From the Director, July 2014 - Can Our Towns Benefit from Sharing Costs and Services?
Increasingly we’re hearing from towns that they’d be interested exploring the sharing of costs for services and materials with other towns, or developing cooperative efforts that create economies of scale that reduce costs. In many cases it’s been suggested that the Windham Regional Commission play a role.
Changes in Vermont's Open Meeting Law
Vermont’s Open Meeting Law was amended as of July 1, 2014 altering the requirements for posting and reporting public meetings in Vermont’s municipalities. The additions include publicly announcing meetings in multiple locations, time frames for posting meeting agendas and minutes, the role of teleconferencing and email communication, and the use of municipal websites for publicizing meeting information.
WRC Awards Brownfields Funding to Deerfield Valley Transit Association
In June, Windham Regional Commission signed an agreement with Deerfield Valley Transit Association (DVTA) for a loan/grant combination for $171,500 for brownfields clean up at the former Barnboard site in Wilmington. DVTA is the operator of a community transit system for the area around the Deerfield Valley and is known for their trademark buses with a Holstein motif. The grant is being used for the remediation of the Barnboard site as part of the construction of their new facility.
Recent Regional Highway Safety Forum a Success
On May 12, 2014, Chip Sterns, Town Manager, Rockingham, welcomed 50 attendees to the Rockingham Town Hall and the first Regional Highway Safety Forum in the Windham region. The all day event was presented by the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (http://highwaysafety.vermont.gov/ ) and hosted by WRC and Southern Windsor County RPC. It provided an opportunity to learn about the resources and partners available to individuals and communities as they strive towards safety for all highway users.
EPA Awards Brownfields Funds for Two Windham Region Projects
EPA recently announced the award of more than $17.48 million in Brownfield grants to municipalities and organizations working to protect people’s health by assessing and cleaning up contaminated parcels in New England communities. In the Windham Region, EPA is awarding $475,000 clean up grants were awarded for two projects in Rockingham.
Main Street Arts Receives Brownfields Clean Up Grant from WRC
In April 2014 Windham Regional Commission signed an agreement with Main Street Arts (MSA), a non-profit community arts center located in Saxtons River, to grant the organization $133,658 for Brownfields clean up. The grant is being used for the remediation of their adjoining site (33 Main Street) to allow them to make their existing building handicapped accessible.
WRC Hires New Planner
The WRC is pleased to announce that Alyssa Sabetto will be joining our staff as a planner beginning June 2nd. Alyssa has a B.S. in Community and Regional Planning with a minor in Environmental Studies from Temple University Ambler and an M.S. in Environmental Management/Organizational Development and Leadership from Shippensburg University.
Energy Code Requirements: What Towns Need to Know
On March 20, 2014, town representatives from throughout the Windham Region met in the Townshend Town Hall to receive information on recent legislative changes related to the Vermont Energy Code (Act 89) and municipal requirements and opportunities to promote energy efficient construction in their communities. The event was sponsored by Efficiency Vermont in collaboration with the Windham Regional Commission.
WRC Completes Parcel Map for Somerset
The Town of Somerset, the last town in the Windham Region without parcel maps (commonly known as “tax maps”) now has a map and GIS data showing the location of all properties in town. Somerset is unincorporated, has a year-round population of only six, and over 90 percent of the land area is owned by the U.S. Forest Service or power company TransCanada. Still, it has 35 landowners whose property boundaries were collectively unmapped until now.
New Branding Effort for Southern Vermont Unveiled
Southern Vermont unveiled its new branding effort at the State of Vermont Travel and Industry conference in Manchester on April 3rd. The collaborative marketing effort, Strengthening Southern Vermont, aims to increase awareness of the region as well as promote visitation and growth in the working population.
Notes from the February 24th Energy Roundtable
More than 20 Town Energy Coordinators, Committee members, and energy enthusiasts gathered at the Marlboro College Graduate School on February 24th 2014 to share recent energy activities in their towns and discuss challenges. Current town projects ranged widely, including the replacement of outdoor lights with LED bulbs in Dummerston, a Putney solarize campaign kick-off, and an initiative to pass a $50,000 Energy Efficiency Fund in Brattleboro. The focus for the evening was energy planning and implementation strategies.
Local Emergency Operations Plans – New Format for 2014
Formerly referred to as Rapid Response Plans (RRP), and then Basic Emergency Operations Plans (BEOP), all towns are now required to prepared Local Emergency Operations Plans (LEOP) following a new format. Vermont statute requires every city and town to have an emergency operations plan on file at the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS). Adoption of an LEOP is one element of the new Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) Rule, which goes into effect on October 23, 2014. The Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund provide State funding to match Federal Public Assistance after federally-declared disasters.
Information Related to the Closure of Vermont Yankee
Information as of August 30, 2013, including:
- WRC Statement on Announcement by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee That the Plant Will Close in 2014
- VY Employees by Town
- Resiliency Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station