Select Board Meeting – February 25, 2018

M E E T I N G   N O T I C E
Monday, February 25, 2019
Bennington Fire Facility
Multi-Purpose Room – 3rd Floor
130 River Street
Bennington, VT 05201


6:00 PM

  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Consent Agenda                              (6:00 PM – 6:05 PM)
    A. Minutes February 11, 2019
    B. Warrants
  3. Public Comment                             (6:05 PM – 6:15 PM)
  4.                 Public Hearing
    Ladder Truck Bond            (6:15 PM – 6:35 PM)
    Chief Paul Doucette and Jeff Vickers
  5. Climate Advocates of Bennington Presentation (6:35 PM – 7:00 PM)
  6. Downtown Transportation Grant – Splash Pad  (7:00 PM – 7:15 PM)
  7. FY2020 Budget Presentation                 (7:15 PM – 7:30 PM)
  8. Liquor Licenses                                         (7:30 PM – 7:35 PM)
  9. Manager’s Report                                      (7:35 PM – 7:45 PM)
  10. Other Business                                          (7:45 PM – 8:00 PM)
  11. Executive Session
    A. Contract
    B. Personnel






Depot Street Garage Proposal accepted by the Town of Bennington, 2/11/2019


To: Select Board

From: Daniel Monks

Re: UPDATED – Staff Review of Proposals for Depot Street Garage

Date: February 11, 2019

The Town of Bennington sought proposals for the lease or purchase of the Depot Street Garage. Proposals were initially due by August 6, 2018, but the deadline was extended to January 7, 2019. The Town received three proposals, but one of the proposals was withdrawn and one was deemed non-responsive.

Please find below the Town staffs review.


Offer: Purchase for $80,000.

Proposed Use: Craft Distillery and Tasting Room.

Staff Comments:  $1,000,000 + investment ($700,000+ in building renovations and $300,000+ in equipment purchase) is proposed. The timeline for completion of the project is aggressive and work will begin immediately upon acquisition. Financing has been secured. Buyer is seeking a grant to complete improvements once a Certificate of Occupancy is granted for the property.

Town staff recommends that the Select Board authorize Town staff and Town counsel to negotiate and execute a Purchase and Sale Agreement with SC Spirits. The short timeline for completion of the project* the high level of investment, and the firm financial commitment make the SC Spirits proposal compelling.

Town Garage Disposition

Respondent:    SC Spirits LLC

1 . General Information
Name of responding entity, legal structure, state of incorporation. address, name(s) of project principal(s), with title and address, and name and contact information of proposal representative.

2. Statement of Intent
Describe generally the proposed use of the building and property. All aspects of the use should be outlined.

SC Spirits would like to acquire the Depot Street garage for the purpose of establishing a craft distillery with tasting room.

The craft distilling market is growing rapidly (CAGR of 26% through 2022 according to research firm Technavio). SC Spirits would produce and market premium spirits, leveraging Vermont’s reputation for natural, organic products and proximity to the major population centers of New York and Boston.

The property would be renovated into an attractive distillery and tasting room. The tasting room would provide a focal point for tourism in Bennington downtown.

The preliminary layout of the building is attached. Full consideration of liquor licensing requirements, state code, fire code, water source, along with distribution logistics have been made. The layout is subject to change during further consultation with local, state and federal agencies.

3. Explanation of Target Market and/or Community Need
Describe in detail the projected market or community beneficiaries of the project. Include target numbers and the plan to reach those numbers.

There are two target markets for SC Spirits products.

First, the tasting room would target tourists who come to Vermont for its winter sports, fall foliage and other attractions. Many of these tourists pass by the Bennington downtown area en route to other destinations. The distillery would offer a unique and interesting attraction to attract more of these tourists to Bennington’s historic downtown. Many tourists would then also dine at one of Bennington’s downtown restaurants or shop in the local stores. The operation of the tasting room would be a small but high margin component of the overall operation of the distillery.

