August began with the ever-popular National Night Out. This annual event helps bring together community members and local law enforcement for an evening of food, activities, and fun. We were pleased to see some 800 community members turn out for the event. Once again, I took my turn in the dunk tank – the water was a bit chilly but the smiles on the faces of the kids’ that dunked me warms the heart. It was a wonderful evening and we cannot thank our police officers and Milton Community Youth Coalition enough for coming together to make it a success.
The dunk tank wasn’t the only water on our team’s mind last month. Notices were sent for delinquent water bills in August. We started the month with about $139,000 worth of delinquent invoices. By month’s end, a steady trickle of water payments came in significantly reducing the outstanding balance as the phase one shut off date drew near. Thanks to everyone that paid his or her outstanding water payment. Second phase water shut offs will occur on September 6. This is a very challenging time for everyone in the Treasurer and Clerks office. We are empathetic to those that are struggling to pay however; we must collect this money in order to pay the Town’s water bill to Champlain Water District. A special thanks to Shannon Maynard and John Gifford.
Our Town Clerk’s office was a buzz last month with Voter Checklist efforts. Members of the Board of Civil Authority helped review the list, which will continue to be verified over the coming weeks. Kristin Beers our town clerk will enter changes into the state’s official voter checklist database once the process is complete.
Outside, our team was busy filling potholes, conducting roadside mowing, checking the condition of dirt roads and patch paving. Paving included parts of Rebecca Lander Drive, Route 7, Lamoille Terrace and Cardinal Drive. Hands down, our largest construction project in August was the Rollin Irish Road Culvert replacement. After securing about $55,000 in FEMA aid, the team prepped the site, called Dig Safe, secured easements, and set to work. As I write this message, this project is substantially complete, reopen to traffic and awaiting the paving contractor to finish. We are glad to have a solid culvert system in place for at least the next 50 years to help avoid damage like that which was incurred during the Halloween Storm of 2019. We are fortunate to have a skilled and dedicated team in the highway department led by Supervisor Eric Gallas who did this type of work for many years in the private sector before joining us. Public Works Director Dave Allerton, a licensed civil engineer did the design work in house as well. Their work saved the taxpayers in excess of $150,000 on this project. Excellent job by all!
Around town, the reappraisal continues. NEMRC has informed us it is on track to complete this effort by the end of December. We continue to post the latest reappraisal schedule on our website and are working to add an FAQs post about the process soon. Thank you to our community members and businesses for your continued help with this endeavor.
As crickets begin to chirp their adieu to summer, nowhere is the season’s end more acutely felt than in our parks. The end of August coincided with the end of summer camp. We finished the program with a trip to Shelburne Farms and a visit to the library where scaly guests from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science wowed our campers. It was great to go out on such a positive note. Music in the park on Tuesday nights also wrapped up another very successful summer. Thank you to Matt Mullen for sponsoring the summer concert in the park series. For every end there is a beginning. We are so thrilled to announce the beginning of disc golf here in Bombardier Park West. On August 21, we held a soft opening for the Milton Disc Golf Eagle Course. The course is a nine-hole, free-to-play, public disc golf course with 18 tee locations. It was created through the hard work and determination of local volunteers David Havens, Seth Duchesneau and Ryan Montague over countless hours. We plan on celebrating with a grand opening event this fall. We are delighted to have had such an action-packed summer in the parks and look forward to continuing the fun with our fall and winter programming.
Our library saw more activity in August than in prior months, with a decline in curbside pickup orders as more patrons opted to browse the shelves in person, Thursday through Saturday. After a busy year of distributing free breakfast and lunch to residents 18 and under, the library concluded its meal program in August. We’re hoping our students will be able to learn safely in school this year but are ready to resume this service should school return to remote studies.
A big thanks to our Police Department and the Chittenden/Franklin SHARP Program for hosting a Back to School and Bus Safety BBQ last month. About 80 community members attended the event and were reminded of the importance of bus safety, including stopping vehicles while bus lights are flashing red. In other Milton Police Department news, we’d like to congratulate Corporal Christopher Grenier who celebrated his 20th year of service on August 14. Corporal Grenier serves with care and compassion, always taking to time to help a fellow human or critter in need. Thank you Corporal Grenier for your service.
The Police Advisory Committee met in August and reviewed the department’s complaint review policy among other topics. It was a thoughtful conversation, with space to share a range of perspectives and ideas. Our police department will be busy with training this September as the state’s new Use of Force policy takes effect October 1.
Last but certainly not least, we finalized planning for our town staff’s inclusivity training, which will take place this September. We are eager to have important conversations around this topic and learn more about making our offices and town a welcoming environment for all.
As summer comes to a close, we want to wish all of our local students and families a safe and happy return to school. As always, we look forward to seeing your around town and in our town offices soon!