Residents and Neighbors,
Council approved grant applications for up to $100,000 to support the Metro Way portion of the multi-use path, the HGTV Home Town Takeover program, and a Tree Nursery. The City has seen significant improvement with Workers comp based on creation of a safety committee, safety equipment, revised job descriptions, and new reporting system. The malfunctioning North Main Street traffic signals are currently resolved and DPW staff repaired sewer lines on River Street.
The Manager presented, and Council approved, the $13 million FY21 General Fund Budget to be on the Annual Town Meeting Day ballot. The budget includes funding for two new police officers, covers wages and benefits including a 14% increase in health care costs, decrease in Workers Comp Insurance payments, supports a $1.7 million bond request, and partially funding a mental health clinician. Barre Area Development requested $40,000 for their Barre Rock Solid marketing campaign which will appear as a separate article, as will $26,500 from the Central Vermont Public Safety Authority. BADC also requested level funding to support hiring a new Executive Director. The projected tax increase, including all articles on the ballot equate to a 5.09% increase overall and was unanimously approved by Council.
Landlords participated in Charter change discussion to allow additional security and pet deposits, similar to the vast majority of Vermont municipalities, which they stated would allow them to rent to tenants with bad or no credit. Legislators updated Council on proposed legislation for programs to fund remodeling of single-family homes, paid family leave, ways to make post-secondary education more affordable, employee shortages in the health care industry, and a tax and regulate system for marijuana.
Council received presentations on the TIF Substantial Review approved by VEPC, upcoming summer recreation programs, the Vacant Building and Inspection Program, and the CVPSA Funding Request. City Council approved several policies, Civic Center rate changes, the Certificate of Highway Mileage and Fabienne Pattison to the Cow Pasture Committee. Council also approved creation of a Public Art Committee to assist the potential for a future Arts District and identify areas for public art. Recruitment for all boards, committees, and commissions of the City is back underway.
Upcoming will be presentations to Council on the BUUSD budget, Vermont Granite Museum, Cow Pasture Committee, A.D.A. Committee and Central Vermont Fiber. Council is to receive quarterly updates from the Aldrich Library, BADC, and the Barre Partnership. Coffee with the Mayor will be held at Espresso Bueno on Saturday, February 8th at 10 a.m. The Neighborhood Leader Meeting is February 13th at 6 p.m. in Alumni Hall 2nd Floor. The February 11th City Council meeting is cancelled.
Lucas J. Herring
Mayor, City of Barre