2017-07-06 / Front Page

Northfield May Get Gold Star Families Monument

Staff Report
The Northfield News

Northfield may be getting a new monument to honor Gold Star families according to Richard Wobby who appeared before the Northfield Selectboard last week to talk about the proposal.

Mr. Wobby said about six  months ago he was approached by a national group that designs Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments about situating a monument in Vermont.

After consultation with Governor Phil Scott’s office, Mr. Wobby recommended that the best location would be in Northfield adjacent to Norwich University.

He noted that there is a small park-like area between Harmon Drive and Vermont Route 12 that he favors.

The property currently is owned by the municipality so he is seeking the Selectboard’s permission to site the monument there. He also would like permission to work with Tree Warden Russ Barrett to remove or relocate some trees at this location.

He said that the cost of the monument is about $100,000 and about half has already been raised. Once installed, the monument would be maintained by Norwich..

 The original plan was to have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Memorial Day 2018 but Mr. Wobby has been asked if this could be moved up to Veterans Day 2017. There would be no direct cost to the municipality and the monument very likely would attract additional visitors to Northfield.

Selectman Nate Freeman felt this was an excellent proposal and thanked Mr. Wobby for all his work on this to date. He asked if there wasn’t already consideration of the municipality selling this particular parcel to Norwich.

Chair Kenny Goslant acknowledged that there have been some thought to this. He asked Mr. Wobby if the Crescent area might not be a better location for the memorial.

Mr. Wobby disagreed as he thought the Crescent area was too open a space and active throughout the year. He felt the memorial should be located in a place that would allow for quiet contemplation.

Chair Goslant noted even though the municipality owns the parcel in question, Norwich makes use of it ninety-five percent  of the time.

Selectman Dave Maxwell felt that since the municipality and Norwich both appear to be in favor of this project, it should make no difference who ultimately owns the property.

In other matters, Arlington Supplee from the Board of Listers appeared before the board to talk about Pond Valuation.

Mr. Supplee said in the interest of fairness and consistency, the Listers worked last winter to create clear guidelines on how much the presence of a pond on a parcel would affect its valuation. The new checklist measures the impact of a pond by considering both its quality (i.e. appearance) and quantity (i.e. size). In rare cases, the potential negative effects of a pond (i.e. flooding/erosion) might result in lowering the parcel’s valuation. There are seventy-three discernable ponds in Northfield and all but three are man-made. Mr. Supplee said that the new pond valuation would increase the Grand List by about $290,000.

Ambulance Chief Lawton Rutter reported that with less than a week remaining in the current fiscal year, the Northfield Ambulance Service (NAS) has seen increases in the numbers of calls for service (805 to 857), total run sheets (856 to 901), and billable transports (613 to 649).

He added that run volume has increased every year and monthly totals indicate more NAS responses during the late spring through early fall period when people are more active. Even though the regional population hasn’t grown significantly in recent years, the aging of the population has resulted for more calls for service for all regional ambulance services.

The board also moved to approve the Bull Run Solar Farm.  Manager Schulz said he met with William Veve and Victor Veve from VWSD in order to finalize the Northfield Electric Department’s  agreement with them.

He said that the town has received the Certificate of Public Good from the Public Service Board and are ready to begin installing the solar farm.

VWSD’s initial offer for net metering credits for the municipality was ten percent  but after negotiation this has been increased to seventeen percent. The agreements have been reviewed and accepted by legal counsel specializing in utility matters.

Mr. Fitzhugh from the Utility Board said that this is one of a number of similar agreements NED will need to reach in order to increase its renewable energy portfolio to meet increasing PSB mandates.

He stressed that there is no need to increase NED rates at this time but this may be necessary at a future date due to the higher cost of renewable energy sources.

Selectman Doney asked when the radar speed sign would be installed in Northfield Falls as residents there have complained about speeding cars along Vermont Route 12. Manager Schulz has submitted the paperwork to the state to do this and will check the status of this request tomorrow. Selectman Maxwell suggested that a second radar sign should be purchased for the south end of town. Manager Schulz will discuss this with NPD Chief Jennings.

Manager Schulz noted that there is a $15,000 offer to purchase the old fire truck that was replaced by a newer one. Chair Goslant noted the original estimate for its resale value was $45,000. This seems to have been a poor calculation. He added the public was told resale of the old truck would partially pay for the new one. Selectman Maxwell doesn’t see any reason to rush the sale if there is a chance of a higher sale price. Manager Schulz will re-advertise the vehicle.

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