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 VLCT News, June 2017

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News Briefs

  • Vermont Leaders Launch Statewide Coalition to Make Good on U.S. Paris Climate Pledge
  • 06/21/2017
  • After federal withdrawal, cities, non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses, community members invited to join coalition, make pledges to reduce carbon emissions and help Vermont meet U.S. commitment in Paris Agreement.

    Mayor Miro Weinberger, joined by Governor Phil Scott, members of the Vermont Mayors Coalition, and other community leaders today launched a statewide coalition – the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition – to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and to mitigate the impact of the Federal government’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. At a news conference held at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, the Coalition invited all Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses, and community members to join the Coalition and do all they can to reduce carbon emissions in an effort to help Vermont meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025. The Coalition, coordinated by the City of Burlington, is intended to complement State goals established in prior years and will convene a summit this fall during which all participating parties will issue their own voluntary organizational pledges that collectively will constitute Vermont’s Climate Pledge for Paris and will be benchmarked against the U.S. goal.

    “The withdrawal of the federal government from the Paris Agreement is a historic mistake that makes the generational challenge of addressing climate change even harder, and that must be reversed as soon as possible,” said Mayor Weinberger. “The withdrawal also makes action at the local level even more urgent. Together, one organization at a time, Vermont cities and towns, businesses, and civil society have the opportunity to make choices and take steps that move our state toward the international goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as toward Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions goals and its goal of being 90 percent renewable by 2050. I am excited to collaborate with Governor Scott, the Vermont Mayors Coalition, and community leaders to launch this effort.”

    Last month, Governor Scott and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent a letter to the Trump Administration urging that it continue the United States’ commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. Following the President’s withdrawal from the Agreement, both governors announced that Vermont and Massachusetts would join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the Agreement.

    “My Administration is committed to meeting our state’s existing targets for carbon reduction and renewable energy, and this statewide coalition can play a key role in our overall strategy,” said Gov. Scott. “I thank Mayor Weinberger and each partner in this coalition, as well as the Agency of Natural Resources and Public Service Department, for their leadership and support in working toward these goals.”  

    The members of Vermont’s federal delegation shared the following thoughts about this new coalition:

    “I am proud to stand with Mayor Weinberger, Governor Scott, and community leaders from across Vermont to uphold the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Senator Patrick Leahy. “This is so fitting, because Vermont has always been a leader for clean energy innovation. President Trump’s know-nothing, anti-science agenda for now has ceded American leadership on these vital issues to China and others. For as long as this administration insists on burying its head in the sand, local efforts in Vermont and around the country will continue to carry forward the fight for a healthy planet with clean air and water. The Vermonters of today and tomorrow depend on it.”

    “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is an abdication of American leadership on one of the most pressing global issues of our time,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who serves as a member of the Senate’s energy and environment committees. “We must redouble our efforts and keep up the fight, with or without the support of Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry. I am proud to see Vermont stepping up to meet the challenge and continuing to work to transition our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and renewable energy. We have a moral obligation to leave our children and our grandchildren a planet every bit as healthy and habitable as the one we inherited.”

    “Combatting climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” said Congressman Peter Welch. “American leadership is essential to preserving our planet for future generations. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand, and must move forward with or without the president.”

    The Coalition has been in contact with the leadership of the Climate Mayors group, formed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, which in recent weeks joined former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, We Are Still In. We Are Still In seeks to serve the function the federal government would have played had the U.S. remained a party to the Paris Climate Agreement. With the City of Burlington serving as the facilitator, the Coalition’s action plan includes the following steps:

  • Municipal Planning Grants
  • 06/16/2017
  • Did you know that Municipal Planning Grants (MPGs) can be used to increase the economic vitality of your community? The Town of Bennington used a series of MPG-funded projects to do just that, starting with an action-oriented town plan and implementing it through a series of projects that helped the town make progress towards its revitalization goals. The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development is offering Vermont towns and cities an opportunity to achieve similar results by competing for $450,000 in MPG funds this year.

  • Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Pilot Project
  • 06/08/2017
  • In partnership with Vermont’s regional planning commissions, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Water Initiative Program is offering approximately $2.1 million to help municipalities implement best management practices on municipal roads to improve water quality. Eligible projects include drainage ditch installation and upgrades, turnouts, removal of grader berms, stabilization of drainage culverts and catch basin outlets, and stabilization of gully erosion on Class 4 roads. The pilot project targets those sections of roads that are “hydrologically-connected” – that is, road segments next to or that cross streams, wetlands, lakes, or ponds. The amount of funding awarded to each participating municipality will be based on their number of hydrologically connected road miles. Contact your local regional planning commission ( for more information and to sign up. The deadline to apply is Thursday, July 6, 2017.

  • Upcoming Clean Energy Webinars
  • 06/06/2017
  • All of these webinars by federal agencies and others are free of charge, but space may be limited.

  • Vermont Smart Growth Summit
  • 06/06/2017
  • Join local officials, planners, policy makers, developers, advocates, and business people on Friday, June 16, from 8:30am - 12:30pm at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, for a dynamic and interactive summit addressing a variety of pressing community  development issues facing Vermont. Learn about Vermont's smart growth accomplishments, gain practical tools from colleagues, and discuss ways we can harness smart growth to provide housing choices, transportation options, and a high quality of life for all Vermonters. The summit features keynote John Anderson from the Incremental Development Alliance.

  • Clean Water Funding Opportunities
  • 06/01/2017
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Clean Water Initiative Program has recently released three Requests for Proposals (RFP) for clean water funding, including Ecosystem Restoration Grants. Details are outlined below and posted on the Clean Water Initiative Grants webpage.

  • Upcoming Ecosystem Restoration Grant Opportunities
  • 05/17/2017
  • Ecosystem Restoration Grant RFPs. The Clean Water Initiative Program will be releasing multiple Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for clean water funding over the next several weeks. Details are posted on the Clean Water Initiative Grants webpage.

