Town officials cautiously optimistic about 2013

Tuesday January 1, 2013

BRATTLEBORO - As the people around the world got ready to start fresh new calendars, countless individuals embarked on a mission to fulfill their New Year's resolutions (at least for the first few weeks, anyway).

But many local officials, when asked by the Reformer, had the same response: They hadn't given it much thought.

The year 2012 kept Vermont towns busy, as several are still dealing with FEMA and recovery from Tropical Storm Irene the year before. Many elected and appointed officials were willing to share their personal resolutions; others not so much. But all expressed a desire for a better and more prosperous year with yet another shove to get out of this economic rut the nation is in.

Marlboro Selectboard Chairman Craig Hammond said he doesn't tend to think much about New Year's resolutions but hopes his town, through its emergency management system, will be prepared as possible for any unforeseen weather events like ice storms, flooding or hurricanes.

He said he will leave the board on Town Meeting Day, after six years of service, and he hopes to spend more time with his family and spend more time outdoors.

Townshend Selectboard Chairwoman Hedy Harris also said 2012 will be a year to conquer its problems with FEMA, as the state formally appealed the agency's decision to deny public assistance for the full cost of replacing a culvert in Townshend that was demolished during Irene.

Harris said she hopes the town remains solvent and tackles problems as they emerge. She said a fair amount was accomplished in terms of working on Townshend's ancient roads and she would like the highway department to continue its work replacing the culverts. She also said she hopes the town will focus on its trash and recycling system, as its 20-year-old compactor is falling apart.

Cell phone service would also be a great addition to the town, she said, and it's one residents have been waiting for.

"We always hope for it - year after year," she said. "It would make such a difference."

Wilmington is also still reeling from the devastating effects of Irene and Selectboard Chairman Tom Consolino said there is still much work to be done.

He said the town's economy thrives when the ski season is in full swing and was pleased to see a foot of snow drop on Wilmington over the weekend.

"Our winter looks like its starting off on a better foot than last year and it's something we desperately need," he said.

As for personal resolutions, Consolino said he will make sure not to attend any more ribboncutting ceremonies at Haystack - which is where he broke his right leg on a fall on Jan. 28. Though he has developed a sense of humor about the accident, he said his leg is feeling much better and he intends to keep it that way.

Dover Planning Commission Chairman Nicolas Wallaert is also hoping for a better winter, as his town, too, prospers during heavy snowfall.

"Ski season is sort of make-it-or-break-it for the valley," he said, adding that he is optimistic.

He would also like the commission has a better availability of grants and revisits zoning regulations and bylaws. Brattleboro has its own recovery to continue and Jerry Goldberg, executive director of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, said his personal and profession resolution is to make sure the Brooks House development moves along "smartly, swiftly and smoothly."

The Brooks House was severely damaged in a fire in April 2011. Goldberg said it is vital for the town to improve it.

Other officials, such as Walpole (N.H.) Town Hall office assistant Linda Edkins, Rockingham Finance Officer Chip Stearns and Hinsdale (N.H.) School Superintendent Dr. David Crisafulli and are not types to make New Year's resolutions, but are hoping for the best.

Edkins said he hasn't had much time to think about 2013 because of her job, children, the Christmas holiday and just "life in general."

Stearns said he hasn't made a personal resolution since he was a child.

"I'm not a good keeper of them," he said. "But about freshman year of high school I quickly learned that this was not working and I stopped."

He mentioned his childhood resolutions tended to be for more success with his young adult relationships but his wife is all he has needed for the past 26 years.

Crisafulli has a stacked resume, including work in all parts of Massachusetts, but isn't much for making too many personal goals when a new year begins.

"Just keep on cookin'. I think that's the key at my age," he joked.

He said he just prays his family remains healthy and safe for another year. He wasn't planning anything too rambunctious for New Year's Eve, saying he and some other superintendents he became close with in Massachusetts traditionally go out to dinner.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-2542311, ext. 277.


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