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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Waitsfield To Vote Again On Town Office Plan

Bev Kehoe
Town of Waitsfield

On July 29, Waitsfieldvoters approved a $650,000 bond vote to construct a new town office building. The item passed by a vote of 309-209. Waitsfield's old office was flooded and hasn't been in use since Tropical Storm Irene stuck two years ago.

Under Vermont law, voters unhappy with the results of a municipal bond vote have 30 days to file a petition, signed by at least five percent of the town's legal voters, to call for a re-vote. A group of Waitsfield voters did just that, submitting a petition with 119 verified signatures at 3:30 p.m. on August 29.

As a result, the Waitsfield Select board has scheduled a second vote on October 22. The article reads exactly as it did in July:

ARTICLE I Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Waitsfield in an amount not to exceed six hundred fifty thousand dollars ($650,000) be issued for the purpose of financing the construction of a new Town Office building on a parcel of land known as the Flemer/Compere Lot 5 on Main Street in Waitsfield Village? The project includes the acquisition of land, final design, permitting, and construction of a new Town Office building and associated site improvements, the total cost of which is estimated to be one million two hundred sixty thousand dollars ($1,260,000), of which cost, it is estimated that $750,000 will be paid from available state or federal grants-in-aid.

Waitsfield has been awarded a $750,000 Community Development Disaster Recovery block grant for the town office project. However, the grant is specific to a new construction project on a specific parcel, commonly referred to as the Farm Stand Lot.

Some voters would rather see the offices located in an existing building - specifically a Methodist church building that became available after the town applied for the block grant. Proponents argue the church renovation project would cost less and preserve an existing structure.

Waitsfield is not the only Vermont town still struggling to rebuild offices after Tropical Storm Irene. Moretown was recently awarded $700,000 in federal funds to build new town offices outside the flood plain. And Waterbury has reformed its Municipal Building Committee, after voters defeated a proposal for a multi-use facility in June. Waterbury is looking to co-locate its town offices, library, village police department and historical society.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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