BENNINGTON -- The county has received $37,000 for three municipal planning projects that involve a bike path, a town plan, and what to do with all the garbage.
All in all, $450,000 in municipal planning grants were awarded to 42 Vermont towns, announced Gov. Peter Shumlin's office last week. They were selected by the Department of Housing and Community Development out of 63 towns requesting a total of $733,000.
In Bennington County, Manchester, Shaftsbury, and Sunderland received $18,325 to develop a solid waste management plan. While only those three towns are listed on the grant, it's actually a "consortium grant" that will benefit 13 Bennington County communities, said Michael Batcher, solid waste program manager for the Bennington County Regional Commission.
Batcher said Bennington and Woodford have had joint solid waste management plans for years. Stamford has had its own, while nine other Bennington County towns have shared a separate agreement. Batcher said 13 Bennington County towns are preparing to enter into one plan, but what that will look like depends on what the state does with its own plan which may be released this month. Even if it does come out, Batcher said, it will still be subject to a long review process and so he and the municipal waste managers are waiting for direction as whatever they do must comply with the state plan.
The grants were awarded to the towns, who had the option of contracting with whom they wished, but if they chose the BCRC they could waive some procurement procedures, said BCRC Executive Director Jim Sullivan. He said the BCRC is doing the work for these three projects.
The waste management project has a local match of $1,633 for a total project cost of $19,988, according to Shumlin's office.
Bennington received $7,950 to develop a plan for a "pedestrian and bicycle travel corridor" between the downtown, Benmont Avenue, Northside Drive, and surrounding housing complexes.
Towns have to update their town plan every five years, and this year Arlington received $11,051, and will match it with $1,525, to have the BCRC update its town plan and incorporate flood resistance, economic development, and village center designations for Arlington and East Arlington.
Sullivan said adding those things will require some mapping and research above and beyond what the town normally does.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.