Residents and Neighbors,
Council elected to coordinate a postcard mailing with Barre Town for Town Meeting Day. This will ensure BUUSD ballot items are treated the same in each municipality. Council unanimously approved the FY22 Budget of $12,836,332, of which $9,316,073 is to be raised by taxes. This is a budget increase is 2.1% over the FY21. Proposed Charter changes were approved to add the Finance Director to the list of positions that require bonding, adding a section limiting the display of flags to the City, State and US flags, allowing the City to set speed limits at less than 25 miles per hour and elimination of the position of Constable.
The Auditorium will serve as a vaccination location on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next several weeks. The BOR has remained open with ice time being booked by several groups and schools. Emergency COVID response includes changes in protocols, keeping the jail open, contact tracing related to ambulance transports, and coordinating personal protective equipment (PPE). Metric review of calls for service over the past three years show a decrease in violent crime, while property crime has remained steady. Fire Department staff are busy with heating issues and chimney fires, but there has been a decrease in the number of structure fires. Criminal activity has increased around local hotels and a contract was approved with the State to receive funding of overtime for local police departments to support enforcement.
The FY21 Priority list was reviewed with information to be gathered from committees current work and priorities for FY22 in support of a Strategic Plan for the City. Minimum Housing Ordinance changes are under review with the City Attorney. Traffic violations will be added to City Ordinance to collect fees currently going to the Judicial Bureau. Street and sidewalk reconstruction plans were reviewed, with the intent for committee review this coming year. The remaining debt capacity in the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District was discussed to see if a shift of focus from parking is needed. Current budget projections are on track.
Council approved a City-Wide Property Re-Appraisal RFP, revisions to the Social Media and investment Policies, Better Places Grant Letters of Support, CARES ACT Funding Request, Certificate of Highway Mileage, several infrastructure and engineering agreements, and accepted a $10,000 pool recreation grant. Upcoming are the DPW response during COVID, reports to file in the 2020 Grand List, bond paperwork, plumbing and police ticketing ordinances, certification of 2020 TIF Annual Report, Employee Longevity Recognition Program, quarterly updates from the Aldrich Library, BADC and Barre Partnership, and review of several policies.
Be safe and be well,
Lucas J. Herring
Mayor, City of Barre