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Newsletter Changes: The Town of Colchester is changing newsletter distribution for those who receive it via email. We will be discontinuing the current distribution on May 3. Sign up to continue to receive the Town Newsletter here. You must sign up again to receive the newsletter. If you receive the newsletter via Front Porch Forum, our direct distribution includes graphics and pictures.

Manager’s Message

Aaron Frank, Town Manager

Green Up Day

Green Up Day will be held Saturday, May 1 from 8:00–12:30 p.m. at the Colchester Police Department. Green Up bags will be available at the Colchester Police Department beginning April 24 for folks that would like to begin prior to Green Up Day. A sign-up sheet will be located on a table with the bags, outside the front entrance, for people to put # of bags taken, # of people helping and location of trash pickup.

Bags can be left on the side of any public road in a place where town staff and truck can safely stop — and not on the bike path or school grounds, if that's the area being cleaned, or bags can be dropped off in the container in front of the town offices by Sunday, May 2. Metal should be kept separate and placed next to — not into — the bags along with other bulky items.

Thank you in advance to all who volunteer to keep our community clean and green!


COVID UPDATE

Recent Cases: Chittenden County has had 869 new cases in the last 14 days. There have been 93 cases in the last week. 

https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/current-activity/vermont-dashboard

Vermont is currently no longer in the “green” on the nationwide COVID-19 map, citing surges in cases similar to, or in some cases worse than, other states. By taking action now, Vermonters can slow the spread and help to avoid a spike in cases.

The VT Dept. of Health recommends still avoiding gathering with multiple households indoors, and if you have to gather, try to do so outdoors with masks and keep at least a 6-foot distance. Try to avoid non-essential travel until you are fully vaccinated, and comply with quarantine requirements if you do travel outside the state. 

Vaccination Eligibility: The COVID-19 vaccine registration is officially open to those 40 and older starting Monday, April 5.

Set up an account.  You may set up an account in advance of your vaccine registration opening date. https://vermont.force.com/events/s/selfregistration

Vaccine Eligibility open to all BIPOC: As of Thursday, April 1, vaccination eligibility has been expanded for Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color ages 16 and older, as well as their family members. The reason for this change includes the almost two-fold risk of hospitalization for BIPOC residents. Additionally, the percentage of BIPOC Vermonters who have received at least one dose of the vaccine is 20.2%, lagging behind the rate for non-Hispanic whites, which is at 33.4%. 

Additionally, parents and primary caregivers of children with certain high-risk conditions became eligible for the vaccine on Wednesday, March 31. Those wishing to schedule a vaccination appointment can do so online at http://healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine, or by calling 855-722-7878.

Vaccination FAQ: Should I get the vaccine if I have already contracted COVID-19 and recovered? 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says yes, those who have recovered from COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, since getting infected again, while rare, is still a possibility. One exception is if you have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19, you should wait 90 days before receiving the vaccine. Also, if you currently have COVID-19, you should wait until you are fully recovered and out of the isolation period, according to the CDC. For more information, visit the CDC’s FAQ page. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html).

Benefits of Getting a Vaccine: The CDC and Vermont Department of Health both recommend getting a vaccine to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. You can find an FAQ handout from the Dept. of Health here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/COVID19-Vaccine-FAQ-Handout.pdf

The CDC document of Covid-19 benefits can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html

Vaccination Progress: As of Friday, April 2, 213,656 Vermonters, or 38.9% of the state’s population have had at least one dose of the vaccine. 126,761 Vermonters, or 23%, have been fully vaccinated.

https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-dashboard

According to the CDC, as of March 31, Vermont is currently ranked first in the nation for those 65 years old and up who have been fully or partially vaccinated. 

Unemployment:  During the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the unemployment rate rose extremely fast—declined quickly and is beginning to rise, at least in Colchester and Vermont.  Initially, the Colchester unemployment rate rose from 1.9% to 13.3% in two months.  We are now at 2.5% unemployment. Info on past downturns: https://colchestervt.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/693

The 2.5% unemployment represents people who are actively looking for a job.  The unemployment rate would not include people who cannot work due to lack of childcare or a variety of other reasons.  From February 2020 to February 2021, the unemployment rate has gone up by 0.6% in Colchester, or 42 more people are unemployed.  However, in the last month, from January 2021 to February 2021, the unemployment rate in the Town has decreased by 0.4%, which means 30 more people are working this month than last. Unemployment definitions: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm. National, State, County and Colchester Unemployment: http://www.vtlmi.info/laus.pdf

Unemployment Rates (%) in Current Economic Downturn

Month

Colchester

Chittenden County

Vermont

US

Feb 2020 (for perspective)

1.9

1.8

2.6

3.8

Mar 2020

2.6

2.5

2.9

4.5

April 2020

13.3

14.2

15.0

14.4

May 2020

10.6

11.7

9.4

13.0

Jun 2020

7.7

8.7

7.9

11.2

July 2020

6.8

7.6

6.6

10.5

August 2020

3.8

4.3

5.0

8.5

September 2020

3.3

3.7

4.5

7.7

October 2020

1.9

2.1

2.9

6.6

November 2020

2.2

2.4

3.2

6.4

December 2020

2.3

2.5

3.3

6.5

January 2021

2.9

3.1

3.7

6.8

February 2021

2.5

2.7

3.3

6.6

Face Masks Available

Need a new face mask? Free cloth face masks with tie backs in a variety of colors will be available at the Town Clerk’s Office at 781 Blakely Road starting, Monday April 5. Grab up to five masks for yourself or others at the office between 7:30 A.M. and noon, Monday through Friday. They will be available until they run out.