    River Corridor Conservation Easements. Support for implementation of priority river corridor easements to reduce flood hazards, and improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Request for Proposal/Application. Application due date: Wednesday, June 21.

    Clean Water Block Grants. Support for statewide partner(s) to administer a program that will support the completion of “construction-ready” clean water improvement projects identified on the DEC Watershed Projects Database "Go List." Anticipated release date: Monday, May 22. Application due date: Monday, June 5.

    Ecosystem Restoration Grants. Support for the design and construction of water pollution abatement and control projects that target nonpoint sources of pollution. See the DEC Watershed Projects Database for possible projects. Other projects not currently in the database must be added to the database prior to the application deadline. Anticipated release date: Monday, May 22. Application due date: Wednesday, July 5.

  • Upcoming Ecosystem Restoration Webinars
  • 05/17/2017
  • Two webinars for Ecosystem Restoration Grant applicants are scheduled for Thursday, May 25, and Tuesday, June 13. You can attend the webinars in-person in Montpelier (limited seating is available) or online via Skype for Business (link to follow). The webinars will also be recorded and posted on the Clean Water Initiative YouTube page.

  • White River Valley Career and Job Fair
  • 05/10/2017
  • Capstone Community Action, the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation, and the Vermont Department of Labor have teamed up to offer the First Annual White River Valley Career and Job Fair, scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Fair is free and open to the public.

  • VMC Opposes Surprise Effort to Gut State’s Most Successful Economic Development Tool
  • 05/05/2017
  • Yesterday, May 4, the Vermont Mayors Coalition released the following statement regarding proposed changes to tax increment financing (TIF) legislation:
    The Vermont Mayors Coalition has consistently supported the State’s tax increment financing program over the last five years, and this session has supported the comprehensive economic development bill S.135 in the form passed by the Senate. In a last minute change at the end of session with little public or stakeholder testimony, the House Ways and Means Committee amended S.135 to dramatically change and undermine the tax increment financing program, Vermont’s most successful economic development tool.
    Vermont mayors know first-hand the vital importance of the TIF program, as it has been used to spearhead dramatic growth in jobs, the grand list, and public revenues in Winooski, St. Alban’s, Barre, Newport and Burlington. Mayors in Rutland and Montpelier are each planning to create new districts given these successes in other Vermont cities.
    This amendment as proposed would set development and infrastructure improvements in Vermont’s cities and towns back decades and derail – perhaps permanently – the development of thousands of housing units.

  • 2017 Lister of the Year
  • 04/26/2017
  • The Vermont Assessors and Listers Association (VALA) established the Michael P. Cyprian Lister of the Year Award in 1991 to honor listers and assessors who demonstrate fairness to all, dedication, helpfulness, worked to improve the listing process and pursued better education for the assessment community.

    The award is named for Michael P Cyprian, the Ultimate Lister and an active VALA member. He was active in his town, volunteering his expertise on many committees. He was well trained as a lister and chose to become a professional appraiser. His integrity, his unquestioned fairness, his ability to communicate with the townspeople, his sense of humor, and his high level of professionalism marked Michael’s 11 years as a lister.

    Nominations for the 2017 Lister of the Year are currently being accepted. Please send them to

  • Smart Growth Summit: Friday, June 16
  • 04/25/2017
  • AARP VT and the Vermont Natural Resources Council will bring together local officials, planners, policy makers, developers, advocates and business people for an interactive summit to raise and address a variety of community development issues.  Learn about Vermont’s smart growth accomplishments, gain practical tools from colleagues, and discuss ways we can harness smart growth to provide housing choices, transportation options, and a high quality of life for all Vermonters. The keynote speaker will be John Anderson from Incremental Development Alliance.

    The summit’s agenda and a link to register are here.

    Additional support is provided by the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association.

  • 2017 Bike/Ped Grant Program
  • 04/25/2017
  • As part of its ongoing support for bicycling and walking, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), has issued its annual solicitation for new bicycle and pedestrian projects. The intent of the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program is to improve access and safety for bicyclists and/or pedestrians through the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects. Typical projects include sidewalks, shared use paths, crossing improvements and bike lanes. Last year, nearly $4 million in projects throughout the state were initiated under this grant program.

    The VTrans 2017 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Guide and Application and other supporting materials are available here. Applications must be received by 1 on Friday, July 14, 2017. Applications will be accepted for scoping studies (project feasibility), large-scale design/construction projects and small-scale, state funded, projects.

    Applicants to the Bike/Ped Program are encouraged to attend one of two workshops to learn about the details of the program. The workshops will be offered in a webinar format on Tuesday May 16, from 6-8 p.m., and Thursday, May 18, from 1-3 p.m. Applicants must have an internet connection to participate and log on to to participate. Multiple people can view a training, but one person must sign in online. Reservations are not required.

    For any questions about this year’s Bicycle and Pedestrian program or other VTrans initiatives related to bicycling and walking, contact Jon Kaplan, VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, at 802-828-0059 or

  • National Infrastructure Week is May 15-19
  • 04/25/2017
  • May 15-19, 2017, is National Infrastructure Week, a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around the message, It’s #TimeToBuild. From May 15 to 19, leaders and citizens around America will discuss the state of our nation’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, water and sewer systems, the energy grid, and more – and encourage policymakers to invest in the projects, technologies, and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous, and safe. Details of National Infrastructure Week are on the National Infrastructure Week website,

    The American WaterWorks Association has developed some public outreach materials that can be downloaded free of charge from their website. These materials can help communicate the value of water and wastewater service and the need for infrastructure investment.

  • Green Mountain Passport
  • 04/18/2017
  • A Green Mountain Passport admits seniors and veterans to Vermont State Parks (overnight camping and other park fees are excluded) and Vermont State Historic Sites where they can enjoy a summer of hiking and the outdoors. More information is in this FAQ sheet.

    To be eligible for a passport, you must be a legal resident of Vermont and the municipality where the application is made, and either at least 62 years of age or a veteran of the uniformed services. To receive a Green Mountain Passport, just download and complete this application and submit it at your local City or Town Clerk's Office along with a $2.00 fee. It’s that easy!

