VLCT Town Fair report: Yes on changing weight permit process, no on legalizing marijuana

DUMMERSTON — Selectboard member Steve Glabach, who represented Dummerston at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns' (VLCT) annual Town Fair, reported to his colleagues some of the events of the Oct. 8 meeting.

Part of the VLCT's work is “support for legislation that strengthens local government,” according to its website [www.vlct.org], and to that end, during the Town Fair the VLCT solicited the opinions of the town officials in attendance.

One item concerned stormwater runoff. Glabach said towns now have to inventory those incidents, such as when a culvert fails.

Overweight permits, which companies need to secure if they want to send trucks exceeding roads' and bridges' legal load limits, was another topic for discussion.

Glabach, who owns a general contracting company specializing in highway and street construction, said that currently, a company has to secure a permit from each town through which it plans to send an overweight truck.

The VLCT, he said, will recommend the Legislature change that law to streamline the process. The idea, he said, was to utilize tourism to help pay for state projects.

Glabach told the board the idea passed, and the VLCT will recommend the gas tax to the Legislature.

He opposed it, though, because, “lower-income people and rural towns will pay a bigger penalty,” because they need to drive to go to the grocery store, the laundromat, and make other necessary trips.

The VLCT also voted on whether to recommend the Legislature legalize marijuana - the body, Glabach said, voted “no."

Glabach's vote was consistent with the majority of those present at the Town Fair.

“As an employer, sometimes it's hard to know whether an employee is under the influence of marijuana,” he said, adding, “it's a little easier if they're under the influence of alcohol."

Jerelyn Wilson, Glabach's colleague on the board, commended the VLCT for involving towns in the decision about what to recommend to the Legislature.

Glabach said it would have made his job easier if he knew ahead of time which issues the VLCT was voting on. Then, he could solicit the input from the rest of the Selectboard. As it was, Glabach said he was left voting only according to his own perspective, and could not adequately represent the board.

“But, I was still voting for the town,” he said.

The booklet listing the issues voted on at the Town Fair is only available at the event, not beforehand, Town Treasurer Laurie Frechette told the board.

Selectboard members agreed that next year, they would look into getting the Town Fair topics before the event.

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