Proposed property maintenance law meets protest in BF

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BELLOWS FALLS -- A review of a proposed property maintenance ordinance upset some Bellows Falls residents at a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday.

Trustee Colin James said certain individuals aren’t happy that the new ordinance the board is considering would force them to clean up their properties when they feel they have a right to do what they please.

In a telephone interview, James said he understood the sentiment, but that the rule would be in the best interests of the village as a whole.

"Property owners have responsibilities. Some people are upset because of what the attorney would cost and they don’t want us to tell them what to do with their property," he said.

He added that clean communities are important because new people are less likely to move to the village if surrounding houses are in disarray. That would prevent additional tax revenue and business from coming to the area.

Also on Tuesday Bellows Falls Police Chief Ron Lake met with the board about speed limit enforcement on Route 121, and teacher Mary Lou Massucco spoke with trustees about using part of Hetty Green Park.

James said the board gave its blessing to Lake to patrol a portion of Route 121 on his way to and from work. James, who is in his first year as a board member said the village does not have enough staff or money to cover the entire route, the rest of which is manned by Vermont State Police.

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"Some people are concerned about the cost and time it will take," James said.

When Massucco approached the board to request a section of Hetty Green Park, which students are using for gardening while Bellows Falls Middle School is being renovated, she was told to measure off the section she wanted and report back to the board.

In other business:

-- The board reviewed a draft of the village charter, which Municipal Manager Timothy Cullenen said is basically a legal document that creates the village of Bellows Falls. He said the trustees are looking to update the charter.

-- The trustees also unanimously passed an extension of the auditor agreement. Cullenen said governments are legally required to be audited by an outside firm. Bellows Falls uses Fothergill Segale & Valley, a certified public accounting firm based in Montpelier.

-- The revised delinquent water/sewer collection policy was reviewed and approved.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.


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