Town to investigate community center options

By Ben Moger-Williams
Observer staff

Williston took a step toward creating a town community center at Monday’s Selectboard meeting. The board created a Community Center Task Force, whose purpose is to “assess the need for a community center, analyze potential locations, develop preliminary cost estimates and evaluate the potential for private contributions.”

The task force will be made up of a member of the Selectboard, three community members and one member of the Recreation Committee. While creating the task force, the board also decided to appoint Selectboard Chairman Terry Macaig to the task force, as well as Planning Commission Chairman David Yandell and Carroll and Joanne Lawes. The Lawes’ had previously approached Town Manager Rick McGuire, saying they were interested in trying to raise funds for the center.

The task force will report back to the Selecboard in June with its findings.


McGuire said town representatives had met Monday morning with the Chittenden Solid Waste District to discuss a possible buyout of the 1992 host town agreement between Williston and the District. The agreement requires the town to support the District’s proposal for a regional landfill off Redmond Road. The landfill, which has not yet been officially proposed, has sparked opposition by residents, who say it will create health and economic hazards.

McGuire said at the meeting, he and Selectwoman Judy Sassorossi asked the District several questions including the town’s liability for trash dumped in the Coventry landfill, and for the existing, closed landfills in Williston. Three closed landfills are located in Williston, two of which are unlined. The town also asked about flow control and importing trash from out of state.

McGuire said the District was reviewing their questions and they would be discussed at a second meeting Dec. 4.



The board also received an update from the Public Safety Building Committee. Lucas Jensen, committee chairman, said the project was moving forward smoothly, and there is even some “contingency money” left that the committee was considering spending. Jensen said the money could be spent on items that were removed from the original plans to make the buildings come in under budget. The original $6.8 million allotted for the project in 2004 turned out to be not enough due to increased construction costs. The town went back to voters in June and won approval for an additional $1.2 million for the new police and fire stations. Lucas said of that money, the committee is expecting to have as much as $200,000 left over.

“It’s an opportunity for us to add back in what we cut out,” Jensen said.

Possible items to add back include a $5,600 flagpole installation, and furnishings for both buildings.

Selectman Ted Kenney expressed some disbelief that a flagpole would cost $5,600, but Jensen explained that the installation would provide the base for three flagpoles, which were originally designed into the station’s plans, and also included a light at the top of the pole.

Jensen asked the board if the committee should come back to them for approval of any contingency funds that might be spent.

“Is it ours to spend, or do you want us to come to you with these discretionary things?” Jensen asked.

Macaig said the committee should use its judgment and run smaller expenditures such as the flagpole by McGuire, but should come back to the board with requests for any major expenses, such as the furnishings, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.