Town Manager’s Column – April 2018

Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

The Select Board has set June 5, 2018 for a vote on the complete recommended revised Charter put forth by the Charter Review Committee. Two public hearings are required for any warned Charter change. The first hearing is scheduled for Monday April 23; the second for Monday May 14, both at 6 PM in the public room of the Fire Facility. Both nights are regularly scheduled Select Board meetings, so they will be televised live by CAT TV. The Board may make changes to the warned document after the first meeting, but not after the second meeting. Many of the revisions modernize the document, strengthen the role of the Select Board, and enhance the relationship between the Board and the Town Manager. An important change is the inclusion of language which allows the Board to put the question of local option taxes before the voters. This language does not approve any new taxes. It simply allows for a future action should the Board determine that it’s warranted. A second important change extends the downtown improvement district tax to non-owner occupied residences in the district. This will increase the grand list for the district thereby reducing the tax rate to those in the district. However, it will add a tax to some properties that are currently exempt. The thought is that all properties in the district benefit by the district tax and therefore including rental housing units spreads the cost over a greater number of properties. If you have questions on the specific changes, please feel free to contact me.

Work has begun once again in the northwesterly portion of Town to install water mains to the PFOA affected homes. Many of the roads are closed to through traffic so please be patient as you rethink how to move about in the community. The VT Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reviewing the final engineering responses provided by the Saint-Gobain financed study of the area east of the railroad tracks, Phase II so-called. The DEC continues to disagree with the findings provided. The Town continues to believe that Saint-Gobain is responsible for the PFOA contamination in this area as well. Extending municipal water is the only long-term solution. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide a timeline for when a decision will be made.

The Summer Program, Camp Green Mountain, provided by the Berkshire Y at the Bennington Recreation Center is accepting applications for camp. This is the second year of this relationship between the Town and the Berkshire Y. We are looking forward to a great summer. 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 or call 413-663-6529, ext. 245. Information will also be available at the Bennington Recreation Center very soon.

Here’s a list of some upcoming events sponsored in part by the Town:
Exposion 2018 at Mt Anthony Country Club, April 25, noon until 3 PM
Youth Appreciation Day May 5th at middle Willow Park
Green Up Day May 5th (bags are available at the Town Offices. Must call by May 2nd to get bags.)
HAZMAT Collection Day at the Bennington Transfer Station May 12th
Mayfest May 26th in beautiful Downtown Bennington.

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.