Post-Bond Vote Task Force
In April 2008, following two post-bond vote public forums to solicit feedback and prospective members, a new task force of community members was convened by the Waitsfield Selectboard in an attempt to understand what direction -- if any -- the town should take following the negative votes on both the water and wastewater bond articles on Town Meeting Day 2008.
The Task Force sorted through community input gathered at two public forums, as well as e-mails and letters sent to Task Force members or the Town. The Task Force held three meetings with the purpose of:
- Assembling and seeking to understand community input,
- Discussing what direction the public input indicated for the town; and
- Developing a recommendation for the Select Board on what action to take.
Additionally, the Task Force took into account:
- Consideration of public health and safety needs identified during research and engineering work undertaken since 1998;
- Grant funding currently available to the town for aspects of the proposed work; and
- The Town Plan (adopted in 2005).
Based on all of these factors, the Task Force made the recommendation to the Selectboard on April 28, 2008 that the Town pursue only a public water project at this time for the purposes of safe public drinking water and fire protection. There are no grand list implications associated with this project.
Specifically, the Task Force recommended the town proceed with a water project that is different from the initially proposed project in that:
- An additional $1.6 million in grant funding has been allocated to this project. These funds were originally assigned to the proposed wastewater project.
- With a total of $3.6 million in grants now supporting this project, fire protection costs will now be covered by grant funds. There will be no separate protection assessments for all properties near hydrants.
- Connected users will pay the balance of the project costs, which are costs directly associated with their public water access and usage.
- The service area will explicitly include the Loop Road and Tremblay Road. These areas were part of the last proposal, but this was apparently not clear to voters.
Finally, the Task Force recommended and the Selectboard approved a bond vote for the Town of Waitsfield has been warned for June 10, 2008.
The Task Force and Waitsfield Selectboard feel that this renewed and revised water project proposal is responsive to public health concerns, community input, and a vision for our town that supports a vibrant downtown and a thriving agricultural community. Several public forums, are being held in May and June prior to the bond vote:
- Thursday mornings May 15, May 22, May 29, and June 5, 7:45 - 9:00 a.m. at the Three Mountain Cafe
- Wednesday, May 28, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Valley Players Theater
- Thursday June 5, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Waitsfield Elementary School
- Monday June 9, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Waitsfield Elementary School
In the meantime, the Task Force will continue to examine public sentiment and alternatives regarding the wastewater project.
Original Task Force
The Water and Sewer Task Force was originally formed in 2001 to be a sounding board for focused recommendations to the Selectboard regarding such things as policies, ordinances, and fee structures and to help with special assignments. Its membership continues to reflect a diversity of interests, including business owners, residents, the Planning Commission, and stakeholders inside and outside of the service areas.
One of the first tasks was to conduct a door-to-door survey of all the residents in the proposed service area.
After a 2-year hiatus, the WSTF resumed its work in December 2006 with new members and an ambitious schedule. Michael Cunningham was hired in November 2006 as the Municipal Project Manager to assist with or carry out the many tasks necessary to move these projects forward. New Town Administrator Valerie Capels joined the Town Office staff in August 2006.
Summary of Activities
- Updated the survey that was completed in 2002 with current information on the water and wastewater service needs of the properties in the proposed service area.
- Reviewed architectural designs of the proposed wastewater tertiary treatment plant.
- Examined a wide range of connection, pricing, and management policies for both the water and the wastewater projects and and made recommendations to the Selectboard.
- Developed a draft Wastewater Ordinance for the Selectboard's review.
- Developed a draft Water Ordinance for the Selectboard's review.
- Held a public information meeting in June 2007.
- Developed water efficiency measures, which were endorsed by the Selectboard.
- Is in the process of developing public information materials.
- Met with Vtrans staff to coordinate the Water/Wastewater Projects, the Transportation Path Project, and the Route 100 paving project.
- Will be meeting with local organizations in December 2007.
Robert Cook • Darryl Forrest • Jeremy Gulley • Karl Klein • Scott Kingsbury • Troy Kingsbury • Stan Needleman • Susan Klein
Kate Williams, Selectboard
Brian Fleisher, Planning Commission
Valerie Capels, Town Administrator
Lance Phelps, P.E.
John Kiernan, P.E.
Original WSTF Members
Village Service Area Representatives
Susan Roy, Chamber
Ted Joslin, Winter Park
Mary Schramke, Bridge Street
Pat Thompson, Brothers Building
Community At-Large Representatives
Ann Marie DeFreest *
Charles Nagelschmidt **
Troy Kingsbury (2006)
Roy Hadden, DVM, Chair, Selectboard
William Bryant, Town Administrator **
Valerie Capels, Town Administrator (2006)
Michael Cunningham, MPM (2006)
Jeff Knight, Planning Commission *
Karl Klein, Planning Commission (2006)
Dee Pierce, MRVPD Exec. Dir. **
Linda Lloyd, MRVPD Exec. Dir. (2006)
Lance Phelps, P.E.
John Kiernan, P.E.
Luther Tenney, P.E. *
** Left the area