Rockingham sets new town tax rate
BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham Selectboard settled on new tax rates at Tuesday's meeting.
Selectboard members voted to set the town tax rate at .8983 and accept the educational tax rates of $1.5600 for homesteads and $1.4560 for non-residents. Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee said the town tax rate will see an increase of .0053, or roughly half a cent.
In other finance office business, the Selectboard opted to award a financing bid to People's United Bank for two pieces of highway equipment -- a six-wheeler and a 10-wheeler. Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II said the financing comes with a 1.95 percent fixed rate for four years.
Earlier in the meeting, Rockingham Health Officer Ellen Howard briefed the Selectboard on the so-called "tire wall" on Golden Hill Road. The tire wall is a stack of tires on a piece of private property and numerous town residents have been complaining about it since November 2013. Stearns has previously told the Reformer someone on the property got a permit from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources more than a year ago to build a retaining wall out of whole tires and has since developed a stack of 1,200. He said the wall is unsightly and the ANR never told the town about the permit.
Howard told the Selectboard she spoke with someone about filling the tires will sawdust to prevent massive swarms of mosquitoes. She said she has been told the mosquitoes could carry West Nile virus, though she has been assured the types of mosquitoes that occupy tires do not carry Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Howard said she spoke with the property owner, who has removed 250 of the tires and will bring in more material to fill the remaining tires.
Resident Tim Knight, who has previously publicly stated his concern over the tire wall, said Tuesday the property owner may be addressing some remedies, but the wall is still there.
Howard also mentioned government-controlled mortgage financier Fannie Mae has taken ownership of the building at 42 Green St. because it did not sell at auction.
In regards to the property at 14 Tuttle St., the Selectboard voted to give Stearns the authority the move forward as necessary to clean out the building. Howard said two quotes were received for interior clean-up for $2,500 and $3,500. She also said the building has a rodent problem and traps will need to be set.
In other business:
-- The Selectboard thanked resident Charlie Hunter for spearheading the online fundraising campaign that saved the Classic Film Series at the Bellows Falls Opera House.
Stearns had announced at a meeting of the Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees in June that the series was set to cease at the end of the month due to lack of finances, but money could be generated to spare it for at least this summer. Hunter, a local artist, was given the OK from the Selectboard on June 3 and soon created an account on Indiegogo.
The campaign raised the necessary $3,500 very quickly and Hunter decided to keep the account going to see if more could be generated, and set a new goal of $4,000 and then another of $5,000. The campaign closed on June 25 and had accumulated $5,060.
"Good job, Charlie. You were the big push behind that," MacPhee told Hunter on Tuesday. Stearns added that Hunter did an excellent job, especially on such short notice.
Hunter said contributions can be still be made to the Classic Film Series through the town hall.
-- The Selectboard appointed Karin Fischer to replace Paige Pietrzak on the Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees. Pietrzak resigned in April.
-- The Selectboard also re-appointed Patrick Moyna to the Rockingham Planning Commission/Zoning Board of Adjustment. Moyna's appointment would have expired on July 28.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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