Town of Bennington Police Department Policy Advisory Committee – 2/24/21

TOWN OF BENNINGTON

Police Department Policy Advisory Committee

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

1:00 p.m.

AGENDA

Zoom Videoconference

For public health reasons, Police Department Policy Advisory Committee members will participate in the meeting by videoconference. The videoconferencing platform, Zoom, will be used. If one wishes to observe the Zoom videoconference, please use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89640993843

Work Session

Review and possible revision of the following Bennington Police Department Policy:

  • Body Worn Cameras

 

Bennington 2020 Annual Report

The Bennington 2020 Annual Report is available to view online  2020 Annual Report (pdf)
You can call to request a copy and schedule to pick one up
at the Town Office, please call – 445-1333 if you would like one.

Invitation to Bid – BENNINGTON STP BIKE(26)S

Sealed bids from pre-qualified contractors shall be accepted until 3:00 p.m., prevailing
time on March 12, 2021 at the Town of Bennington, VT Offices, 205 South Street,
Bennington, VT 05201 for construction of the project hereinafter described.

INVITATION TO BID
BENNINGTON STP BIKE (26) S (pdf)

Town Manager’s Column – February 2021

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

It’s that time of year when our March elections are just around the corner. Can Spring be far behind? The FY22 budget placed before the voters, after final disposition by the Select Board, is proposed to increase a mere 1.58%. Its projected impact on the tax rate is an increase of only 2.02%. I wrote about this in detail last month. This month I ask for your support. Please vote “Yes” on Article 1.

Article 2 is a proposal to create a reserve for improving our parks. It’s called a “Penny for Parks”. If approved, it will add a penny ($0.01) to the tax rate to have monies set aside each year to make our parks better. The first major project is the replacement of the Community Built Park. This proposal will generate approximately $100,000 each year and allow us to reduce some of the annual expenditures necessary to maintain the recreational equipment and buildings in our parks. Please vote “Yes” on Article 2.

Article 3 will once again ask the voters to support a mayoral form of government. This question proposes to replace the Manager’s position with an elected Mayor It will politicize the professional management of the Town. Employees will be subject to the whims of an individual elected to serve three years. It will provide a direction to the Town which might change every three years and be entirely different than the direction the Town followed for the last three years. Stability? No. The Mayor would be an equal to the Select Board with an ability to veto Board actions. Really? How is that getting to consensus? Please vote “No” on Article 3.

There are two questions (Articles 4 and 5) relating to the sale, growth, and manufacture of cannabis in the community. These proposals were allowed for consideration by the Vermont Legislature. In order to allow this to happen here in Bennington, the voters must vote “Yes”. It is referred to as an “opt in”. These questions must be considered carefully and thoughtfully. I leave this to the voters.

One last Article that is new this year is Article 6 which asks the voters to approve the Select Board’s annual stipend. Normally voted at the Floor Meeting, this question appears due to the inability to vote town-wide on zoom meeting. A “Yes” vote reduces the annual stipend to $1,300. A “No” vote leaves the annual stipend at its current level $1,400.

The remaining twelve Articles are the Agency requests for funds.

Absentee ballots will be available on February 10th. Contact the Town Clerk’s Office if you wish to vote absentee. The polls will be open in Bennington on March 2 from 7 am until 7 pm if you wish to vote in person. This year North Bennington residents must vote on Town ballot questions at the Bennington Fire Facility as they did in November. Please VOTE.

By the way, have you heard or read about the Grateful Bennington Fund? This is a drive to raise funds to support SVHC’s acquisition and reuse of the SVC campus. Conceived by David Newell and Mike McKenna, it is hoped that the community will financially support this tremendous opportunity. We were all very pleased when SVHC stepped in to purchase the property. Now we are asked to help it succeed. I will be supporting this effort. I hope you will consider helping as well. Any amount will help. You may donate at svhealthcare.org/TheGratefulBenningtonFund or by mailing a check made payable to SVHC Foundation to SVHC Foundation, 100 Hospital Drive, Bennington, VT 05201.

