Residents and Neighbors,
City Manager Steve Mackenzie provided an ARPA overview which led to discussion on what funds could be used for and a process for receiving and approving projects. Step 2 of the Community Visit on September 29th resulted in three community items: Develop a Barre Community Center; Improve River Access; and Start a Barre Housing Task Force. Step 3 on October 20th will be further conversation on those goals.
DPW Director Bill Ahearn reviewed department operations and the three priorities for FY23: succession planning & implementation; advancing work organization; and bond related projects. Fire Chief Doug Brent reviewed calls for service, ambulance revenues, mass vaccination centers, and confined space rescue training. Police Chief Bombardier reviewed services provided from parking meter enforcement, dispatch, and the police department, which included necessary changes during COVID. Recruitment and retention of officers has been a state-wide issue.
VHAC member Justin Srsic reviewed statistics around the burden of housing and utilities costs, and low availability of housing stock. Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Zach Watson discussed the property at 11 Highland Avenue currently under rehabilitation which a workday is planned on October 23rd. Barre City Planning Commissioners David Sichel and Amanda Gustin presented a white paper on housing to highlight potential sources of funding, interested parties, and discussion around barriers to development within the municipal plan. The Community Justice Center presentation by Executive Director Jeannie MacLeod highlighted increased transitional housing beds and services. They continue to offer restorative justice panels, conflict resolution services, and referrals for support coming from the police department and district attorney. Barbara Schlesinger from Property Valuation and Review provided a Grand List Workshop to educate Councilors on how this list is created and how it impacts that property tax rate.
Council approved Resolution #2021-13 for VCDP Grant Application Authority, NMPS Finding of No Significant Impact, DIBG Grant Letter of Commitment for Auditorium Stormwater Mitigation, execution of VYCC FY22 Services Agreement and Berlin St. Railroad Crossing Safety Improvements, FY22 Capital Equipment Plan, Strategic Planning Facilitator RFP, TIF Parking Consultant RFP, Veterans Day Parade, Elks Club Donation for FY23 Community Picnic, appointments to the Manager’s Search Committee and Homelessness Task Force, expanded the Organics Diversion Committee, approved changes to the Cemetery Investment Policy and removed the Use of Force Policy.
Upcoming items include committee appointments on October 12th, joint meeting with Montpelier for the CVPSA Televate Communications Report on October 19th, emergency BOR Roof Repair Contract, Planning Commission Complete Streets Grant, WCSARP Update, priorities overview and FY23 Budget Presentations from Buildings and Community Services, Recreation, Planning, Permitting and Assessing, Clerk, Finance and Manager, and discussion on Volunteer Appointment Policy.
Lucas J. Herring
Mayor, City of Barre