By NEIL ZAWICKI
The Milton Selectboard on Monday approved funds for a trip to D.C. for two board members, and awarded two contracts for construction projects.
Darren Adams, the selectboard chair, and Chris Taylor will travel to Washington, D.C. July 15 to participate in the Northeast Regional White House Conference. The conference gives regional elected officials the opportunity to hear remarks from administration leaders and policymakers, and to engage in discussion with them. Attendees will also get a tour of the East Wing of the White House.
The board opted to fund Adams’ and Taylor’s airfare to the conference with funds from from the line item for the town manager’s travel. Both men will handle their own expenses beyond the plane ticket. Adams remarked that he and Taylor will likely be the sole representatives from the state.
“I can only imagine that we’ll be the only two Vermonters there, because the rest of the state is going to choose to stick their nose up in the air and not engage with the federal government, which is foolish,” said Adams. “So I think it’s wise to free up some funds to send us there.”
The conference will happen July 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the White House.
The board also voted to accept a grant for a bullet and stab proof vest for the police department’s K-9 program. The donated vest, which will come from a Massachusetts-based non profit called Vested Interest in K-9s, and valued at $1,700, will replace the vest the department’s cop dog wears now. Such vests have an effective lifespan of five years, and the replacement is due, said Milton Police Chief Stephen Laroche. He asked the board to accept the grant, and the board agreed.
“Are there any other remarks, other than it’s sad that there has to be a group to donate these vests?” asked Adams.
Town manager Don Turner also presented the board with bids from contractors to begin the traffic signal replacement and intersection upgrade on Route 7 at the intersection of Picor Drive. The TIF-funded project, for which voters approved $1 million, brought four bidders, ranging from $737,400 to $900,000. The project was awarded to Don Weston Excavating in Williston, the low bidder.
Turner said the project will take about seven and a half months to complete and he wants to get it started this summer.
Turner also asked the board to give Hamlin Engineering the job of site design and management for the Southern Gateway project. He argued that Hamlin is already working on the Streetscape Project and the sidewalk project, so it would be efficient to have them perform the work on the next one.
“I think it’s critical that one contractor perform the work, so that’s why I’m coming to you with this request to award the bid,” he said.
The board gave Hamlin the job with an $83,550 price tag.
Finance director Jessica Morris reported there would be no tax increase this year— the result of economic efficiencies town leaders created through budget cuts, as well as projected property values going into the next fiscal year. The board joked that they could move to a part-time town manager to further save money.
“Wow,” remarked Turner. “We come in with a lower tax rate and I’m losing my job!”
The board also appointed members to the town green, public works and Bombardier Park committees.