Vergennes council OKs diving boards, market hours

VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council heard from City Manager Mel Hawley about a plan to possibly help alleviate wastewater overflow problems (see related story) at a meeting on Tuesday, April 12.
In other business at the meeting, the council:
• Agreed to make a special allocation of about $5,200 from the city’s Watershed Fund to replace the two diving boards at the Vergennes municipal pool.
• Declined to support the town of Rutland’s solar siting memorandum, which Mayor Bill Benton said has received backing from about 120 Vermont towns. Council members said they appreciated the idea of greater local control of siting of solar arrays, but not the language in the Rutland proposal. “There’s a better way to do it,” said Alderman Jeff Fritz.
Planning commission chairman Shannon Haggett also told aldermen that city planners were working on language for a city plan update on solar array siting.
• Heard from Hawley that no one had stepped forward to fill an empty seat on the Vergennes Union High School board, which will cease to exist when unification takes effect in June 2017. Alderwoman Lynn Donnelly said VUHS treasurer Greg Burdick said he would be willing to serve if it was not a conflict of interest, and council members said they would back that appointment.
Hawley said in an email on Wednesday that his preliminary research appeared to suggest there would not be a conflict, but that officials would double-check with the Agency of Education. After the meeting, Donnelly told Hawley she would be willing to serve if Burdick could not.
• Approved the 2016 schedule on the City Green for the Vergennes Farmers’ Market. Vendors will be setting up shop from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays from June 16 through Sept. 29. Market organizers told the council they hope to have music on a regular basis, and also hope to have a community supper on Vergennes Day.
• Heard from Benton and Haggett that both they and, separately, a group of students coordinated by VUHS Assistant Principal Jay Stetzel had been evaluating city sidewalks and identifying areas in need of work. Benton said city officials and public works head Jim Larrow would use the information to help prepare a repair and replacement plan.
• Listened to a suggestion from resident Brent Rakowski that the Vergennes pool be professionally evaluated to make sure what he called the city’s most valuable recreation asset didn’t have underlying problems.
Hawley said at the meeting city officials have been taking steps to ensure the pool is well maintained since the city assumed ownership of the facility in 2010. On Wednesday Hawley said he would, however, learn the cost of obtaining such a professional evaluation.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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