Bryan Osborne

Director of Public Works

The Department of Public Works has completed and submitted the Town’s updated MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Permit to the State of Vermont for approval. The MS4 is a federal stormwater permit that the Town is subject to and authorizes the Town’s stormwater discharges.

Colchester is one of ten MS4 communities in the surrounding area, all of which have to complete many requirements in regards to stormwater. One of these requirements is for the Town to design a Phosphorous Control Plan to help reduce phosphorous runoff to Lake Champlain.

The Town’s stormwater utility applied for, and in the fall of 2017 was awarded, a $40,000 grant from the State’s Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation Program to cover the costs of creating this Phosphorous Control Plan. 

Reducing phosphorous runoff is extremely important for the Town of Colchester and the state. Phosphorous runoff comes mostly from fertilizer and animal feed, and in recent years has caused an extreme imbalance in waterways and Lake Champlain. While phosphorous is a naturally occurring substance in the natural environment, the current levels are well over the normal levels. These imbalances impair watersheds and can cause algal blooms that can be harmful to wildlife and humans and impair lakefront economies. 

The improvements created in the Colchester Phosphorous Control Plan and the entire MS4 permit aim to help reduce phosphorous runoff and keep Malletts Bay and Lake Champlain healthy and safe for humans and wildlife alike.

More news:

  • Working within the right-of-way phase for the reconstruction of the Prim and West Lakeshore Drive Intersection.

  • Currently working on the design and engineering needed for the future construction of a single lane roundabout at the Bayside intersection.

  • Working within the right-of-way phase for stormwater improvements in Shore Acres and the surrounding area to improve water quality in Malletts Bay. 

  • Advancing reconstruction efforts for a stormwater outfall located behind the Town’s Police Station

  • Advancing the FY22 Stormwater and Wastewater Budget to a public hearing scheduled for April 9, 2021.


Kathi O’Reilly

Director of Economic Development

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of economic unrest around the country and the world. Businesses have shuttered their doors, employees have been laid off, and while the unemployment rate has continued to drop, some have still struggled to recover. During the pandemic, often the success of a business or low unemployment numbers has depended on the industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries like leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and construction are less telework-friendly than industries like finance, insurance, and educational services, and therefore have seen more of a negative impact during the pandemic.

Here in Colchester, the same rings true for some of our local businesses. Many restaurants and businesses that require in-person transactions have experienced hardship. Please support your neighbors and buy from your local businesses here in Colchester to keep our economy strong! 

More news:

  • Continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our business community. Sector-specific research has been conducted and continues to be monitored.

  • Monitoring vacancies and pandemic impact to commercial buildings and also impacts to small businesses who are affected by remote workers.

  • Monitor state and federal information as it relates to COVID-19 and our business community.


Upcoming Town Meetings 

Agendas available at: https://clerkshq.com/Colchester-vt

- Planning Commission: April 20 at 7:00 P.M. via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/9359846003; Zoom Meeting ID: 935 984 6003: 

- Live stream:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLljLFn4BZd2MtMV4SzmzYI6grkrjrcbym

- Mail or email public testimony prior to the hearing (shadd@colchestervt.gov or Town of Colchester Planning Commission, 781 Blakely Road, Colchester, VT  05446)

- Development Review Board: Next meeting: April 14 at 7:00 PM via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/9359846003; Zoom Meeting ID: 935 984 6003

- Live stream:  http://lcatv.org/live-stream-2

-Mail or email public comments prior to the hearing (lriddle@colchestervt.gov)or Town of Colchester, c/o Development Review Board, 781 Blakely Road, Colchester, VT 05446) or participate at public comment periods during the Zoom meeting. 

- Recreation Advisory Board: Next meeting: TBA

Conservation Commission: 3rd Monday of the month. Next meeting: April 19, 2021 at 6:00 PM. Dial: 1-929-205-6099;Meeting ID: 940 0941 6919;Passcode: 291046

Library Board of Trustees: Next meeting: April 15, 2021 at 4:30 PM. Dial: 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 945 6255 3201 Passcode: 610770.

- Special Meeting of the Library Board of Trustees: April 22, 2021 at 9:00 A.M. Dial: 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 939 5640 7441 Passcode: 929760

Selectboard: Next meeting: April 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM. Attend via phone: 1-929-205-6099; Meeting ID: 936 3297 3311; Passcode: 692394 Alternatively, send a note to TownManager@colchestervt.gov with “Citizens to be Heard” in the Subject and your name.  As with in-person Citizens to be Heard, we ask that you SHARE YOUR ADDRESS. The email will be shared with the entire Selectboard prior to the meeting and included in the information packet at the next meeting. Watch the meeting online via live stream: http://lcatv.org/live-stream-2

Selectboard Agenda: www.bit.ly/Colchester-SB-Agendas

Subscribe to the Town Newsletter: https://www.colchestervt.gov/list.aspx

For more information or to comment call 264-5509 or email townmanager@colchestervt.gov

 

 

 

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