BRATTLEBORO -- Food cart vendors will have to pay an annual permit fee starting Jan. 1, 2014, after the Selectboard approved the annual assessment at Tuesday night's Selectboard meeting.
The Selectboard approved a $30 annual permit fee for food cart vendors who want to set up on private property. The vendors will have to apply for the permit only once a year even if the cart moves to multiple sites. Vendors who set up on public land must apply for a vendor's permit, which costs $50 a month, or $100 for the year.
The Planning Commission approved the new zoning ordinance in June to establish rules about where the food carts can set up on private land, but it was up to the Selectboard to set the annual rate.
The new zoning ordinance went into effect in August, but Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland said the new permits will go into effect next year to make sure that a food cart operator who already applied and paid for other permits is not paying twice.
The state will collect an additional $10 recording fee for each permit.
In other business, the board also agreed to invest up to $38,215 on two hot water boilers for the Nelson Withington Skating Facility. The board recently established an ad hoc committee to investigate the options in replacing the rink's ice-making system, which could cost more than $300,000.
Board member David Schoales said he had reservations about investing the money in the rink before the committee is done with its work
"I am hesitant to say let's put in a brand new boiler when the committee hasn't had engineers come in and look at the whole picture, which is what we charged them to do," Schoales said. "I have concerns about spending this money now and finding out later that there is a system that can provide hot water as part of a refrigeration system."
Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte said if the town was going to spend $800,000 on a complete overhaul of the cooling equipment then it might make sense to wait on the hot water boilers.
More likely, Lolatte said, the town will only invest in the cooling equipment and she said it was time to replace the 18-year-old oil fired boiler and 40-year-old tank.
"Going through and looking at that, that $800,000 project is just not a realistic project for Brattleboro," Lolatte said. "I don't think that is the direction we are talking about, so they're not related."
Lolatte also said the town probably will save between $6,000 and $8,000 annually because the new boiler runs on propane and not fuel oil.
In the end the board unanimously approved the purchase.
Public Works Director Steve Barrett told the board that the work on the town's new $32 million waste water treatment plant is still ongoing, even though the project was supposed to be done earlier this year.
Barrett said many of the systems are working, but some of the testing still needs to be completed and some of the systems need to be fine tuned.
"There are still some components that need to be proven," Barrett said. "We are functioning. We are being able to treat all this waste. We are just trying to get everything fine tuned."
Last week the co-generation system, which produces energy from the methane produced during the waste process, was started up. It was working fine, Barrett said, until lightning knocked the system out.
Barrett said work on the plant is down to a short list of final projects, but it is going to be a little while still before the project is complete.
"My concern is that as time goes on, as of August 31, approximately 126 percent of the project time has convened," Barrett said. "We're trying to look at a target date, and we'll have a discussion with the water and sewer commissioners about how we close this project out."
Finance Director John O'Connor said the project is under budget.
The board approved a request by Fairpoint Communications to use the town's right of way along Ames Hill Road.
The board's action will allow the company to deliver DSL service to the residents along the road.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext. 279 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard @HowardReformer