On October 23, 2015

Killington concerns addressed

Dear Editor,

There have been several issues before the Select Board recently, both old and new that I would like to continue to update the community on: Road signs and maintenance as well as the search for a new town manager.

First, as we have all probably heard by now, our town manager Seth Webb is stepping down from his post, effective at the end of the year, to assume the mantle of managing director for Tusk Ventures. I want to say how much I appreciate the hard work and dedication Seth has brought to our town since first being hired as director of the EDT in 2010 and then as town manager in 2011 during the very challenging task of managing the town in the midst and aftereffects of Tropical Storm Irene.

We, as a town, have grown, evolved and become a better place due to his efforts and skills. Among the many things that have occurred during his tenure here is a strong focus on creating an economically vibrant town, one focused on the entire year and not just the ski season.

Seth Webb created a Strategic Plan adopted by the Selectboard to give the town a framework focused on the future and our future needs while at the same time maintaining and improving municipal functions for residents, second homeowners and visitors. Webb was instrumental in creating many partnerships and collaborations that have helped us become more cost effective in the many areas, including promoting our town as a summer destination, improving our curb appeal with beautification projects and infrastructure improvements. In short, he gave us a framework that will guide us well into the future to be the best town we can be, economically efficient and vibrant to attract both new visitors and new residents.

The Selectboard has determined a plan to replace Webb that relies on input from stakeholders (senior staff from our municipality, elected and appointed officials) as well as a citizens search committee to act in an advisory capacity to the Selectboard in hiring a new town manager. We have hired VLCT (Vermont League of Cities & Towns) to help manage the process, which we expect to take approximately 3-6 months. This means we will be looking into hiring an interim town manager to keep things running smoothly until we have hired a new candidate. It will be a busy time for the Selectboard and ask that everyone have patience while we move through the process. It is a time to come together so that the town will have the best transition possible.

Second, there has also been some displeasure expressed by a few people regarding sign maintenance. Unfortunately a combination stop sign/road name sign on West Park Road was reported knocked down in the beginning of 2014. That sign was actually replaced on Feb. 11, 2014. Unfortunately, one of the delays was the bottom piece of the post holder (the section in the ground that the post is inserted to) was damaged requiring an entirely new hole to be dug into frozen ground. After several attempts using town equipment failed, an independent contractor (Craig Mosher) had to be hired to complete the job. The town has since purchased equipment to replace signs in the winter ground so that it may be done in a timely fashion. The replacement post was is a three-sided breakaway post, which met the state standards for safety, as the town still has quite a few of these in stock. We thought it fiscally responsible to use this supply up before spending money on the newer four-sided signposts. The street sign was also pulled from town inventory, so it does not have the small white border seen on the newer signs.

Over the past few years the Selectboard and Planning Commission have been moving towards incorporating “Complete Streets” for our town. The purpose of this is to make our roadways and streets more user-friendly and safe for pedestrians and bikers as well as car traffic. This incorporates using traffic calming measures without relying on just speed signs and law enforcement. This includes, crosswalks, such as at Dean Hill Road and lane/shoulder configurations that discourage speeding, yet help traffic flow smoothly. This will create both safer streets for everyone but is also a large challenge in terms of how to get there since, we as a community, are known to have a lot of diverse ideas on how to accomplish any of our goals.

Again, thank you to all on any side of an issue for both your input and your help in trying to create a reasonable balance.

Thank you for your time and considerations,

Patty McGrath, Killington Select Board Chair

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