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Town and Village

Putney briefs

Dog licenses still dog town

PUTNEY—PUTNEY — The town is making progress in resolving Treasurer Anita Coomes’s failure to deposit nearly $10,000 in dog license fees paid by residents over the span of three years. [“Audit finds three years of dog license payments,” Town & Village, Jan. 28].

At the June 17 Selectboard meeting, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard gave the Board the financial details.

A total of $9,940 was to be collected for dog license fees. After Coomes performed two reconciliations of the account, she determined $3,285 was owed the state, which she paid in April, Stoddard said. $6,954 has been deposited into the town’s account.

This leaves $2,986 to be collected. The town had collected that money before from residents, but the undeposited checks have expired, so now Putney must ask dog owners to send payment again.

Stoddard said Coomes will send letters to those whose checks expired. She hopes Coomes will have the letters composed and sent by the end of July, when the auditor comes, so Stoddard can ask the auditor how to record the uncollected funds into the town’s financial statements.

“What are the odds of us collecting this?” Board member Josh Laughlin asked.

“I don’t know,” Stoddard replied.

She noted most of the fees are less than $20 per dog.

Board member Scott Henry suggested the town “make a polite appeal to people’s better sense."

Stoddard said the letters should come from the Town Clerk’s office, not hers, and although she is happy to help if she is asked, “I want to make it clear, I am not writing that letter."

“You’re not going to send out a letter that says, ‘We’re going to seize your dog if you don’t pay the $12?’” Henry asked Stoddard.

“Nope,” she replied. “I’m not."

Paving plan moves forward

PUTNEY — Because Kimball Hill’s previous paving project left something to be desired, the road needs to be redone with a complete re-milling of the pavement, but the town has not budgeted or planned for this.

Town Highway Supervisor Brian Harlow recommended a quick fix, saying that “more traffic probably goes over that stretch of road in town.”

Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard added her office had received complaints about Kimball Hill.

As Harlow explained it at the June 17 Selectboard meeting, when the drainage was installed, “the road didn’t get compacted well."

“It wasn’t us, it was somebody else,” he assured the board.

Now, Kimball Hill contains many bumps, and the water runoff is unsatisfactory.

As a “Band-Aid,” Harlow suggests the town “do a heavy shim on it for now,” but only the center 22 or 23 feet of the road, from the intersection of Route 5 to “about Signal Pine,” and not in the parking spots. He said this will help manage drainage and improve conditions for plowing.

After reviewing two bids, the Selectboard chose to work with Springfield Paving, at a cost of $19,650. Harlow said the town will perform traffic control duties.

Stoddard noted there is $16,000 in the current fiscal year’s re-treatment budget, and $3,000 in reserved funds, that can be used for this unbudgeted expense.

Harlow said the work should only take a day, and paving will begin at 5 a.m., and “we may be done by 9 a.m., when the road gets busy.”

Town buys new backhoe

PUTNEY — After receiving two bids on a new backhoe loader, the Selectboard chose Nortrax’s John Deere 410L with the pilot control option.

Town Highway Supervisor Brian Harlow recommended the John Deere for a few reasons, among them the close distance to the parts and service location, in Springfield.

The backhoe loader will cost the town $85,000.

Harlow told the Selectboard at their June 17 meeting, “It’ll be a few years before we buy anything else, as far as equipment goes."

Splash! The pool is open!

PUTNEY — The town pool opened for regular business on June 20. Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard confirmed that the pool has a “full slate of lifeguards” for the 2015 season, including “a few returning, and some brand new ones."

She said the pool’s schedule has one slight change: it is open every day from noon until 6 p.m. In previous years, the pool was open until 7 p.m., but due to budget constraints, and fewer people swimming during the 6 o’clock hour, it will close early.

Adult swim is from 5:30-6pm, but if no adults are in the pool, the kids can have at it, Stoddard said.

Town Hall begins makeover

PUTNEY — Workers with Southern Vermont Painting and Restoration began scraping the exterior of Town Hall on June 16, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said.

Although the work was eagerly anticipated by many in town, including Stoddard, the sound of metal paint scrapers grinding against the walls of her office made for an arduous day.

It was “like fingernails on a chalkboard,” she told the Selectboard at their June 17 meeting.

The color is “pending” while she looks at a variety of chips, Stoddard said, but notes it will be similar to the current color, perhaps with “a bit more contrast with the trim.”

She alerted the owners of the General Store, and Deb Shumlin at the Tavern, about tenants, staff, and customers parking too close to Town Hall. Stoddard is concerned paint could splatter in the breeze and damage parked vehicles. She said she “left notes on cars,” and “hopes to create as little nuisance as possible."

The painting is expected to take three weeks to complete, Stoddard told the Board.

She also announced the automatic, handicap-access button used to open the front door to Town Hall should be fixed June 18.

“We’re getting to the concrete steps soon,” Stoddard said, noting the contractor is “very busy” this time of year.

Tire pile update

PUTNEY — The town slowly makes progress on abating the infamous Old Route 5 tire pile. [See “Town is concerned about pile of tires at Old Route 5 property,” Town & Village, May 13.]

“Robert Vivian called me,” Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard told the Selectboard at its June 17 meeting.

Vivian had “just gotten the letter” about the pile of tires, but it was forwarded to his current address, thus explaining the delay, Stoddard said.

Putney Fire Chief and Health Inspector Thomas Goddard recently determined that the majority of the tire pile lies on Vivian’s property, Stoddard told the Board.

Vivian “clearly” wants to communicate about the tires, Stoddard said.

She noted she has not heard back from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, but hopes to work out the issue with Vivian.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #312 (Wednesday, July 1, 2015). This story appeared on page C4.

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