West Rutland selectboard works to improve affordable housing


WEST RUTLAND—The Westside selectboard met on Monday, Sept. 12, to discuss several upcoming projects, including a potential $450,000 Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) grant aimed at affordable housing upgrades, a new $30,000 Carving Studio and Sculpture center-led sculpture trail, and ongoing issues with OMYA truck traffic on Whipple Hollow Road.

NeighborWorks Director of Operations Melanie Paskevich summarized the $450,000 grant proposal on a new project featuring 27 low-income single-family home repairs and three rental unit repairs serving Addison, Rutland, and Bennington counties.  

Potential repairs include health and safety modifications, efficiency measures, handicap accessibility, lead-based paint removal, homeownership services, program management, and general administration upgrades.  

NeighborWorks and the West Rutland have a history of partnering on similar projects for over twenty years, and the board moved unanimously to sign a resolution for the VCDP grant application. 

The board heard from The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center about installing a sculpture trail near their sculpture garden.  The total cost of the project would be $30,000 (as part of a 50/50 grant) for design and construction—$10,00 of which has already been raised.  The board agreed to provide the remaining $5000, and Town Manager Mary Goulette agreed to prepare the grant paperwork and gather letters of support.

Ms. Goulette discussed having met with the OMYA team to discuss their truck traffic impacts on Whipple Hollow Road, including increasing maintenance costs and a potential bridge replacement, noting that Pittsford’s police department had issued $120,000 in truck fines over the last year alone. 

The OMYA team said they are trying to address the problem via specific instructions and signage for their truck carriers. It was agreed that the board would send a letter to OMYA outlining the unforeseen maintenance costs and impact fees.

In other business, the board:

Heard from Jack Greshober on the sidewalk scoping alternatives presentation. Greshober recapped the project’s purpose and need statement and input from the previous public hearing.  Four new potential sidewalk alternatives were presented: A sidewalk with a curb and green space, a sidewalk with an integral curb, a sidewalk at grade, and a sidewalk with a retaining wall.  

A preferred alternative was evaluated and recommended for each of the seven segments based on the best fit of that project area.  Segment 7 on Dewey Avenue included a look at both sides of the street, with preference given to the north side because of fewer impacts.  The next steps for the project are a VTrans review, the issuing of the final report, and detailed cost estimates.  

Heard from Fuss & O’Neil on a $123,573.81 proposal for a new marble pathway design. The cost was higher than the initial estimate, but VTrans-at-the-ready consultant services said it was in line with other proposals it had seen this year. The town’s match is 20%, and it was thought that they might need to ask for additional grant money once the right-out-way process is finished. The board voted unanimously to accept the proposal.

Set the water and sewer rates with the following increases:  Water Base $8, Water Bond $8.50 (for the Pleasant Sreet project), and Sewer Fixed $12 for a total increase of $28.50.  Ms. Gourette also noted that the $140 sewer bond is paid off and no longer billed.   The board approved the semi-annual water and sewer rates at $123 Water Base, $108 Water Bond, and Sewer Fixed at $220, for a total of $451. 

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