Being a native Vermonter, I should, by now, know to expect the changing of the seasons. However, autumn always catches me off-guard. One day, it's 70 degrees and sunny; by evening, it's 40 degrees and I'm eyeing the firewood pile. Autumn brings with it a crisp and refreshing air, picturesque foliage, seasonal favorites like apple picking and cider making, and one cannot escape the newfound pumpkin-flavored everything. Autumn also brings with it the anticipation of winter, to which the Town of Winhall is no stranger. As I embark on my relatively new journey as Town Administrator for the Town of Winhall, I am involved in several projects that have seasonally-imposed deadlines. For example, culvert replacement projects that require all in-stream work to be completed by Oct.1, proposals for municipal parking lot maintenance and snow removal, Town budgeting, preparation of the Town Report, the finishing touches on paving and line striping on roadways; all in conjunction with the daily operations of municipal government. I am truly lucky to be working with a dedicated and hard-working team here in Winhall.

Another priority, though not directly impacted by the seasons, is the enhancement of the Winhall website. The website, www.winhall.org, contains contact information of Town Officials, maps, and documents for downloading, such as the Town Plan, Highway Ordinance, and municipal Facilities Use Policy. Office hours, Board meeting dates, and meeting minutes are also available on the website. The website is updated regularly and is part of the Town's efforts to move toward a more digital, paperless system.

Moving toward a paperless system is a lengthy process and a difficult task, but it is slowly being undertaken in the Town of Winhall. The first steps in the process included the implementation of employee e-mail accounts, increased use of e-mail in lieu of hard copies of internal correspondence, reducing copying and printing, and utilizing digital information via mobile devices. The Winhall Select Board now has a nearly paperless system in place, whereby Board members are provided with meeting materials digitally to review on mobile devices such as laptops and iPads during the meetings. Not only is this a cost-saving measure, but it is environmentally responsible and efficient. Cost savings and increased efficiency are crucial to municipal government operations, as well as to the taxpayers, especially now given the state of the economy.

Additional cost-saving and efficiency measures undertaken by the Town of Winhall include streamlining the employee timesheet template and obtaining computers for those departments that do not currently have access to computers. Applying for grant funding to implement projects has always been a priority for Winhall; continuing to explore funding sources and writing applications is imperative.

Find us on the web at www.winhall.org or feel free to stop by the Town Offices at 115 Vermont Route 30 in Winhall. Here in Winhall, the foliage is remarkable and the scenic views salient.

Lissa Stark is the Town Administrator of Winhall.