Vernon briefs

Meet the Candidates tonight

VERNON — VERNON - Residents have a chance to meet the candidates vying for seats on the town's Selectboard on Wednesday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m.

The two temporary board members, Stephen Skibniowsky and Munson Hicks, step down from their positions at the end of June. They were appointed to serve in April, after Patty O'Donnell and Jeff Dunklee resigned.

The special election to choose two new Selectboard members and a lister will take place June 30.

WRC rep resigns

VERNON - Steve Skibniowsky resigned his position as Vernon's representative to the Windham Regional Commission at the June 15 regular Selectboard meeting.

Skibniowsky, who also serves as one of Vernon's two temporary Selectboard members until the end of this month, told the board in his resignation letter he is “no longer able to commit the time and resources” required of the position.

The board accepted his resignation with “deep regret and appreciation,” a sentiment offered by board member Munson Hicks and echoed by Chair Christiane Howe.

According to the board, there are a few candidates who expressed interest in filling the role, and appointments are pending.

Selectboard sets summer schedule

VERNON - After a brief discussion at the June 15 regular meeting, the Vernon Selectboard declined to establish “summer hours” for 2015.

Although the board had considered an abbreviated summer schedule, it decided to adhere to the current arrangement of alternate Mondays for its regular meetings.

As outgoing interim board member Steve Skibniowsky noted, “As a board, you have so much work to do,” making it difficult to reduce the frequency of meetings.

Town audits outside auditors

VERNON - The Vernon Selectboard will invite a representative from the outside auditors to appear at the July 20 regular Selectboard meeting. This request was prompted by questions about the auditors' scope of services to the town.

At the June 15 regular meeting, board member Michael Courtemanche said, “I don't know how comfortable I am with” the agreement between the outside auditors and the town.

He noted that after the last audit, the auditor's report had “all these caveats saying 'we don't do this, we don't do that, and it's the Selectboard's responsibility as managers' to make sure all this stuff is happening."

While he said he understands his responsibilities, he said, “I'm looking to [the auditors] for guidance,” but “I keep seeing them opt out of guidance over and over.”

“I'm not saying it's wrong or right,” Courtemanche said, but he said he wants more clarity on some of the wording.

Town explores town tag sale

VERNON - Selectboard Clerk Emily Vergobbe agreed to explore the possibility of a town tag sale, possibly for 2016.

At the June 15 regular board meeting, she told her colleagues she has been responsible for the annual Vernon Village tag sale, but thinks it may be worth it to expand the event to the entire town as a way to get more people to visit.

Her idea is to have participating households pay a nominal fee of a few dollars and,in exchange, they would receive a sign directing shoppers to their yard, and be listed on a directory and map for the day's event. She said shoppers could pick up the directory and map at the Town Clerk's office.

Board Chair Christiane Howe asked Vergobbe if her intention was to ask shoppers to pay for the map. Vergobbe said no, that this was not a way to raise revenue for the town; instead, the fee would only cover the cost of printing.

Howe also questioned the town's liability for the tag sale.

Vergobbe told the board she will research whether enough people in Vernon want to participate as vendors by putting a notice in the town newsletter. She would also seek out other Vermont towns that have held similar events, and check on the town's liability.

Town deals with doggie doo-doo

VERNON - After Selectboard Clerk Emily Vergobbe shared a neighbor's complaint about dog waste in her Vernon Villages neighborhood, the board discussed options for dealing with the public health concern.

Vergobbe remarked on the number of people walking their dogs in the evening who “don't pick up after them.”

She shared her neighbor's idea about installing “doggie doo-doo stations where you can get bags,” with an attached receptacle for disposing of them, as a “gentle reminder for people walking their dogs, or other animals, to clean up after them.”

Vergobbe researched some options for the stations. The board declined to install the stations Vergobbe researched, citing cost and upkeep.

Most of the debate centered on admonishing those whose dogs are left uncurbed, and making sure ordinances were in place governing such behavior.

Vergobbe asked, “Where's the enforcement” of the ordinances, considering there is no line item in the budget to pay for policing dogs and their owners, and there is currently no Vernon Police Department.

Selectboard Chair Christiane Howe replied, “It's the Sheriff Department's responsibility.”

Vernon submits emergency checklist

VERNON - Selectboard Chair Christiane Howe recently submitted the town's quarterly Emergency Management checklist to the state.

At the June 15 regular Selectboard meeting, she detailed the items on the list and answered questions about the items' locations.

Some of the supplies Vernon keeps on hand in case of an emergency are 120 potassium iodide tablets, 30 emergency worker packets, three town radiological emergency plans, 20 evacuation signs, and a plume projection map.

Howe also said the town's emergency equipment includes telephones, printers, and weather alert radios. Of the latter, she said, “I keep several in my house,” and it is her job to test them.

“Anybody that needs a radio, please contact me,” Howe said.

She also told the board she attends “lots and lots of trainings” on possible hazards, and these have expanded beyond Vermont Yankee-related disasters.

“That's been very interesting,” Howe said, noting, “I'll tell you what, VY is very safe compared to what goes down our railroad tracks.”

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