Town Manager’s Column – June 16, 2021

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

Another marathon Select Board meeting June 14, our last Board meeting via zoom now that the Governor has rescinded his Emergency Order. Imagine that Vermont was the first state in the Union to reach the 80% vaccinated magic number. It doesn’t mean COVID is over or really behind us. It just means that most of us are vaccinated therefore allowing somewhat of a return to normalcy. I urge all who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine. COVID is still a terrible virus, and the new delta strain is highly contagious.

At the last Select Board meeting, the Board voted nearly unanimously to apply for two $500,000 grants to support two recovery housing projects, one on North Street, the other on Gage Street. I thought this hearing was informative and the discussion very meaningful. Recovery housing is developed for those seeking to recover from substance and/or alcohol abuse disorders. It includes not only a place to live, but also provides programs and counseling to help those living in the home find a path to true recovery. There are strict rules, random testing, help finding steady work, and an atmosphere of like-thinking individuals. It is important to remember that the individuals living in these homes are there to recover; to become participating members of a substance free society. It is a first step in addressing the scourge of substance abuse that, unfortunately pervades our society. The least we can do is allow these homes to develop and try to help.

The very positive work continues on the Police reformation effort. The Select Board working through its sub-committee and its volunteers have now adopted 11 revised policies. These policies are all available on the Town’s website. On June 14th, the Board voted to enter into a contract with the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) to help the community develop a Safety and Equity Committee for that purpose. The Board, with NACOLEs assistance, will establish an 11-member task force to develop the name, scope, structure, membership, and responsibilities of the new committee. It is anticipated that this effort will take a minimum of six months. Applications and interviews for the task force membership will begin next month and conclude in September. The task force will begin its work in September scheduled to conclude in February of 2022.

This week we celebrate the re-opening of the Town Offices, the Senior Center and other Town facilities. Although most of us have been working throughout the pandemic, the buildings access has been restricted. So welcome back. Please follow the rules established for each building.

In other good news, fireworks will be held this year at Willow Park, July 4th beginning at dusk (9:15 pm or so). We ask those that remain unvaccinated to wear a mask and socially distance for their own safety. This August 15th, we welcome back the Bennington Battle Day parade. The Home Brew Fest is returning on August 7th. The Splash Pad is open and is being enjoyed by many in the community. Other events will be coming along as well as we slowly and carefully return to normal.

At its June 14th meeting, the Board also approved the creation of a Communications Coordinator position. This will be a full-time position working out of the Community Development Department. This position has been created to increase our communications capabilities, provide greater transparency, and assist in the upgrade of our web sites and the use thereof. A job posting should be posted soon. We hope to have the position filled in July of this year.

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.

Expiring COVID-19 Forbearance Relief for FHA Borrowers

Hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt across the economy.  Currently, there are well over 300,000 FHA borrowers who are at least 60-days delinquent on their mortgage but, have not sought help to avoid future foreclosure. To assist FHA borrowers with keeping their homes in Bennington, HUD is providing a toolkit below to struggling FHA homeowners with effective information to possibly prevent them from losing their homes in the future.

If you’re a homeowner with an FHA-insured mortgage and need assistance, visit the COVID-19 Resources page. Mortgage relief is also available for other government-backed mortgages on CFPB’s Coronavirus Resources webpage.

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/owning/covid19resources

https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus/homeowners

https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/SFH/documents/IACOVID19FBFactSheetConsumer.pdf

 

 

Select Board Meeting – June 14, 2021

To view the Select Board packet for the meeting of June 14, 2021, please click here:  Select Board packet.

For public health reasons, Select Board members will participate in the meeting by videoconference. Members of the public are urged to watch the meeting on Cat-TV or Cat-TV-Facebook. If one wishes to participate you may join the meeting as an Attendee using the webinar link listed: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89448782346 or call into the meeting  Dial:1-646 558 8656 and enter Webinar ID: 894 4878 2346 and follow the prompts

Public Hearing Notice

June 10, 2021

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE

The Town of Bennington is considering making two applications to the State of Vermont for Implementation Grants under the Vermont Community Development Program. A public hearing will be held as part of the regularly scheduled Bennington Select Board meeting at 6 pm on Monday, June 14, 2021 via video conference to obtain the views of citizens on community development, to furnish information concerning the amount of funds available and the range of community development activities that may be undertaken under this program, the impact to any historic and archaeological resources that may be affected by the proposed project, and to give affected citizens the opportunity to examine the proposed statement of projected use of these funds. Members of the public are encouraged to watch the meeting on CAT-TV or CAT-TV Facebook. If you wish to participate, you may join the meeting as an Attendee using the webinar link listed: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89448782346 or call into the meeting by dialing 1-646-558-8656, entering webinar ID: 894 4878 2346, and following the prompts.

