Don Turner explains Route 7 projects

Town Manager Don Turner explains proposed change to Route 7 in this Independent file photo.

Manager's Message

Don Turner, Town Manager

It’s hard to believe we’re just two months away from the New Year. What a year 2020 has been.

We were open for in-person voting on Election Day, Nov. 3. Voters wore masks to the polls and social distancing was enforced. We had an exceptional voter turnout for the election. I want to thank Town Clerk Sheryl Prince, Asst. Town Clerk Kristin Beers, Loretta Devino, Jocelind Knapp and all of the other election workers for everything they did to make sure this very important election went smooth in unprecedented times.

We’ve also been busy preparing for the water bill collection on Nov. 13. Thanks to the many community members who have already made their payments. We’re grateful for everyone’s efforts to get taxes in on time this year, especially considering the challenging times we are in. We’re happy to report delinquent tax payments are less today, than they were a year ago.

As the full moon rose on a very different Halloween, we were so impressed by the creative decorations our community displayed for the Spirited Homes of Milton contest. It’s important to find uplifting moments during this pandemic, and your "spooktacular" homes and businesses definitely provided one. A list of the winners is available on our Recreation website. Thanks again for bringing some cheer — and scares — to town!

If you missed the decorating contest and are looking for a fun activity around town, be sure to sign up for the Explore Milton Walking Challenge through the Recreation Department. Entrants will explore eight locations around town between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, completing a challenge at each location. A grand prize will be awarded on Jan. 6.

Last month was a busy one for wrapping up repairs and projects. Our soccer fields received their final line painting for the year, and the dog park fence was repaired after being damaged by a fallen tree earlier this fall. We are so thankful for the wonderful group of volunteers that put more than 57 hours of work into the town’s disc golf course. We’re looking forward to seeing the course finished and ready for open play.

October also gave us the opportunity for some final 2020 fall paving including Poor Farm Road, Sanderson Road, Manley Road, West Milton Road and the cross cut on Legion Road. We are beginning to look ahead and plan our paving budget proposal for FY 2022.

We also took October to start preparations for the colder months ahead. We readied our trucks for snowy weather and hauled and stockpiled sand. Whatever winter brings our way, we’ll be ready to respond.

Last month was also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our police officers shared their support of finding a cure by donning pink patches on their uniforms. The patches were also sold to the community, with proceeds headed to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Burlington. We’re proud of our police officers and community for supporting such a good cause and hopeful that a cure will be found.

Our fire department was also busy this October as crews battled a large forest fire on top of Arrowhead Mountain. The blaze lasted for 10 days. It is believed to have been started by a lightning strike. Thanks to our firefighters and mutual aid for responding to the call.

Our planning commission was busy last month, discussing potential changes to the town’s unified development regulations. They approved the recommended edits on Oct. 22 and agreed to review further recommendations from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission on Nov. 17.

Thanks again to the community for keeping up efforts to mask up, socially distance and wash your hands. We’re seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 infections across many states as fatigue and cold weather move in. If we all keep doing our part we can keep numbers in our town and state low.

Stay tuned this month as we begin discussions about next year’s budget proposal. We’re looking forward to crafting budgets that will support the upkeep and betterment of our town. Community members can attend selectboard meetings via telephone or watch along on the LCATV livestream. We hope to “see” you there!

Finally, I would like to address a press release that appeared last Saturday, Oct. 31, from the Burlington-based organization, Peace and Justice Center, titled “Woman Faces Violent Racism- Black Woman who is a disabled army veteran, has been subjected to ongoing racism by Milton Community members and the Milton Police Department.”

The document conveyed some very serious allegations about our community and police department. It garnered a significant amount of attention on social media. The Town of Milton, our elected officials, leadership team and staff take all calls for service very seriously. We care deeply about the lives and safety of our residents. The allegations contained in the release are very serious and will be investigated thoroughly.

The Chief of Police and I are happy to meet with residents to discuss and share information. This is an ongoing investigation so some information may be restricted in accordance to the law. However, we will not engage in the discussion on social media. We are committed to our community and to making sure that everyone who lives here feels safe and wants to stay here.

Our police department is well trained and our policies are regularly updated. They investigate all allegations of crime committed in our community. We have recently created and appointed five residents to the Police Advisory Committee to further connect our community to our policing operation.

In January 2021 our police and other emergency service providers will have a mental health provider available to them 24/7 to assist residents in need of mental health services. This is being done through a contract with Howard Mental Health Services.

As a lifelong resident and a person entrusted by our community, I am committed to working towards a community that is a safe place for all people, and a place that does not condone or turn a blind eye to acts of hate and violence.

As always, thanks for making our community such a wonderful place to live.

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