Manager’s Message: July, 2021
From the desk of Don Turner, Jr. Milton Town Manager
Welcome back! June began with the reopening of the Municipal Building and Town Offices. It’s been a smooth transition and we are enjoying greeting community members face to face again. Our Town Clerk and Treasurer’s window saw plenty of foot traffic with in-person passport applications, car registration and renewal, notary services and more. Although the Library remained open by appointment only last month, it was nice to see some community members inside perusing the shelves. Our Library continued to offer online programming and curbside pickup in June and even resumed some outdoor programs. The Library Teaching Garden was planted, offering a new natural setting for contemplation, learning, and reading. We look forward to welcoming library patrons in, without appointments, on Thursdays through Saturdays starting July 8. The library will continue offering curbside pickup on Mondays through Wednesdays.
In June, we were able to welcome two new part time, summer team members to assist with the upkeep of our municipal properties and parks. With this additional staff led by John Bartlett, we’ve been able to tackle routine spring and summer maintenance faster, and take on additional duties like weekly watering of the young trees planted along Route 7, as well as roadside Route 7 mowing. Thanks to our Buildings and Grounds team, town properties and the Route 7 Streetscape corridor are looking sharp.
We were able to freeze the grand list file, and update information for 2021-22 tax billings. I also want to thank our community for assisting in the ongoing Town reappraisal effort. The new data will help value properties at current market value and improve equity across all properties.
Last month also brought new guidance for development with the approval of the Planning Commission’s proposed amendments to the town’s Unified Development Regulations. The updated guidelines took effect on June 28 and will help property owners navigate land use and property improvements for years to come. A full copy of the amendments is available in the front vestibule of the Town Offices and on our website.
Our highway division continued roadwork projects last month filling potholes and checking conditions on our dirt roads. Work began on the Herrick Avenue and Centre Drive Crosswalk Project, with about half of the Herrick Avenue locations completed by the end of June. The Cherry Street sidewalk project also moved forward with the culvert replacement installed and gravel base laid. Storm water catch basins with infiltration were installed along Rebecca Lander and Lamoille Terrace and a new five foot in diameter culvert was installed on the Class 3 portion of Devino Rd. The highway team has been very busy doing some much needed and excellent work around town.
Our water wastewater division has been extremely busy as well. The wastewater plant requires continuous maintenance and this summer they are cleaning sequential batch reactor number two. This requires pumping out all of the liquid, vacuuming out all of the solids and replacing hundreds of aerators located in the bottom of the tank. They have also had to replace failed wastewater pumps, broken hydrants and a number of meters. You may notice that most fire hydrants located along Route 7 have a fresh coat of red paint and new color-coded bracelets. The color represents hydrant flow for fire department purposes. Speaking of Fire Department, they have been busy with a few significant structure fires. Thankfully, no one has been injured and the department did an excellent job extinguishing the blazes. Police and Rescue are very busy. Mental health and overdose calls are continuing to weigh heavily on both departments. Rescue staffing remains a significant challenge and we are doing our best to keep the ambulance on the road and available when needed. We will hiring additional full-time staff and provide an extensive update to the Selectboard in July.
Our parks were teeming with activity last month with the start of summer camp and the warmer weather. The selectboard approved a new mountain biking project proposal in June, which aims to provide a new recreational opportunity to our town. Plans continued July 4th Celebrations, Music in the Park Series, and National Night Out. Community members can find details for these upcoming events on social media and at miltonvt.gov/recregister
We’re thrilled to announce that we were also able to renew Al’s French Frys temporary residency in Milton. Returning in July for alternating two-week increments, our community will be able to get its fill of burgers, fries, and shakes from the pop-up Al’s facility. We have continued to work with other food trucks in hopes of getting a greater variety. Unfortunately, most are committed to other venues for the summer. It’s the best time of the year and we are eager to compliment it with some delicious fare.
Last but certainly not least, we wrapped up the fiscal year on June 30. Our finance team has done an amazing job of guiding us through a very challenging year. We made the most of our budget, investing in long-term improvements, ensuring town tax dollars were spent wisely and using available grants when applicable. I want to thank Cally Audet for her additional work over the last several months providing administrative assistance to three busy departments. In addition, I want to say thank you to all of the hardworking staff and our supportive community for getting through this tough time. It’s nice to see life begin to more closely resemble pre-pandemic norms, and we hope that this will aid in a strong Fiscal Year 2022.