News, Wolcott

Back to Business, Possible Town-Wide Reassessment Looms

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WOLCOTT – Filling select board and town positions after town meeting began the business of the March 6 select board meeting.

Linda Martin will continue as chair, Michael Paradee will be vice chair, and Richard Lee will serve as clerk. The board voted to keep the same Rules of Procedure as before, and to continue holding regular meetings on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. in the town office. The News & Citizen was designated the newspaper of record, and the mileage reimbursement rate for town employees was kept at 0.655 cents per mile.

Martin placed a notice on Front Porch Forum seeking representatives to serve on a regional forum to address long-term flood issues. Jim Ryan, Bruce Wheeler and Phil Wilson responded. Their names will be submitted to the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC). The first meeting is scheduled for March 21.

The town received 2023 Equalization Study results from the Vermont Tax Department. The Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) is 78.72% and the Coefficient of Dispersion (COD) is 20.62%. Typically, a CLA below 80% and a COD above 20% will trigger a town-wide reassessment.

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns emailed a notice that President Biden signed a Major Public Assistance Disaster Declaration for seven Vermont counties, including Lamoille, to provide federal funds to assist with repairs after December’s flooding. Martin will check with the road foreman to see if the town sustained damage in that storm.

Bids were received for the Town Hill Road/Tamarack Brook Box Culvert project. J.A. McDonald submitted the low bid of $599,000. The town engineer is recommending that the bid be accepted on the condition that it will be awarded only if FEMA agrees to reimburse the town for the project. After discussion, the board voted to accept the bid on that condition.

Kurt Klein reported that work on claims with the town’s insurance provider is nearly complete. Two checks have been received and a few more are expected soon. There are a number of projects that remain open with FEMA.

The board discussed the proposed trail design for the town forest. Hayden Smith, from the Trust for Public Land, serving as the project leader. presented a revised conceptual trail plan. Discussion of the plan included changes suggested by the trail builder, Sinuosity: eliminating a pedestrian bridge over the Elmore Branch, and a refocusing of the multi-use trails. The board voted to adopt the revised conceptual trail plan as presented.

The board discussed approving the state road and bridge standards. By agreeing to comply with the standards, the town will receive more FEMA funds if there is a future disaster and will become eligible to apply for state grants. The board voted to approve compliance with the standards.

The board again discussed the need to clarify the Class 4 road policy and decided to review the statutory language at the March 20 meeting.

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