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City rec group drafts mission statement

VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council on Feb. 23 unanimously backed a new recreation committee “charge,” or mission statement, that folds the separate city pool committee into a group that now becomes the “Vergennes Parks and Recreation Committee,” putting responsibility for recreation for all city parks and recreation under one umbrella for the first time.
The charge also outlines how the committee should work with the city’s recreation coordinator, a position created last year and filled since mid-2020 by Kim Buckley. The position is now 25 hours a week.
A number of years ago the city had a part-time rec director, and committee members said one of their goals is to establish it as a permanent position, possibly full-time at some point.
The charge also outlines how the committee should collaborate with the council, and that the council will appoint members on an annual basis at the recommendation of the committee chair.
That latter provision is a change from the charge the council discussed with the committee members in December. At the council’s request, the committee also agreed with the council it did not need a “timekeeper” at its meetings.
The council and committee members reached consensus on most issues at that Dec. 15 council meeting, including an increase in committee membership that included the pool committee members and the name change and what that implied.
Other long-range goals that have been identified by the city rec committee include creating a trail that loops around the city and connects all the existing recreation facilities and parks; building a pavilion over the city’s basketball courts/hockey rink near other East Street facilities, including the city pool; and establishing a separately funded and independent recreation department within city government.
On Feb. 23 the council also approved a resolution backing a grant application that would help fund a key link in the loop trail.
In other business on Feb. 23, the council:
•  In a budget update from City Manager Ron Redmond learned that it cost $26,000 for the city’s recently completed annual professional audit, $12,500 more than budgeted. The city’s books were not up to date, with many accounts not balanced, according to city officials, complicating auditors’ work.
•  Heard from Redmond that progress had been made on the 2020 backlog of recording land records (such as mortgages, deeds and property sales). Recording is now being done on documents for this calendar year, he said.
•  Were told by City Clerk Britney Aube that as of that day city hall workers had received 217 requests for absentee ballots.
•  After an executive session gave Aube a raise retroactive to Jan. 1. Aube, who started on July 1, had been paid an annual salary of $53,560, and now will receive a salary of $62,400. Redmond said, “It’s a recognition she’s done a really good job.”

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