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Manager’s Message

Aaron Frank, Town Manager

The Town of Colchester wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  

The fall Clean Water Newsletter includes upcoming and recently completed stormwater projects and tips to reduce salt-use safely this winter: https://colchestervt.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5494/Clean_Water_Newsletter_Fall2019_100419  

Selectboard Budget Work sessions: Nov. 17-19: The Selectboard reviewed a draft of expenses and heard reports including:

  • Fire – Chief Bourgeois provided an update to the board regarding the activity, equipment and progress of the newly formed municipal fire department.

  • Police – Chief Allen provided a presentation on staffing, recruitment, training and services of the Colchester Police Department.

  • Public Works – Director Bryan Osborne provided an overview of the staff, services and current/future projects within the department.

  • Parks & Recreation – Director Glen Cuttitta provided an update regarding the changes that have been implemented in response to COVID in order to continue to provide recreation opportunities to the community.

  • Library – Director Kelly McCagg shared highlights of the programs that have been created in response to COVID.  They are continuing to find new ways to engage with the community.

  • Health Services – Town Manager Aaron Frank reviewed proposed funding levels for the external entities that assist with protecting and improving the health and welfare of the community.  

  • Intergovernmental – Aaron Frank reviewed proposed and required funding of the intergovernmental agencies that request funding.  

The budget will be formally presented to the Selectboard at the December 8 Meeting and a Public Hearing will be held on January 12th. 

The Selectboard also approved sending a letter in support of a transportation alternatives grant applied for by the Department of Public Works.


COVID-19 UPDATE 

Please respect the Governor's orders to give up spending time in-person with friends and family outside of your household.  Below are some reasons to do so.

State/Regional/National COVID Numbers, Trends and Modeling: https://dfr.vermont.gov/sites/finreg/files/doc_library/dfr-covid19-modeling-111720.pdf

Unemployment:  During the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the unemployment rate rose extremely fast—but is now declining quickly, 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 1.9% unemployment, where we were in February.  Info on past downturns: https://colchestervt.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/693

The 1.9% unemployment rate only 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.  In October 2020, 7.5% or 812 fewer Colchester residents were working than in October 2019.  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

Chitt. County

Vermont

US

Feb 2020 (for perspective)

1.9

1.8

2.6

3.8

Mar 2020

2.6

2.5

3.4

4.5

April 2020

13.3

14.2

16.8

14.4

May 2020

10.6

11.7

12.7

13.0

Jun 2020

7.7

8.7

9.5

11.2

July 2020

6.8

7.6

8.2

10.5

August 2020

3.8

4.3

4.8

8.5

September 2020

3.3

3.7

4.2

7.7

October 2020

1.9

2.1

2.4

6.6

Let us be safe and careful and hang on to these employment gains!

St. Michaels College COVID Cases: 79 total cases including seven new cases as of 11/20/2020. Find their updates at https://www.smcvt.edu/return-to-campus/

COVID Cases in Colchester: 183 total cases as of 11/18/2020. This is 10 more cases than last week.  This includes the Saint Michaels cases.

COVID Cases by town: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/current-activity/covid-19-communities


Colchester Rescue

Chief Scott Crady

There were 181 emergency medical calls in the last 30 days, compared to 139 calls last year for the same time frame. 

We would like to welcome two new volunteers: Shannon Spaulding and Bill White. Shannon and Bill are licensed EMTs and they both work for UVMMC. Shannon is also a volunteer member of the Colchester Fire Department. 

Colchester Rescue’s Volunteer, Per-Diem and Career staff continue to provide excellent and professional service to the community. Throughout this pandemic, personnel at Colchester Rescue have stepped up to this unprecedented challenge, regardless of their role. Assistant Chief Rebecca Alemy and I would like to publicly thank all of our personnel for their commitment and professionalism in providing uninterrupted service to Colchester and surrounding communities.

Colchester Rescue: http://colchestervt.gov/rescue or call (802) 264-5990.


Planning & Zoning

Sarah Hadd, Director

The Colchester Planning and Zoning Department would like to remind the community that trailers, boats and RVs should be stored in the side or rear yards of residential properties at least five feet off the property line.  Contact our department for details.

The Colchester Development Review Board met Nov. 18 via Zoom and approved a seawall for the Spauldings West Shore Association, a reduced deck in the Shoreland District at 885 East Lakeshore Drive and a sketch plan application for a three-lot subdivision at 356 Watkins Road.  An appeal of building permit #27681 at 1446 Marble Island Road was denied.

The Development Review Board will meet again via Zoom Dec. 9 to consider the planned unit development application of St. Michaels College for a six-lot subdivision at Ethan Allen Ave.

Permit applications can be submitted online via www.tinyurl.com/ColchesterApply 

Curious about Colchester properties?  Our online map shows zoning, assessment and a variety of other information including commercial properties.  The map can be found online at www.tinyurl.com/colchestervtmap

Requests for inspections and other information can be obtained by emailing  pzinfo@colchestervt.gov  

Visit http://colchestervt.gov/planningz or call (802) 264-5600.


Colchester Fire Department

Chief Stephen Bourgeois

The past month we responded to 91 calls for service which included:

  • 6 fires
  • 40 rescue or emergency medical calls
  • 7 hazardous conditions calls
  • 9 service calls
  • 10 good intent calls
  • 19 false alarms or false calls

We continue to adapt our operations as it relates to changes in COVID-19. We are doing everything possible to keep our members and the public safe.

A reminder to everyone the heating season is upon us and we ask that you consider the following:

  • Have your heating systems and chimneys inspected by a licensed professional.
  • Test your smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Make sure you have working CO (carbon monoxide) detectors on every level of your home.

Stay safe and please wear a mask!

For more information visit https://colchestervt.gov/3245/Fire-Department or call 802-862-4415.


Upcoming Town Meetings 

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

  • Planning Commission: Next meeting: TBA 

  • Development Review Board: Development Review Board: Next meeting: 7 p.m. Dec. 9 via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/9359846003; Zoom Webinar 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:  Dec. 21. Details to follow.

  • Library Board of Trustees: 3rd Thursday of the month, 4:30 PM. Next meeting Dec. 17 via Zoom. 
  • Selectboard: Next regular meeting: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. Residents are welcome to attend via phone at 802-255-4075; Meeting PIN 03883 or alternatively send a note to TownManager@colchestervt.gov with “Citizens to be Heard” in the Subject and their 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.

  • Live stream:  http://lcatv.org/live-stream-2
  • Selectboard Agenda: bit.ly/Colchester-SB-Agendas

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

For more information or comment: 802.264.5509 or townmanager@colchestervt.gov

Written By

Staff Writer

Bridget Higdon is a Staff Writer. She was previously the editor-in-chief of The Vermont Cynic, UVM's independent newspaper. She’s been published in Seven Days, Editor & Publisher and Vermont Vacation Guide. She likes to cook and explore Vermont by bike.

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