    The Green Mountain Passport Program began in 1973 by enactment of the General Assembly and is updated as necessary by the Vermont Legislature.

  • FY16 Fire Prevention and Safety Application Period
  • 04/13/2017
  • The FY 2016 Fire Prevention and Safety application period opens on Monday, April 17, and closes on Friday, May 19, 2017.

    To begin preparing your application now, review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and the technical assistance tools. Please read the NOFO thoroughly, as it contains the programmatic updates and application requirements for all eligible applicants.
    The FY 2016 Fire Prevention and Safety Application Assistance Tools includes

  • Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program
  • 04/12/2017
  • The Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program is seeking to work with 10 communities to support the development of town forest recreation and stewardship plans. This program will provide technical planning assistance to Vermont communities interested in addressing issues and opportunities in the use and stewardship of their town forest, a value of up to $10,000 per town. Participating communities will receive technical help from a consultant team to develop a town forest action plan. More information, including eligibility requirements and a link to the program application, is here.

  • Public Assistance Updates for Spring
  • 03/24/2017
  • FEMA Public Assistance 9500 Series Policies 1998-2015

    The Public Assistance Regulations and Policy Branch has published the FEMA Public Assistance 9500 Series Policies 1998-2015. This document consolidates all previously published Public Assistance 9500 Series policy and guidance documents from 1998 through 2015. This document includes the 9500 series policies, policy and guidance memos, and fact sheets. The majority of these policy and guidance documents have been superseded by the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, first published on January 1, 2016.

    This collection of archived policies are now contained within one searchable document. This should alleviate issues with finding old policies in determining which policies were in effect for which disasters.  This is a handy document to bookmark.

  • VTrans Revised Standard Drawings
  • 03/21/2017
  • As of March 10, 2017, the revised Standard Sheets listed below are the official Standards for all Agency of Transportation projects:

  • Why We Continue to Develop Floodplains
  • 03/17/2017
  • Why We Continue to Develop Floodplains: Examining the Disincentives for Conservation in Federal Policy – by Zachary Christin, Earth Economics Project Director, and Michael Kline, Vermont Rivers Program Manager of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation – explores the value of floodplains and explains how the nation’s rivers and floodplains have become physically disconnected, leading to loss of floodplain functions. With federal agencies now incorporating the value of natural infrastructure, or ecosystem services, into federal planning and decision-making, there are opportunities as never before to examine and change the disincentives for floodplain conservation.

  • 2017 Rural Fire Protection Program Grant Announcement
  • 03/08/2017
  • The Vermont Rural Fire Protection Task Force is pleased to announce the 18th year of funding for towns to improve fire suppression capabilities.  

    The goals of the program are to:     

  • 2017 Lister of the Year
  • 03/02/2017
  • Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2017 Lister of the Year Award. In 1991, the Vermont Assessors and Listers Association (VALA) established the Michael P. Cyprian, Lister of the Year Award to honor listers and assessors who:

  • Surplus Two-Way Radios Available
  • 02/28/2017
  • Surplus Property of Vermont's Agency of Administration is offering two-way radios to municipalities on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. The radios are Motorola HT1000 and Motorola CDM1250. HT1000 units include radio, battery, and charger and cost $35 each. HT1000 units have chargers but no batteries and cost $20 each. The CDM1250 units cost $50 each. For more information, please contact Mark Casey at Surplus Property by Monday, March 6, at or 802-241-3384.

  • Grants up to $500,000 Available for Economic and Infrastructure Development in Northern Vermont
  • 02/14/2017
  • The Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), a federal-state partnership for economic and infrastructure development, has announced the availability of grant funds for projects in Essex, Orleans, Caledonia, Lamoille, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties in Vermont. The Commission seeks applications from public bodies or non-profit organizations for projects that will help achieve Vermont’s statewide economic and community development priorities, as well as the goals of the recently adopted Northern Vermont Economic Development District and NBRC strategic plans.

    Information sessions for interested applicants will be held on:

  • Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series: Revised Water Quality Standards
  • 02/08/2017
  • The 2016-2017 Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 9, from 11 a.m. to noon, with Revised Water Quality Standards. These new standards, adopted in December, are designed to promote better protection for surface waters and the uses they support. The speakers (Rich Langdon, Neil Kamman, and Eric Davis of the Department of Environmental Conservation) will review the major revisions that occurred and how they will affect surface water management.

    The lecture will be held in the Winooski Room at DEC, 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, in Montpelier. A full schedule and links to the live-stream and recordings of past presentations are posted online. For more information and to register (if attending in person), email or call Rachel Ross at 802-490-6134.

  • CARA Grants Available
  • 01/31/2017
  • The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice, has released a solicitation for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Grant Program, funded through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). Applicants may include state agencies, units of local government, and federally-recognized Native American tribal governments. BJA will also accept applications that involve two or more entities, including treatment providers and other not-for-profit agencies, and regional applications that propose to carry out the funded federal award activities. The application deadline is April 25, 2017. Specific eligibility requirements by category and additional information is at

  • FY18 Vermont Better Roads Grant Program
  • 01/24/2017
  • The Vermont Agency of Transportation announces the 20th year of funding to support projects on municipal roads that improve water quality and result in maintenance cost savings. The Vermont Better Roads program’s goal is to promote the use of erosion control and maintenance techniques that save money while protecting and enhancing Vermont’s lakes and streams. Funding, provided by the Agency of Transportation, is subject to availability and will be distributed as grants to municipalities to address town erosion problems.

    Questions? Please contact coordinators Alan May (802-828-4585 or or Linda Blasch (802-498-7216 or

    The deadline to submit the application (available at is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2017.

  • Funding Available for National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and Substance Abuse Program
  • 01/24/2017
  • The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance is seeking applications for the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which provides funding to test untested sexual assault kits, prevent sexual assaults, and improve the criminal justice system's response to sexual assaults. More information is here. The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 2, 2017.

