Wed, Aug 28, 2013 07:18 PM
Recreation audit out to bid
The alderman board voted to accept bids on a four-year forensic
audit of the city's recreation and parks department. Proponents
believe an external audit is the best way to restore public
Former recreation superintendent EJay Bishop admitted he spent
about $47,000 for architectural services without the board's
approval. Although Bishop over-stepped his authority, he was trying
to achieve what he felt was the city's long-term good, his
Examining bids will set a figure for the audit, but what entity
will provide the funds is another question. Mayor Louras has
already nixed use of the city contingency fund.
As it is, an audit may yield too little information to be worth the
expense, let alone the public uproar. Neither a standard nor a
forensic audit was likely to catch the monetary glitch. City
financial procedures did. The city's internal auditor caught the
expenditures as part of a year-end accounting procedure, studying
all companies receiving more than $5,000 to see what they
The aldermen are considering improvements to Baxter St. Alley, a
pathway connecting Baxter St. to West St. also known as Burns'
Alley. The Vermont Farmers Food Center has already designed a plan
for the project, complete with lighting, and an estimate somewhat
higher than $64,000. Community donors have offered to pitch in some
in-kind, monetary and volunteer contributions, paring project cost
by about $11,000.
VFCC president Greg Cox views the project as beneficial on multiple
fronts, reducing drug use and crime, and providing a connection
between the city's northwest neighborhood and downtown. Vermont
Railway holds title to the path's right of way.
Preserving the rail car
Also on Greg Cox's plate is building an enclosure for the
century-old passenger rail car scheduled to be given to the city by
Vermont Railway in October. Funding for that project has yet to be
raised. Railroad representatives have visited the site and final
approval is pending. Then the rails that will hold the car will be
connected and West Street will close temporarily while a pair of
industrial cranes move the car to its new location.
The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce has raised $10,000 to help
finance the project; use of the cranes will soak up $8,000. Once in
place, the car will become part of the Chamber's marketing plan for
Planning for Halloween!
You might not feel the chill in the air yet, but fall is on its
way. The Rutland Rec. Department is already accepting applications
for this year's Halloween parade set for Oct. 26.
A campaign for new welcome signage
As a member of the Creative Economic group - not as executive
director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership - Mike Coppinger is
soliciting donations for new signage at city limits welcoming
visitors to Rutland. He's trying to collect $7,300 to put fresh
signs at the city's four main entrances: north and south on Route
7, east and west on Route 4. His vision is for one sign to display
the city's branding image and collect tags for community groups
such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and other messages like 'Click It or Tick
It." Combining these welcoming messages would improve the
impression visitors receive, he says.
The Department of Public
Works has pledged $300 in support for Coppinger's campaign, while
police and firefighters unions have expressed an interest in
helping with the expense. Because the signs would be outside the
downtown area, DRP is not planning to be involved. It has already
put up a number of signs in and at entrances to downtown, including
new banners on West Street. If private groups raise half the money,
Coppinger has said he might ask the Board of Aldermen for the other
An option for sharing water and sewer?
An engineering study recently explored the feasibility of Center
Rutland's connecting with West Rutland's water and sewer system.
Rutland Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Jamie Stewart
told the West Rutland select board that the municipality could draw
75 percent of the $1.7 million project from federal funds; the
remainder could come from new user revenue without affect to West
Rutland's current rate structure.
Engineer Mark Youngstrom had volunteered to write the report,
saying he already possessed "99 percent" of the information needed
because he had performed so much relevant work in the communities.
The redevelopment of Center Rutland has long been hampered by its
lack of municipal water and sewer.
Hazardous waste receives grant
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources recently awarded $29,452 to
the Rutland County Solid Waste District to help RCSWD with its
hazardous waste pick-up and disposal programs. The funds aid the
district to continue collecting hazardous waste from town transfer
stations across the county as well as work with other programs that
divert solid/hazardous waste from landfills and waste streams. A
small part of the award also goes for outreach and education on the
new law concerning organics.
Lani's weekly calendar picks
Friday, Aug. 30 - The Vermont State Fair opens providing a look at
contemporary agriculture, 4-H projects, rides, concerts, displays,
and lots of fun. Personal favorites include laughing with Rosaire's
Racing Pigs, reveling in the young folks' livestock shows and
horsemanship, seeing the fun and creativity of the 4-H animal
costume class, wandering through the livestock barns, listening to
music from the Sugarhouse Stage, eating freshly churned butter and
midway food, and more. Continues through Sept. 8.
Sunday, Sept. 1 - The New Christy Minstrels and guest Barry McGuire
bring music of the '60s to the Paramount stage. 3 p.m.