HEARD ON THE STREET: 11.19.15

FY 2015 Legal Costs Runneth Over by $59K

MONTPELIER — Montpelier city officials have spent $99,265 on legal fees in fiscal year 2015 on several legal cases. The budget approved on Town Meeting Day amounted to $40,000, which leaves a $59,265 overage. The biggest culprits were a tax dispute filed by The Vermont College of Fine Arts and a personnel dispute with fired Planning Director Gwendolyn Hallsmith. The VCFA tax case cost the city $26,023 in legal fees while the Hallsmith case cost $26,494. The rest of the legal expenses were for a lot of small issues, such as zoning issues and the like, according to Finance Director Sandra Gallup in a conversation with The Bridge November 17.

 

City To Get Historic Marker

MONTPELIER — Thanks to the hard work of Dan Bragg, Montpelier will get a historic marker this week recognizing William Upham, a lawyer and anti-slavery activist, who lived on Main Street in one of the houses owned by the Inn at Montpelier. More to come in a future issue.

 

Montpelier Residents Eager To Pay Taxes

MONTPELIER — City Clerk John Odum had his hands full Wednesday, November 11 when The Bridge called on a related matter. “I am really slammed,” he said. “Everyone is paying their taxes this week instead of Monday. Everybody is trying to beat the rush so they are creating a rush.” May the City have that problem every year!

Many residents stay home and use the online tax system as well, but people still like to come in person, Odum said. Could the eagerness be explained by the city’s late fees?

 

To Park? Or Not To Park? That Is The Question

MONTPELIER — The best times to find parking in Montpelier? Before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Planning Director Michael Miller has overseen a project to put numbers together so City Council can decide how to alleviate parking downtown. “We don’t have the solutions to that yet,” Miller said. “We did parking counts for about eight months. We would go out and count each parking lot and count empty spaces.”

The counts occured at the lots and streets downtown and were done at different hours of the day. It turns out parking is worst between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and is even worse during the Legislative session, when all available parking spaces are 100 percent full at peak hours. Next step? Determine the goals for downtown — whether it would call for more parking, and build some kind of new parking complex or whether the City wants off site parking. “We find out what the goals are and then we will find out what we need to do to make it happen,” Miller said. “Some goals have expensive solutions and some goals will have cheap ones.”

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