Manager's Message, November 2019
From the desk of Milton Town Manager Don Turner, Jr.
It’s that time of year again. Beyond the turkey and fixings, it’s time to take stock of what we’re thankful for. I couldn’t be more thankful for our beautiful town and the wonderful people in it. Here at the Town Offices I’m very grateful for our hard working staff and all of the things we as a team have accomplished in 2019.
I wanted to thank our town finance team for its diligent work. The finance team works behind the scenes but is essential to every facet of town government, throughout the entire year. Currently, our finance team is preparing for budget season. We’re anticipating big drivers on this year’s budget will include: debt service on bonds for the new East Road bridges, FY20 paving, highway equipment and a firetruck. A 13% increase in employee healthcare premiums, labor contract obligations and the FY21 paving proposal will also will be drivers. We’re confident finance staff and our team can build a budget that meets the community’s needs while remaining accountable to the taxpayers. Our budget meetings are scheduled for Dec. 2, 10, 11, 16, 18 and 19 in the community room of the municipal building. These are all public meetings, I strongly encourage you to attend.
Last week we held our annual delinquent tax sale. A property must be delinquent for at least two years before being included in the tax sale. We began the year with a number of properties in the sale however, throughout the year all but two have paid in full or worked out payment plans. The remaining two properties were sold at the sale. The current owners have a year from the date of the sale to redeem their property. Delinquent Tax Collector John Gifford does an outstanding job collecting delinquent taxes and water/sewer bills.
We’ve had a little snow and ice to ease us into the true winter season. And our facilities crew Justin Bergeron and Don Radtke hasn’t wasted a minute preparing for the weather to come. Their final fall clean up has occurred around the municipal campus, park, cemeteries and now they’re preparing plowing and shoveling.
Flooding has been fresh on our minds following the Halloween storm that tore through the state, bringing with it heavy winds and rain. Unfortunately, our town was not immune to its effects. Following the storm we surveyed the damage, discovering a lost section of Mars Hollow Road west of the culvert. The road has been temporarily fixed. About 100 feet of Rollin Irish Road was eroded during the storm. A culvert there was already on the town’s radar for replacement and will be attended to in the spring.
I’m happy to say the Lake Road Culvert replacement project was not affected by the storm. River Street Park was flooded, with a significant amount of debris. The highway crew cleaned up the park with our excavator the following week. Around town numerous trees were downed and later removed. We are hoping to receive some financial assistance from FEMA to make permanent repairs to any damages caused by the storm.
And while we were nearly ready to reopen East Road following months of construction on bridges five and six, the storm delayed progress. Bridge six appears to have faired well, but bridge five lost a quarter of backfill. There was no major structural damage to bridge five but it did further delay the road reopening. The road will reopen to through traffic before Thanksgiving. As a result of the winter weather, the contractor will have to return in the spring of 2020 to complete the finish coarse of paving and complete any remaining outstanding items. We are very pleased with the outcome of the work done on these bridges that will serve our community for decades to come.
Despite those setbacks, other projects continue. On Nov. 4, the selectboard voted to award Don Weston Excavating a contract for the sidewalk gap and streetscape project along Rt. 7. That work is not to exceed $769,231.53. The project will begin this winter and add sidewalks and street trees along the north side of route seven from Nancy Drive to Haydenberry Drive. We’re very excited to get this project started.
We’re making many other big strides around town. Although the parks may be ready for a long winter’s rest our recreation staff are far from taking a break. Recreation has held recent talks with Relay for Life events coordinators, as well as a volunteer from Cure SMA. Both groups are considering moving their fundraising events to Milton in spring 2020. We’d be delighted to have them host their walks in our parks.
We’re also eager to welcome a new police officer to our force. Anthony Schiavo will join the police department on Jan. 2 as a full-time certified officer. That means there’s just one vacancy left until our ranks are full once more.
I hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’re looking forward to kicking off the holidays with our annual tree lighting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Hope to see you there!