Improvements, change in management on horizon in Proctor

By RUSSELL JONES

Many changes are coming to the town of Proctor within the next year.

Over the next several months, residents should see new sidewalks along the park by the town offices; a rebuilt wall in front of those offices and by July of next year the town will welcome a new town manager.

Part of those initiatives are coming from a grant the town was awarded from the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian program in the amount of $35,000.

The selectboard voted in June to apply for the grant to replace the sidewalk from the Railroad Bridge to Electric Avenue to ADA standards. The work will include resetting existing granite curbing and constructing 900 feet of new 5-foot wide concrete sidewalks.

The estimated construction cost for this phase of the project is $71,000. According to the grant stipulations, the town will be responsible for a 50 percent local match to the construction costs. The town will provide the local match from the FY2020 Highway Department Highway Improvement budget and will assume future maintenance.

TOWN OFFICE REPAIR

Repair work on the front wall of the town offices began in August and the work is going smoothly, according to Selectboard chair Bruce Baccei.

“It’s going up nicely,” he said. “I think they have an expected completion date of October.”

The front wall began to lean last year and town officials were worried that it would fall over completely and the wall was braced to keep it upright until repairs could be completed. The wall is part of a renovation project with the town offices that were approved through a $330,000 bond voted on in June.

NEW TOWN MANAGER

Finally, beginning early next year, the board will look for a replacement for Town Manager Stan Wilbur. Wilbur began as town manager after retiring from his job as a civil engineer on the same day that Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011.

He informed the board last year of his decision to retire in June of 2020. At the selectboard meeting on Aug. 26, Lisa Miser asked if the community would have any input in the hiring process.

““Town managers don’t just deal with the five of you,” she told the board. “(The town manager) encompasses a great deal and must have relationships with all members of the community.”

Miser is the chair of the Quarry Valley Unified Union board and suggested that the selectboard take a page out of the school board’s book of hiring principals and superintendents and get public input in the process.

Baccei said it was very early in the process and that while they would listen to any public comments, the decision was up to the board as they have the responsibility to hire the person they feel is qualified.

Wilbur said there is expected to be a month of overlap where he can show the new town manager around and get him accustomed to the job. “One of the toughest parts of the job is just finding the right files,” Wilbur said of the town’s complex filing system. “Even now I still have to search the computer for the right files I need.”

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