Weston board lowers tax rate slightly; mulls future of Wilder Memorial Library

Select Board member Ann Fuji’i All photos by Bruce Frauman

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Weston Select Board on Tuesday, July 10 set the tax rate at $2.0607 for homesteads and $2.1706 for non-residential property, less than last year’s rates. Board Chair Denis Benson said the total revenue is expected to be $1.979 million.

Last year’s rates were $2.0807 for homestead and $2.2247 for non-residential.

After an extended discussion, the board agreed to have board administrative assistant Cheryl Barker call the town attorney to ask if the town had done enough to get bids for the replacement of the town garage roof. Board member Ann Fuji’i said she and fellow member Jim Linville had made arrangements with Fred Watkins of Watkins Roofing to begin work on July 27.

Fuji’i said the roof is leaking and several people said they would get bids over the past year and a half, but only Watkins submitted a bid. According to Benson, the minutes of the Oct. 24 meeting said the board voted to move forward with the new roof with no mention about other bids.

Former board member Donald Hart.

The board agreed that if the attorney said more bids are necessary, they will call a special meeting before the next regular meeting of July 24. If no action is necessary, then Watkins will start on July 27. Resident Donald Hart, who served on the board for many years, said Weston does not have a requirement that more than one bid is necessary on larger projects.

Benson said the roofing was delayed because of the consideration of adding solar panels. Fuji’i said Watkins will build a roof that will accept solar panels.

Future of Wilder Library

Before going into executive session, the board heard from Wilder Memorial Library Trustee Linda Saarnijoki and Board of Trustees chair Deborah Granquist, who explained the problems with Wilder Memorial Library building.

Library board president Deborah Grandquist.

Slightly more than a year ago, Granquist had come before the board to discuss problems with the current building, which was built in 1827 as the private home of Judge John Wilder.  It has no bathroom, lacks parking and is quite small. Discussions have centered around moving the building, adding to it or building a supplemental library elsewhere.

Granquist cited  1 V.S.A. §313(a)(2) of the state Open Meeting Law, which allows a public body to go into closed session for “negotiating or securing real estate purchase or lease options.” She then asked for the board to go into executive session.

Fuji’i then moved “to go into executive session to discuss town real estate.”

The board then voted to go into executive session with the two trustees and Donald Hart in attendance.  When they came out of the session, board member Charles Goodwin moved to have town attorney Rod Wilkinson look into the proposal. The motion passed. 

In other news, Benson said Barker is in contact with a “guy who wants photos and more information” about the fire truck for sale. Barker expects to have an answer by the next meeting.

The board agreed to raise the pay of all town employees by 3 percent over what they received in 2017. The pay raise is retroactive to July 1.

Also, Benson was appointed by the board to continue as fire warden and Almon Crandall was appointed to continue as deputy fire warden.

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