Board mulls waste proposal

MANCHESTER - At the Manchester Select Board meeting Tuesday night, the board moved to adopt a municipal grant regarding solid waste disposal put together by the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC). Michael Batcher of the BCRC was on hand to present the grant to the board and explain its goals.

The grant would allow the BCRC to work with Manchester, and 12 other towns in the area to discern what the town would need to do in order to comply with recent state-mandated changes in waste disposal.

The 12 towns include Manchester, Arlington, Bennington, Glastonbury, Dorset, Manchester, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Stamford, Sunderland, Shaftsbury and Woodford. Bennington and Woodford are on a separate plan, and Stamford is on its own plan, but would be working with the other nine towns under this grant.

Since the grant is a municipal planning grant, the BCRC needs a municipality to authorize it; Manchester is the only town involed with a full-time town manager and planning committee, so they were chosen to sign the documents.

The grant would cover up to $35,000 of work with the BCRC; however, the coalition estimated that the total project would cost aproximately $55,000.

The remaining $20,000 would be split between the nine towns involved; the nine under the same plan are already contributing as a part of their plan and would not need to spend any additional money, but the three towns on their own plans would need to contribute the remainder.

Some of the ways that the BCRC proposed to ensure that the towns are meeting the state requirements involve educating the public on how to meet these guidelines themselves, before it even reaches the town level.

Part of the new requirements involve an emphasis on education and outreach.

"There are already some school programs on waste disposal and how to properly recycle," said Batcher, "but I believe it will have to be more widespread."

Another idea proposed by the BCRC involves sharing resources among towns.

"There was the problem that if you lived in Shaftsbury but worked in Bennington... if you wanted to bring [waste] down to Bennington because you left before the Shaftsbury center opened, you couldn't because you didn't live in Bennington," said Batcher. "We want to work on better cooperation."

Any of these changes would not cost the residents of Manchester any extra fees, but there will be an increase in the tax. The size of the increase, however, can't determined until the grant has been accepted and it is known what changes actually need to be made.

No extra work done by town employees; all of the work would be completed by the BCRC, with the exception of writing and sending out invoices.

The grant application is due by the end of September and the BCRC will be notified if the grant was given by the end of December; if the grant is not given then the BCRC will come to the board again to assess how to achieve the same goals under different funding.

Manchester resident Orland Campbell was also at the meeting to present an idea for a veterans memorial in the Town Green.

"I want a great, big, fat Vermont rock," Campbell said, "with a bronze plaque in the middle."

Campbell explained that his proposed monument would not be to commemorate any specific war, but instead it would be for all people from the area who have fought in any war.

"It's for everyone," he said. "There have been... a lot of people from this area who gave up their dreams to fight for this country."

Campbell also said that he wants it to be the kind of monument where if a child climbs on it there will be no harm done, and in fact may spark a conversation with the child's parents about what the monument stands for.

The entire board was enthusiastic about the idea, despite being unsure where exactly in the park it would be placed. They authorized Campbell to begin the process of finding money for the monument, and return with updates as it progresses.

Pauline Moore and Joyce Scribner from the Assessor's Office presented omissions and errors from their Grand List to the board. There were only a few errors, which resulted in the town receiving $7,100 less than they expected to.

Town Manager John O'Keefe explained that because their paving project was actually under budget, that the adjustment from the omissions was not going to impact the town in a negative manner.

The board also approved an amendment to the procurement policy concerning local preference. They amended the policy to mandate that any business which wants to be considered for local preference needs to be up-to-date on their tax payments as well as water and sewer utility payments. The businesses must also be in compliance with the zoning bylaws, regulations, permits, as well as other ordinances.

The board approved the Dog Park Committee's application for a vending license for their annual celebration in September.

The final item on the agenda involved approving the Manchester Police Department to use up to $40,000 to purchase a new vehicle for the department to replace their oldest current vehicle.

In other business, O'Keefe released the numbers from the Local Option Tax. This year, the money gained from meal, room and board taxes were up 6.9 percent, or aproximately $6,000. The money from sales were down .18 percent, from $225,289 to $224,889.


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