The primary sales channel for the distillery will be through traditional distributors, particularly in Massachusetts and New York. Tourists familiar with the products from visiting the distillery in person will bring demand with them to their home’s back in the New York City and Boston areas. So, attracting visitors to the tasting room will be a critical part of the marketing plan for SC Spirits.

4. Description of Proposed Facility Operation
Describe in detail the proposed operational structure of the facility, including whether the facility will be open to the public, hours of operation, and staffing.

The distillery would be open to the public and operating 7am-4pm for production, The tasting room would be open Thursday-Sunday from 11 am to 1pm.

Initially the distillery would offer samples of spirits available for retail sale. Eventually, small appetizers may also be available.

Retail selections would include house made spirits, merchandize reflecting Vermont, Bennington and the brand, and other locally sourced products.

5. Facility and Site Renovations and Design 
Describe in detail the planned renovations and improvements to the site and buildings, including interior and exterior, with plans and graphic representation.

We expect to invest approximately $1,000,000 in capital improvements to the facility.


-Remove and replace existing roof with standing seam.
-Remove stucco: choose to paint blocks, finish with metal or concrete siding.
-Windows: remove and replace with insulated versions consistent with the existing style to maintain the same look.
-Over head doors: replace with modern, insulated glass doors to match windows and complement roof colors.
-Remove drop ceiling and restore trusses and hardware.
-Install modern lighting and large ceiling fans.
-Section off production and tasting area keeping production viewable.
-Remove and replace floor with polished concrete with radiant heat.
-Install signage with style to match the buildings original built era.
-Install a 500 gallon copper still and related equipment. Describe in detail the financial structure of the proposed project, including financing and grants, and provide financial projections of operational costs and income,

Both the exterior and the interior tasting room of the distillery would be made into an attractive retail facility.

6. Financial Pro Forma
Describe in detail the financial structure of the proposed project, including financing and grants, and provide financial projections of operational costs and income.

Pro Forma Cash Flow 2019  2020  2021 2022
Q1  Q2 Q3  Q4
Fixed Expenses $242,500 $242,500 $242,500 $242,500      $0       $0       $0
Head                1                 1                1                 1                1                 1                 1
Others               0                 0                1                 1                2                3                 5
Compensation $20,000 $20,000 $32,000 $32,000 $180,000 $230,000 $330,000
MESC Operating $10,000   $10,000  $40,000 $60,000 $100,000
Cases Produced/Sold               0                0          100           200        1,000        2,000        4,000
Gross Profit -$262,500 -$262,500 -$262,900 -$241,300 $40,000 $218,000 $542,000


Project Timeline
Describe in detail the projected project timeline including property acquisition, facility design and engineering, construction, occupancy and start-up.

Significant milestones include:

1.Legal entity formed (done)
2.Receive federal and state permits (expected by May 2019)
3.Renovate facility to begin distilling and bottling (complete by June 2019)
4.Produce first cases of vodka and gin (August 2019)
5.Finish renovations for tasting room (August 2019)
6.Scale to 200 cases/month by end of year
7.Goal is 5000+ cases/year by 2020

We have committed financing and would expect to start working on renovations as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that we will be purchasing leading industry equipment. We are deciding between two highly reputable companies, both of whom are committed to see their product be used to the best of its ability. Their guidance throughout the project timeline will only enhance and expedite our end goal. We will be continuing to build on our distilling education at recommended institutes, one being at Cornell University. Both companies come and Install the equipment and stay for first run. If more guidance is needed both companies have consultants, and we are prepared to invest in them to come for more on-site training if needed. All efforts will be made getting a worthy product to market.

8. Other Proposal Details
Provide any additional details/supportive information which the respondent deems important.

Acknowledging the Town of Bennington’s deep interest in growth, SC Spirits amends it offer for the purchase of 107 Depot Street:

1.Purchase price increase to $80,000.