    The Bureau is also seeking applications for the Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders. This program furthers the Department’s mission by providing resources to state, local, and tribal governments to establish or enhance the provision of treatment to adults to facilitate the successful reintegration of individuals returning from incarceration to their communities. More information is here and here. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

    For more information, contact Katarina Lisaius, Outreach Representative of the Office of Senator Bernie Sanders, at 802-862-0697 or

  • Congressional City Conference
  • 01/24/2017
  • The Congressional City Conference will take place from March 11-15, 2015, in Washington, D.C. More information is at

    This March, join city leaders from across the country as they advocate for the priorities of cities in Washington. With a new President and Congress this year, it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard on behalf of your community. Hear directly from policy makers on issues important to municipalities as we transition to a new Congress and Administration. Get up to speed on the federal policies that affect cities, the latest funding opportunities, and the emerging practices you can pioneer in your community. Becoming informed about infrastructure, public safety, community resilience, and federal regulations will make you a stronger advocate for your city. The keynote speaker will be Nicolle Wallace, political analyst and former White House Director of Communications.

    The deadline for early bird registration is Tuesday, January 31.

  • EDA Federal Funding Opportunity
  • 01/17/2017
  • The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published the FY17 Economic Development Assistance Programs (EDAP) Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO). The FFO and related information are posted at

    Funding Opportunity Number: EDAP2017

    EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive merit basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas of the United States. Under this FFO, EDA solicits applications from applicants in order to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities.

    EDA employs a two-phase review process for proposals/applications submitted under this FFO. There are no submission deadlines. Proposals and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the publication of a new EDAP FFO. Proposals will be reviewed by EDA within 30 days of receipt. Following the proposal review, full applications will be reviewed within 60 days of receipt. (See Section D of this FFO for information on EDA’s two-phase review process.)

    While the FY16 FFO incorporated significant procedural changes (i.e., established a two-phase application process) the FY17 FFO features some non-substantive clarifications and enhancements in language and requirements. Key changes include modifications to the EDA Investment Priorities language (no new priorities but modified language), clarification of the application submission requirements to include a budget narrative, and incorporation of additional requirements under the Reporting section. Specifically:

  • Free File Now Available
  • 01/16/2017
  • Free File, the free tax software preparation program that gives eligible taxpayers a dozen options for brand-name products, is now available (video).

    Taxpayers can get a jump on preparing their returns and the companies will hold the returns until Jan. 23 when the filing season officially begins. By law, the IRS must hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15.

    Anyone whose adjusted gross income in 2016 was $64,000 or less will be eligible for Free File software. People who earned more than $64,000 may use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, which will be available for preparing taxes on Jan. 23.

    Free File is available exclusively at Since 2003, more than 49 million people have used Free File, saving more than $1.4 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate. The IRS works with the Free File Alliance each year to ensure that taxpayers have more choices for free state options as well as free federal returns. Several offer both free federal and free state options.

    Each of the 12 Free File providers sets differing criteria for use of their product, generally based on income, age or state residency. However, taxpayers with an AGI of $64,000 or less last year will find at least one product they can use. To make it easier to find the right Free File product, taxpayers should use Free File Software Lookup tool. Taxpayers can just enter some information and let the tool find the products that match their situation. For 2017, active duty military personnel with incomes of $64,000 or less may use any Free File software product of their choice without regard to the criteria.

    Free File software walks users through the tax preparation process, and helps identify those tax changes that may affect their return. For example, the IRS, by law, must hold all refunds that contain an EITC or ACTC benefit until February 15 – time to ensure that the claims are accurate. Taxpayers should file as they normally would, and taxpayers should file electronically and use direct deposit. Refunds with EITC or ACTC may not be deposited into accounts until the week of Feb. 27. Learn more here.

    Free File also can help taxpayers with their health care law requirements. Taxpayers must report their health care coverage or their return will not be accepted by the IRS. For each month in 2016, taxpayers and everyone on their return must:

  • Northeast Resilient Landscapes Initiative
  • 01/11/2017
  • The Northeast Resilient Landscapes Fund provides capital grants and loans to land protection projects within selected regions of the northeast. Projects must lie in one of OSI’s four Focus Areas (Vermont's area is here), demonstrate the use of Resilient Landscape concepts, and meet the other grant criteria.

    The application process is on this web page. Applicants are encouraged to contact OSI staff (Jennifer Melville at or 207-846-9700) to discuss the project before preparing a proposal.

  • 2016-2017 Public Places Award Nominations
  • 01/03/2017
  • Nominations for the 2016-2017 Public Places Awards are being accepted through the end of January. The award recognizes special public spaces, the corridors that connect them, or networks of public spaces that have been defined or enriched by planning or design, as well as regulations that promote positive, public uses and benefits. The cost to submit an entry is $25 for public agencies, community groups and students, and $45 for everyone else. More information is on this application form.

    Email any questions to Jim Donovan or Danielle Fitzko.

  • Living in Harmony with Streams
  • 12/29/2016
  • Watersheds United Vermont has released the 2016 version of Living in Harmony with Streams, a revision of the 2012 booklet. This booklet explains stream processes, how land use decisions impact our rivers and streams, and what we can do to reduce erosion, protect our floodplains and make our communities more flood resilient.

  • New River Management
  • 12/14/2016
  • This short animation from France accurately captures the mission of the Vermont Rivers Program to make human and natural communities safe and healthful by protecting natural flows, floodplains, and meandering rivers. This type of river management is practiced in Vermont.

  • New Funding For Community Forest Grants
  • 12/08/2016
  • The Open Space Institute is accepting proposals to the Community Forest Fund through February 6, 2017. Detailed information about the fund and application process is available on OSI’s website. In the first phase of this Fund, OSI provided $1.6 million to support 15 community forests, helping conserve over 30,000 acres in 20 Northern New England towns. This summary describes the Fund’s accomplishments and lessons to date. Towns and land trusts are developing new projects that will help solidify the essential link between land conservation – for wood products, drinking water, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and education - and community economic well-being.

