Trail Usage and Wu Ledges Access

With all the concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the free-time resulting, public hiking trails are experiencing an unprecedented surge of recreational use. 

While this use has a variety of personal benefits, it can also overtax public facilities which were designed for more normal levels of hiker needs.  An example is the popular Wu Ledges access trail at the west end of Hastings Road in Waitsfield.  Recent parking there has overwhelmed the space allotted.  The Conservation commission asks the public to understand:

  • Legal parking space is limited to three cars at Hastings Meadow.  If the parking area is full, please respect the rights of private property owners and do not park elsewhere along the road.
  • The best alternative access for Wu Ledges Town Forest is to park in Waitsfield village and walk on Bridge Street/East Warren Road to Pine Hill Lane, then up the Lane to the trail access near the top of that road.
  • If the parking area is full, consider visiting a less crowded section of the Mad River Path (see the map linked here for options) or walking along a lower traffic dirt road.
  • Use of the Wu Ledges parking area and trails must be done with appropriate social distancing, in accordance with the Governor’s statewide orders.

If overcrowding continues to be a problem for neighboring landowners at the Hastings Road parking site, or if the Governor’s orders are not followed, the site and the Wu Ledges trail may be closed to public access. 

Please also note that the Long Trail (and its side trails), the Catamount Trail, ski mountains, and Mad River Rider trails are all currently closed.

Enjoy the coming spring and the great outdoors!

Invitation to Bid on Mowing Services

The Town of Waitsfield is seeking bids from contractors for mowing services for two years. Most of the areas involve trimming as well as mowing; some areas may include spring and fall cleanup.

To see a complete set of bid documents, including maps, please click here.

Notice of Closure – Waitsfield Town Offices (3/17 through 4/15)

The Town of Waitsfield Town Offices are officially closed, effective 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17th. The closure is anticipated to last through Wednesday, April 15th, but may be extended if a public health need remains.

ALL meetings or other events scheduled at the Town Offices are cancelled during this period.

Town staff will still be working throughout this closure and can be easily reached by telephone or email. Please be sure to leave a detailed message, so that employees working remotely can fully respond to or accurately route your call.

The Road Department will be working as well, though public interaction is severely limited. The garage on Tremblay Road is not open to the public.

Please see the link below for more information on the Town’s operations during closure. Please also note that this outline may change, based on need, effectiveness, or other to be determined criteria.

COVID-19 Closure — Operations Outline

*PLEASE NOTE — The Governor’s executive order for Vermonters to stay at home on March 24th effectively closes access to the vault and land records at this time.

Tax maps and assessor card information can be accessed by clicking here. A “help” document is also available, and found by clicking here.

Please check the Town’s website often, as it is where information related to operations and the closure will first be posted.

Certain functions may be available by appointment, so please call or email if you have an emergent or otherwise time sensitive need.

The Town appreciates everyone’s understanding and patience.

Staff contacts are:

•  Town Clerk Jennifer Peterson – (802) 496-2218, x3;  [email protected]  

• Town Treasurer Sandy Gallup – (802) 496-2218, x2; [email protected]  

•  Town Administrator Trevor Lashua – (802) 496-2218, x5; [email protected]  

•  Planning/Zoning Administrator Annie Decker-Dell’Isola – (802) 496-2218, x4; [email protected]  

•  Road Foreman Rodney Jones – (802) 496-8897; [email protected]   

The original, formal notice of closure can be found by following this link.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information, Cancellations, Contacts – UPDATED, 3/26

Governor Phil Scott has issued an executive order directing Vermonters to stay at home. To see the entire order, please click here.

Please stay home, and stay safe.

COVID-19 Health Alert Poster

The order extends the closure of the Waitsfield Town Offices to the public until 4/15. Staff will be working remotely, so please reach out with questions or concerns. The Road Department is still working, as essential transportation infrastructure personnel, but may be doing so in a limited capacity and without any public access at the garage.

To mitigate some of the impact of the closure of the vault and offices, tax maps and assessor card information can be found by using the following link.

For more information on COVID-19 in Vermont, please visit the Vermont Department of Health’s website by clicking here. The website is updated daily.

