Statewide Mask Mandate – Effective 8/1/20.

On Friday, 7/24, Governor Phil Scott announced a statewide mask mandate, effective 8/1/20.

The addendum to the executive order may be found by clicking here.

The public will be required to wear masks in any public place (businesses, municipal buildings, retail establishments, and so on) and outdoors when social distancing standards cannot be met.

The statewide mandate will effectively replace the resolution passed by the Selectboard on 07/20/20 that highly encourages all members of the public to wear a mask or other facial covering inside businesses and public buildings, and when appropriate social distancing requirements cannot be met.

The latest addendum to the governor’s executive order supersedes any local authority related to masks that was previously enabled. Because of this, the local resolution passed on 7/20 is nullified.

[Published 7/28/20; 3:03 p.m.]

Draft amendment to Scrag Mountain Town Forest management plan

A draft amendment to the 2012 Scrag Mountain Town Forest management plan, incorporating the 110-acre “Scrag Gateway Parcel” is available for review and comment.

Waitsfield Scrag Forest Management Plan – Amendment #2 (July 2020)

The Town of Waitsfield acquired the 110-acre addition to the Scrag Mountain Town Forest in 2017.

Since then, the Waitsfield Conservation Commission (WCC) has been gathering information to inform the long-term stewardship of the property. With outside help, the WCC has completed several important baseline assessments:

  • An inventory of “natural communities” (i.e., combinations of native plants and animals that are commonly found together in particular ecological settings on the landscape);
  • An assessment of habitat conditions for native forest birds;
  • An inventory of forest stands; and
  • A forest stewardship plan that provides recommendations for future forest management and timber harvests.

Using the inventories, and with help from the Vermont Land Trust, the WCC prepared the draft amendment.

The draft amendment is available for public review using the link above or in hard copies (“to go” — please call or email ahead) at the Town Offices. The public is invited to submit comments and questions about the draft amendment through Friday, July 17th by emailing Commission Chair Phil Huffman at [email protected] and Vice Chair Leo Laferriere at [email protected], or by submitting comments at the Town Office using either the exterior drop boxes (by the doors on either side) or the mail.

The draft amendment is not a stand-alone document; changes needed to the 2012 Management Plan in light of the addition of the Gateway Parcel and other things that have happened on the Town Forest over the past eight years are described.

The 2012 plan is available on the Town’s website (please click here) or in hard copies (“to go” — please call or email ahead) at the Town Office.

The WCC will consider public input on the management plan amendment at its July 20th meeting, and will finalize the amendment for submittal to the Selectboard for final review and approval.

Once an amendment is approved, expanding the trail network on the Gateway Parcel and other parts of the Scrag Mountain Town Forest will be next. This will include engaging a trail consultant to provide a professional assessment of the best opportunities for new trails that fit with the natural resources and character of the lands, as well as work to improve trail-based opportunities.

Route 100B Bridge Closure/Replacement Project Begins 8/17

The replacement of the Route 100B bridge in Moretown (just south of the village) is scheduled to begin on August 17th.

The project is now expected to be completed by October 17th. The project’s primary detour is Route 100; the local bypass/detour is North Road (Pony Farm Road in Moretown).

If you are using the local bypass, please drive with consideration and caution. The Town received State funds for maintenance and dust control, as well as for increased speed enforcement.

Please contact Town Administrator Trevor Lashua at [email protected] or (802) 496-2218, x5, with questions.

Town Offices – Partial Re-Opening. [UPDATED; 6/2]

The Town of Waitsfield is open to the public, beginning June 3rd.

Capacity at the Town Offices is limited to better ensure the safety of visitors and Town staff. No more than three individuals may be in the offices, in addition to Town staff (four total), and one researcher.

Please note the following guidelines that are in place:

1). Masks are required for all visitors. Social distancing standards are in effect, as well, so please keep at least six feet between you and anyone else in the building.

2.) No more than 3 visitors may be in the offices at one time. If the doors are locked or staff is standing outside, the office’s capacity has been reached. Please be patient while waiting for a space to open up.

3.) Access is limited to individuals only, with two notable exceptions: those traveling with children and couples seeking marriage licenses.

