2019 Selectboard Report

2019 was another busy year in Waterford. The Highway Department occupied much of the Board's attention. In addition to beginning to address a long-time concern about a future source of gravel, the Department took possession of a new truck. Unfortunately, the truck was involved  in an accident in  November  due to  icy road conditions  . Fortunately,  the  driver was not badly injured, but the truck sustained considerable damage, the cost of which was covered by insurance.

The transfer station saw some important changes in 2019. A per bag fee increase was approved at the August 2018 Selectboard meeting and implemented January 1, 2019. In July Bob Root retired after many years of service . The Board thanks Bob for his service and wishes him well. Bruce Allen was appointed to replace Bob and in September  Rick Stodola  was appointed as the Town representative to the NEKWMD. We also thank Andrea for her service on that board .

We continued to make progress on determining the best approach to addressing the long-term direction for the Town Offices. Our main concerns are the lack of remaining space in the vault to store land records and creating an efficient workspace to the Town Clerk and Treasurer . The current office configuration is not well suited for the Town's current business needs. Black River Design is currently completing an analysis of our space needs and the cost associated with a new building.

In July the Town received a USDA Rural Business Development Grant to assess the requirements to bring the Lower Waterford Church up to current building codes. After discussion with members of the Church congregation it was determined that the best strategy to maintain the building is adaptive reuse of the space. The Town issued a Request for Proposal to six architectural firms for the assessment of the building, and two firms responded. Black River Design was awarded the project.

The Town also successfully obtained Waterford Village Center Designation for Lower Waterford which will help in securing future grants to make renovations to the Lower Waterford Church . The Village Center Designation is an economic development initiative of the State to help make funds available to preserve Vermont's villages.

In April the board began the process of trying to find a feasible way to improve broadband service in Town. A May  survey on the Town website showed overwhelming support for this effort and a large percentage of respondents who were dissatisfied with their current internet service. After a number of meetings with area towns and distribution of an informational  brochure and a public meeting, the Board voted to ask the  Town voters to  approve  Waterford  joining a Communication  Union District at the 2020 Town Meeting .

And finally, at the 2019 Town Meeting the following article was adopted:

The Selectmen shall survey all registered voters of the Town of Waterford in 2019 calendar year to determine the favored time for the annual Town Meeting and shall set the time with consideration of the survey results within the legal limits to allow the voting and meeting to be the first Tuesday in March in 2020"

In September the Selectmen and the Clerk sent out a survey letter to each registered voter asking for the voter's preferred starting time for Town Meeting . The survey results were:
338 surveys returned with the following preferences:   

       Morning- 129 (38.2%)
      Afternoon- 20. (5.9%)
      Evening-  172. (50.9%)
      No preference-17. (5.8%)

Because the evening time got a majority of the votes, we initially favored a 7:00 pm start. However, we were reminded that this year the presidential primary is also on Town Meeting day and that it would be very difficult to close the polls, count the votes and conduct Town meeting all at 7:00 pm. We therefore decided to schedule 2020 Town meeting at 9:30 am and to let the voters decide at the Meeting when the 2021 Town Meeting should start .

Respectfully submitted :

Gary Allard             Bill Piper                 Fred Saar