Frog’s Leap sale closes; Derry board addresses Prouty Land uses

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Saying, “You may have difficulty wiping the grin off my face,” Londonderry Select Board chair Paul Gordon announced at Monday’s Select Board meeting that the sale of the Frog’s Leap property on Route 100 had been completed on  Friday, July 28.

Select Board chair announces the closing of the Frog’s Leap property sale.. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

Gordon said checks were received totaling a little more than $228,000 to cover “back taxes and expenses we incurred in owning and taking care of that property from March until closing. That money will go into the treasury.” The board and those attending the meeting applauded in response.

The town had taken possession of the property in March after a tax sale last year. Until July there had been no offers.

In other business, the Town Clerk Kelly Pajala and Road Foreman Matthew Rawson investigated a complaint that someone had used heroin at Memorial Park and left needles. Pajala said they looked twice for the needles but did not find any.

Kevin Beattie of the Londonderry Rescue Squad said, “The Rescue Squad is not interested or able to clean up needles,” although the squad could provide training and collection containers to the road crew and other town employees.

Former Select Board member Bill Wylie said he believes that the State Police presence had not helped curb opiate abuse and asked if there was a way to get abusers into rehabilitation.  Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson, who sits on the Governor’s Opiate Coordination Council, said “I assure you this issue is being looked at from every angle with all the appropriate state agencies.” She added that lack of treatment facilities is a problem in Vermont and that “education is absolutely the key.” Gordon agreed, saying services are “going in the right direction.” Thompson will ask for more information at a council meeting.

Prouty Land use and large equipment breakdowns

George Mora, right, speaks about acceptable uses for the Prouty Land while Jim Ameden addresses the equipment issue.

As the town looks for acceptable uses for the Prouty Land, Gordon said the Policing Committee was the only group or individual to respond, suggesting prohibiting firearm usage on town land. Board member George Mora said general guidelines might take some time to develop but the board should move quickly to prohibit use of firearms.

Gordon said state law prohibits gunfire between sunset and sunrise, with sunset being defined as 10 p.m. Gordon said he, Mora and Thompson will work on language about firearm uses on town property to bring to the board.

Board member and Road Commissioner Jim Ameden said two pieces of town equipment are broken and offered rental agreements as an alternative to purchasing new. The backhoe has a broken piston and the replacement is on back order and won’t be in until the end of August. The tractor/mower has a broken pump and is “beyond repair.”

The board approved requests by Ameden and Rawson to rent an excavator from Brown’s for three days at a cost of $1,000 and to rent a rotary, over the railing, tractor and mower from HP Fairfield’s for a week for $2,950. Ameden suggested renting this tractor and mower every year would be a more cost efficient method than buying a new one.

The board also accepted Ameden and Rawson’s proposal to purchase a truck from Clark’s Trucks for $175,536 instead of going out to bid and having one made. Rawson tested a 2018 International 7600 tandem (axle) truck with a heavy duty plow and recommended its purchase.

Gordon agreed that going out to bid would not deliver a truck to the town before the winter sets in and so would constitute an emergency situation that eliminates the need for three bids to be sent out under the town’s purchasing policy. Dick Dale said the fact that Rawson had three options available substitutes in his mind, the need to get three bids. The new truck will replace the 2002 which will be sold by the town.

  • Kelly Capen says some drivers pass her along Thompsonburg Road.

    Regarding the salt and sand shed, Gordon said, “prints of the site layout, the engineering plans for the building and the electrical plan were delivered to the state Fire Marshal office last week … hopefully we will have the last permit in the next couple of weeks … Bids for the various stages of the project or possibly the project in its entirety will be accepted until noon on Aug. 21.” The board plans to award the winning bids at its meeting that night.

  • Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson said asbestos removal should occur between Aug. 21 and Aug. 25 at the former Clothes Barn, flooded by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The fire department will then have a chance for a training in the building before it is removed by the end of the month.
  • Planning Commission chair Sharon Crossman said changes from the public hearing on the new Town Plan are almost done.  Gordon said he is ready to set the board process in motion whenever he receives the final draft.
  • A long discussion on speed limits ended the meeting after Gordon said there had been some “chatter” on the Londonderry Community Forum on Facebook. Thompsonburg Road resident Kelly Capen said she is often passed on the road while she is driving 35 mph. With no town speed ordinances, Gordon said the speed limit is 50 mph. Board member Bob Forbes said previous investigations of speeding in town revealed that most people travel at a safe speed for the road conditions. Gordon will have more information from VTrans at a later meeting on what the town can do to post speed and safety advisory signs.
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