4). The doors, floors, and walls are marked, indicating where folks can stand. Please stand where indicated.

5.) Records research remains by appointment only and subject to the research protocol in place. For more information, please see the full re-opening plan below.

6.) Planning and Zoning permits should be obtained electronically or by appointment.

7.) Entrance is not permitted to anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, respiratory illness, or fever. Please use available electronic (phone, email) or other methods if you need assistance from Town staff.

8.) Restrooms are closed to the public.

While building access may be limited, Town staff is available. If you require assistance, please let us know, and we will work to find ways to help (if possible).

For assistance, or to make an appointment, please call or email the following people:

In accordance with State and Federal guidelines, there is no admittance allowed to anyone exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory illness.

The Wait House remains closed to the public.

To see the entire re-opening plan, as adopted by the Selectboard on 5/18, please click here.

Town lands and Mad River Valley trails – what’s open?

Town-owned lands and trails have either remained open or re-opened recently for public use. A few conditions are necessary to ensure they stay that way:

  1. Be respectful and responsible. Outdoor spaces are essential for our collective physical and psychological well-being in times like these. Let’s not lose access to these valuable assets and opportunities due to a lack of thoughtfulness and kindness.
  2. Maintain appropriate social distancing standards, just like you would everywhere else. Keep at least 6ꞌ between you and other people.
  3. Don’t overcrowd. More people in a space increases the likelihood that social distancing standards can’t be met. If a parking lot is full, please find another place (see the list below for options) or come back another time.
  4. Respect private property at all times. The Town’s trail and recreational network may be built on public spaces, but it also relies heavily on privately-owned components as well. Treat all spaces – public or private – as if they were your own.
  5. If lands and trails are wet and muddy, please stay off. Look to use the dirt roads and paved sidewalks.

Where can you go?

For now, the following spots are open:

  • Scrag Mountain Town Forest. There is parking available at the trailhead on Bowen Road. Please be mindful of conditions, and avoid using any sections of the trail that are wet. Upper sections are likely to be closed until conditions dry out – if so, signage will be placed on-site and notice provided to the community.
  • The Austin parcel trail. Again, avoid sections that are wet.
  • Access to the river can be found on the Tardy parcel, Austin parcel, and at Lareau swimhole.
  • Flemer Field, also known as the polo field, is another option. Plenty of parking is available at the Town offices.
  • The trails at Wu Ledges. This popular trail system has seen an increase in use in recent weeks. The Conservation Commission and Town remind users that the parking area on Hastings Meadow Road is limited to three vehicles. The loop used to access the parking area is privately-owned and maintained; please do not park elsewhere along the loop. Additional parking is available in Waitsfield Village (the Town owns a lot adjacent to the intersection of Route 100 and Bridge Street, for example); walking or biking up Bridge Street to Pine Hill Lane, and then up Pine Hill Lane to the trailhead there is a great way to access the Wu Ledges trails.
  • The Mad River Path. For a complete listing of options, please visit:

The Mad River Valley Recreation District has compiled a listing showing what’s open, what’s not, and what guidelines folks should follow to use lands, trails, and rural roads safely, respectfully, and responsibly. To view the listing, please follow this link.

The Mad River Riders have opened most of the trail network. For updates, trail conditions, and recommended guidelines, please follow this link.

The Long Trail and its side trails are closed for mud season, but scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend (weather and mud allowing). For more information, visit the Green Mountain Club.

If you do walk, run, and bike along one of the many dirt roads in Town, please follow a few basic safety and etiquette guidelines: walk facing traffic (to ensure you can see motorists and they can better see you), maintain appropriate social distancing, and be safe (if you wear earbuds, for example, please make sure you are still aware of what’s happening around you).

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information and Contacts

A variety of resources are available for residents and guests.

For local resources, please consider visiting the website of the Mad River Valley Volunteer Response Team; click here to visit their website, or click here to visit their Facebook page.

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

The Mad River Community Fund and other organizations may have additional information for those with questions or in need of assistance. Visit the Community Fund’s website 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.

For the latest information on public transit, please visit Green Mountain Transit’s website by using the following link.

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

CDC Flyer, “Stop the Spread of Germs.”

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)