As I write this month’s Manager’s Message, Town Meeting 2020 is a recent memory. We are pleased that our FY21 budget proposal passed by a large margin. I want to welcome returning Selectboard (SLB) member Brenda Steady and newcomer John FitzGerald. I also want to thank longtime SLB Member Darren Adams and Dana Maxfield for their outstanding service to the town. Furthermore, I want to thank our excellent elected officials and staff for running a smooth and uneventful election with over 3000 residents voting. Town Clerk Sheryl Prince, Asst. Clerk Kristin Beers, Town Treasurer John Gifford, Assistants Paulette LaFond, Jocelind Knapp, and Loretta Devino along with many election workers. I hope you went out and voted. It’s an important civic duty that impacts our town and the nation for years to come.
We call our annual February celebration “Winter Festival,” and this year winter did not fail to deliver. We received about 20 inches of snow on the Thursday and Friday leading up to the festivities. It was a busy end to the week for our town highway crew and we can’t thank them enough for their efforts. The town team was happy to see that the dumping did not deter residents. Dogsled rides, horse and carriage jaunts and snowshoe excursions abounded. Plus the annual chili contest was a hit. I’d like to thank our Recreation and Parks staff for their hard work and planning, as well as the time and contributions of our local businesses.
But before that warm weather comes in we are inviting Milton residents to participate in a new fundraiser. For $1, residents can take a guess at when the ice will thaw at Curran’s Pond. The winner will receive half of the fundraiser’s proceeds with the other half going to this year’s July 4 fireworks. A clock built by Randy Barrow has been placed on Curran’s Pond. When the ice melts and the clock plunges into the chilly waters below, signaling –perhaps– the start of spring weather. Tickets are on sale now through April 1 at miltonvt.gov/recregister, and in the Recreation office, Raj Liquor & Beverage, as well as Frey Family Deli & Convenience.
When the clock plunges it’ll be just about time for spring road resurfacing. We’re currently reviewing spring 2020 resurfacing quotes and are working ahead to plan fall paving. We will pave Murray Ave, Hardscrabble Rd and Sawyer Ave all before July 1st.
If you’ve visited the Town Offices over the past month you’ll know we’re currently in the throes of renovation. I’m happy to report that “phase one” is complete with our finance staff in the new Finance & Assessors office. “Phase Two” of the work has begun and we will see the creation of a new Planning & Zoning/Public Works suite. A new conference room is also in the works. That space will be located just off the current copy room. We hope you’ll stop by and visit our staff in their new digs soon.
Despite our current renovation project, it’s business as usual for the staff. We’ve collected water payments, registered 63 dogs, and continued plans for our new Rt 7 sidewalk projects as well as the ongoing discussion about the hourglass intersection. We said good-bye to Planning Director Michael Burris who headed back home to Ohio. We’re wishing him all the best. While we prepare to recruit a new administrator our former employee Regina Mahoney, now with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, will be working limited hours as interim planner. Richard Saunders will be working part-time to staff the Development Review Board.
On the first responder side, our ambulance continues on a torrid call pace. We are averaging over five rescue calls per day. This is wreaking havoc with our budget and it is likely to cause us to overspend the approved FY20 budget. Our Police department is now fully staffed with the addition of Officer Bates. We’re also pleased to welcome a new K9 officer, Biscotti. Biscotti is a German Shepard. He will work alongside Officer Noi Jones. We’d also like to congratulate Officer Richard Corbin. Officer Corbin recently completed the state’s three-week Drug Recognition Expert program. Drug Recognition Experts are trained to identify impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than/in addition to alcohol.
Although it might not look it, spring is just around the corner and we’re eager to welcome it.