Town Manager’s Column: All About Town (April)

 

ALL ABOUT TOWNIMG_3585

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

At its first meeting in April, the Select Board reorganized. Tom Jacobs was elected Chair; John McFadden was elected Vice Chair. The Board seems poised to take a very active role in the community. The Board’s enthusiasm can be contagious. I look forward to working with Tom and John as we move into this next term.

The Board voted to enact several ordinances at this meeting as well. The False Alarm Ordinance was amended to add the Bennington Fire Department. False alarms cost money and personnel time. Although the Ordinance provides for fines, they are minimal when compared to the cost of responding. A second ordinance provides for reimbursement for the Fire Department’s costs in responding to acts of negligence, carelessness, maliciousness and hazardous waste spills. This Ordinance will allow the Town to bill insurance carriers in instances where the above-referenced actions are evident.

A third ordinance provides for the licensing of trash haulers and, as required by new State law, the implementation of unit-based pricing for all trash and recycling collection. License fees will be $15.00 for the single vehicle hauler and $50.00 for the fleet hauler. All haulers will have to offer curbside collection of recyclables and, ultimately, collection or separation of compostable materials. This is also mandated by a new State law. In concert with this effort, The Select Board voted to join the new county-wide Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance. I’ve written about this 13 town consortium that is creating a formal inter-local alliance to address the issues of solid waste and recycling in the County. The first act of the Alliance will be to finalize the new county-wide Solid Waste Implementation Plan (SWIP). This Plan will address compliance with the State’s new Materials Management Plan, provide for educational outreach to the communities and schools, and set standards for meeting newly created State recycling goals.

On to other matters, you have probably noticed the signals at the Four Corners are not working as they should. The pressure sensing wires beneath the road surface which helped keep traffic flowing are damaged. Thus the timing sequence and the normal functions for pedestrian movements are not working properly. The signals have been placed on a simple cycle while the Town identifies and secures the necessary corrective action. Please be patient.

Two upcoming events should have the community’s support and action. May 2nd is Green Up Day, the day the State of Vermont has designated for cleaning up our roadsides. Please contact the Town office at 442-1037 to pick up bags and let us know where you’ll be working. The second event is the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day scheduled for May 9th from 9 am until 1 pm at the Bennington Transfer Station. We are, once again, taking latex paints in concert with Paint Care and Clean Harbors. All household hazardous wastes are accepted. Watch for the ad in the newspaper or call the Town Offices to find out more, or check our website at www.benningtonvt.org.

Please remember that campfires and open burns need a permit! Contact the Town Offices. These fires must be attended, must be cared for, and must be properly extinguished by midnight. There are fines for non-compliance. Think about your neighbor. If you’ve got a smoky fire going, are using wet wood or other materials, it is likely you will foul your neighbor’s home. Let’s not do that.

Remember, if anyone has any questions or suggestions arising from this column or on any town matters, please contact me at 442-1037 or stop in at the Town Offices on South Street.

Stuart Hurd is Bennington’s Town Manager. He writes a monthly column on town issues.