Town Manager’s Column – June 2018

ALL ABOUT TOWN
Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

At the June 11 Select Board meeting, the Board approved the FY 2019 water and sewer rates. The water rate increase, 2% or $11.00 annually for those customers on the flat rate, was unanimously accepted by the Board. The sewer rate increase, 4% or $15 annually, was unanimously approved by the Board. The total annual increase in water/sewer fees is approximately $26. The Board and staff noted that the sewer rates will likely increase substantially next year due to the new upgraded plant coming on line thereby increasing depreciation and the first bond payment will become due as well. The Board tasked the staff with working hard to keep costs as low as possible to mitigate the impact of these new costs.

At this same meeting, the Board approved the second phase of the WWTF (Waste Water Treatment Facility) upgrade. This portion of the total project will be contracted out via a formal bid process., The estimated cost for this work is $5.37 million. Remember, the bond approved was for $9.85 million.

Here it is June 18th. The construction season is in full swing. The contractors working on the water system expansion dealing with the PFOA contamination are moving along with an October/November end date in mind. The Town’s crews are busy preparing for the Routes 7 and 9 State paving project. This project, scheduled to start after July 30, will pave from the Kocher Drive intersection with Route 7 south to the Park Lawn Cemetery. It will pave from the 4 Chimneys Inn through Old Bennington on east to the intersection of Route 279 and Route 9. The project is a mill and pave project. One lane traffic will be maintained, and no night work is contemplated. Add to this the Town’s regularly scheduled paving projects, sidewalk projects, and maintenance projects and you can see why so many roads are being worked on. Please bear with us. This will be a very busy summer.

The Summer Program, Camp Green Mountain, provided by the Berkshire Y at the Bennington Recreation Center is accepting applications for camp. This is its second year. The program runs from July 2 until August 24, Monday through Friday, 9 AM until 4:30 PM. and is for grades 1-8. For more information, contact Kathy Mancini at kmancini@bfymca.org or call 413-663-6529, ext. 245. Information is available at the Bennington Recreation Center.

I am looking forward to the Putnam Block redevelopment project. I understand that the Bennington Redevelopment Group (BRG) is closing in on its financing goals. This is such an important project for Bennington. The first phase will preserve and upgrade three historic structures in the heart of our downtown. A mix of retail, retail service, a restaurant, and housing are planned. Several existing businesses are also planning to relocate into our downtown. The second phase involves the lands and buildings of the former H. Greenberg and Son. New construction is planned here, and even though plans exist, nothing is yet cast in stone. When completed, this project will bring vibrancy, new aesthetics, and excitement to our community.

The Charter amendments approved June 5th have been sent on to the Secretary of State’s office. After this review, the amendments are forwarded to legislative council and drafted as a bill for consideration by the Legislature next January 2019.

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.