Select Board Meeting – December 6, 2021

Energy Committee Meeting – December 1, 2021

There will be a meeting of the Energy Committee on Wednesday, December 1,  2021 at 7:00 PM

The meeting will be held at the Fire Facility, if one wishes to participate via zoom, the login info along with the agenda and other information is available on the Energy Committee webpage.

 

Select Board Meeting(s) – Monday, November 22, 2021

There will be two meeting(s) of the Select Board on Monday, November 22, 2021 – 12:30 P.M. and  6:00 P.M.

The Select Board Agenda for the meeting at 12:30 P.M. is available by clicking here.

The Select Board Packet for the meeting at 6:00 P.M. is available by clicking here.

 

All About Town – Town Manager Stuart Hurd

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

The Safety and Equity Task force has now met three times. Its work to date has focused on the purpose and scope of a community oversight committee. At its next meeting scheduled for November 18th at 4:30 pm at the Bennington Fire Facility, it will try to finalize these two items and perhaps look at composition and number of individuals on the committee. To aid in this effort, taskforce members are planning some outreach work including interviews with individuals and agencies to gain an understanding of how the community interacts with the Police Department; what is good and working well and what is not working well and how it may be improved. I commend those who volunteered for this effort. It is a complex question and a difficult undertaking in the four months allotted for the work and report.

At its most recent meeting, the Select Board paused any action on the discussion on how the community funds its downtown advocacy efforts. Currently contracting with the BBC (Better Bennington Corporation), the efforts are funded through the Downtown Improvement District, a taxing district established by Charter some years ago. The tax is levied only on properties and portions of properties within the District that are used commercially. The idea generated a lot of reaction in the community and among Board members. The Board feels that more time is needed to fully vet the idea and understand its impacts on those taxpayers in the District and those taxpayers outside the District.

The Board read and adopted a Proclamation naming Bennington a Purple Heart Community and designating August 7th of any given year as Purple Heart Day in Bennington. This is a way to honor those who served and sacrificed in wartime. Members of the local VFW and American Legion were on hand to receive the Proclamation once it was approved.

At this meeting, the Board, having viewed both Brookside Drive and Town Highway 29, the Foothills so called, voted to discontinue both roads. These roads were accepted by former Select Boards, the Foothills in 1967, Brookside Drive in 1975, but neither were used as Town highways per se and they serve private developments/homes.

The Citizen Survey has concluded. We’re waiting for late mail ins before tabulating. We had 640 participants. Another 235 did not complete the survey. Unfortunately, the responses from the incomplete surveys can not be counted. We hope to report the results by the next Select Board meeting, November 22.

VOSHA (Vermont Occupational Health and Safety Administration) has now adopted the mandatory vaccination program for employers with 100 or more full, part time, and seasonal employees. The Town adopted its mandatory vaccination or testing policy for all its employees effective November 1, 2021. Having this in place for just one week, we have learned that our workforce is 90% vaccinated. It is our hope that encouraging vaccinations for our entire workforce will keep our employees and their families safe and healthy and keep our interactions with our fellow citizens safe as well. It is my hope that everyone who is eligible and able will get vaccinated. It is the only way to end the pandemic and return to normal.

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.

Historic Preservation Commission – 11/09/21

Select Board Meeting – November 8, 2021

There will be a meeting of the Select Board on Monday, November 8, 2021.

The Select Board packet is available by clicking here.

 

 

Energy Committee Meeting 11-3-21

There will be a meeting of the Energy Committee on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM

The meeting will be held at the Fire Facility, if one wishes to participate via zoom, the login info along with the agenda and other information is available on the Energy Committee webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select Board Meeting – November 1, 2021

There will be a meeting of the Select Board on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 6:00 PM.   To view the agenda for the meeting, please click on this link.

 

 

 

Select Board Meeting – October 25, 2021

To view the Select Board packet for the meeting of October 25, 2021, please click on link to download the pdf.

 

 

 

All About Town – Town Manager Stuart Hurd

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

The Safety and Equity Task force has been formed. It is made up of 10 people from a variety of backgrounds, chosen after interviews with the Select Board. The first meeting of the group was October 7th. They will meet again on October 21 via zoom to continue the discussion on a community advisory/oversite committee to work with the Bennington Police Department on community policing issues and concerns. The group elected co-chairs and a note-taker. They will continue to work with NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversite of Law Enforcement) for the next four months to draft a report outlining their recommendations on a future committee. The plan is to meet on the first and third Thursday either in person or by zoom to using the Bennington Fire Facility as the public meeting space. Meetings will begin at 4:30 pm and last approximately two hours.

At its most recent meeting, the Select Board opened a discussion on how the community funds its downtown advocacy efforts. Currently contracting with the BBC (Better Bennington Corporation), the efforts are funded through the Downtown Improvement District, a taxing district established by Charter some years ago. The tax is levied only on properties and portions of properties within the District that are used commercially. It places an extra burden on those properties by adding an additional $0.236 on the tax rate these properties pay to the Town. On a $100,000 property, it amounts to $236 annually. The BBC’s current allocation from the Town is just over $82,000. If the Select Board were to decide to place the BBC in the General Fund budget, it would be then treated similar to the Libraries and the Rescue Squad having its budget reviewed in January of a given year. If this were done, the current allocation would amount to an additional $0.008 on the Town’s tax rate. All properties in Bennington would pay this additional amount, approximately $8.00 annually on a $100,000 home. The Board plans to continue this discussion at its October 25th meeting.

The Board also heard a report on the use of the SVC athletic fields. Although the baseball field really never dried out to make use possible, the soccer field was heavily used thereby relieving strain on our other fields. The Board agreed to continue the agreement for a mutually agreeable time but no more than two years as SVHC continues its deliberation on ultimate use of the entire property.

The Citizen Survey has been launched. It will be available on- line at www.benningtonvt.org/survey, by mail upon request 802-442-1037, in person at the Town Offices, the Community Center (Rec Center), and the Senior Center on Pleasant Street. It will close November 5th. Please take the time to answer it. It is one way we can hear from our citizens about the many things local government provides. It will also help provide direction for the Select Board and staff looking forward.

The Town has adopted a mandatory vaccination or testing policy for all its employees. It will take effect November 1, 2021 and remain in place indefinitely. Those employees who are unvaccinated will be required to test weekly and file the results with the Town. It is our hope that encouraging vaccinations for our entire workforce will keep our employees and their families safe and healthy and keep our interactions with our fellow citizens safe as well.

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.