Street light policy returns to Selectboard

By Heather McKim

The capital budget and program, street light policy, and trees were some of the issues addressed at the June 11 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard. The meeting got a late start due to one member’s delay due to Route 7 traffic.

The issue of whether the Board should adopt a policy in support of the award of the Municipal Planning Grant being used to study the economic development potential, the impact on parking and issues related to the connector road was tabled due to the public not having received proper notification. Member Gary von Stange took the opportunity to state that he believes that any connector road that is built should be paid for with private funds.

The Board again addressed the issue of the 2014-19 Capital Budget and Program. Finance director Peter Frankenburg spoke about the Capital Plan, which had been amended at the May 28 Selectboard meeting.

Items included in the Capital Plan are things such as computer network upgrades for the town offices ($27,000 in total), Town Center carpet replacement ($5,000 per year from 2013-14 to 2018-19), Town Hall insulation and window replacement ($17,700), west boundary fencing for the cemetery, ($5,000) and bulletproof vests for the Shelburne police department (with $5,000 budgeted each year for 2013-14, 2015-16, and 2017-18).

The Board initially approved the Capital Plan, but von Stange noted one significant error and was concerned that there may be other errors. The plan will be rechecked for errors, corrected, and will come before the Board again.

Members also held a discussion of the draft amendments to the street light policy. This was not a decision item but an opportunity for the Board to decide how to proceed.

Von Stange pointed out that Allison Cranmer, who had written this version of the policy, had brought an unsuccessful appeal to have street lights returned to her neighborhood prior to her election to the Board. He questioned if there might be a conflict.

“I think she may have strong ideas but don’t know that she has a conflict,” Board member Al Gobeille said.

“I just want everyone to know that I believe Allison’s intentions were honorable… but this process that you chose was mistaken,” von Stange said.

Cranmer said that she had personally asked Chair Tim Pudvar to be the one to work on the policy. “I feel very strongly about the street lights… I feel very strongly about the process.”

Cranmer added that she did not take on the project as a way to get her neighborhood’s street lights returned.

Members questioned how they should move forward.

“Do we need a street light policy, or do we fix what was done?” Pudvar questioned.

“How do we rectify the problem, and how do we move forward?” Board member Toni Supple questioned.

Jim Lovejoy, a Shelburne resident, addressed the Board. He told members that he had purchased his home in Davis Park in 1975 due to the presence of street lights.

Directly addressing Gobeille, who had characterized street lights as an “amenity,” Lovejoy said, “This is Vermont. This is Shelburne. Leave things alone.”

“Street lights are different things to different people,” Margaret Ottinger told the Board, saying she liked the policy drafted by Cranmer.

“Everyone has a right to know what we’re considering before it’s done,” von Stange said. “I just want to move it forward.”

It was decided that the policy would go up on the town’s website so that residents may view it. Feedback may be directed to Town Manager Paul Bohne.

Pudvar said that the street light policy will be the first item of Old Business at the June 25 meeting of the Board.

Members considered and approved the charter for the Tree Advisory Committee. They also approved executing the necessary document with the Municipal Bond Bank for a $345,000 loan to finance the Falls Road/Marsett Road water line project, a $68,000 municipal note with the National Bank of Middlebury for a term of one year at an interest rate of 0.85 percent for financing the local match for the Public Safety Interoperations Grant and a new liquor license.

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