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Author: Lois Deberville

17 Yr Olds May Vote…on these conditions

Title 17 : Elections

Chapter 043 : Qualification and Registration of Voters

Subchapter 001 : Qualifications of Voters

(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2121)

  • § 2121. Eligibility of voters(a) Any person may register to vote in the town of his or her residence in any election held in a political subdivision of this State in which he or she resides who, on election day:
  • (1) is a citizen of the United States;
  • (2) is a resident of the State of Vermont;
  • 3) has taken the voter’s oath; and
  • (4) is 18 years of age or more.(b) Any person meeting the requirements of subdivisions (a)(1)-(3) of this section who will be 18 years of age on or before the date of a general election may register and vote in the primary election immediately preceding that general election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 47, § 11; 2011, No. 66, § 15, eff. June 1, 2011.)

New Open Meeting Law & Public Recourse

Effective July 1, 2024

Act 133 (S.55) is a permanent amendment to Vermont’s Open Meeting Law that: 

  • permits “advisory bodies” – those that do not have supervision, control, or jurisdiction over legislative, quasi-judicial, tax, or budgetary matters – to meet electronically without a physical meeting location (i.e., remotely);  
  • requires all other public bodies (i.e., “non-advisory bodies”) to record, in audio or video form, their meetings and post the recordings in a designated electronic location for a minimum of 30 days following the approval and posting of the official minutes of the meeting which was recorded; 
  • allows all public bodies to meet remotely in response to a state of emergency or “local incident”; 
  • requires all public bodies to provide local residents, members of the press, or members of the body itself electronic/telephonic or in-person meeting access options to a regularly scheduled meeting, if requested (unless it causes an undue hardship);  
  • requires a municipality to post on its website (if it maintains one): 
  • an explanation of the procedures for submitting notice of an Open Meeting Law violation to the public body or the Attorney General; and  
  • a copy of the text of 1 V.S.A. § 314; and  
  • imposes annual training requirements on selectboard chairs, town managers, and mayors. 

Title 1 : General Provisions

Chapter 005 : Common Law; General Rights

Subchapter 002 : Public Information

(Cite as: 1 V.S.A. § 314)

  • § 314. Penalty and enforcement
  • (a) A person who is a member of a public body and who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of this subchapter, a person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of this subchapter on behalf or at the behest of a public body, or a person who knowingly and intentionally participates in the wrongful exclusion of any person or persons from any meeting subject to this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $500.00.
  • (b)(1) Prior to instituting an action under subsection (c) of this section, the Attorney General or any person aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of this subchapter shall provide the public body written notice that alleges a specific violation of this subchapter and requests a specific cure of such violation. The public body will not be liable for attorney’s fees and litigation costs under subsection (d) of this section if it cures in fact a violation of this subchapter in accordance with the requirements of this subsection.
  • (2) Upon receipt of the written notice of alleged violation, the public body shall respond publicly to the alleged violation within 10 calendar days by:(A) acknowledging the violation of this subchapter and stating an intent to cure the violation within 14 calendar days; or(B) stating that the public body has determined that no violation has occurred and that no cure is necessary.
  • (3) Failure of a public body to respond to a written notice of alleged violation within 10 calendar days shall be treated as a denial of the violation for purposes of enforcement of the requirements of this subchapter.
  • (4) Within 14 calendar days after a public body acknowledges a violation under subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection, the public body shall cure the violation at an open meeting by:(A) either ratifying, or declaring as void, any action taken at or resulting from:(i) a meeting that was not noticed in accordance with subsection 312(c) of this title; or(ii) a meeting that a person or the public was wrongfully excluded from attending; or(iii) an executive session or portion thereof not authorized under subdivisions 313(a)(1)-(10) of this title; and(B) adopting specific measures that actually prevent future violations.
  • (c) Following an acknowledgment or denial of a violation and, if applicable, following expiration of the 14-calendar-day cure period for public bodies acknowledging a violation, the Attorney General or any person aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of this subchapter may bring an action in the Civil Division of the Superior Court in the county in which the violation has taken place for appropriate injunctive relief or for a declaratory judgment. An action may be brought under this section no later than one year after the meeting at which the alleged violation occurred or to which the alleged violation relates. Except as to cases the court considers of greater importance, proceedings before the Civil Division of the Superior Court, as authorized by this section and appeals therefrom, take precedence on the docket over all cases and shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.
  • (d) The court shall assess against a public body found to have violated the requirements of this subchapter reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this subchapter in which the complainant has substantially prevailed, unless the court finds that:(1)(A) the public body had a reasonable basis in fact and law for its position; and(B) the public body acted in good faith. In determining whether a public body acted in good faith, the court shall consider, among other factors, whether the public body responded to a notice of an alleged violation of this subchapter in a timely manner under subsection (b) of this section; or(2) the public body cured the violation in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.
  • (Amended 1979, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 24, 1980; 1987, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2013, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2015, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 24, 2016; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

History of Washington Vermont Books

There are still Washington history books available at the town hall. The cost is $40 each, payable to the Washington Historical Society. Each one is 229 pages of wonderful photos and information relating to our great town.

