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Downtown Putney looking south toward the Town Hall and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

Town and Village

Putney briefs

Addition to cell tower planned

PUTNEY—PUTNEY — The town recently received notice from the state Public Service Board about a planned addition to the controversial Shag Bark Hill cell tower. [See “Despite opposition, AT & T to go ahead with cell tower plan,” Town & Village, March 19, 2014.]

Verizon requested a Certificate Of Public Good to add their cell site onto AT & T’s wireless communications tower.

It doesn’t change the size of the tower, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard told the Selectboard at its July 1 regular meeting. “It’s just them asking for permission to co-locate on the tower,” she explained.

Stoddard said she has a copy of the communication between Verizon and the Public Service Board in her office, and invites interested parties to view it.

Fire Wardens appointed

• The Putney Selectboard unanimously voted to reappoint Russ Ellis as Fire Warden and Marc Fellows as Deputy Fire Warden at the July 1 regular Board meeting. Appointing these positions is an annual routine procedure.

“These are two of the guys you can talk to if you need a [burn] permit,” Board member Joshua Laughlin told attendees.

The Putney Fire Department’s Website reminds residents a burn permit is required “even if there is rain or snow!” They advise calling the Putney Fire Station at 802-387-4372 and have the following information available: “The name of the individual conducting the burn, location of the burn, and what date and time you plan on burning.”

For more information on burn permits, visit

Sheriff seeks contract renewal, fee increase

PUTNEY — Noting “nothing has changed in the contract except the price,” Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard presented the Selectboard the new contract the Windham County Sheriff’s Department sent for the town’s approval. The previous contract ended June 30.

Because of increases in the department’s costs, rates to towns that contract with the Sheriff’s Department for their law enforcement needs has gone up. For Putney, this means they will pay $54,000, instead of last year’s $52,000.

Other than that, Stoddard said, “same contract,” and noted Corporal Melissa Martin will continue to patrol Putney.

Stoddard said it is a “huge help” having the Sheriff’s Department more visible in the community, especially as they have increased traffic patrols.

This might be the silver lining, agreed the Board and the Town Manager.

“We get a portion of every [traffic] ticket,” Stoddard noted.

The Board unanimously approved renewing Putney’s contract with the Sheriff’s Department.

Public comment sought on uses for donated land

PUTNEY — In the first of a series of opportunities for public comment, the Selectboard and Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard discussed at the July 1 regular Board meeting what to do with the 50-acre parcel of land that Nat Hendricks donated to the town earlier this year.

Stoddard and Board member Josh Laughlin separately conducted site visits to the land, but both agreed they want a deed map or a knowledgable escort to help them determine the land’s boundaries.

They also want residents to chime in. “Ideas for donated land: let’s hear ’em!” said Selectboard Chair Steve Hed.

The item will remain on the Selectboard agenda, and the town will reach out to the public, Stoddard said.

Town gets updated culvert atlas

PUTNEY — If you have ever wanted to take a self-guided tour of Putney’s 527 culverts, now you can, and you’ll even have the Global Positioning System [GPS] coordinates to help you out.

The town recently received the results of the recent Culvert Inventory Project, listing all town culverts measuring 36 inches or larger. New to this year’s atlas, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said, are pictures and summaries of the culverts’ condition, including what materials are used, and how the individual culverts affect water quality.

“Over 70 percent are either in excellent or good condition,” Board member Joshua Laughlin noted. Chair Steve Hed added that 6 percent, or “about 30” are in poor condition, or are closed.

Stoddard pointed out the atlas includes “five critical projects” in need of repair.

The atlas is a “running document,” Stoddard told the Board at their July 1 regular meeting, meaning they can update it themselves. She also noted the availability of a smartphone application to help interested parties locate the culverts via GPS.

Most of the cost of the project came via the work of the Windham Regional Commission, which helped the town secure a Better Backroads Program grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Stoddard said. She added most of what the town contributed to the atlas was time and effort.

“We didn’t really put any cash into it,” Stoddard said.

New computers needed

PUTNEY — Citing duct tape repairs and daily work interruptions, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard warned the Selectboard at their July 1 regular meeting she is about to write up a plan to replace her office’s outdated technology.

She assured the Board she and her staff need new computers and a server, not used machines, and “it’s really expensive” to try to continue to working with what they currently have.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Stoddard said, adding she and her staff experience “a lot of down time” from waiting for the computers to catch up.

Although buying new computers is “expensive, there’s no way around it,” said Stoddard, Board member Scott Henry said the town needed a capital plan for it, “just like any other piece of equipment” necessary to run the town.

Putney’s turn to talk trash

PUTNEY — In response to Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, also known as Act 148, which went into effect July 1, the town installed new trash and recycling containers for nearly all of its public buildings.

Because of the ban on recyclable materials such as metal, glass, paper, cardboard, and some plastics, entering landfills, individuals and municipalities have had to change the way they manage trash.

Although Putney already had recycling bins in Town Hall, Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard ordered additional bins for other public facilities.

Now, there will be two recycling bins at the town pool, one at Town Hall, one at the fire station, and one at the library.

Stoddard told the Selectboard at their July 1 regular meeting she will “test it for a few weeks” to gauge how much recycling the bins collect. Currently, various town staff members periodically empty the bins.

If the amount noticeably increases, she will ask the town’s trash hauler, Goodenough Rubbish Removal, for a quote on recycling pick-up services.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #313 (Wednesday, July 8, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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