Jamaica nixes water project

Jamaica hired its first town administrator, Mike Tuller, for about 20 hours per week. 

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JAMAICA — Mike Tuller is being welcomed as Jamaica’s first town administrator.

“Looking forward to it,” Tuller said at the start of Monday’s Select Board meeting.

Board Chairman Greg Meulemans said Monday was Tuller’s first day on the job, and he comes with a background in town planning. Tuller last served as Wilmington’s zoning administrator and lives in Manchester Center.

Tuller is “here to help the board but also to help the staff wherever we can find where he needs to go,” Meulemans said.

At annual Town Meeting in April, Jamaica residents voted 46-15 in favor of spending $25,000 for the new municipal position. After the meeting, Meulemans told the Reformer the idea of adding a town administrator has “always been floated out there amongst the staff and the board.”

“There’s a lot more complexities in government these days,” he previously said.

Town leaders also believe a town administrator could help apply for grants and other funding opportunities.

According to a job description posted on jamaicavermont.org, the job entails about 20 hours per week.

“The town administrator is a highly responsible administrative position supervising and coordinating the overall operations of the town,” the description states. “General direction and supervision is received from the Jamaica Select Board.”

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Meulemans said Tuller won’t attend every board meeting, but he will be involved in upcoming budget talks.

In Wilmington, Tuller did not request an additional appointment after his three-year term was up.

“Essentially, he wanted to do other things,” Wilmington Town Manager Scott Tucker said.

According to a resume provided to Wilmington, Tuller is the owner of Battenkill Land Planning LLC in Manchester Center. With the company, Tuller offers consulting services related to master planning, community design, historic preservation, site plan reviews, the Vermont Act 250 permitting process and more. He was president of Chattahoochee Planning Associates LLC in Georgia from 2012 to 2016 and a city planning consultant in Georgia from 2009 to 2012.

Earlier, Tuller held several city and county planning positions in Georgia, starting in 1998. He grew up in Southern Vermont.

“Though a majority of my management experience is specific to my occupational pursuits living in the suburban Atlanta, I understand the issues facing our diverse Vermont local governments specific to neighborhood revitalization, business development, infrastructure transformation, water quality, embracing emerging industries, etc., and I feel I have the necessary talents to effectively promote these concepts with political will supporting the prioritization,” he wrote in a letter applying for the zoning administrator job in Wilmington.

He wrote: “As a community planner, I have worked extensively in public engagement forums with advocacy groups and elected/appointed officials in proposing policies and programmatic changes geared towards incremental improvements at targeted areas.”

Tuller could not be immediately reached Tuesday.