Shelburne Volunteer Fire Chief Jerry Ouimet said Tuesday that he never endorsed a new ordinance that three Selectboard members rushed to pass two weeks ago concerning the storage, handling and distribution of hazardous materials.
Ouimet made the comment as the Selectboard continued to come under fire for its efforts to enact the ordinance. Several residents and business representatives spoke at the meeting.
“A member of the Select Board made the comment that the Fire Chief had reviewed the ordinance and was comfortable with it,” Ouimet said. “I need to clarify that I was not in favor of this ordinance as it was written as it goes against all the standards we operate under as a Fire Department.”
The chief said he was unable to attend the Selectboard meeting two weeks ago and was shocked to hear the town had falsely told the public that he had given the ordinance his blessing.
“We should not rush into it,” Ouimet said
Trampas Demers, president of Shelburne Limestone, told the Selectboard that his business can’t continue to exist under the new regulations.
“As it stands this ordinance means we have 46 more days of business,” he said. “I don’t often get involved in town politics, but this one is personal to me.”
Former Selectboard member Chris Boyd urged the board to rescind the passage of the ordinance. He noted that the document has sections which conflict with standing federal and state regulations.
Boyd said the Winooski city ordinance that was mentioned by the town in an effort to win passage in Shelburne actually focuses on recovering costs for spills.
All of these comments were among those made at the start of the meeting as the Selectboard considered a motion to add discussion of the ordinance to the evening’s agenda.
Two Selectboard members, Gary von Stange, the chairman, and Dr. Colleen Parker, were opposed to further discussion Tuesday night.
The motion to add the agenda item failed 2-2 with Selectboard members Jerry Storey and Dr. Josh Dein in favor. The tie was due in part to the absence of Selectboard member John Kerr.
“The vote sends its own message,” Storey said about the unwillingness to discuss the topic.
Shelburne News reporter Eileen O’Grady contributed to this report.