Grafton wind info committee role questioned, town garage construction progressing

By Gloria Dufield
© 2015 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Wind information and the new town garage were the focus of discussions again at the Grafton Select Board meeting on Monday night, July 20.

Don Dougall asked the board to clarify the purpose of the Wind Information Committee, which he felt was making an effort that was not needed. Select Board chair Sam Battaglino said the committee was “strictly informational.”  Its role was to gather community questions about the wind project and submit them to the land owner and developer.

The committee was still working out how the process would work, but Ron Pilette, who is member of both the select board and the subcommittee, said the panel would look for written answers and make them available to the public. When asked how many questions currently were submitted, Town Administrator Rachel Williams stated around 50 had been submitted by five people.

Kent Armstrong, who had a copy of the three pages of questions, said he was concerned that the majority of the questions came from board members Pilette and Skip Lisle. Armstrong felt that board members were “stuffing the ballot boxes”  with questions and that the committee should disband. Dougall said that he did not see why community members could not ask questions if they wanted, and that the committee was a putting in a incredible amount of work that was not needed.

Grafton Town garage under construction

New Grafton Town garage under construction

Allan Sands asked if consideration could be given to an alternative speaker to present on the wind topic and Pilette stated that additional questions could still be submitted but that the committee needed a deadline to generate questions to start the process. Both Lisle and Battaglino said it was the Select Board’s job to inform the community and Lisle asked what was the fear of knowledge. The committee was slated to meet the following night — Tuesday, July 21 — at the town administrator’s office to start the review the questions and process.

Stan Mack, clerk of the works, gave a brief update on the construction of the new town garage. According to Mack, there has been “real progress” on the project with the roof and two of the four walls completed and inside work is also being done. Select Board member Gus Plummer said they were closely working with the project budget and feels that they should come in “right about even.”

Town Administrator Williams stated she is posting construction photos provided by Mack on Facebook and Plummer thanked Stan for all his work on the project. Mack noted that the contractors and the parent company have been great to work with. The sale of the old town garage is still in progress and is awaiting a final title search by the town lawyer. Battaglino added that a proposed community effort to acquire the property would not be moving forward.

Ellen Taetzsch of Building Bright Futures explains the organization's programs

Ellen Taetzsch of Building Bright Futures explains the organization’s programs

Ellen Taetzsch, from the Building Bright Futures regional office in Springfield,  gave a brief overview of the program and asked for community input. Grafton is located in the program’s Springfield area. Building Bright Futures coordinates programs that  are aimed at “assuring that all Vermont children are health and successful.” Programs concentrate on children 8 and younger and their families. Taetzsch said BBF is working on its action plan and is looking for input from the 16 towns that make up the region. An example of a program that they could coordinate would be a volunteer who would assist a family once a week during the first six months of a child’s life.

In other action:

  • The Select Board opened seven bids for 4,600 yards of winter sand. The price ranged from $11.75 to $16.48 a cubic yard. Grafton roads foreman Danny Taylor will review bids and a decision will be made by the next Select Board meeting.
  • The Public Service Board has sent the town Atlantic Wind’s motion to amend. The company is requesting a two year extension for the meteorological towers being used to gather data for the proposed wind project. The towers were installed in 2012 with a three year time limit.
  • The Windham Foundation foot bridge that was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene will be replaced 30 yards downstream from its original site and should be completed by fall.
  • Chair Battaglino announced that the Windham Foundation would be holding a public meeting tat 5 p.m Wednesday, July 22 at the Grafton Inn Courtyard. The subject of the meeting would the town store.
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About the Author: Gloria Dufield is a Green Mountain Union High School and University of Vermont graduate. She has more than 15 years of experience working in higher education libraries. Her most recent writing includes marketing projects for a Vermont GIS company as well as articles for a weekly publication.

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