Town Manager’s Column – May

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

We are stronger together.

The Police Department Assessment conducted by IACP (the International Association of Chiefs of Police) was presented to the public on April 20, 2020. On May 11th, the Select Board began its review and determination of next steps. Initially, the Board members laid out their individual reactions to the Report and noted their priorities. There were several questions posed by a caller that the Board took under advisement. The Board will discuss at its May 25th meeting. Given the difficulty ZOOM meetings present to those who wish to participate and in the spirit of community involvement the Board is asking citizens to email any questions/comments to the Chair, Donald Campbell, at dcampbell@benningtonvt.org or to me at shurd@benningtonvt.org prior to the meeting in order to address them during the meeting. We will share these questions with the Board members prior to the meeting.

As the Governor continues to loosen the restrictions he imposed to minimize the COVID 19 impacts, I encourage everyone to wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart whenever possible, and wash your hands regularly. We, in Vermont, have done a pretty good job keeping the virus somewhat at bay. Let’s not suddenly get careless thinking that it’s over. It’s not over so be careful; stay safe; stay healthy.

At the May 11th Board meeting, I announced that Bennington has been awarded the full allotment of State funds to remove private lead service lines throughout town. The total awarded is $11 million dollars. This is nearly 70% of the total amount estimated to remove every single lead service line. Imagine our community with no lead water lines in our system. What a wonderful opportunity this is for the community. Congratulations! I am happy to play a part in this important project.

Construction projects are restarting. The Putnam Block, the UCS addition for Head Start at the Recreation Center, the Bennington Brush building, the former Middle School, all projects that will have very positive impacts on the downtown and the community are now able to move forward, albeit safely and with care.

The Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrade has now reached substantial completion. I am told that a lengthy punch list remains. Now that construction is returning, the contractor can get back on the site and finish up. Our employees are familiarizing themselves with the many new facets of the plant and its operations. Everything seems to be coming together nicely.

All PFOA related contracts are underway in the northeasterly quadrant of the community. These very important projects will deliver municipal water to many of the homes impacted by PFOA in the groundwater. It is expected that these projects will be completed early in 2021 barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Bennington and Bennington County lag behind the rest of the State in responding to the 2020 Census. Please respond; be counted. It affects the flow of federal dollars into our State. Vermont has always benefited from federal monies. These monies fund many important projects. Besides it’s easy to respond.

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.