Green Mountain Passport Program

  • Offers free day-use passes to Vermont State Parks and Historic Sites
  • Eligible:
    • Vermont residents at least 62 years of age, OR
    • Vermont Veterans of the uniformed services
  • Complete an application (available at the town hall) and pay a one-time fee of $2.00 to the town.
  • The passes are available at the town clerk’s office.

Press Release: White Pine Needle Damage

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release – June 11, 2024

Contact:

Josh Halman, Forest Health Program Manager

Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation

joshua.halman@vermont.gov, 802-279-9999

Widespread Symptoms of White Pine Needle Damage Reported Statewide

Montpelier, VT – The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) has observed significant symptoms of white pine needle damage (WPND) affecting eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) trees across Vermont. WPND is caused by a complex of four fungal species, that infects newly emerged needles. Although the infected needles remain asymptomatic in the first year, the following spring, they turn yellow, then brown, and eventually fall off prematurely.

“WPND is linked to the humidity and moisture levels from the previous spring,” said Savannah Ferreira, FPR Forest Health Specialist. “Given the wet conditions we experienced in 2023, we are seeing an increase in needle damage this year.”

While WPND rarely kills trees outright, it can reduce their growth and overall health. Residents are advised not to panic if they observe these symptoms in their backyard trees. Vermont’s white pines are resilient, and otherwise healthy trees are expected to recover from this damage. There is no need for removal of affected trees.

It’s important to note that the browning of pines along roadsides treated with salt may resemble WPND symptoms. However, salt spray damage typically appears in late winter and early spring, whereas WPND symptoms manifest in the late spring / early summer.

White pine needle damage has been observed in Vermont for over a decade, with severity varying based on weather conditions. Heavy infections can cause significant defoliation and limited dieback of unhealthy trees. In 2023, WPND accounted for 3,349 acres of observable damage on white pine trees throughout the state, a slight increase compared to 2022 and one of the highest levels in recent years.

For more information, please refer to our 2023 Forest Health Highlights.

###

Symptoms of white pine needle disease on white pine trees. Yellow needles and early needle-drop of non-roadside trees in June are indicators of disease presence. (Photo: FPR)

Selectboard 6/4/2024

Selectboard Regular Meeting

June 4, 2024

DRAFT Page 1

Present:

Selectboard: Sheila Duranleau (Chair), AJ Galfetti, Josh Bell

Town officers: Peter Carbee (Assistant Town Clerk), Lois Deberville (Town Clerk), Ben Tiefenthaler (FEMA admin), Billy Donovan (Lister)

Visitors: Dr. Robert Rinaldi, Terry Reil

Zoom: Cheri Galfetti, Ryan Bresette

  1. Chair called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
  2. Josh made the motion to approve the minutes from the May 14, 2024, meeting, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.
  3. Adjustments to agenda: Josh introduced Terry Reil from Pro Fleet LLC, will be put under Visitors. AJ asked about a credit card for the road crew, he will check with Scott (treasurer). Sheila will discuss locked-in fuel prices, added 7.7
  4. Public Comment: Billy asked Peter for a copy of the exchange with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) on the amending of warning article for the budget meeting. Sheila reiterated that exchanges between VLCT (and individual) are considered client/attorney privilege.
  5. Visitors: Terry Reil, Pro Fleet LLC: this is his business and he does safety compliance consulting.   He explained such offerings as air brake training, drug and alcohol collection. He gave the board sample CDL driver forms, as well as prices for services. Both AJ and Josh have had interactions with Terry, and highly recommend him.  Josh made the motion to hire Pro Fleet LLC, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried. Josh will be the contact person.
  6. Town Clerk report:
    1. The security system was updated using money from the restoration fund, allowed by the state.
    1. Have had complaints about people parking in front of the handicap ramp, would like lines painted. AJ will send Lois the names of businesses who could do this to ADA compliance.
    1. The Jail House road sign has been taken again, there was a recent incident when an ambulance had difficulty finding a residence. Dr. Rinaldi explained how the latest Bear Hoot Hollow sign was attached differently so it couldn’t be easily removed.
    1. Some calls about chloride: AJ explained that chloride is put down after grading as it has to go down on loose road, and right now we don’t have enough to do extra.
    1. No access to building on Friday, June 7, 2024, due to power washing being done.
    1. Board ok’d taking the old computers to Computer Barn for wiping and recycling. Peter will call to see if there will be a cost.
    1. Lois declined the state’s offer to send the new green books of statutes which now will cost the town $410.50 per set (previously were no cost to town), as the person who sent the information did say all statutes are available online.

