Town considers law enforcement coverage
GUILFORD—GUILFORD — The Selectboard is considering contracting with the Vermont State Police for the town’s future law enforcement needs.
At the Oct. 26 board meeting, Lieutenant Paul Favreau, commander of the Vermont State Police’s Brattleboro barracks, spoke to the board about how his department might serve the town.
“We’re not making a decision tonight; we’re just getting information,” Board Chair Anne Rider said.
Earlier this year, Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark visited the board to discuss his department’s need to change the way it does business. Clark told the board it was no longer cost effective to offer towns less than 32 hours per month of contract law-enforcement services.
Guilford currently contracts eight hours per month of coverage from the Sheriff’s Department.
Favreau said the Vermont State Police prefers smaller contracts with local towns, because “we couldn’t sustain [a contract] for more than 40 hours” per week. He explained his troopers patrol contract towns on overtime, generally before or after their regular shifts, and his barracks has experienced a labor shortage.
When board members asked Favreau if the patrol hours could be scheduled according to times they felt the town was most in need, he said “it would be hard for me to guarantee.”
He said he would “try to work with you,” but he cannot mandate his troops follow a specific schedule with a town.
That said, Favreau encouraged the board, should the town enter into a contract with the Vermont State Police, to “please keep in touch,” and let him know of the town’s needs, including “problem areas.” He told Selectboard members that he will do his best to accommodate them.
Board member Gabrielle Ciufredda asked Favreau if services the Vermont State Police can offer differed from the services of the Sheriff’s Department.
The benefit Favreau offered was consistency. He told the board that the state police are already “responsible for Guilford” when the Sheriff’s Department is not patrolling.
“I think it would be advantageous” to contract with the Vermont State Police, Favreau said, “because if my officers take a complaint, they would be able to follow up with that complaint. It makes sense. It would blend in better.”
He noted all of the officers patrolling the town come from the Brattleboro barracks — some even live in town — so they are familiar with Guilford’s roads and needs.
Board member Sheila Morse asked Favreau if fines the Vermont State Police collect within the town’s borders come back to the town as revenue.
Fines from violations against town ordinances, such as speeding, will go to the town. But state violations like driving with a suspended license or having no current inspection sticker are not town-specific; thus, the fines go to the state.
Rider asked Favreau if he thought Guilford should increase its patrol hours. Favreau said he does not recommend it, “but let’s see how it goes in the next year.”
State gets right-of-way for new bridge
GUILFORD — The Selectboard has approved a request from the state for a right-of-way for the Route 5 bridge replacement, scheduled for 2017.
The right-of-way will include land on Melendy Hill, Broad Brook, Bee Barn, and Grist Mill roads.
Although the bridge replacement is slated to take no more than six weeks, board officials anticipate the work crews will occupy the area for longer.
The state asked the town for the temporary easement with a potential start date of Nov. 1, 2016, in effect “during the period of construction.” No end date was given, according to board members.
Guilford will receive $1,000 for the right-of-way. The Selectboard unanimously voted to honor the state’s request.
Board learns about disaster reimbursement
GUILFORD —With some more advance planning, the town can raise its level of reimbursement from the state for the costs of recovering from a natural disaster.
The town needs to develop a flood plan, said Ron Lenker, the town’s Emergency Management Director, who attended the Oct. 19 Emergency Preparedness Conference, hosted by the Vermont Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security.
“The flood plan ordinance doesn’t really need to be onerous,” Lenker told the Selectboard on Oct. 26 , noting that the plan has to address situations like how to situate new structures outside of a flood plain.
He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay a town 75 percent of disaster costs, and that is irrespective of a town having a Hazard Mitigation Plan. Vermont, he said, will pay up to 17.5 percent.
Guilford is currently at the “12.5 percent” level, and can receive the extra 5 percent of reimbursement if the town submits a flood plan ordinance to the state.