News, Wolcott

Board Discusses Wastewater Project Proposal

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by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT – At its regular December 6 meeting, the Wolcott Select Board got an update on bringing more broadband internet to town, discussed a possible wastewater project, and continued to discuss next year’s town budget.

Jim Ryan, of East Hill Road, who chairs the Wastewater Committee started his presentation by noting that the committee has been meeting for at least four years but has been more active in the last year. The committee has been working on funding, having received a $2.5 million grant, ARPA funds, $250,000 for survey and design, and recently applied for an additional $800,000 grant.

Ryan said that the July 10 flood demonstrated the vulnerability in the School Street and Route 15 area. Private wells were contaminated, and properties became difficult to sell. The Village Wastewater Plan would include about 70 homes. Each residence would have a septic tank.

There would be a pump house at the bottom of the hill by what will be the new Town Forest. The elementary school fields would serve as a dispersal area for the soil-based system. The school board will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the school and the town at its December 20 meeting. If that is approved, outreach will start up in January, and a bond vote would be scheduled for early June. A potential start date would be in 2025, with design and permitting taking place before that.

The board voted to approve a Statement of Work for Tori Hellwig, planner with the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC), to provide technical assistance to the Town of Wolcott on the wastewater project.

The Wastewater Committee meets the first Tuesday of the month.

Andy Ross, Wolcott’s representative on the Lamoille FiberNet Communication Union District (CUD), updated the board on broadband access for the addresses covered in Wolcott. Ross noted that Fidium Fiber was selected to build and operate the network for Lamoille FiberNet.

Fidium Fiber was chosen based on level of service and having the lowest cost to build. There will be a low-income option. Final costs have not yet been determined. The contract is currently in final negotiation. The Wolcott part of the network should be built out by the end of the year. The Lamoille FiberNet 2023 Annual Report is available on its website (lamoillefiber.net/). The board thanked Ross for volunteering in this capacity.

The board then continued to work on next year’s budget.

The program through which workers provided by the Department of Corrections assisted the attendant at the transfer station has been discontinued. An individual with experience at the transfer station has offered to assist the attendant on Sundays. The board voted to authorize a temporary employment contract with the individual to work four hours on Sundays at minimum wage, with the matter to be revisited at the board’s February 7 meeting.

Board Chair Linda Martin reported that work continues on Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) insurance claims. Two more FEMA projects have been completed.

The board discussed, and agreed, to give $25 gift cards to employees to thank them for their service this year. Funds will come from the select board budget.

Martin reported the state has approved the buyout of two properties on School Street that were destroyed in the flood this summer. She continues to work with other property owners looking for a buyout from either the state or from FEMA.

Martin also attended a meeting with the Lamoille County Sheriff. The sheriff, as in the last couple of years, is seeking a 3% increase in the contract to provide law enforcement services to Wolcott.

The next regular select board meeting is scheduled for December 20.

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