Select Board Meeting 8/10/14

Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by LPC-TV and are available at their website  and on Comcast Television.  The following was discussed or acted on at Monday night’s meeting:

1. TDS and Internet Connectivity: At the June 13 SB meeting, the board voted to have Rich Svec, town manager, contact TDS and arrange for a community meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to have TDS address the myriad of problems residents are having and what plans TDS has for increasing Internet capability. Currently, the poor service is having a negative impact on the town’s ability to move forward in an era when so many depend on the Internet for business as well as daily living. Unresponsive to calls, the SB has directed Svec to write a letter to the CEO of the company and to arrange for a TDS representative to be present at the Sept. 8 SB meeting.

2. Brook Road: A resident of Brook Road, requested that Svec and the highway foreman meet with him as there are several problems with his property and the town road. Not only is Brook Rd significantly raised after Irene, but stop gap measures done by the town immediately following the flood have had no follow up work. Between the two, there is damage being done to his property. Svec agree to meet with the homeowner and the highway foreman this coming Friday at 8:30 am.

3. Railroad embankment stabilization: Discussed at SB meetings of March 10, May 12 and July 14th, a retaining wall needs to be stabilized on the Cavendish Gulf Road near the overpass. The current stonewall, which is about 150 years old, is slated to be replaced by a concrete one, made up of blocks measuring 3x3x6. Both the Planning Commission and SB stated that this proposal does not fit with the historic nature and aesthetics of the town. VTrans has been informed of the concerns. Because FEMA funding is being used to fund the project, any alternations would send it back to square one. However, it does appear to be possible to tint the concrete so that it will blend in a bit better. The board has requested that Landscape architect and Cavendish resident John Saydek help in selecting the best color. In addition, the SB voted to have a clear coat put on the wall immediately following construction, as part of the maintenance contract, in order to reduce the impact of graffiti.

4. Solar Project: The bond vote for the proposed 150Kw solar array has been advertised in the Vermont Journal, the town’s paper of record. This notice will appear a total of three times and warns the voters of Cavendish to meet for an informational town meeting, 7 pm, on Aug. 25 at the Cavendish Town Elementary School. Voting will be by Australian Ballot on Aug. 26, 10-7 at the school, as part of the general primary election. A Solar Forum is scheduled for Aug. 12, 6:30 pm at the Town Office. Svec explained that he has requested an extension for the Certificate of Public Good, which was originally obtained when the Town was working on a collaborative project A detailed report on this project is available at the Cavendish VT blog.

5. Selling of Stone Church Content: Now that the town owns the Cavendish Universalist “Stone” Church, restoration efforts are underway. The building will ultimately be the permanent home of the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exhibit as well as a small venue community space. There is a need to repair the belfry/cupola  area, which has an estimated cost of $14,000. While a Foundation grant to Jeld-Win has been filed by the Cavendish Historical Society for $10,000, additional monies are needed to complete the project. CHS is requesting that the non historical content of the Stone Church be made available for sale with the first priority going to Cavendish residents. The SB approved the selling of the content. For more information about this project, please call 802-226-7807 or e-mail

6. Progress Report on ERP Grant: Cavendish has received funding to help purchase property that is in the Black River floodplain, thereby allowing the town to maintain and ultimately reduce flooding in future storms. There are three parcels of land the town is currently wanting to purchase -Stubelecks (old Wheeler Farm on Route 131); the Mills Property ajacent to the Black River and Pieter van Schaik’s property by the transfer station. Each property has its unique issues, but progress is being made on all three. Because this funding comes with a sunset date, transfers need to be completed in the next few months.

7. Davis Bridge: Still don’t have approval for the bridge replacement. It needs to be done by 2015. The construction firm that will be used to do the work claims there is still time to do the replacement before the end of the 2014 construction season.

8. Municipal Sewer System Budget and Rates for FY 2014-2015: The budget approved by the SB is $153,855. There are 498.25 active units and 20 inactive ones for a total of 518.25 equivalent residental units (ERUs). The user fees are as follows: $301.48 per active ERU ($75.37 per quarter) and $112 annually for inactive accounts. Fees are slightly higher than last year, with only a .20¢ increase in the quarterly costs for active ERUs. Rates go into effect with the Sept. bill. 

9. Recreation Department: Terry O’Brien has been hired as the director and has an office at the town office. His initial focus is organizing activities for the fall and developing a policy manual. A CTES summer program is now underway with 17 students enrolled. This is being underwritten by the After School grant. There are a group of students and a parent that have been working to raise money for repairs to the play equipment on the Cavendish Green. Svec noted that the Homemaker’s Club has given money for a playground fund.

10. LED Street Lights (Cavendish Village only): Green Mountain Power will be transitioning to LED lighting in Cavendish village sometime this month. A decline in the power rate is anticipated.