Aldermen seek candidates for VUHS board

VERGENNES — At their March 22 meeting, Vergennes City Council members invited those interested in the city’s vacant seat on the Vergennes Union High School board to submit a letter of interest to City Hall by April 8 and to attend the council’s April 12 meeting.
No one filed a petition to be on the Town Meeting Day ballot for a seat that was vacated by Neil Kamman, who chose not to run again after multiple terms of service.
Because Addison Northwest Supervisory Union residents overwhelmingly backed school unification on March 1, that VUHS position will mean at most one year of service as ANwSU transitions to governance under a Unified District Board.
City Manager Mel Hawley said this past Wednesday the person that the council appoints will serve only to Town Meeting Day 2017, not until the June 30, 2017, scheduled date for the VUHS board to dissolve.
At that point, a council appointee will have to decide whether to stand for election to serve the final roughly four months of the VUHS board’s existence, Hawley said.
The city council held an internal election at their Tuesday meeting last week, returning Renny Perry to his post as Senior Alderman. That vote means that Perry will preside over any council meetings that Mayor Bill Benton cannot attend between now and next Town Meeting Day.
The council also made several appointments, including re-appointing Cheryl Brinkman as the Vergennes representative on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Board, with Hawley as an alternate.
Council members also sent Hawley back as one of two city representatives on the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, while elevating Vergennes Planning Commission Chairman Shannon Haggett from an alternate representative to a full representative to the ACPRC. The council also named Benton and Brinkman as alternative representatives to the regional planning commission.
At the meeting council members also heard from Hawley that the city’s $274,500 grant application to support sidewalk extension along the north end of Main Street had been approved.
That grant consists of $247,294 of federal and $27,206 of state funds, Hawley said, and will be matched with $30,500 of city money.
The $305,000 project will pay to extend the sidewalk from Vergennes Redemption to Champlain Discount Foods, including in front of the Kennedy Brothers building. Hawley said a crosswalk to the city’s police station on the opposite side is also planned. The project will be designed and formally bid out this year, he said, and completed in 2017.
The council also discussed another possible sidewalk extension at the opposite end of the city, one to serve the former Gevry Trailer Park, which the Addison County Community Trust plans to renovate with modular units into an affordable housing project (see story, opposite page).
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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