In an evening with many important issues discussed, probably the most significant piece of information was given at the end of the meeting when Rich Svec, town manager, gave notice that he was retiring in Sept. Svec has been town manager since 1988 and is the longest person to have served the town in this capacity.
The following action was taken at Monday night’s meeting:
Fire Districts: With both Fire Districts present, Stewart Lindberg, Prudential Board Chair for Fire District #2 (Cavendish) discussed how the current economic climate, limited volunteers and costs indicated a need for one taxing fire district. Because Fire District 2 was created by an act of the Vermont legislation, dissolution of the District would need to go back to the legislature. As part of getting the process started, it was agreed that the two Prudential Boards should meet. Since there is a desire that their be transparency in this process, Svec offered to help arrange for a public meeting at the Cavendish Elementary School. While he also suggested that the town and school board moderator, SB member Mike Ripley could moderate, many in the audience felt that an independent be hired to serve this purpose. One suggestion was John Wood Jr who recently completed the report Fire Services Evaluation for the Ascutney and West Weathersfield Volunteer Fire Departments, who are discussing a merger.
District #1’s (Proctorsville) Prudential Board meets on June 14. Lindberg said that he wouldn’t be able to make that meeting because of work but he hoped to have someone from Fire District #2 present who could begin this discussion.
It was noted that more than 10 years ago, there was an effort to merge the two districts into one. For more on the history of the fire districts, and what transpired in 2005, go to the Cavendish Historical Society’s blog post Town of Cavendish Fire Districts History
Town-Wide Reappraisal: Because there is a growing disparity between assessments and fair market value, particularly for one group of properties, the SB has agreed that a town –wide reappraisal is needed. While work will begin in 2017, the actual reappraisal will take place in 2018-2019. The SB went into executive session for the discussion of this agenda item.
Adjustments to Accounting System: Diane McNamara, Town Treasurer, discussed with the board two bookkeeping items dating back to 2000 and 2005 respectively, which were entered incorrectly. Neither item will impact the town’s bottom line. However, the town’s auditor Peter LaBelle, said he would not make adjustments without the SB’s approval. The SB agreed that changes could be made and that this be reflected in next year’s Annual Town Report.
Cemetery Operations: Since the dissolution of the Cemetery Commission and their function taken over by the town, costs have been significantly reduced and revenue significantly increased. The latter is due to the implementation of a new fee schedule. Two different youth groups will be working in the cemeteries this summer, righting and cleaning stones, as well as pruning trees and bushes. Last summer’s work by volunteers from the Cavendish Historical Society has kept the orange mold from spreading in the Cavendish Village Cemetery. However, not all affected stones could be cleaned last year, so that will be priority one for the July volunteers. All stones in Hillcrest have been righted and the vault has been restored. A new roof is on the Cavendish vault and painting is planned for the sheds in Cavendish and Hillcrest.
Cavendish Municipal Water System By-Laws: The SB reviewed another draft of the By-Laws and agreed that a public hearing should be held on July 11 with implementation taking place in September.
Cavendish Flood Hazard Area Regulations: A meeting has been set for June 20 at 5 pm for the SB to meet with John Broker-Campbell, Floodplain Manager for Southern VT.
Transfer Station E-Waste Law and Fee Increases: Cavendish has not increased transfer station related fees since 1991. Since then significant changes have taken place in Vermont requiring that anything that can be recycled or compostable be kept out of the landfill and some items have been banned from the landfill altogether.
Cavendish is reimbursed at the rate of .8¢ per pound for some Electronic Waste but it is not sufficient to cover the cost of running the E-waste facility and removal cost. The Zero Sort recycling at best is break even but generally does not cover operational costs. The state wants to see that those using the transfer station be responsible for paying for it so that a town’s transfer station doesn’t rely solely on taxes.
Over the last 25 years, Cavendish has expanded the function of the transfer station thereby reducing not only the town’s carbon footprint, but also costs, since many items that once went into the municipal solid waste (MSW) compactor are now recycled for free.
In developing the fee schedule, surrounding towns’ transfer stations policies and fee schedules were studied and Cavendish has been found to charge significantly less for similar service. For example, the Ludlow Transfer Station has a $10 yearly residential permit fee, which includes 52 transfer station logoed disposal bags. These are the only ones that can be deposited in the MSW compactor. These bags are clear so the attendant can see what’s being thrown out. Many of the surrounding towns weigh trash while Cavendish charges by the bag .75¢ or $1.50 depending on the size of the bag. While it would be ideal for Cavendish to go with a “weighing” system, there isn’t the space to do that. To understand how other towns operate, check out the Southern Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste District website.
The SB approved that starting September 1:
• All vehicles using the transfer station must display the transfer station sticker. These are $5 a vehicle, with the first one being free. Those not displaying the sticker will not be allowed to use the transfer station. Permits can be purchased at the Cavendish Town Office. Permits are replaced for free if the old one is scraped off and brought to the town office. Whether this will become a yearly fee will be discussed in the fall.
• The cost to deposit in the MSW will double in price, with tipping fees being $1.50 for small bags and $3.00 for large.
• There will be no charge for the disposal of the following: Lawn mowers; BBQ/Gas Brills; Bicycles/Tricycles/Metal Kiddy cars; Part/pieces of cars, truck motorcycle, snowmobile, farm equipment, brake rotors, drums, exhaust components, shocks, struts, fuel tanks, body panels, front end components, block transmissions, radiators, pumps etc.; Misc Metal-fence posts, piping, metal gutters, aluminum siding, aluminum windows/doors, metal roofing, lawn chairs, and other small metal parts; washers, dryers and stoves; water heaters and pressure tanks; furnaces, boilers and wood stoves; televisions; computers (desktop, laptops and tablets), printers (laser, ink jet and dot matrix) and monitors (tube type, LCD and flat panel); auto rims with out tires.
• Tipping fees will be charged for a number of items, with a new fee schedule to be posted shortly at the Cavendish Transfer Station website. One of the bigger changes will be for building and demolition debris. Currently there is a $40 per cubic yard fee. This will be increased to $50 per cubic yard. Fees for bulky furniture will also be increasing along with those for mattresses and box springs, tape recorders, windows, tires, VCRs, CD//DVD players etc.
Note that the following items are not accepted at the Transfer Station and need to be disposed of as household hazardous waste: urethane cartridges or tanks, partially filled spray paint, hair sprays, lacquers, enamels, shellac window cleaners; wood and metal finishing products; solvents, such as carburetor cleaners; all anti-freezes; insecticides and lawn and garden products. Note that household paint can be disposed locally at LaValley’s and Aubuchon Hardware.
For questions about the Transfer Station, please call Bruce McEnaney at the Town Office 802-226-7291.