Public Post

Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.

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The state is developing its first on-road bicycle plan for state highways. Real Estate items are in the news from Fairfield Pond, Mount Holly and Weston. And an open meeting law stumble means a revote on town property tax exempt status for Hard'ack Recreation Area in St. Albans.

Sojourn Bicycling Vacations / AP

What state roads do you like to bike? What state roads would you bicycle, if the route were improved for cycling traffic? Those are the first questions the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is asking the public as it begins crafting the state's first on-road  bicycle plan.

On Election Day, voters in St. Albans Town approved a ballot item extending a property tax exemption for Hard'ack Recreation Area for another five years. But that vote doesn't count, because the town failed to warn an informational meeting on the article prior to the election.

Cities, towns and school districts are in the thick of building budgets for the next fiscal year. Towns continue to struggle with the online posting provision of Vermont's revised open meeting law. Guildhall will hold a runoff election for two justice of the peace seats.

Guildhall is holding a runoff election for justice of the peace on Dec. 2. The town has five JPs, as determined by the top five vote-getters in the general election every two years. This year, however, there was a three-way tie for the two last seats.

The following warning was posted to the town's website this week:

Screen shot / Town of Braintree

The town of Braintree's website went online nine years ago this month.  The site gives basic information about town services; lists upcoming board, committee and commission meetings; posts announcements; and prominently displays meeting minutes. But all of that could go away, because one group is having trouble getting its minutes posted in the five days dictated by Vermont's recently updated Open Meeting Law.

The town of Newfane has drafted a charter that gives the select board the power to appoint some currently elected officials, including the town clerk and treasurer. But before the charter is official it must undergo two public hearings and a town-wide vote, and then be approved by the Legislature.

mizar_21984 / Thinkstock

When Town Meeting rolls around in March, a lot of people will have something to say about their town and school budgets. But if you really want to be part of the budgeting conversations in your town, now is the time to start paying attention.

This is the time of year select boards in towns across Vermont are holding budget work sessions and meeting with department heads to build the budgets that are presented at Town Meeting. Similarly, school boards are working closely with their principals and superintendents to come up with a spending plan for the next school year.

Travis Quetel / Vermont State Parks

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a draft water quality certification decision that, if finalized, will keep Waterbury Reservoir at its higher summertime level throughout the year. Currently Green Mountain Power draws down the reservoir during the winter months for hydroelectric power production.

Grand Isle is building a new fire station but, after a year-long delay, the project is going to cost more than expected.

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