News, Wolcott

Board Approves New Tax Rates

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by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT – At its July 19 meeting, the Wolcott Select Board discussed issues ranging from the tax rate to flood recovery and the old schoolhouse.

In comments from the community, the Cohens own the only residence on Lurvey Road. According to Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) and VTrans, all of Lurvey Road is designated as a town trail. Portions of the road/trail cross the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) trail. The Cohens would like to have the Lurvey Road TR17 sign removed at the intersection with Baldwin Brook Road. The Cohens would also like to block the road/trail at the intersection with West Hill Road to motorized vehicles other than snowmobiles. The Cohens stated that VAST has no objection. After discussion, the board voted to remove the Lurvey Road sign with the understanding board members will view the intersection with West Hill Road in preparation for a vote on that matter at the August 2 meeting.

Town Clerk and Treasurer Belinda Harris Clegg reviewed with the board a packet of information regarding the tax rate that was set last year and the proposed rate for this year. The Homestead tax rate last year was 2.3262. The proposed Homestead tax rate for this year is 2.3306. The Non-homestead tax rate last year was 2.3707. The proposed Non-homestead tax rate for this year is 2.4204. After discussion, the board voted to approve the new rates.

In correspondence, it was reported that the correspondence received from FEMA and the State of Vermont regarding flood services will be compiled and provided to board members. Also, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the town involving a tax sale submitted his opposition to the town’s Motion to Dismiss. Finally, the insurance company denied the town’s claim for reimbursement for flood damage to structures and equipment at the School Street recreational field. A claim will be submitted to FEMA.

Next was a discussion with a representative from the Lamoille County Planning Commission. Salvador Morales, a planner with LCPC, distributed three packets of information to the board for review regarding the architectural study of the old schoolhouse. Nelson Martelle with SHKS Architects addressed questions from the board. The budget estimate for making the 2,484-square-foot building habitable and accessible ranges from $679,996 to $775,404. From an architectural perspective, there is a lot of structural integrity in the building, which also has a lot of historic significance. The next step would be a report that would lay out a schedule for the project. The recommendation is to focus on the building envelope, or the exterior, specifically the roof. LCPC staff will seek funding. The board voted to move forward with the project and to authorize the expenditure of $9,455 of ARPA funds for an architectural report of conceptual layouts.

Morales then provided the board with a draft timeline leading up to a bond vote in March for the wastewater project. Since the town is the main point of contact for the project, the wastewater committee needs to be formalized. Additional members will be sought, and the committee will be formalized at the August 2 meeting. A regular monthly meeting date will be set. Victoria Helwig, planner with LCPC, will head up outreach and will be present to answer questions from the public and distribute brochures at the September 8 BBQ and information event.

The project manager report noted that representatives from FEMA were in town for a brief tour. They observed the damage to Flat Iron Road, and looked at the culvert that needs work on Town Hill Road. All roads in town are currently open, with the exception of Flat Iron Road, which will be closed for some time.

The road crew has been working diligently and has put in a lot of overtime. The crew will collect flood-damaged items that are set out on the roadside. Roll offs have been set up by the town office for a few days. The town will seek reimbursement from FEMA for collection and disposal of flood-damaged items.

Also, a representative from the United Way office in Morrisville spoke with residents on School Street who were impacted by the flood. Her business cards were left at the town office.

Board chair Linda Martin asked a state geologist to inspect a landslide on private property in North Wolcott. The opinion is that it will not slide any closer to the residence.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 2.

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