Selectboard issues draw residents inside

By Heather McKim

The Dec. 11 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard was met with a room packed with attendees. Multiple agenda items were responsible for drawing the large crowd.

One key issue at the meeting was a presentation from representatives of Stantec Consulting Services. A scoping study had been conducted of the busy Route 7/Falls Road/Harbor Road intersection, which included the potential impact of a new grid street—Loop Road. The representatives were on hand to provide an update on that study.

A group of residents from Pond Road petitioned the Board to have that road paved, citing problems such as hazardous conditions due to pot holes and other road hazards, cost to residents to clean and repair their automobiles of damage incurred by using the road and poor air quality following the grading of the road.

Currently, the town spends approximately $15,000-30,000 per year to maintain the road. No firm numbers were available at the meeting in terms of how much the paving and maintenance of the road afterward would cost the town. These are numbers the Selectboard would need to consider before making a decision regarding the possibility of having the road paved. Board member Al Gobeille said that he would like to see a 20-year projection of maintenance costs for the road.

Another item that drew people from outside of Shelburne to the meeting was that of a community swimming pool. Rayne Herzog of the Shelburne Athletic Club went before the Board with a proposal to build a community swimming pool.

Herzog would like to build a 15,000-20,000 square foot building “with both an indoor and outdoor feel” that would feature an eight-lane pool. There would be memberships with separate prices for residents and non-residents of Shelburne.

The price tag for the project would be an estimated $2.8-3 million. Based on his research, Herzog estimated that town residents would see a property tax increase of approximately $10-40/$100 per assessed value.

Herzog’s proposal included a suggested location for the pool, field #2 at the Field House.

Town manager Paul Bohne responded that he and others will need time to research the costs and other issues and would only proceed to do so at the direction of the Board.

“You have to look at it in light of where the town is,” Gobeille said. He noted that the numbers on the project leave nothing to cover if any problems arise. He added, “What we don’t want to do is build a pool we have to close… That does happen.”

“There’s a large question about balance,” Chair Bill Smith said. He noted that there are currently 105 items on the Capitol Improvement Plan.

Since the Board will be headed into budget meetings during the coming weeks, the issue of a community swimming pool will not come up again until February.

The Capital Improvement Plan was also on the night’s agenda. Finance director Peter Frankenburg presented information regarding the plan, which is a list of projects looking out at six years starting with the 2012-13 budget year.

A capital improvement is anything that meets the $5,000 threshold. The current Capital Improvement Plan includes projects that range in cost from $5,000 to $5 million.

Projects include such things as replacing police cruisers, re-carpeting the town center, drainage improvements, putting in storm drains, the Bay Road Bridge replacement as well as many others. Including a project in the plan is necessary in order to be able to charge impact fees or to pursue grants.

As the Board goes forward, members will have to balance wants such as a community pool vs. needs such as functioning sewers, road improvements, and other such items. Member Bob Roesler noted, “There are services this town has now and wants to continue. If you spend a lot on a capital project, you have to cut elsewhere.”

Finally, the Board made the decision to approve two new road names. O’Brien Drive and Minor Farm Lane are now among the streets that make up the town of Shelburne.

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