Weston board OKs tax rates, stream work bid

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Weston Select Board approved 2019 tax rates representing a 4.76 percent increase for residents and a 2 percent increase for non-residents and commercial property owners.

Town Clerk Kim Seymour presented the numbers, which included a 6-cent increase in municipal taxes (from $0.4773 to $0.5375) and education taxes rates that rose for homestead but declined for non-homestead.

Homestead rates as calculated by the state of Vermont increase from $1.5834 to $1.6214. On the other hand, non-homestead rates (which include second homes as well as commercial property) decrease from $1.6933 to $1.6768.

Combining the municipal and education rates, properties taxed as homesteads (primary homes) rise 9.82 cents per $100 of assessed value to $2.1589, while non-homestead properties will see an increase of 4.37 cents per hundred to $2.2143.

The Select Board approved the tax rates.

Bid opening for West River stream bank project

Board members review bids and discuss whether they have sufficient detail. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

The board opened two bids for a stream bank project on the West River near the town office that they hoped to include as damage expenses for FEMA funding from the April 15 flooding. Those expenses were due to FEMA within 30 days of the emergency declaration of June 14.

Gurney Bros. came in at $16,400 with a bid that detailed a number of aspects of the job, while Hill submitted a bid for $14,250 with no details or itemization. While several other companies were approached by the town to bid, none elected to do so.

Board member Annie Fuji’i moved to accept the Hill bid, but member Bruce Downer objected asking “Why?” noting that the bid had no details and that they did not have a copy of the request for proposals to refer to.

Select Board Secretary Cheryl Barker located a copy of the RFP, but Downer felt uncomfortable basing a vote on the blank bid. In the end Downer abstained and Fuji’i’s motion passed 3-0.

WCC asks for town position on ash borer

Weston Conservation Commission member Deborah Hennessey told the board that the group is interested in supporting the efforts of the Select Board with the possible infestation of the emerald ash borer.

Board chair Denis Benson told Hennessey that Tree Warden Ray Mara and Road Foreman Almon Crandall are reacting on a case by case basis.

Board member Jim Linville showed the board a letter he had written to Green Mountain Power asking what its plan would be since many of the ash trees in town rights of way are also along GMP easements. Saying that “we cannot have a plan until they have one,” Linville suggested the town start putting aside some money to deal with the problem.

Benson said he thought that GMP was “sitting back waiting to see what the towns will do and then pick up the pieces.”

The board agreed that the town should send Linville’s letter to GMP as well as to Gov. Phil Scott and members of the legislature as well.

 

 

 

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