By Lani Duke
Town addresses infrastructure needs
FAIR HAVEN—The hangar at Fair Haven’s one-time airport is falling into disrepair and needs structural work soon, consultant Wayne Burleson wrote in a letter to the town. The building “will not stand much more weather” without repair, he warned. Those repairs include replacing some of the footings to align the hangar’s structural points, and repairs to the roof and several purlins, the structural plates that support the roof covering. Burleson is a principal in the Castleton company Burleson Builders, Inc.
Fair Haven voters will be asked to decide whether to spend more than $2 million for water line improvements on March 1. The Select Board has approved placing a bond item of $2,120,000 or less on the Town Meeting ballot. The work would bring water line segments on North Main, Fourth and Mechanic streets up to standard as base projects, while replacing segments on Maple, Liberty, Pine, and Depot streets, plus on Route 4A and Dutton Avenue, considered short-term planning projects. According to Select Board Chair Bob Richards, the water line work is overdue, intended to make sure fire hydrants receive adequate pressure while replacing “old decrepit stuff.” If approved, construction would begin in summer 2017.
Rather than continuing to rent a road grader semi-annually, at a cost of about $20,000 a year, Fair Haven’s Select Board has voted to purchase a used grader from Brandon; the machine bears a $30,000 price tag. It will be used to grade the town’s gravel roads. Money for the purchase is drawn from the town’s reserve fuwnd, currently holding an available balance of $172,000. It is expected to pay for itself in two years. The town is also considering gathering estimates for a “wing plow truck, including trade-in.
Refusing admittance proves costly
FAIR HAVEN—The Vermont Supreme Court has decided that Lauritz Rasmussen’s decision to bar Fair Haven Board of Civil Authority (BCA) entry into his home has cost him the right to appeal his property assessment. Rasmussen had appealed the town listers’ $585,800 assessed value for his West Park Place property. When the BCA came to inspect the property, Rasmussen refused admission to his residence; in his filed appeal to the Property Valuation and Review Division, Rasmussen said the inspection was an “unreasonable search,” questioning its constitutionality. He owns a 7.58-acre parcel containing a main house plus one rental on each additional parcel. Associate Justice Harold Eaton wrote that Rasmussen’s belief that he could allow inspection of only part of his property is inconsistent with law.
School history sought
FAIR HAVEN—As Fair Haven Grade School approaches its centennial year in 2017, Fair Haven Historical Society historian Dani Laramie Roberts is digging into the building’s history. That history seems to be in short supply. Her microfilm spooling through the Fair Haven Era, Poultney Journal, and Rutland Herald have failed to turn up much information. Nor have diaries, Historical Society records, or town and school records. Roberts is asking locals to look through their family memorabilia to see if they might have photos, newspaper clippings, diaries, letters, and personal school reports to help fill in the gaps in her files.
Community church welcomes a new pastor
MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS—Middletown Springs Community Church is welcoming Mathews George as its new pastor. A native of India, George holds the master of arts in Christian leadership and has been a pastor in the United States for nine years.
Anyone want an old fire station?
CASTLETON—Castleton’s Masonic Lee Lodge 30 has rights of first refusal on the old fire station property on Elm Street. The Masons had sold the land to the town for $1 in 1947 and have expressed interest in regaining its title for “a reasonable price” Select Board approval for the seeming favoritism arises from the organization’s donation of property to the town for the town garage and the fire station, according to Board Chair Joe Bruno. Town property records value the building, land, and yard items at $326,200, with a second building on the property assessed separately at $46,200. Local businessman John Rehlen has offered a $51,350 bid for the property, the only bid at this point. The Select Board turned down that proposal and is considering advertising the property itself before hiring a real estate agent to market the Elm Street parcel.