alterations. Those changes will be considered at the board’s June 4 meeting.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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