2. Include a right of first refusal to the Town of Bennington for the property without expiration.

3, The offer is subject to a grant from the Town of Bennington for $72,000 to SC Spirits, payable upon issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the property.

Invitation To Bid – Kocher Drive


Town of Bennington STP SDWK (12) & STP BP18(014)

Sealed bids from pre-qualified contractors shall be accepted until 2:00 p.m., prevailing time on March 5, 2019 at Town of Bennington, 205 South Street, Bennington, VT 05201 for construction of the project hereinafter described. Bid opening will occur immediately after the bid submittal deadline. The time of receiving and opening bids may be postponed due to emergencies or unforeseen conditions.

Sealed BIDS shall be marked in the lower left hand corner:

Bid Documents: Town of Bennington STP SDWK (12) & STP BP18(014)

Each BID must be accompanied by a certified check payable to the Town of Bennington for five percent (5%) of the total amount of the BID. A BID bond may be used in lieu of a certified check.

PREQUALIFICATION OF CONTRACTORS: All bidders on this project shall be on the Agency of Transportation’s prequalified list under the category(ies) listed below or shall have submitted a complete prequalification application to the Agency of Transportation, Contract Administration, a minimum of 10 working days prior to the bid opening. For information contact Jon Winter at 802-828-2643.

All bidders shall be on the current VTRANS Contract Administration pre-qualified list “Contractors List of Bicycle and/or Pedestrian Path Category”.

Bids submitted by bidders that exceed their Maximum Dollar Capacity Rating (MDCR) as determined by the Vermont Agency of Transportation on an annual basis will be considered non-responsive.

LOCATION:  Beginning at a point on Kocher Drive at the intersection with Northside Drive and proceeding easterly along Kocher Drive a distance of 0.3 miles to the intersection with Performance Drive.

TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION:  Work to be performed under this project includes: Construction of bituminous concrete shared use path, removal and replacement of guardrail, realignment of vehicle lanes, curbing, extension of an existing box culvert, milling and overlay of existing paved surfaces, horizontal directional drilling for utility sleeves, adjustment of video detection systems, installation of pedestrian signal equipment, and associated site work.

CONTRACT COMPLETION DATE:  The Contract shall be completed on or before August 31, 2019.                   .

OBTAINING PLANS:   Plans may be obtained by contacting Abby Chaloux at MSK Engineering & Design at (802) 447-1402, ext. 3 or Plans will be sent electronically unless otherwise requested by the prospective bidder. If specifically requested, paper copies of the plans may be provided at a cost of $50.00 per set. Plans are not returnable. MSK shall track all plan holders for addendum distribution.

ENGINEERS ESTIMATE:  For this Proposal the Engineers Estimate falls between $500,000 and $700,000.


  1. Town of Bennington, 205 South Street, Town of Bennington, VT 05201.
  2. 2. MSK Engineering and Design, 150 Depot Street, P.O. Box 139, Bennington, VT 05201.

PREBID CONFERENCE: A non-mandatory pre-bid conference will be held at 10:00 a.m., EST, on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at the offices of MSK Engineering and Design, 150 Depot Street, Bennington, VT.

STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS: This contract is governed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (“VTrans”) 2011 Standard Specifications for Construction.

QUESTIONS:  During the advertisement phase of this project all questions shall be addressed solely to Mark Anders, Municipal Project Manager, Bennington County Regional Commission, 111 South Street, Bennington, VT 05201 –

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO) CERTIFICATION: Certification is required by the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations of the Secretary of labor (41 CFR 60-1.7(b) (1)) and must be submitted by bidders and proposed subcontractors only in connection with contracts and subcontracts which are subject to the equal opportunity clause. Generally only contracts and subcontracts of $10,000 or under are exempt as set forth in 41 CFR 60-1.5. See Appendix A for Contractors EEO Certification Form (CA-109). This certification form must be submitted with the bid.

