By Kara Herlihy

The Moretown Select Board (BOS) along with local townspeople discussed their plans for phasing on the ongoing Town Hall restoration project. The drainage system is the first priority, according to an informal decision made Monday evening, October 15. 

The project is moving along, with a $30,000 matching grant application to the State Historic Preservation in the mail. The town does not expect to hear about the status of the grant until the beginning of January.

In a unanimous vote, the select board granted $700 to the Town Hall to replace the 13 vandalized window panes. Because the windows are replicas, and therefore not technically 'historic,' the State Historical Preservation will not cover them in the grant.

The grant could cover the front porch, chimney, front door and the trim, estimated to cost about $60,000.

The architect for the project, Tom Keefe of Keefe and Wesner, recommended that the floor be fixed up with steel wool and oiling, even though he said that it could definitely take one more sanding.

The board and town hall committee discussed the phasing of the project according to seasonal concerns and cosmetic changes. The kitchen overhaul is a part of the project but will take a back seat to structural issues.

The heating system has been installed, after one furnace was cannibalized to repair the other.

Select board member Don Wexler asked the Town Hall committee if they would be in favor of bidding the entirety of the project out at once, or dealing with it slowly over time. The committee members favored expedience but some mentioned that the tax hit might be too great for a single year.

Committee members suggested bonding half of the cost out and paying for the rest in their taxes. The board plans on following up with Keefe and holding another meeting November 5 at 5:30 p.m.

A representative from John Deere was also present at the meeting to settle a minor dispute over unpaid interest payments on a loader the town had purchased. Initially, the town decided to purchase it over time with payments, then paid for the machine in full at a cost of around $95,000.

John Deere representative Jay Hart of Rutland, appeared before the board to discuss the $4,000-plus he said the town still owed in interest payments. Board members contended because after they paid the machine off in full, they assumed there would be no interest payments.

Board members discussed the lack of thorough communication between John Deere and the town treasurer, and the differences between their original agreement and what was being requested. Some of the members suggested splitting the difference of the interest payments, while Hart assured the late fees tied to said payments would be voided.

The board plans to review the minutes from the meeting where the machine was discussed to clarify the original agreement. Hart was asked to attend the next select board meeting where hopefully the situation will be resolved.

The board also heard from Steve Robbins of the Moretown Planning Commission on the initial proposed revisions to the Town Plan. Robbins mentioned that the proposed changes are 'not radical' and mostly consist of policy additions.