WATERBURY — Despite unsuccessful grant applications, Waterbury officials agreed Monday to borrow $100,000 and move ahead with negotiating two contracts for economic recovery and development efforts.
Waterbury had sought to finance two paid positions through grants from the U.S. Agriculture Department and a Community Development Block Grant for disaster recovery. The town is proceeding with plans to fund the two positions through other sources.
One position would be responsible for overseeing the creation of a local development corporation, and officials have identified Barre-based Darren Winham as the leading candidate for the job. The position would be full time at 40 hours a week for 18 months.
Expenditures for the economic development position will be capped at $156,000. The town plans to borrow $100,000 from a bank while the village would contribute $56,000 in separate Urban Development Action Grant money.
The second position will spearhead economic disaster recovery efforts that continue in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
A long-term recovery steering committee reviewed four applicants for the job and recommended Ohio-based ARMADA Ltd., which has a representative in Waterbury Center, Barbara Farr.
Farr previously served as director of Vermont Emergency Management. She has also worked as the executive director of the Lamoille County Planning Commission and her own consulting business.
“I think we were really lucky to find someone so qualified to help us in Waterbury with our recovery,” Select Board member Rebecca Ellis said Tuesday.
The disaster recovery director will work 20 hours a week for 18 months and will lead Waterbury’s continuing economic disaster recovery efforts. Expenses for the position will be funded up $140,000 with money from a U.S. Economic Development Administration fund as well as an $18,000 village Urban Action Development Grant.
In other news:
— DOWNTOWN: Revitalizing Waterbury is requesting a budget increase from $9,000 to $12,000 in the coming year for increased programming. The organization may also seek an additional $3,000 to $7,000 to further support “branding and imaging” work with consultant Tripp Muldrow.
— HOUSING: The village collectively approved $175,000 in no-interest loans to the Central Vermont Community Land Trust for a 27-unit affordable housing project at Ladd Hall at the Waterbury state office complex.
The village approved an additional $200,000 for the nonprofit through a UDAG loan, at a 2 percent interest rate.
The land trust expects to pay for almost half of its nearly $6.2 million budget through grants and other incentives, like tax credits. The village and town contributions make up 6 percent of the trust’s projected expenses, according to a spreadsheet presented to officials Monday.
— SUBDIVISIONS: A public hearing will be held Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Main Street fire station related to proposed zoning amendment changes.
A major provision of the changes would allow smaller subdivision projects to undergo review through the zoning administrator rather than the Development Review Board, which requires that public hearings be held. Under the proposal, however, subdivisions within a five-year period that create four or more parcels would still go before the board.
— STORM DAMAGE: The village will receive $157,000 for damage connected to Irene, which includes some $29,000 for the town, said Bill Shepeluk, the municipal manager.
An insurer determined that although the town had purchased much of the damaged equipment at the 51 S. Main St. village-owned municipal office building, the damage would still be eligible for insurance reimbursement, he said. That amount is in addition to the nearly $350,000 insurance award the village is receiving for the building itself.
— HEALTH INSURANCE: The town could see an increase of 9.5 percent for municipal employees’ health insurance if no significant changes occur. Shepeluk recommended the plan be kept the same because of further changes that are expected with the state’s health care exchange, which will begin in January 2014.
— STUDY: The village and town each approved $2,500 to help support the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission for a flood study. The study will use computer software to determine flood risks and potential flooding effects if culvert or other infrastructure upgrades are accomplished.
— ANNIVERSARY: Waterbury’s 250th birthday comes up next year, and a celebration is being planned for June 7 at Rusty Parker Memorial Park. The event could feature a picnic, food, historical presentations and entertainment.MORE IN Central VermontThe gubernatorial debate Wednesday night in downtown Rutland kicked off with the news of the day. Full Story
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