NON-COLLUSION AFFIDAVIT:  All bidders are required to execute a sworn statement, certifying that the bidder has not, either directly or indirectly, entered into any agreement, participated in any collusion, or otherwise taken any action in restraint of free competitive bidding in connection with such contract. See Appendix B for Debarment and Non-Collusion Affidavit (CA-91). This affidavit must be submitted with the bid.

DEBARMENT AFFIDAVIT:  All bidders are required to execute a sworn statement, certifying that the bidder has not within the last three (3) years been, suspended, debarred, voluntarily excluded or determined ineligible by any Federal or State Agency; does not have a proposed suspension, debarment, voluntary  exclusion or ineligibility determination pending; and has not been indicted, convicted or had civil judgment rendered against (it, him, her, them) by a court having jurisdiction in any matter involving fraud or official misconduct within the past three (3) years. See Appendix B for Debarment and Non-Collusion Affidavit (CA-91). This affidavit must be submitted with the bid.

NON-DISCRIMINATION IN FEDERALLY ASSISTED CONTRACTS:  The Town of Bennington hereby notifies all bidders that it will ensure that any contract entered into pursuant to this advertisement, disadvantaged business enterprises will be afforded full opportunity to submit bids in response to this invitation and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin for an award.  This is consistent with the Town’s requirement to comply with provisions of Title VI.

DAVIS BACON WAGE REQUIREMENTS: Bidders agree to abide by the Davis Bacon Wage Rate Schedule, which are appended to these Contract Documents.

BUY AMERICA REQUIREMENTS: Buy America requirements of 23 CFR 635.410 are applicable to all Federal-aid construction projects. All steel or iron products permanently incorporated into Federal-aid projects, shall be products that have been entirely manufactured within the United States. All manufacturing processes of the steel or iron material, in a product, must occur within the United States to be considered of domestic origin. This includes process such as rolling, extruding, machining, bending, grinding, and drilling. The action of applying a coating to a material is deemed a manufacturing process subject to Buy America. Coating includes epoxy coating, galvanizing, painting, and any other coating that protects or enhances the value of the material.


2018 Citizen Survey Results

Please find below the summary of the results of the 2018 Citizen survey(pages 1-9).  The survey comprised 25 questions and was taken by 984 respondents.


Citizen Survey Results PDF


Select Board Meeting – February 11, 2019

M E E T I N G   N O T I C E
Monday, February 11, 2019
Bennington Fire Facility
Multi-Purpose Room – 3rd Floor
130 River Street
Bennington, VT 05201


6:00 PM

  1. Pledge of Allegiance                    (6:00 PM – 6:05 PM)
  2.                  2nd Public Hearing
    Proposed Amendments
    To The Charter of The Town of Bennington
    §103-407. Mayoral Form of Government
  3. Consent Agenda                               (5 minutes)
    Minutes January 28, 2019, February 4, 2019
  4. Public Comment                             (15 minutes)
  5. Audit 2018                                       (20 minutes)
  6. TIF Annual Report Certification  (15 minutes)
  7. Depot Street Garage Proposal      (15 minutes)
  8. Implicit Bias Training Discussion(10 minutes)
  9. Liquor Licenses                                 (5 minutes)
  10. Manager’s Report                              (5 minutes)
  11. Other Business                                   (5 minutes)
  12. Executive Session
    A.Real Estate
    B. Legal Matter (if necessary)





Income Tax Forms

In an effort to reduce printing costs, the State of Vermont and IRS are encouraging people to file their income taxes electronically and no longer provide booklets and forms to our office. If you need hard copies of forms or booklets please use one of the contact methods below.

