Shaftsbury board looks forward to goals for 2016

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SHAFTSBURY — The Shaftsbury Select Board on Monday laid out their goals for the coming year, including a bond vote for a new garage, exploring the possibility of moving the town offices for Cole Hall, and a major re-write of the town's bylaws.

"The garage, of course, is our goal every year," said chairman Tim Scoggins, "and we just got the vote that gave us the okay to locate the garage at the landfill. One of our action items last meeting was to evaluate the site at the landfill, up close to North Road, and we have begun that process. We have been out there, all of us, together and individually, walking it off, staking it out. Preliminary indications are that there's plenty of room to put it there."

"What we're aiming for, with the garage," he said, "is to have a vote in November on a bond to build a garage." He said many on the board were leaning to putting the garage at the top of the hill, where it would be visible from the road, for security reasons. In that circumstance, sand piles could be placed at the bottom of the hill, at the site that was the original planned location for the garage. "We've been putting away $70,000 a year for the garage since the first bond vote went down," he said, "Karen Mellinger pushed the board to save money, because we knew that we were going to have to do it eventually. Several years have gone by now, and when we're ready to start building the garage in July of 2017, we'll have $300,000 in the bank that we'll have saved up. That, combined with the lower cost of the building, and some other efficiencies we've found, we're probably looking at a total cost of around $800,000, maybe less, maybe more, that remains to be seen."

Scoggins said the other major thing on the board's to-do list for the coming year is to consider moving the town offices from their current home at Cole Hall to the Dailey building down the road, something that various iterations of the board have been considering for years. "There's been some movement on both sides of the equation, particularly with Dailey, to make that something we need to look seriously at now, and seriously evaluate whether we want to move Town Hall operations from Cole Hall to the Dailey building," he said.

"Cole Hall does not meet our needs," he said, "There's no private office space, you can't sit and talk to the treasurer about your delinquent taxes without everyone else hearing, because there's no place to go... The other thing that brings this to a head right now is that Cole Hall is in major need of maintenance inside and out, and we've been talking about that lately." Scoggins said that the town could continue to pour money into Cole Hall, which will never realistically meet their needs, or they can explore other options.

Finally, Scoggins said that there were several updates that need to be made to the town's zoning bylaws. "As we've said," explained Scoggins, "it's going on, and we're aiming for a March vote for that. My thought is, at the current time, that we would come in with a new set of bylaws, and they would replace our current bylaws. Rather than adopt each significant change individually, Scoggins said his preference would be to have residents vote on the changes as a package. Per statute, both the planning commission and select board will have to hold public hearings on the changes in advance of next March. "The rewrite is happening as we speak," he said, "Every two weeks, now, the planning commission is meeting with the (Bennington County Regional Commission), rewriting major sections of it."

The Shaftsbury Select Board meets the first and third Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Cole Hall on Buck Hill Road in Shaftsbury. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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