News, Wolcott

Select Board Works Through Details of Community Forest Plan

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by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT— At its May 17 regular meeting, the Board covered a number of issues, including a detailed discussion of issues regarding the community forest.

The first order of business was communications received. The board received a report from the Treasurer that the delinquent tax total is $144,522. That is down about $25,000 from last year. The Treasurer will continue efforts to collect past due taxes.

Bob Hoadley was hired as the town’s maintenance man. Project ideas can be referred to board Vice Chair Kurt Klein, who can place them on the work list.

In the health officer report, Bernard Earle reviewed with the board the various tasks he undertakes as health officer. Klein noted the role requires a lot of communication with state officials, and documentation. Earle will continue to update with the board regarding his activities.

Next, the board voted to appoint Michael Paradee to serve as a member of the Development Review Board and Planning Commission. Seconded by Klein with all in favor.

The community forest was next on the agenda. Kate Wanner, senior project manager at the Trust for Public Land, addressed the board. Wanner noted that, as part of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) Community Grant, the board must guarantee public access to the bridge that will be constructed on the recreation property. The board voted to submit a letter guaranteeing public access to the bridge as part of the VOREC Community Grant. Wanner also discussed the deeds that will be drawn up for the Bourne property. Brownfield studies are being conducted in two spots. Wanner is also working with County Forester Emily Potter regarding acreage that is in the Current Use program.

Gordon Young, community forest committee chair, reviewed with the board the draft stewardship plan that was developed following several public opinion polls. The plan will provide an overview of the forest, and what the town wants to do with it. Work will continue on the plan prior to a public hearing. Board approval of the plan may occur by fall. It is anticipated there will be a standing committee in the future to address changes over time. The forest committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. The board thanked Young and Wanner for their work.

In the project manager report, Klein stated that it appears the Department of Corrections work program may be discontinued in July, resulting in no helpers for the transfer station attendant. Klein reminded that the public is not allowed beyond the chains in front of the roll offs, or to enter the bins, for liability reasons.

Klein reported that the town’s insurance company has retained a law firm to represent the town in a lawsuit. There will be no charge to the town unless negligence is found.

Work continues on leasing state land to provide space for snow removal along Railroad Street to access the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) in winter, and for a Port-o-let. E-911 signs are starting to be ordered for town-wide installation, and a road study will be conducted to monitor trailer truck traffic on North Wolcott Road.

The board also discussed the need for a shed to hold outdoor items. Ideas and quotes will be presented at the next meeting, on June 7.

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