City council approves new SUV for cops

VERGENNES — At their Sept. 9 meeting, members of the Vergennes City Council discusses the proposed toddler park and an update to the city plan (see accompanying story). Aldermen also:
•  Agreed to spend up to $10,500 in a sealed bid for a used all-wheel-drive, fully equipped police vehicle being sold by the Hinesburg department. Police Chief George Merkel said the SUV would be helpful in bad weather and could better accommodate truck scales that the Department of Motor Vehicles has given the city force for indefinite use. Enforcing truck weight as well as speed would make the city safer and protect its roads from excess wear, Merkel said.
City Manager Mel Hawley said corresponding savings would have to be found elsewhere in the police department budget.
•  Heard from Mayor Bill Benton that a brush-clearing session was set for Saturday, Sept. 13, at Falls Park in the Otter Creek basin area. Volunteers were advised to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts as well as boots.
•  Appointed Sue Rakowski to an opening on the Vergennes Union Elementary School Board, effective until Town Meeting Day. Benton said aldermen made a tough choice among three applicants — Rakowski, Stacy Raphael and Alex McGuire.
“They were all highly qualified, and it was a really difficult decision,” he said.

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