Hardwick, News

Board Discusses Rail Trail Speeding, EV Chargers

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by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – At the March 2 meeting, the select board discussed speeding on the Rail Trail, electric vehicles (EV) chargers in town, and the Yellow Barn project.

The first topic for discussion came for the audience. There was a question about whether handouts and discussion regarding the proposed bond vote at town meeting are allowed since it is on the ballot. Orise Ainsworth clarified that the bond can be discussed at town meeting because it is a “money matter.” Candidates on the ballot cannot be discussed during the business portion of the meeting.

Next, Chief Mike Henry gave the Hardwick Police Department (HPD) report. Henry reported that HPD has been receiving complaints about snowmobiles speeding on the Rail Trail. Officers have been out on speed patrol but have not seen many speeders. They are finding 95% of the riders are completely legal. Henry wanted to remind everyone that the Rail Trail is closed for snowmobiles from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Board member Danny Hale noted that if a person is standing on the Rail Trail and a snowmobile goes by them at 25 or 35 mph (posted speed limits), it is normal that it would seem as if they were traveling at a much higher speed.

Henry shared that recently HPD has received a large amount of expungement requests. “Expungement” is the process by which a record of criminal conviction is erased or sealed from a state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record. HPD has received 64 expungement cases in just the last two weeks. This creates a lot of administrative work and can be very time consuming.

Henry also wanted to give a shout out to Officer Paul Barnard who has been very helpful to the department. He was hired last April. He is tech-savvy and has taken on a lot of HPD’s IT and computer work. Henry said that Barnard is doing a great job and is an asset to the department. Hale commented that he is impressed to see all the patrolling in town. He regularly sees the officers out and about.

The board then voted to appoint Geoff Fehrs to the Hardwick Conservation Commission, and approved the following liquor and tobacco licenses: First Class license for American Legion Post #7; Second Class Licenses for Global Montello Group, Corp doing business as (d/b/a) Jiffy Mart #457; Hardwick Convenience & Deli, LLC; GSB, LLC d/b/a D&L Beverage & Deli; Third Class License for: American Legion Post #7; Outside Consumption Permit for American Legion Post #7; Tobacco Licenses for Global Montello Group, Corp d/b/a Jiffy Mart #457; Tops Market, LLC; DG Retail, LLC d/b/a Dollar General; Hardwick Convenience & Deli, LLC; GSB, LLC d/b/a D&L Beverage & Deli; Tobacco Substitute Endorsement for Global Montello Group, Corp d/b/a Jiffy Mart #457; Hardwick Convenience & Deli, LLC ; GSB, LLC d/b/a D&L Beverage & Deli

Next, the select board voted unanimously to certify the Annual Certificate of Compliance for Town Road and Bridge Standards, and voted to approve a banner application for an AWARE banner to be hung on Wolcott Street from September 20, 2023, through October 7, 2023.

The board then voted to certify the Agency of Transportation annual mileage certificate.

Next, board chair Eric Remick reported that he spoke to a friend who serves on the Stowe Electric Board about how Stowe has implemented EV chargers. Remick said that under Stowe’s approach, there is no private developer. Under that approach, the Hardwick Electric Department (HED) would install a charger at a designated spot of town property in cooperation with the town. Remick suggested discussing the topic at the upcoming select board meeting with HED commissioners.

Under Select Board Reports, board member Shari Cornish shared that the Town House will open very soon. The first event is a George Woodard film showing for “The Farm Boy,” which was filmed mostly in Waterbury. It is scheduled for March 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Board Vice Chair Ceilidh Galloway-Kane reported that the Equity Committee had an “equity listening” session at Front Seat Coffee. The next one is at Buffalo Mountain Market on March 19. This event provides a chance for people to share stories and what is working and not working in town.
Board member Elizabeth Dow shared that in 1863 the town voted to tax properties on the grand list at 25%. This is compared to about 1.4% today, an interesting history fact that she wanted to share.

Remick said that the Yellow Barn is proceeding. There is a draft contract with Wright & Morrissey, which is being reviewed by legal counsel. Groundbreaking is expected this spring.

SE Group will have a display at town meeting about the two different park concepts for the Daniels Building side of the pedestrian bridge. Residents are encouraged to stop in the lobby to comment on the boards or go online to give feedback.

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