Much ado in Bennington


As I sit down to write this column, I realize that there is much to be included.

On Saturday, Oct. 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Town and Clean Harbors will provide a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event at the Bennington Transfer Station. This is the second of 2013. As we look to the future, the town is in discussion with the BCRC, the Northshire towns, Pownal, and Shaftsbury to determine if there are ways to cooperate in these events and in other ways dealing with solid waste. State mandates are changing, and municipalities must keep up to be in compliance.

By the time this column hits the Banner, the Car Show will be concluded. For the last three years, the Town has allowed the Car Show organizers to have exclusive use of Willow Park for a week. Some leagues may have received mixed messages about use of the fields. The Car Show is a big event for Bennington, and it provides a boost to our local economy every year.

A resident asked that I reiterate that bicycles ridden by anyone over the age of 12 years shall not be ridden on the sidewalk. This person was nearly knocked over while walking on Main Street sidewalk by an adult whizzing past on a bike. Please people show a little common sense. Be safe.

I have also been approached to develop and submit for adoption to the Select Board an ordinance banning panhandling in Bennington. In my trips around town, I have not seen or been approached by panhandlers, but I am assured it is becoming a problem. Send me an email or give me a call if you have seen someone panhandling or have been approached by a panhandler. It will help me to develop a strong statement supporting a new ordinance.

At the last select board meeting, the Board voted to reduce the education tax penalty applied by the state on those property owners who failed to file the form HS 122, the Homestead Declaration.

Even if you do not file for Vermont income tax, you must file this form by April 15 of a given year or be penalized. Forms are available in the Town Clerk’s Office generally by the end of January so property owners have plenty of time to file. The select board vote to reduce the penalty is for this year only.

The select board voted unanimously to seek a state planning grant to develop a detailed plan for improvements to Benmont Avenue that will create a safe and inviting corridor for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is a heavily traveled corridor and a main transportation link in Bennington. We know it needs to be made safer, and we are moving to do just that.

Finally, the Great Race may be returning to Bennington. You will remember several years ago, this vintage car rally ended in Bennington. As you know, Hemmings Motor News is one of the major sponsors of the Great Race. If the town and its event partners can come up with the funds necessary to become a supplemental sponsor and create a plan to provide lunch to the participants and their teams, the Race will come through Bennington for a lunch stop on a Sunday afternoon in June 2014.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Remember, if anyone has any questions or suggestions arising from this column or on any town matters, please contact me at 442-1037 or stop in at the Town Offices on South Street.

Stuart Hurd is Bennington’s town manager. He writes a monthly column on town issues.


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