  • DHCD Announces Municipal Planning Grant Recipients
  • 12/07/2016
  • The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development recently announced $464,000 in Municipal Planning Grant awards to 38 communities across Vermont. This year’s grants range from $3,159 to $20,000. Total requests exceeded $780,000. Competitively awarded, 69 applications were reviewed and 38 projects were selected. Winning projects ranged from updating local regulations to better serving the farm and forest economy in Berkshire to improving parking conditions in downtown Brattleboro.

  • USDA RD Rural Business Development Grants
  • 12/06/2016
  • The application period for Rural Business Development Grants (RBDGs) is now open. RBDGs support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. RBDG funds must be directed for projects benefitting rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. There is no maximum grant amount for enterprise or opportunity type grants; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. Generally, grants range from $10,000 up to $500,000. There is no cost sharing requirement. Total opportunity type grant funding is limited statutorily to up to 10% of the total RBDG annual funding.

  • Short Term Rental Platform Study
  • 12/06/2016
  • The study requested under Act 157 of 2016 on short-term rental platforms directs the departments of Tax, Health, Tourism and Marketing, and Financial Regulation and the Division of Fire Safety to review their laws and regulations and recommend any legislative or administrative changes.

  • Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series
  • 12/05/2016
  • The 2016-2017 Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series continues on Thursday, December 8, from 11:00 a.m. to noon, with a presentation on the Stormwater Manual and Updates on Stormwater Regulations by Kevin Burke of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

    DEC is updating the Vermont Stormwater Management Manual to improve stormwater treatment and control requirements, including a new focus on reducing runoff and incorporating green stormwater infrastructure. Learn about where we are in the process, changes made to the update in response to public comment, and next steps.

    All lectures will be held in the Winooski Room at the Department of Environmental Conservation, 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, in Montpelier. They will also be live-streamed and recorded for later viewing. A full schedule and links to the live-stream and recordings of past presentations are posted online.

    For more information and to register to attend (if attending in person), email or call Bethany Sargent at 802-490-6131.

  • Better Roads Program
  • 11/22/2016
  • The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will soon notify municipalities of the 20th year of grant funding for the Better Roads Program, which promotes the use of erosion control and maintenance techniques to save money while protecting and enhancing Vermont’s lakes and streams. VTrans anticipates that grant applications will be accepted between January 23 and March 17, 2017.

  • Modern Wood Heat Funds Available
  • 11/22/2016
  • Five $12,600 grants will be available for advanced wood pellet heating systems installed in public buildings and public-serving institutions. The funds are provided by a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Awardees may also receive incentives provided by the state’s Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREIP) and Efficiency Vermont. Local governments, Indian tribes, or public or nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations that serve the public and promote economic development are eligible. Projects must be located in Grand Isle, Franklin, Lamoille, Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties. Public-serving institutions that meet NBRC criteria include municipal buildings and public schools (preschool, K-12, and colleges/universities), hospitals, health centers, affordable and/or senior housing, homeless shelters, and senior or teen centers, among others. Applicants who are unsure of eligibility should contact Rhonda Shippee ( for clarification.

  • DPS Issues Final Energy Planning Standards
  • 11/02/2016
  • The Department of Public Service (DPS) has released the final energy planning determination standards and recommendations called for in Act 174, the Energy Development Improvement Act. The final standards and recommendations, along with a summary, are posted here.

    DPS and regional planning commissions will use these standards to determine whether regional and municipal plans are consistent with state energy policy. Plans that receive an affirmative determination will receive substantial deference for their land conservation measures and specific policies when the Public Service Board considers orderly development in its review of siting applications. Act 174 details a set of planning requirements to receive a determination, including consistency with Vermont’s energy and climate goals and the inclusion of energy analysis across the building, transportation, and electrical sectors. These standards consist of a checklist of required analyses, goals, and actions. The checklist approach will enable municipal and regional planners to conduct planning while keeping in mind energy compliance.

    Act 174 establishes three pathways for a plan to receive a determination of energy compliance:

  • EPA Website Helps Communities Prepare for Climate Change
  • 10/11/2016
  • A new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website can help local officials contend with climate change. Using a self-guided format, the Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) provides information tailored to their needs, based on where they live and their particular issues of concern.

    Statistics from the Office of Management and Budget show the federal government has incurred more than $357 billion in direct costs due to extreme weather and fire alone over the last 10 years. Climate change is also expected to pose significant financial and infrastructural challenges to communities in coming decades. ARC-X can help local government official address these challenges – from those with extensive experience and expertise dealing with the impacts of climate change, to those working in underserved communities who are just beginning to meet those challenges.

    ARC-X guides users through all steps of an adaptation process, providing

  • Presentations from State Government Municipal Day 2016
  • 09/27/2016
  • On September 9, the agencies of Natural Resources, Commerce and Community Development, and Transportation sponsored the 2016 state government Municipal Day titled When Governments Cooperate. Presentations from most of the workshops are now posted on the Agency of Natural Resources' webpage

  • Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series
  • 09/06/2016
  • The 2016-2017 Clean Water Initiative Brown Bag Lecture Series begins on Thursday, September 8, from 11 a.m. to noon, with Updated Accepted Management Practices (AMPs) for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont by Gary Sabourin of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. All lectures will be held in the Winooski Room at the Department of Environmental Conservation, 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, in Montpelier. A full schedule and links to the live-stream and recordings of past presentations are posted online. For more information and to RSVP (if attending in person), call Bethany at 802-490-6131 or email

  • RiverSmart Policy Recommendation Report
  • 09/06/2016
  • UMass Amherst has completed its RiverSmart policy recommendation report, Supporting New England Communities to Become River-Smart: Policies and Programs That Can Help New England Towns Thrive Despite River Floods. The electronic version of the report is posted at Print copies and a recommendations-release event are forthcoming.

