The Milton Selectboard reorganized last Wednesday, a post-Town Meeting ritual during which board members agreed to change their regular meeting schedule.
Instead of the first and third Mondays of each month, the selectboard will now meet the first and third Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the municipal building community room.
The suggestion came from newcomer Brenda Steady, who was sworn in March 7 after defeating Donald Franklin in the election. One of her jobs is cleaning a bank in town after hours on Monday nights, she said.
John Palasik, re-elected and now serving a three-year seat, said changing the meetings to Thursdays would prevent the board from rescheduling Monday meetings that occur on national holidays.
Steady’s motion was unanimously approved, with one amendment: The change will be enacted as a trial run until June, board members decided.
Everything else remains the same. The board nominated Darren Adams as chairman, Ken Nolan as vice-chairman and Palasik as clerk. They also set the Independent as the newspaper of record, meaning legal notices and agendas will be posted in your local paper.
There is already one hiccup with the new schedule, however. Not expecting the change, town manager Don Turner had arranged for the attorney firms bidding for legal services to attend the March 19 meeting – or what would have been the regularly scheduled third Monday.
Hearing this, board members agreed to hold that meeting as scheduled. Its next meeting will be the first Thursday in April, the 5th.
After the reorganization, department heads took turns outlining the priorities for the coming year.
Public works director David Allerton said that with voters’ passage of the East Road bridge bond, he will begin issuing requests for proposals for engineering services.
The bridges’ structural deficiencies will be fixed with a $1.695 million bond that voters approved 1,461 to 285 on Town Meeting, but Allerton is submitting an application for $175,000 in state grant funds to defray that cost, he said.
Finance director Jessica Morris said she’s working with town treasurer John Gifford to compile information for both the bridge bond and a $1.19 million bond for new equipment, including a fire truck, excavator, sidewalk plow and more.
Allerton said his department is also working on stormwater mitigation, guardrails on both Interstate 89 overpasses and a Safe Routes to School program. He closed by noting the need for a new public works garage, a project that’s been on the board’s back burner for five years.
In 2013, the board designated a combined recreation-public works facility at Bombardier Park to replace the 1930s-era “ice house” that DPW calls home. But there’s been no movement since.
Continuing this theme, HR and facilities director John Bartlett said the municipal building is full.
On the HR side, Bartlett noted the town’s recent recruiting efforts, including two highway crewmembers and a wastewater superintendent. He added the town’s forthcoming new website will feature a citizen request form to alert staff to issues around town.
On his turn, public safety director Taylor Yeates noted that six of seven municipalities, including Milton, voted to consolidate emergency dispatching in Chittenden County. He said it could still be a year or two before the South Burlington-based center is operational.
Yeates said Milton police have increased patrols near the schools to increase visibility, a result of the recent school shooting in Florida and threats of one in Fair Haven. The department is also seeking a second school resource officer, Yeates said.
He also noted the rescue station is undergoing renovations to create more private sleeping spaces for members who decide to stay overnight.