From the Desk of the Mayor
The Mayor acts as the presiding officer at all meetings of the City Council and shall have a voice and vote in its proceedings. The Mayor is elected to a two-year term and is recognized as head of the municipal government for all ceremonial purposes. "From the Desk of the Mayor" provides an opportunity for the Mayor to give a periodic briefing to residents and neighbors on activities within the City of Barre.
July 31st, 2019:
Residents and Neighbors,
I hope you were able to come out and enjoy this year’s Barre Heritage Festival. The Festival included performances on two stages and several traditional events such as La Soiree Sucree, the Rotary Club Breakfast, the Barre Lions Club Tow Down, Parade, Car Show, Bathtub Race and Fireworks.
Although skipping the first Tuesday meeting on the month, Council instead held a Special meeting on July 1st to discuss proceed with unbudgeted repairs of the B.O.R. Chiller System. A large group using the facility attend Council to address their concerns. Funding from the voter-approved bond for infrastructure needs was allocated for the repair. Council went further by asking the Civic Center Committee to investigate other expenses and revenue changes that would be needed to sustain the facility moving forward.
Council held another Special Meeting on July 9th to discuss the usage of the Wheelock Building. Most of the conversation revolved around the space being used by the Barre Partnership and Teen Center and foregoing an RFP process to solicit bids for usage. At the regularly scheduled meeting, Council approved staff to work with the Barre Partnership for usage of the front section of the building.
I have been able to take training to assist in my role for the City. I attended Call for Backup training to better understand how traumatic events can affect residents and staff and signs of those that may need help. I also attended Implicit and Unconscious Bias training to understand items that I may not be aware of and try to make others aware of biases that they may have.
There have been several milestones in the area. Bigras Auto held their Grand Re-opening and Magnifique Hair Salon opened on Main Street. We saw the opening of the Barre Planet Path, the 12th Anniversary of Espresso Bueno, 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing, and the 100th Anniversary of the Barre Fish and Game Club.
In between rain showers this month, Barre has also seen temperature very high on the Heat Index. The City of Barre worked with many partners to provide cooling stations and get the word out to folks so that they could seek shelter.
Council continued to receive presentations from organizations in the City and our neighbors:
· There was discussion on the Vermont Youth Project. Robin Katrick from Vermont Afterschool was not able to present, but Council approved support of the project. The BUUSD also reviewed the request and approved support later in July.
· Council discussed and approved a letter of support for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission BUILD Grant Application for Passenger Rail Service.
· There was discussion on Housing Rehabilitation in Barre City with Representatives Anthony and Walz. H.448 that was introduced in the last legislative session and is currently in committee. The draft bill does not have much information, but a letter of support will be drafted that indicates some of the concern with the bill and with housing needs in the City of Barre.
City Council approved several items including the following:
· Authorization to Execute Avenue Enterprise Solutions 5-year renewal contract for digital land records recording and archiving
· Authorize Acceptance of BOR Safety System Procurement
· Review Actions Regarding Bergeron Taxi Driver License Suspension
· Solicit Recommendation for the Athena Young Professional Nomination
· Approval of Biosolids Grant Application
· Appoint Authorized Representatives for Access to Bond Proceeds
· Accepted an Agreement with Fecteau for the Beckley Hill Subdivision Water Lines
· Awarded the Ambulance Bid
· Accepted the $200,000 LWCF Grant for the Swimming Pool Refurbishment Project
· Public Hearing and approval of Interim Zoning Amendment to Section 2005.B of the Unified Development Ordinance
· Authorization to Award Pouliot Ave Project Bid
· Affirmation of July 23, 2019 Approval to Submit VT Water & Wastewater Revolving Loan Fund Application
· Approved a Letter of Support for the Highgate Nonprofit Human Services and Educational Facilities Competitive Grant Program Application
New Council appointment in July included the following:
· Appointment of Amy Galford to the Tree Stewardship Committee
· Appointment of Anthony Folland to the BUUSD School Board
The City continues to hold Neighborhood Watch Organizational Meetings. The Bailey Street Area met on July 22nd. Flyers were distributed to the Garfield Street Area and they are to meet on Monday, August 19th, 2019 at 6pm on the 2nd Floor of Alumni Hall.
And lastly, there are several new and returning initiatives being discussed:
· Council had further discussion on the Food Vendor Policy, which the Planning Director and other staff will review for compliance with Ordinance.
· Personnel Policies were introduction by Human Resources Director Rikk Taft
· Council reviewed FY19 City Council Accomplishments
· Council discussed and set FY20 City Council Priorities
· Staff and Council completed an evaluation of the City Manager
· An update was provided on Crosswalk Painting and Downtown Signage
· Council authorized the City Clerk to perform administrative changes to the City Ordinances. This is being done in conjunction with administrative changes by Legislative Council to the City Charter.
· The Manager provided an update on the Park Mobile Contract
· Council authorized the Manager and Mayor to establish a date and time for Councilors and Department Heads to meet
· The Manager held preliminary discussion on Water and Sewer Rate Changes
· Councilor Steinman led discussion on changes to the Salvage Yard Ordinance
· Director of Public Works Bill Ahearn gave and overview on temporary parking and “pop-up” changes throughout the City. These are temporary to trial different areas prior to making more expensive and longer-term changes in the areas of Ayers Street, Washington Street, South Main Street, Mill Street and North Seminary Street.
· Two “Coffee with the Mayor” sessions were held; on with Stephanie Quaranta as Recreation Director and the other with Robbie Strachan and Robert Howarth from Code Enforcement.
Lucas J. Herring
Mayor, City of Barre