  • A Roadmap for Transforming Energy to 100% Wind, Water, and Solar
  • 09/01/2016
  • On Thursday, September 29, from noon to 1 p.m., Antioch University New England will present a free webinar titled A Roadmap for Transforming Energy to 100% Wind, Water, and Solar. This webinar will describe actions that communities and cities can take to help transform the United States' energy infrastructure to 100% wind, water, and solar power. Also discussed will be methods to accomplish this goal such as community-scale underground heat storage and large scale offshore wind turbines, as well as the cost, reliability, and feasibility factors of these methods. The webinar will be hosted by Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, and moderated by Irene Boland Nielson, climate change coordinator for EPA Region 2.

  • Municipal Planning Grant Applications
  • 08/31/2016
  • Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) applications are due on October 31, 2016. Access to the online application is delayed to mid-September. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development is updating its website. To avoid problems with linked documents, the online application will be unavailable until the new website is launched. In the meantime, you should begin to prepare your application using the following resources:

  • Community Energy Dashboard
  • 08/31/2016
  • The Energy Action Network’s Community Energy Dashboard is now live! Designed to help translate Vermont’s goal of meeting 90% of the state’s energy needs from renewable sources and increased efficiency by the year 2050 into achievable local action, the Dashboard tailors critical energy information – such as efficiency, heat, electricity, and transportation – to every community in Vermont.

  • Vermont Road User Safety Fair
  • 08/31/2016
  • The Vermont Highway Safety Alliance will host a Vermont Road User Safety Fair on the state house lawn in Montpelier on Tuesday, September 13, from 3:30-6:00 p.m. The fair will show how Vermonters are working together to make using the state’s roads safer for all. From cars to pedestrians to bicyclists to horse riders and farm vehicles, Vermonters all share the same roads but have different vulnerabilities. Visit the fair to learn about highway safety in Vermont, the resources that can help make the next generation of drivers safer, and see some high-tech tools that are changing driver education in the state. The fair is family-friendly and educational for all ages.

  • Vermont NFIP Training
  • 08/30/2016
  • FEMA will host a training on floodplain management and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) basics on Thursday, September 15, from 9 a.m. till noon at the Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) offices in St. Johnsbury. The NVDA offices are located at 36 Eastern Avenue, #1, in St. Johnsbury. The training will be presented by Julie Grauer, FEMA Region 1 Natural Hazards Specialist, and Sacha Pealer, Vermont DEC Floodplain Manager.

  • Tropical Storm Irene Fifth Anniversary Resources
  • 08/24/2016
  • Since Tropical Storm Irene devastated Vermont five years ago, the High Meadows Fund has been connecting with key community partners to assess lessons we have learned and to compile accessible resources. Though only a starting place, it will hopefully provide easy access to people who are reflecting on this five-year anniversary. Several organizations contributed to building this resource list and crafting this document.

  • Free Town Health Officers Workshop
  • 08/23/2016
  • On Wednesday, September 21, the Vermont Department of Health will offer a free training in Burlington for town health officers on emergency preparedness. Topics will include point of distribution, mass prophylaxis, and maintaining a healthy home environment after a disaster. More information is here.

  • Northeastern Economic Developers Association
  • 08/20/2016
  • Members of the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) understand the value of economic development and the impact it has on each of their respective regions. NEDA can help your organization create an environment that is conducive to job creation, job retention, and capital investment. Its website (, webinars, and workshops are some of the benefits of NEDA membership. NEDA also offers professional development opportunities that play a large role in helping its members succeed. The annual NEDA Conference will be held in New Haven, Connecticut, from September 11-13, 2016. More information is on the NEDA website.

  • Sustainable Landscape Stewards
  • 08/18/2016
  • The Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program is offering a new course entitled Sustainable Landscape Stewards: Natural Aquatic Systems for community leaders, municipal employees, watershed organizations, and concerned citizens. Students will gain an understanding of watershed science and how land use and increased storm events impact our water resources. Topic experts will provide in-depth coverage of lake, river, and wetland processes and conditions. State and federal water quality regulations will be addressed with a focus on municipal planning and optimal property management. Participants will learn how to access online resources and tools related to hazard resiliency, state guidelines, and other valuable information.

  • State Seeks Input on Draft Plan to Restore Lake Champlain
  • 08/11/2016
  • The State of Vermont is seeking comments on a draft implementation plan for the restoration of Lake Champlain. The Vermont Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Phase 1 Implementation Plan outlines actions the State must take to reduce phosphorus pollution sources that currently compromise State waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a set of phosphorus pollution targets in June that the State must meet in its phase 1 plan.

    The greatest threat to Lake Champlain’s water quality is excess phosphorous carried into waters by runoff and erosion from rainfall and snowmelt. Excess phosphorus causes algae blooms, which can hinder swimming, fishing and other recreational uses, decrease property values, and threaten human health. The EPA’s new TMDL pollution targets ensure a long-term path towards restored water quality in the lake.

    The State will host three public informational meetings to solicit feedback on the final draft of the Phase 1 Implementation Plan:

  • FY16 Drinking Water SRF Intended Use Plan
  • 07/21/2016
  • The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) has released the Final FY16 Intended Use Plan and Project Priority List. Highlights from this year's plan include:

  • CWSRF/CWF Asset Management Grant RFP
  • 07/20/2016
  • Efficiency Vermont's Energy Efficiency Guidelines for Vermont Wastewater Treatment Facility Upgrades explains the operational efficiency, life cycle cost analysis, and best design practices during major facility upgrades and refurbishments of wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs). Significant energy efficiency opportunities exist in the wastewater treatment sector. Most Vermont municipalities will need to undergo major facility upgrades at their WWTFs to comply with new clean water standards, particularly concerning phosphorous TMDL in Lake Champlain and nitrogen loading in the Connecticut River. Choosing efficient designs will result in significant energy savings. Energy can commonly represent between 25-45% of the operating costs of a wastewater treatment facility.
    Under the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), energy efficiency and water conservation efforts (also known as Cost and Effectiveness, or C&E) for Clean Water SRF projects must be evaluated and implemented where the project involves repair, replacement, or expansion to the maximum extent practicable. This means that a project maximizes the potential for efficient water use, reuse, recapture, and conservation, and energy conservation taking into account the construction cost of the activity, the operation and maintenance cost over the life of the project, and the cost of replacing the project or activity.
    The Vermont Clean Water SRF intends to comply with C&E requirements by partnering with Efficiency Vermont to provide technical assistance to all applicants. This coordination will happen early in the planning stages of the project.  In addition to this offer of assistance, all applicants will be required to submit a C&E Certification Form as an attachment to the Preliminary Engineering Report. 