Federal Forms:


Vermont Forms: Email:

(802)828-2515 or toll free 1-855-297-5600

Please include name, address, daytime phone and form name or number

2019 Annual Meeting

With the Annual Town Meeting just a month away, I would like to outline the proposed FY2020 fiscal year budget, to be voted on March 5, 2019. The Town budget presented to the voters this year is increasing $329,470.00 or 2.53 %. These calculations include the Bennington Free Library, $488,000.00, the John McCullough Library in North Bennington, $32,000.00, North Bennington Recreation, $6,000.00, Lake Paran, $2,700.00, and the Bennington Rescue Squad, at $187,500.00. All are included as line items in the budget following reviews of their requests and subsequent approval by the Select Board. The Town staff and Select Board worked very hard to present a budget that is as balanced with the projected revenues as possible. Please remember, we are projecting revenues that do not include potential grant funds not yet available. These grants, if awarded, will reduce the amount to be raised by taxes. We are also using last year’s Grand List. Any increase in the Grand List will mitigate the tax rate impact.

Calculating the tax rates based on this budget and known revenue we project a $0.0235 increase in the General Fund tax rate, a $0.0134 increase in the Highway Fund tax rate, and a $0.0001 increase in the Fire Fund tax rate. Combined the total projected increase in the Town’s tax rate is $0.037 or 3.21%. We ask you, the voters, for your support. The Agency requests, discussed below, make up just over $0.01 in the General Fund rate.

The Agencies on the ballot, with the exception of the Bennington Free Clinic and the Turning Point Center, are all requesting the same amounts as last year. The Free Clinic, seeking an additional $5,000.00, is on the ballot by petition for $12,500.00. The Turning Point Center did not file a request or petition this year. The total amount requested by the agencies is $131,850.00.

Once again, we are asked to consider a mayoral form of government. Your current town government belongs to you the residents and voters of Bennington. The staff and the Select Board work very hard to ensure that we are responsive, financially conservative, and have your best interests at heart. Looking back over the last 10 years and discounting one-time ballot articles that increased the tax rate in a given year, the average annual tax rate increase is approximately 2.5%.

Bennington has survived the recent recession. We have continued to improve the quality of life for all our residents by improving recreational opportunities, pathways, and park lands. We have made and are making necessary improvements to our infrastructure, highways, sidewalks, water and wastewater facilities and systems. We have worked with the State to bring municipal drinking water to those impacted by PFOA contamination. We are supporting new developments in our community including the Putnam Redevelopment Project, perhaps the most transformative project to come to our downtown.

I ask for your support of the current Town Manager/Select Board form of government. It has served you well.

Stuart A. Hurd

Town Manager

Bennington Fire Department Ladder Truck Bond



The residents of the Town of Bennington are hereby notified and warned to meet at the Bennington Fire Facility on River Street (Lincoln Street entrance) in said Town on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 6:15 p.m., for the purpose of a hearing on the proposed $1.2 million ladder truck bond to be voted at Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at The Bennington Fire Facility on River Street (Lincoln Street entrance).  The Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The Article on the ballot reads as follows:

ARTICLE 2. Shall the bonds of the Town of Bennington in an amount not to exceed $1.2 million be issued for the purpose of purchasing a ladder truck for the Bennington Fire Department to replace the current 1997 Smeal ladder truck?

                                                                                                                                   YES    o

                                                                                                                                   NO      o


For the Bennington Select Board

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager



Homestead Declaration

Homestead Declaration

By Vermont law, property owners whose homes meet the definition of a Vermont homestead must file a Homestead Declaration annually by the April filing deadline. If eligible, it is important that you file so that you are correctly assessed the homestead tax rate on your property.

What is the Vermont Homestead Declaration?

In Vermont, all property is subject to education property tax to pay for the state’s schools. For this purpose, property is categorized as either nonresidential or homestead. A homestead is the principal dwelling and parcel of land surrounding the dwelling, owned and occupied by the resident as the person’s domicile.

For more information, please visit the State of Vermont Tax Department website.


Board of Civil Authority – February 4, 2019

Town of Bennington

Bennington Town Office
Conference Room #1
205 South Street, Bennington, VT

Monday, February 4, 2019
5:00 PM


  1. Reorganization
  2. Discuss March Town Meeting