Vergennes aldermen considering city sewer extension

VERGENNES — In addition to considering resident concerns about speeding on South Maple Street (see story in Aug. 22 edition of the Independent), Vergennes aldermen on Tuesday evening also discussed a rare extension of city sewer service outside of city limits, to the recently moved former Vergennes rail station that now rests in Ferrisburgh next to the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Park and Ride Lot off Route 22A.
Aldermen had agreed to extend a sewer line more than a decade ago, before a Vergennes charter change made all sewer extension agreements subject to voter approval, City Manager Mel Hawley said.
Hawley said he is working with VTrans officials to simplify and make more affordable a design for a new line, which he and state officials have agreed will run from behind Denecker Chevrolet and curl around the site of the city’s new police station to North Main Street.
Hawley told aldermen extending the line would be fast-tracked so that it could also serve the police station, construction on which will start immediately after Labor Day.
Outside of city limits, the line would serve only the relocated rail depot, which will only be occupied by nonprofit entities, aldermen said.
In other business, aldermen:
•  Heard from Hawley that delinquent tax collection is running behind the 2012 pace. About $40,000 is outstanding this year, compared to about $25,000 at the same time last year. He said, however, he remains confident overall in the projected fund balance upon which aldermen relied in June when setting the city’s tax rate.
•  Were told by Hawley that money from the city’s sewer fund’s capital fund would have to be used to install meters to monitor how much rain and storm water from MacDonough Drive infiltrates the sewer system during major rain events. Hawley told aldermen that overall the system is much tighter, but the city remains under a series of Agency of Natural Resource orders to solve the problem of system overflows during heavy rains.
“It isn’t the last time you’ll hear about 1272 orders,” he said.
•  Approved language for a sign to be placed at the city-owned cemetery, the oldest in Vergennes, on Mountain View Lane. The new three-foot-by-18-inch sign will read: “Vergennes Burying Ground” on the top line, with “Circa 1790” underneath. Aldermen are still researching fencing options as they seek to upgrade maintenance of the burial ground.
•  Heard from Alderman Joe Klopfenstein a public meeting will be held in mid-September to unveil and get feedback on a preliminary design for a toddler park proposed for near the city pool. Residents may also have a look at the proposal at the Vergennes Partnership booth at Vergennes Day (see page 14A), he said. Officials hope to create a final design and raise funds this winter and then to break ground in the spring.
•  Were told by Alderwoman Lynn Donnelly, who is the newly appointed council liaison to the Friends of the Vergennes Opera House, that she believes that new larger group has made progress and shown renewed energy in restoring the good health of the organization.
“They have done everything they promised to do,” Donnelly said. “I think they are on the right track … I think we’ll be in a good place a year from now.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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