  • Clean Water Fund Priorities
  • 07/13/2016
  • The Clean Water Fund Board held a 30-day public comment period on staff’s proposed budget for next year’s Clean Water Fund using an online survey. The comment period is now closed. The Clean Water Fund webpage has more information and links to the questionnaire and supporting documents.

  • Changes to Motor Vehicle Laws
  • 07/08/2016
  • There were numerous changes to Vermont’s motor vehicle laws this past legislative session that law enforcement officers should be aware of. These changes are contained in Acts 147, 158 and 169. This attachment highlights the sections of the Acts that are of most interest to law enforcement officers. These sections became law on July 1, 2016, unless otherwise noted. The complete texts of the Acts are posted on the legislative website.

  • Planning and Zoning Related Amendments for 2016
  • 07/06/2016
  • During the 2016 legislative session, the Vermont General Assembly enacted a number of laws and amendments that affect local planning and regulation, and they are summarized here.

  • State Salt Bids Same as Last Year for Towns
  • 06/21/2016
  • The State Office of Purchasing and Contracting has extended its existing contracts for highway salt with the same providers as last year under the same contract provisions. American Rock Salt did not bid on municipal provision of sale but did reduce its pricing for the state by 3%. Cargill’s prices remain the same. Cargill is the only company that agreed to a contract price for towns through the state’s bid. The table below shows the results of the 2015-2016 contract that has been extended through July 31, 2017:

  • Lake Champlain TMDLs
  • 06/21/2016
  • The final Lake Champlain Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and supporting documents, including a “Response to Comments,” are now posted on EPA’s Lake Champlain TMDL web page.

  • 2016 VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Annual Report
  • 05/17/2016
  • The first Agengy of Transportation Report on the Bike-Pedestrian Program includes endeavors underway by program staff, projects awarded during the time frame, and a summary of the projects completed in 2015, both scoping and construction projects.

  • New Mandatory Sewage Release Reporting Law
  • 05/03/2016
  • The Vermont Legislature recently passed H.674, a bill that requires public notification by operators of wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) of releases of sewage to Vermont’s surface waters. These new requirements will become effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature. These new requirements require WWTF operators to:

  • 2016 VTrans Mileage Reports
  • 04/21/2016
  • The 2016 VTrans mileage summaries are now online. Prompted by the 2016 Certificates of Highway Mileage, these reports are now posted on the Vermont Agency of Transportation's Mapping Unit Publications page:

  • Attorney General Warns of CEO Fraud Scams
  • 04/14/2016
  • Attorney General William Sorrell wants businesses to be on the alert for a scam that has begun to emerge in Vermont and nationally has cost thousands of businesses millions of dollars and resulted in security breaches. It involves an email “spoofing” or pretending to be from the business’s CEO to an employee, requesting the employee to wire funds, supply sensitive information, or attach employee W-2 forms.

  • Statewide Parcel Mapping
  • 03/08/2016
  • Can statewide parcel mapping support your community? For the past few years, VLCT has been a participant in discussions on how best to develop a statewide parcel mapping program. The program is intended to serve as a steward for consistent, up-to-date statewide parcel data that are available to the state, towns, and the public. Parcel data, when combined with other information, can identify areas suitable for locating a business, improve emergency response, and even find land that is not being taxed. For example, the Town of Waterford found several properties last year that were not on the tax rolls! VLCT is working with the State Department of Housing and Community Development ( to create the statewide data set and then develop a process for ongoing maintenance, without creating an added financial burden to Vermont’s cities and towns. More information is on the Statewide Digital Parcel Data Proposal summary and the Statewide Parcel Mapping Program flyer.

  • Department of Housing and Community Development Planning Manual
  • 03/03/2016
  • The purpose of DHCD's Planning Manual is to provide a guide for municipal planning commissions in fulfilling their role and responsibilities as set forth in 24 V.S.A. Chapter 117, the Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act. A major role of the municipal planning commission is to develop the municipal plan. The 2016 Planning Manual provides information that will help the planning commission with this complex task, from designing the planning program to adopting the plan.

  • PVR Lister Education
  • 03/02/2016
  • The Property Valuation and Review Team at the Vermont Department of Taxes has listed its 2016 Lister Education Courses here, where you can also register and view all of the 2016 PVR-sponsored courses and descriptions.

  • Class I Town Highway White Paper
  • 02/23/2016
  • The final Class I Town Highway White Paper, which explores issues for Vermont towns that are considering reclassifying state highways, is now posted on the VTrans website.

  • PBB Rule 5.100 (Net Metering Rule)
  • 02/23/2016
  • Act 99 of the 2014 Vermont legislative session directed the Public Service Department to complete an evaluation of net metering in Vermont and file the resulting report with the Public Service Board. Act 99 further required that the Board convene one or more workshops to solicit the input of potentially affected parties and the public on the design of a revised net metering program. The Public Service Board has posted the text of a proposed net metering rule on its website.

  • Water Quality Grant and Act 64 Information
  • 02/17/2016
  • This flyer from the Agency of Transportation summarizes upcoming water quality grants for municipalities. And this one explains how Act 64, the 2015 law to improve water quality, will affect municipal roadways.

  • FEMA Debris Management Course
  • 02/09/2016
  • On January 12, 2016, FEMA presented a Debris Management Course. Among helpful resources for municipalities concerned about debris activities are this Debris Alternative Procedures slideshow, sample contract documents, and a link to the State Emergency Operations Plan Debris Management Annex (Support Annex IV of the SEOP).