One proposal is to apply for $500,000 in VCDP Funds which will be used to accomplish the following activities: acquisition of a 9-bedroom home located at 612 Gage Street for use as recovery housing, minor building improvements, and temporary rental assistance. The project will be overseen by Shires Housing with support from Turning Point Center.

The second proposal is also to apply for $500,000 in VCDP Funds. Requested funds will be used to accomplish the following activities: acquisition of the Squire House located at 185 North Street for use as recovery housing and minor building updates to meet programmatic needs. The project will be developed by Shires Housing with support from the Vermont Foundation of Recovery.

Copies of information about the application are available upon request. Please contact Shannon Barsotti at 802-442-1037 to receive copies via email or mail, or to ensure appropriate accommodations are made. For the hearing impaired please call (TTY) # 1-800-253-0191.

Legislative Body for the Town of Bennington

Department of Public Works – Highway Division – Laborer

 

Town of Bennington

Open Position

 

The Town of Bennington’s Department of Public Works is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Highway Division – Laborer. This position primarily involves maintenance and repair of the highway system and related rights-of-way including snow removal, sanding, paving, sidewalk construction, tree and brush clearing, culvert construction, and general upkeep. Experience operating highway equipment is preferred. Must possess a valid driver’s license maintained in good standing with 2 years of driving experience. A Commercial Driver’s license, Class A must be obtained within (6) months of employment.

A complete job description and applications are available below. They are also available at the Bennington Town Offices – Reception. Send application(s) to include 3 references and a resume to the Town Offices, ATTN: Human Resources, 205 South Street, P.O. Box 469, Bennington, Vermont, 05201. Closing date for applications is Thursday, June 17, 2021, at Noon.

Bennington is an EOE employer. The Town of Bennington does not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities.

Job Description
Town of Bennington Application
Town of Bennington CDL Application

Please Note that applicants that have a CDL are required to complete and submit both employment applications.  Non CDL drivers only need to complete the Town of Bennington Employment Application.

The Bennington Senior Center is now open to limited capacity

Select Board Meeting – June 7, 2021

M E E T I N G   N O T I C E
BENNINGTON SELECT BOARD
June 7, 2021
A G E N D A
5:00 P.M.
   For public health reasons, Select Board members will participate
   in the meeting by videoconference. 
1. Executive Session
A. Boards and Commissions Interviews

2021 Change of Value Notices

A preliminary 2021 Grand List was filed with the Bennington Town Clerk and Change in Appraisal of Real Estate notices were mailed out Thursday May 27 to all affected property owners in which there were substantive changes in land area and/or improvement size (new construction/additions/demolitions/sub-divisions etc.) that took place from April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021. In addition, properties in which an error or an omission was found that changed assessed value were also sent a notice. Owners of properties in which no substantive changes have taken place over the last year will have their assessed valuations unchanged for the 2021 Grand List.

Property owners who feel aggrieved by their assessed value must submit a grievance letter to the Board of Listers by the close of business June 10, 2021. Those with previously submitted grievance letters will be notified within the next few days. No hearing will be allowed without a letter to this office. Call 802-442-1042 M-F 8:00-5:00 for further information.

 

May/June Fitness Calendar and June Pool Schedule

May June 2021 Group Fitness Calendar

June Pool Schedule

Splash Pad to Open – May 27, 2021

Splash Pad (Water playground)

 

 

 

 

 

The Town of Bennington Merchant Park is open from
Dawn to Dusk.  The Splashpad sensors to  initiate the water
jets will be operational from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
starting on Thursday, May 27th.   Please adhere to the posted
park rules and be respectful of others when using the facilities.