Listers:

  • Billy said they have a few more site visits to do and some more data entry with the district advisor, still have Current Use to do. Will be preparing the change of appraisal notices within the next ten days, and grievance info. All will be mailed out.

FEMA Admin:

  1. Ben: we are now on our 4th FEMA project manager. Things on FEMA’s end are slow moving. Ben keeps in constant touch with FEMA, reiterating the urgency.     

DRAFT Page 2

 FEMA continued: Ben explained other projects that the new FEMA team seems more amenable to. Ben is meeting with a FEMA team on June 5, there will be an upcoming site visit. FEMA is encouraging towns to pursue options that will save the federal government and the town money in the long term.

                Hands Mill: Ben said we also have a new state person on this project. Looking at October for construction to begin.

7.1          Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: This is a grant that would give us no-match funding. Ben said Steven Libbey would come do a site visit and help them through the application process. August 16 is the pre-application due date.

7.2          Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP): the board reviewed the plan as updated by Sheila, AJ made the motion to accept, 2nd by Josh, carried by ayes.

                Some points: Fred Blanchard, Lois Deberville, Josh Bell, Maxine Durbrow, Sheila Duranleau, AJ Galfetti, Ryan Bresette, Ben Tiefenthaler are listed for duties relating to the LEMP. There is virtual training available. The primary location for the emergency operation center is the fire station because they have a radio, alternate is the town hall. Authority to spend emergency money up to $5000 is traditionally given to the fire chief but will add selectboard members. We want to make a list of vulnerable residents who would need to be checked on immediately in the event of an emergency.

7.3          Lois had found check stubs from 2023 written out as past compensation to elected officials, gave the information to Scott. There will be a new method of when to pay out service agency monies that get voted on at town meetings, and a new method of when to pay elected officials their compensation.

7.4          Septic system: Craig Chase sent a letter saying the state needs to know the previous use of this building’s septic system.  This was not only a church with different functions, but also had an attached apartment.  Peter will contact Craig for more information.

7.5          TH47 update: Site visit will be July 16, 2024 with AJ and Josh, (site visits do not count as a meeting) certified letters will be sent to the adjoining property owner(s) and anyone with interest, such as someone with a right of way.

7.6          State child labor law prohibits anyone under age 18 to operate power equipment. Josh said an interested parent had called the state and was also told this. Sheila will look into the statute again to try to make it work.

7.7          Motion made by AJ to allow Chris Locarno (Director of Finance for Central Vermont Supervisory Union) to lock the town into set fuel oil prices, 2nd by Josh, ayes carried. (garage, fire department, town clerk’s office, library)

7.8          The personnel policy needed some clarification specifically on overtime and holiday pay. Sheila presented changes to the board members. Lois said she had chosen to take a day rather than take the paid time and a half for town meeting (a working holiday for town clerk). Sheila said that’s fine, it’s flex time. Josh made motion to adopt, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried. Motion to adjourn at 8:21 by Josh, AJ 2nd, ayes carried.

This is a draft subject to amendment/approval at a future selectboard meeting. Attest: Lois Deberville, Town Clerk

Next regularly scheduled selectboard meeting is Tuesday, July 2, 2024, at the town hall, 6:30 p.m.

Chloride Use on Roads

Many residents are asking that we apply chloride to the dry dusty roads. It is the town’s practice to only apply chloride to roads when they are freshly graded. Chloride is most effective when the surface of the road has been prepared by loosening the surface a few inches. We do not have nearly enough chloride in the budget to use it any other way.

Thank you,
Sheila Duranleau
Chair, Washington Selectboard

Town Garage Phone Issues

Notice: the phone at the town garage is not able to take messages at this time. We are working on resolving the issue and apologize for any inconvenience. The number for the garage is 802-589-3032. This is a newer number, please save it for your records as online searches often bring up old posts with the old number and there is no way to rectify that issue.

Thank you,
Sheila Duranleau
Chair, Washington Selectboard