The Georgetown City Council held its regular council meeting on Sept. 3, 2019. All members of the council were present with the exception of Matt Argyle.
The meeting began with approval of the current meeting agenda followed by reading of the minutes of the previous council meeting by Secretary Lynette Smith.
The meeting then went into a Public Hearing to accept the proposed budget for FY 2019-2020. The budget was accepted, and the regular public meeting began again.
Ordinance #98 – Appropriations Ordinance FY 2019-2020 was read and accepted.
Ordinance #97 – Dog Ordinance: Section 4, Definitions was then discussed. The definition of “Vicious Dog” was discussed in depth. In the ordinance, a pit bull is defined as a vicious dog. Both Deanna Morrell and Tami Cook were present and mentioned that they would like the verbiage to be “dangerous” not “vicious.” They said that what is vicious to one person is not to another, and dangerous encompasses more than vicious. They also want to have “pit bull” taken out completely as any dog can be dangerous at any point if provoked, not just pit bulls. They feel that the entire ordinance does not encompass enough and that Montpelier has a really good dog ordinance. They would like to adopt a major portion of Montpelier’s dog ordinance into the Georgetown ordinance. Mayor Waechtler asked Tami and Deanna to spearhead the making of a new ordinance, like Montpelier’s, that will reflect what the people of Georgetown want. They agreed and will try to have something by next month’s meeting. Steve was not satisfied with the fact that the problem has gone on for a long time, and there have been several meetings held about it. He posed the questions, “Where was everyone when that happened.” Why is it being brought up now, and not then?”
Sandra Hannah, who lives up Stringtown, was present and brought to the council the fact that she does not feel safe because of her next-door neighbors who have bigger dogs that are not being watched or taken care of, in her opinion. She feels threatened by the neighbors and the dogs and wants the council to do something to help her. Unfortunately, as the Mayor told her, they can’t help her. She needs to contact the Sheriff and have him come help her until the problem is taken care of. She is unhappy with the dog ordinance as well and feels her needs are not being met. Mayor Waechtler agreed to go talk to the neighbor and see what he can figure out and to understand the situation better.
Sunrise Engineering – Water System Updates: A pre-construction meeting regarding replacing the water line on main street and behind Georgetown Elementary School will be held on Monday, Aug. 9, at 3 p.m. in Georgetown City Hall. Sunrise is looking to start construction towards the end of that week but no later than the 16th of September on the 60-day project. Doug Thompson is worried about doing the work so late in the season. He feels that doing the work, especially close to the school, will cause problems during the winter with the children. His thought is that if they could do the chlorinator building and the pressure reducer valves before snow hits and hold the rest off until June when the kids are out of school it would be better. Mayor Waechtler agreed that it is a viable concern and will talk to them about it during the pre-construction meeting to see what their plan is. He posed the idea that maybe they have enough people to work both places at the same time.
The mayor posed the idea that he would like to give scholarships, from the City of Georgetown, out to four or five seniors graduating this school year to show support to the senior class. They would have to be students in good standing with good grades and be residents of Nounan, Georgetown, or Bennington since the scholarships would come from Georgetown. He presented to the council that he would like to give about $2,000 broken up into four $500 scholarships, or eight $250 scholarships. These would be awarded in the spring at the Senior Banquet. The council agreed that this was a good idea, and they approved it. They also voted and agreed that four $500 scholarships would be best. Marty Nate agreed to speak with Adam about the legality of doing it just for local residents.
Greg Kunz talked about the problem Georgetown has with so many ordinances being old and outdated. He also spoke of the fact that so many of the ordinances, old and new, are not being enforced and how unfair that is to the residents. There are businesses that are in areas that are zoned “residential” but were “grandfathered” in from times past and new businesses that can’t find a place to operate because there are no places left zoned as “commercial.” The entire council recognized that this is a problem and needs to be reconciled. The matter was tabled until the next council meeting.
Small business matters were discussed and checks were signed.
The meeting was adjourned.