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Vergennes City Voice 05-2017

Vergennes City Voice
Volume 1, Issue 1
May 2017

Mayor Michael H. Daniels

The City Voice is back and will resume its quarterly publication. It will also be available on the City’s website ( under ‘RECENT POSTS’. If you have an article you wish to share please email to

First, I would like to thank Mayor Benton for all of his hard work over the last four years making Vergennes a better place to live, work and play.

Second, is taxes. How do we grow our wonderful city and keep our tax rates responsible? Everyone would like tax rates to stay the same, unfortunately that won’t happen. Our school taxes will be higher this year and if we want to continue improvements in our city, we will need to do a cost of living adjustment at minimum. We are always open to ideas on how to save money.

I look forward to the challenges put in front of me, but will be watching Chief Merkel and Scott Gaines as they banter on which team will make it to the World Series, Red Socks or Yankees!

Vergennes Partnership Amy Barr

The Vergennes Partnership launched a new website last summer that we intended to serve as a resource for all who visit, live in, or work in our little city.

If you visit, you will see buttons on the home page entitled, EVENTS, VISIT, PLAY & LIVE. As a resident, you will likely find the ‘Events’ and ‘Live’ buttons to be most relevant. Under ‘Upcoming Events’ you may find details about anything from Movie Night at The Bixby Library to a workshop on energy efficiency to a dance at The American Legion or a musical at VUHS. We encourage you to check it out whenever you’re looking for opportunities for local activities and education.

The ‘Live’ button includes a directory of businesses and organizations that residents could find useful. If you would like to suggest an event to post or a business or organization to add to the directory, please contact us at The website is a work-in-progress, so you can expect to see continual updates and improvements

Chief, George Merkel

Motor vehicle enforcement is a critical task in the scope of duties for any law enforcement agency.  The primary objectives for conducting motor vehicle enforcement are the reduction of unsafe operation of motor vehicles on highways and the protection of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.  Added benefits include increased officer presence and deterrence of criminal activity.  Speeding and impaired driving continue to be the primary causes of motor vehicle fatalities in our state.  Education and public awareness are key components of any motor vehicle enforcement strategy.

The Vergennes Police Department conducts a very proactive approach to motor vehicle enforcement.  From early on, we identified this as a key component to keeping our community safe.  As a result, there has been a very low frequency of accidents resulting in injuries and there has not been a fatality since we have been together as a department.

The city of Vergennes is very urban in nature.  We are proud of our commitment to keep our community safe and we will continue to do so.  We ask each of you to set an example for others by the manner in which you operate your vehicle, conduct yourselves as pedestrians and bicyclists, utilize seatbelts and respect the law regarding cell phone usage while driving.  As always, we always caution folks to never drink and drive and to use designated drivers.

Thanks again for your continued support.  God bless you and have a wonderful springtime.

City Manager, Mel Hawley

The Vergennes Planning Commission headed by Chair Shannon Haggett along with members Mike Winslow, Jason Farrell, Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge, Cheryl Brinkman, and John Coburn will be holding a public hearing on May 22 at 7 p.m. in City Hall relative to their proposed amendments to the municipal development plan. This is the second set of amendments since the plan was adopted by the City Council on September 30, 2014. The first set of amendments was specific to the downtown development district. The proposed amendments cover various matters that the Planning Commission felt should not be deferred until the re-write in 2019. The Vergennes Downtown-Basin Master Plan was completed last November and is proposed to be part of the plan. This will strengthen future grant applications. The section on solid waste/materials management has been totally rewritten as a result of Act 148 which mandates yard and food waste handling. The section on energy will include a proposed Solar Energy Overlay District and associated policies. The Commission desires to return language in the plan where new residential uses on the ground floor in the Central Business District are prohibited. There is also a proposed change in the Land Use Map involving two parcels in the southwest corner of the city from Low Density Residential District to Medium Density Residential District.

Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission will decide whether to make any changes in their proposed amendments. With or without changes, the proposed amendments will be forwarded to the City Council who will then hold at least two public hearings as required by statute.

Vergennes Historical Society Susan Ferland

Embezzlers, inventors, abolitionists, soldiers, captains, and entrepreneurs were all part of the history of Vergennes. The Vergennes Historical Society in its three years of existence has just begun to unearth the stories behind the men, women, and children who lived in Vergennes. Since our incorporation in 2014, we’ve climbed from the basement to the attic of several historic structures, transcribed three William Gove Bixby diaries in partnership with the Vermont Historical Society and the Bixby Library, identified and many photos, traced the history of several immigrants, puzzled over whatsits, and shared stories of growing up in Vergennes.

Our meetings are on the second Thursday of the month at 6:45 pm from September to April at the KB Cafe. Guests are always welcome! Membership is only $5 a year for individuals and $6 for a family. Dues assist the society in conserving materials and providing matching funds for grants. Questions, interested in joining, or have materials to donate? Talk to David Welch at the Clock Shop or Susan Ferland at Gaines Insurance.

Boys & Girls Club Jeff Fritz

Great things are happening at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes. Because of the amazing generosity of our community, we were able to complete a full renovation of our facility in 2016 including the addition of a full (and well-stocked!) kitchen, laundry facilities, and an ADA compliant bathroom with a shower. Dozens of volunteers gave freely of their time to sort, demolish, haul trash, paint, reorganize and redecorate. We are exceptionally grateful to P.J. Welch Construction for taking on our project, to J.W. & D.E. Ryan for fulfilling our complicated plumbing needs, Aubuchon Hardware for paint, and Countryside Carpet & Paint for securing the donation of new carpet and flooring. And nothing would have happened if not for the kindness of the many donors whose contributions made our dream possible. The results of this effort are clear: membership and daily attendance continue to rise. Any student from 5th – 12th grade is welcome to join the club.

There are daily activities, food, fun and conversation at the club Monday – Friday from 2:30 – 6:00 pm. Our snack program has expanded to a dinner program serving more than 400 meals in the month of March; and our mission – to serve those who need us most – has never been more attainable. This spring we introduced “Coffee, Carbs & Conversation,” an invitation to “seniors” to spend some time at the club, as part of our effort to increase our visibility in the larger community. Look for the announcement of the next event on Front Porch Forum and our Facebook page. We continue to explore other ways to increase our club’s value to those we serve. We invite everyone to stop in for a visit.

Our Executive Director Jill Strube heads a staff of truly dedicated and enthusiastic people all of whom are eager to share their passion for the work they do. We always have time for visitors.

Little City Race Scott Gaines

Happy Spring everyone. On Saturday Aug.ust 26th we invite you to join us at the 36th annual Vergennes Day race. Please be sure to save this date and plan on bringing your family and friends. We’re working on some exciting changes to the race, such as a longer 15K race option, a kid’s fun run, and changing the starting / finish line to the Vergennes Elementary School. We’re hoping to have our on-line registration up and running this month. We’ll give you more details on our proposed changes, revised race course maps, and the link to our on line registration next month. Please save the date and spread the word. We look forward to seeing everyone on Vergennes Day!

Scott Gaines – Vergennes Day Race Coordinator
802-877-2878 (w) E-mail: