Residents and Neighbors,
Following the surge in coronavirus cases in November, Barre City (and Washington County) has seen a significant decrease in December. Although this is good news, we all need to continue following the guidelines to stop transmission as vaccines make their way to residents. Although Council was unable to hold its annual Dollar Drop, it was supplemented this year by a Brusa Trust allocation and a number of donations from local businesses. Businesses were also still able to participate in Ugly Sweater Day and residents bring light to their neighborhoods through the House Decorating Contest.
Many people turned out to Council for a discussion on opening of the B.O.R. for the season. With the Governor’s current Executive Order, Winter High School sports was postponed preventing revenue from rentals to cover the $6,500 monthly cost to operate. Members from Spaulding High School hockey and Barre Youth Sports provided options to remain in compliance while renting ice to families, which staff reviewed and put into effect.
The FY20 Audit received a clean opinion with no compliance issues. Despite the revenue losses from COVID, the City finished the year with a slight surplus. Conversations on the FY22 Budget continued with the remaining departments and the Capital Equipment Plan. Council will review the budget in its entirety to discuss and warn for Town Meeting Day.
Discussion started on a speed enforcement program. The Manager identified target areas for enhanced signage, use of the speed cart, and additional enforcement. Council also reviewed the draft RFP and timeline for the city-wide reassessment, the parcel sale process that is awaiting an appraisal for land in East Montpelier, heard from the Barre Lions Club on tree sales to fund vision-related programs, and from Cody Morrison at BADC on the current Barre Rock Solid marking efforts.
The City accepted Barre Opera House donation of balcony seats, which installations occurred in December. Council also approved warning the Good Samaritan Haven property tax exemption for Town Meeting Day, acceptance of Stowe Street as a Municipal Street, Hazard Mitigation Planning Grant Local Share Commitment, submission of VOREC Grant Application, support certificate for the 51 Church Street Project, approved Errors and Omissions, appointed members to the Planning Commission and the Animal & Fowl Task Force, and established an IT workgroup.
Upcoming will be further review of the Social Media Policy, WCMHS Ballot Funding Request, review of the FY21 City Priorities, awarding the DPW Campus Upgrade Contract, First Responder Wellness and COVID response update, discussion on proposed Charter changes and approval the Town Meeting Day Warning.
Have a safe and happy New Year!
Lucas J. Herring
Mayor, City of Barre