Craftsbury, News

Select Board Discusses Freedom and Unity Task Force

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by Gazette Staff

CRAFTSBURY – At its April 4 regular meeting, the Craftsbury Select Board covered topics including the School Life Association, the Freedom and Unity task force, and committee reports.

The first item for discussion was the School Life Association (SLA). Jeri Wohlberg, representing the SLA, explained that she is working with others to jump-start the SLA and get it reorganized. The group historically has had a bank account in Hardwick. To obtain 501(c)((3) status, an IRS designation for a type of nonprofit organization, is complicated and requires parent volunteers. The group is asking whether Craftsbury can host the account similarly to the way the Booster Club account is managed to ensure tax benefits for donations and other matters. A town account would not be the same as a 501(c)(3) but would be tax-deductible through the town. The town clerk must be on the account, and the town would provide a monthly statement. Every check would have to be made payable to the Town of Craftsbury with a memo notation indicating target recipient. The board voted to allow the Student Life Association checking account to be administered through the town office.

The next agenda item had Susie Houston briefing the board about the Freedom and Unity Task Force. The task force’s focus will be community sustainability and citizen participation. Houston introduced Susan Clark, a writer and educator who studies these issues. Clark has proposed a specific process focused on learning what works best for towns regarding sustainability and participation. Clark thanked everyone and stated she was honored and grateful for the opportunity to assist Craftsbury residents. She acknowledged Craftsbury for taking a lead on the pilot project that should help pave the way for other towns and villages wanting to go through the process. Houston announced the first meeting for the task force, tentatively titled Freedom and Unity. It will not be a permanent group and will disband once the project is complete. Those who have already agreed to be part of the group include Daniel Solomon, Carol Ceraldi, Wendy Turnbull, Bru Mille, Anne Hanson (all present at meeting) and Farley Brown (unable to attend). The initial agenda will be to review, amend, and agree on the proposed process. The plan is to begin citizen engagement in the fall. Houston will be the liaison to the select board.

The next action item was to close out the cemetery account due to lack of use. The board voted to close the account and transfer the $105 balance to the Town General Fund, with a notation that the balance is available for the Green Cemetery.

Under administrative business, Bruce Urie signed the Farmers Market Common Use Form, as well as weight permits for Grimes, Amerigas, Camp Precast Concrete Products, Vaillancourt Transport, EC Morrison Trucking & Excavating, SunCommon and Fred Lance Trucking. Co-chair Jim Jones signed permits for Vermont Well & Pump, Cabot, Fred’s Energy, GW Tatro, and Kilburn Transport.

On the topic of committee reports, it was noted that the Planning Commission and Conservation Commission are still seeking members. The Antiques & Uniques Working Group obtained a new $500 sponsor. Plans are on track for more than 50 sites. Last year had 30 sites.

The road foreman report started with a discussion about whether there will be four-day work weeks during the summer. No decision was made.

Topics to keep on future agenda included a dog concern, triggers for opening the emergency shelter, providing emergency assistance, and activating the Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N) group.

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