Derry board recommends cut in police funding, preps for town meeting

Town Administrator Robert Nied explains cutting the policing budget. All photos by Bruce Frauman

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Londonderry Select Board on Monday night voted to recommend that this year’s request for police funding be reduced to $50,000 from the current $86,000, when the issue comes before the voters at Town Meeting in March.

Town Administrator Robert Nied said State Police Lt. Anthony French can only commit to 12 hours of extra policing per week this year due to significant human resource restrictions. Troopers must volunteer to work overtime. The contract with the VSP is about $42,000. Select Board member Bob Forbes asked for some flexibility so that if the police are available for more than 12 hours a week, the town can still pay for the service.

Nied said he will work with Planning Commission member Lawrence Gubb to write a request for proposals to implement the excavation and water proofing stage of the Town Office Planning Project. He is hoping to have the RFP ready by early spring so work can begin this construction season. 

Nied said a second project is the generator for the Emergency Operations Control Center, which will act as a hub during a crisis. The emergency center will be housed in the Twitchell Building. He will work with Emergency Management Director Kevin Beattie to write an RFP for the trenching, concrete pad and installation of the generator.

Board member George Mora says Route 11 to Chester is on schedule for paving.

Select Board member George Mora, who sits on the Windham Regional Commission,  said Route 11 between Londonderry and Chester is “on target” be re-paved in the spring of 2019. The project was prioritized by the Vermont Agency of Transportation as “front of book,” Mora said, meaning that the state may have begun engineering work. Mora  is hoping portions of the road will also be widened, since wide trailers and even a very large yacht have been known to take up much of the roadway in both directions.

The board agreed to leave the replacement of the Cobble Ridge Road Bridge on the list of work to be done by VTrans even if, as Mora said, it would take four or five years for it to reach the top of the priority list.

Board chair Jim Ameden said after the old bridge was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene, “we replaced it with a temporary bridge that we planned on being permanent.” State Rep. Kelly Pajala, who is also Town Clerk,  said it is a priority for the state because if the bridge is washed out, there is no legal route for the residents of the five houses on the other side of the river to get out. They would have to cross private property to do so, but there are no legal easements.

Mora said a fresh round of state grants for projects such as a road erosion inventory are available. WRC planner Emily Davis is working with towns and road foremen to do road erosion inventories by walking all the roads. Mora will have Davis reach out to Londonderry Road Foreman Matthew Rawson to schedule an inventory and arrange for grants.

Rep. Kelly Pajala, left, and Town Treasurer Tina Labeau.

Treasurer Tina Labeau said there are two parts to the budget this year. The six month budget — covering Jan. 1 through June 30, 2018, does not need to be voted on since the money comes from the $500,000 transition fund the town has been accumulating for the last five years. You can find that draft budget here. The yearlong budget covering July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 will be voted on at Town Meeting. You can find the full year budget here.

Town Moderator Doug Friant noted that the town will vote on two reserve funds this year.

  • Voters will decide whether to add $120,000 to the Highway Equipment Reserve Fund, which will be used to purchase equipment as needed. A timetable has been set up so the town will know when specific pieces of equipment are scheduled to be replaced.
  • Also, the town will vote on whether to establish a Town Buildings Reserve Fund, to be used for maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of town buildings. If  voters approve establishing the fund, then they must vote on whether to approve $100,000 to fund it.

Town Moderator Doug Friant talks about issues to come up during Town Meeting.

Friant said the Mountain Valley Medical Clinic may come up at Town Meeting since the board did not allow its request for $12,000 on the warning. Town Treasurer Tina Labeau said the clinic also did not come before the board to explain the reason for the request, nor did its Board of Directors circulate a petition to be put on the warning. Labeau told The Telegraph that the day after the board decision, she sent Executive Director Linda Bickford an email, which was the Tuesday before the Thursday deadline. Seventy-one town voters would have had to sign a petition for the request to be placed on the warning.

Here is the warning for Town Meeting.

Several events will be taking place of concern to Londonderry residents. They are:

Candidates Night:  7 p.m. Feb. 13, in the Twitchell Building, 100 Old School St., S. Londonderry.
Lowell Lake Plan: 6 p.m. Feb. 15, in the Twitchell Building. The State Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation will report on public comments it has have received about its updated 10-year plan for Lowell Lake. Possible changes could be increasing lake access including overnight camping and building new structures or renovating existing structures.
Rabies Clinic:  9 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 22. South Londonderry offices of the Green Mountain Veterinary Clinic on Hearthstone Lane. A representative from the town will be present so residents can register their dogs once they are vaccinated.

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