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.

Planning Commission Meeting/Public Hearing – February 18, 2021

View PRESS RELEASE for the Bennington Planning Commission Public Hearing on 2/18/21
View AGENDA for 2/18/21

Ballots are now available

I would like to encourage the voters of Bennington and North Bennington to participate in the Annual Town and School meetings to be held March 2, 2021.  Ballots are now available at the Town Clerk’s Office.  This year, with the inability to have open floor meetings, you will find additional items on the ballots.  To minimize crowds at the polls, please consider voting early from the comfort of your home.  While the office is currently closed to the public, you can pick up your ballots or call (802)442-1043 to have one mailed to you.  We have again installed the secure drop box at the Town Office for prompt return of your early ballots.

Voting in person on March 2nd  will be at the Firehouse at the corner of River and Lincoln Streets.  The polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM with mask and social distancing requirements in place.

You can view sample ballots on our website at https://benningtonvt.org/departments/town-clerk/elections/sample-ballots/ and access your specific voter information through the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” at https://mvp.vermont.gov .  If you need help updating your information for site access, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Cassandra Barbeau
Town Clerk
Bennington, VT
mailto:cbarbeau@benningtonvt.org

 

Town Office Closure – February 15, 2021

Increased COVID-19 activity in Bennington County

Bennington County Community Partners,

The Health Department has detected an increase in COVID-19 activity in Bennington County during a 10-week period beginning 12/1/20. What we know is:

  • The Town of Bennington and some surrounding towns have evidence of increased rates, multiple household clusters and workplaces with cases.
  • Surrounding towns with increased rates include Pownal, Shaftsbury, Arlington, Manchester, Winhall and Dorset.
  • At this time we are seeing an increased number of cases that are not known to be associated with an outbreak, which is an indication of more widespread community transmission.

We are sharing this information to encourage community-wide public health interventions. We are asking for your partnership and recommend taking the following steps to slow the spread of infections:

1. Increase messaging about COVID-19 prevention across platforms such as Front Porch Forum, the town websites, local newspapers, and social media. Include the following talking points in your messages:

  • Our area is seeing an increase in COVID-19 activity.
  • Take these prevention steps to help slow the spread:
    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Keep your social circle to only the people you live with.
    • Stay at least 6 feet apart from people you do not live with.
    • Wear a mask any time you are around people you do not live with.
  • We are monitoring the map of recent cases by town on the Health Department’s website to know when spread begins to slow down in our area.
  • If you have gathered with people you don’t live with, you should quarantine, and we encourage you to get tested right away, and then again 7 days after the gathering.
  • If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, follow quarantine guidelines. Answer the phone if a contact tracer from the Health Department calls you.
  • Avoid non-essential travel. If you travel out of Vermont, you must quarantine when you return.
  • Remember that we’re all at risk of getting this virus. Offer to help community members who are affected by isolation and quarantine. We thank you for being understanding and supportive of one another during this time.
  • Find more information at healthvermont.gov/COVID-19.

2. Regularly share information about where to get tested. Find testing opportunities in your area on the COVID-19 testing web page.

3. Refer to the map of recent cases by town to monitor the spread in your town. Read the Frequently Asked Questions above the map to learn more about what the map shows. Transmission is decreasing in your town when the color gets lighter. Transmission is increasing when the color gets darker. The map is updated every Friday.

4. Check out additional resources at healthvermont.gov/COVID-19 to stay informed on the latest guidance and information.

We hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your actions to help prevent further spread of the virus. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email. Due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of people with COVID-19 or any more specific information about cases than what is provided in this communication.

Thank you,

Megan Herrington

Megan Nuismer Herrington, MPH
District Director | Bennington District Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-447-6406 (o) | 802-355-3833 (c)
324 Main Street Suite 2
Bennington, VT 05201

Board of Civil Authority Meeting – February 16, 2021

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.

https://tax.vermont.gov/property-owners/homestead-declaration
https://tax.vermont.gov/sites/tax/files/documents/HS-122-2020.pdf