By Heather McKim
The Shelburne Selectboard heard the first of two public hearings regarding the unregulated proliferation of telecommunications towers and facilities during their Sept. 9 meeting.
It also offered Board members preliminary reviews of the fiscal year 2014 Capital Improvement Plan and Shelburne General Fund Budget Report.
Town Manager Joe Colangelo gave updates on a number of matters of town business, including the issue of the VELCO assessment. Colangelo said that the independent inspection seems to indicate that the electric company’s new, lower assessment is correct. This means a revenue loss of $47,000 to the town.
Harrington Village has been having issues with faulty alarms, Colangelo said. Since residents moved in a couple months ago, there have been a number a false alarms. Champlain Housing Trust is addressing the issue.
The newly reconstituted and expanded Water Commission had its first meeting Tuesday. The tour of the Water Plant is scheduled for Sept. 22. It will be an open meeting.
Colangelo also gave an update on the North Tank. The appeal has been dropped, and the transfer of the tank to Chittenden Water District shall now move forward.
Board members closed the first public hearing on proposed amendments to the Town Plan regarding telecommunication towers. These will add language to help clarify and strengthen the town’s position. The next hearing of the amendments will be at the next Selectboard meeting, which will be held on Sept. 23.
The Ethics Committee was present to dialog with the Board. The committee, which currently consists of three members and three alternates but will likely soon shift to a five-member group, was created in 2009 by an ordinance.
Lee Suskin, Chair, said that his committee has received no complaints about any public official during the half-decade of the group’s existence.
The committee had some recommendations for changing the ordinance, including no longer covering town employees since there are other things that would apply to them. Since the changes to the ordinance would apply to every person on every board in town, this ordinance will be passed along to all boards.
Peter Frankenburg, Finance Director, gave a preliminary review of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The six-year plan includes projects funded in the current fiscal year as well as those to be undertaken in the next five years.
The CIP helps provide a long-term view of potential capital projects. Also, impact fees can only be charged for projects included in such a plan that has been adopted.
Some of the projects included in the CIP are:
• Records automation.
• Carpet replacement in the Town Center.
•Town Hall insulation, basement window replacement and painting the clock tower.
• Fire station heating replacement.
Before the plan is considered for adoption, revisions and additional impact fees will be considered.
In his preliminary review of the General Fund budget report, Frankenburg said, “We’re still adding up numbers.” However, he added that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the town is on the right track.
Tax revenues are on target. There have been no major appeals.
Some revenues, like those of the police, were down. However, some money was not spent, such as in the case of the Davis Park Project, which was deferred.
“I think the news is good at this point,” Frankenburg said, summing things up.
Next, Colleen Parker read a mission statement from the Library Building Steering Committee, which was subsequently adopted. She also gave a quick overview of the group’s activities, of which she is a part.
“It needs to be a town-wide project,” Parker said. “This time, [we] want to include everyone.”
The group wants to talk to the architects about improving the existing structure via an expansion.
Board members voted to adopt a purchasing policy for the town. Chair Gary von Stange noted that this is a policy, not an ordinance, and that it might require a bit of adjustment in the future.
Colangelo is now approaching his six-month evaluation as Town Manager. He said that he welcomes comments from the public, which can be emailed to Board members (see the town website for correct email addresses for all members).
It will be an open agenda item at the next meeting for adopting the final process for reviewing Colangelo. The evaluation will be completed shortly thereafter.
By Heather McKim