The Mad River Community Fund and other organizations may have additional information for those with questions or in need of assistance. The information is accessible through the following link.

Vermont 211 is another resource for those in need of assistance. More information is available through the following link.

Joslin Memorial Library has been closed, effective March 16th. Curbside pickup is available. For more information, please use the following link.

Harwood Unified Union School District has also closed. For more information, please use the following link.

For small business and other resources, please visit the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce website using the following link.

Green Mountain Transit has suspended bus service in the Mad River Valley. For more information, please use the following link.

Capstone Community Action has suspended the tax preparation service provided by volunteers at the Waitsfield Town Offices until April 1st. Capstone can be reached online (through the following link) or by calling 1-800-639-1053.

COVID-19 fact sheet prepared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

CDC Flyer, “Stop the Spread of Germs.”

From the Vermont Department of Health:

“There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. Person-to-person spread of the virus is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Much is still unknown about how the virus spreads. Take these everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you traveled to affected locations within the past two weeks or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19, and develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away.”

FY21 Budget and FY21-FY25 CIP, as approved at Town Meeting.

The FY21 Budget and FY21-FY25 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), as approved by voters at Town Meeting, can be found by clicking here.

At Town Meeting, voters approved an amended budget of $2,083,385, an increase of $112,327 from the budget approved for FY20. The amended budget includes all actions taken by voters, including the approval of $15,000 appropriations (each) for the Mad River Valley Recreation District and the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service (MRVAS).

The amended and approved budget requires an estimated property tax rate increase of 2.11 cents per $100 of assessed value. For property owners with homes assessed between $200,000 and $400,000, the annual increase will be between $42 and $85 for the year.

The changes made by voters include:

  • +$15,000 for the Mad River Valley Recreation District, bringing the total appropriation to $30,000 in FY21. This is shown on line 189 of the FY21 budget.
  • +$15,000 for MRVAS. This is shown on line 193 of the FY21 budget.
  • +$1,500 for an increase in the Restroom/Recreation/Conservation reserve, bringing the total appropriation to $10,000 in FY21. This is shown on line 249 of the FY21 budget.

Town Meeting 2020 – Results

Local, school, and presidential primary results are available from Town Meeting Day.

For local and school district election results, click here.

For presidential primary election results, click here.

For the results of all other uncontested races, click here.

Article 9, which would have changed the charter of the Town of Waitsfield to enable implementation of local option taxes following a later vote, did not pass. The final tally was 472 (56%) against, and 347 (44%) in favor.

The proposed Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) budget did not pass. The final tally was 3,048 (57%) against, and 2,254 (43%) in favor.

FY20 Property Taxes – Rates and Due Dates

The residential and non-residential rates for FY20 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020) have been set.

For residential properties:

Municipal rate = $0.4308 per $100 of assessed value.

Local agreement rate (municipal) = $0.0035 per $100 of assessed value.

Residential (Homestead) education rate = $1.6548 per $100 of assessed value.

Total FY20 residential property tax rate = $2.0891 per $100 of assessed value.

For non-residential properties:

Municipal rate = $0.4308 per $100 of assessed value.

Local agreement rate (municipal) = $0.0035 per $100 of assessed value.

Non-residential education rate = $1.6217 per $100 of assessed value.

Total FY20 non-residential property tax rate = $2.0560 per $100 of assessed value. 

Taxes are paid in quarterly installments, and due on the following dates:

September 15, 2019 (Monday)

November 15, 2019 (Friday)

February 17, 2020 (Monday)

May 15, 2020 (Friday)

Volunteer Opportunities – Board, Committee, and Commission Vacancies

Interested in participating in local government?

The Town of Waitsfield has the following openings on its boards, committees, and commissions:

  • Cemetery Commission — one seat; remaining two years of an unexpired five-year term (expiring March 2021).
  • Planning Commission – one seat; remainder of a four-year term (expiring March 2021).
  • Water Commission – one seat; two-year term (expiring March 2021).

To apply, send an email or letter of interest to Town Administrator Trevor Lashua at [email protected], or by mailing one to:

Town of Waitsfield

Attn: Town Administrator

4144 Main Street

Waitsfield, VT 05673