  • FEMA’S Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide
  • 02/03/2016
  • Towns can now use FEMA’S new Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide to apply for and receive federal disaster funding following a declared event. The guide, which replaces the 9500 series policy documents as well as the PA Policy guide book, is only available online at In addition, this table of clarifications of policy language and topics added during development of the guide addresses consistent policy application.
    If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Canarecci, Dept. of Public Safety Public Assistance Officer, at 802-585-4209 or

  • Conservation Success Stories
  • 01/26/2016
  • In an era of forest fragmentation, declining species, and rising global temperatures, it can sometimes be difficult to remain hopeful about the future of the environment. But the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) is showing that Vermont’s grassroots conservation efforts are great examples of conservation successes. AVCC is compiling Conservation Success Stories on its website,, to demonstrate what works in conservation. The stories include everything from streambank restoration projects to education programs that connect kids with nature. Vermont conservation groups seeking information about past successes or that want to add to the nearly 100 posted success stories can do so through the AVCC website.

  • Communicating and Collaborating to Protect Vermont’s River Corridors
  • 01/12/2016
  • On Thursday, January 21, 2016, the Resilient Vermont Network will present Communicating and Collaborating to Protect Vermont’s River Corridors at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns offices. This free workshop will take place from noon until 3:30 and include lunch. More information is here; register here.

    River corridor protection is critical to the health and safety of our communities and landscapes, but it’s not so simple to put policies and actions into place. Many changes to rules and regulations, incentives, and even language around river corridors have occurred in recent years. Attend this workshop to learn the importance of protecting our river corridors and collaborating to make it happen. 

  • Communicating and Collaborating to Protect Vermont’s River Corridors
  • 01/07/2016
  • On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Communicating and Collaborating to Protect Vermont’s River Corridors, a free workshop, will be held at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns office in Montpelier from noon until 3:30 and include lunch. The workshop is for individuals and organizations working with municipalities and landowners on river corridor protection, land use, community preparedness, and resilience. The workshop is organized by the Resilient Vermont Network in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. More information and a registration link are here.

  • FY17 Vermont Better Roads Grant Program
  • 01/06/2016
  • The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) announces its 19th year of funding to support municipal road projects that improve water quality and result in maintenance cost savings. The grant funds are provided by VTrans and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The Vermont Better Roads Program’s goal is to promote the use of erosion control and maintenance techniques that save money while protecting and enhancing Vermont’s lakes and streams. Funds, subject to availability, will be distributed as grants to municipalities to address town erosion problems.

  • Natural Shorelands Erosion Control Certification
  • 12/22/2015
  • This training will introduce the use of Shoreland Best Management Practices from bio-engineering for stabilizing shores, green infrastructure, native plantings, stormwater management, to habitat protection techniques. These practices are essential for developing shores that safeguard water quality and aquatic habitat. These trainings offer a forum to bring together and learn from collective ex-periences with participants gaining a common (level field) understanding of what shoreland BMPs are and what lake friendly development involves, including knowing when and how to apply the standards of the new Shoreland Protection Act.

    The $20.00 fee includes a morning snack.

    The training will take place on five days in January and February. Details are here.

  • FEMA News Briefs
  • 12/22/2015
  • NEW Public Assistance Policy Guide. FEMA has released the new Public Assistance program and policy guide that will go into effect January 1, 2016 for all disasters declared after that date. The new guide:

  • Public Forum on the Legalization of Marijuana
  • 12/17/2015
  • The South Burlington School Board and City Council recently hosted a public forum on the legalization of marijuana as it relates to city and school governance and operations. A panel of officials from South Burlington and Colorado led the discussion. A link to the two-hour video as recorded by 17-Town Meeting Television is here.

  • Buyers Buzz
  • 12/10/2015
  • The Vermont Department Buildings and General Services is once again publishing a quarterly newsletter titled Buyers Buzz. You can read the December issue – which contains contract information, an article about the universal recycling law, useful links, and more – at this link and also sign up to receive the newsletter electronically.

  • Solicitation for Local Investment Financing Proposals
  • 12/08/2015
  • The Local Investment Advisory Committee (LIAC), chaired by the State Treasurer, is accepting proposals for local investment financing from interested parties. The Solicitation for Local Investment Financing Proposals contains specifications and eligibility information. The LIAC report, which was submitted to the General Assembly last January, contains details pertaining to the work of the Committee is linked here.

    Proposals for financing will be considered in the following areas:

  • Recommended Adjustments to the Education Tax Rates
  • 12/04/2015
  • On December 1, Commissioner of Taxes Mary Peterson sent this letter recommending adjustments to the education tax rates to the legislature.

  • Vermont Clean Cities Workplace Charging Incentive
  • 12/03/2015
  • The Vermont Clean Cities Workplace Charging Incentive helps Vermont workplaces, both public and private, offset the cost of purchasing and installing an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The incentive is offered in tiers based on the type of incentive level the business is interested in: $525 for non-networked single-port stations, $1,050 for networked single-port stations, and $1,575 for any dual-port station. Each business can utilize incentive funding for one new station and must coordinate with Vermont Clean Cities before purchasing the electric vehicle supply equipment. More information is posted here.

  • Free Office Furniture
  • 12/02/2015
  • The Vermont State Surplus Property Program is offering free office furniture and equipment to State agencies and departments, municipalities, and schools. The merchandise – desks, chairs, file cabinets, tables, computer monitors (500+ available), stands, bookcases, server cabinets, and notice boards – will be available only from Monday, December 7, to Friday December 18, 2015, at the State Surplus Property Warehouse, 434 U.S. Route 2 in Waterbury. (From I-89, take Exit 10. Drive south on Route 100 for one-half mile to Waterbury Village. Turn right onto North Main Street and continue .6 miles west on U.S. Route 2. Turn right into driveway.)

    Everyone will have 48 hours to remove the items from warehouse. For more information, contact Teresa Lamos at or 802-241-3384.

  • Public Assistance Updates
  • 12/01/2015
  • DR 4207 (severe winter storm of Dec. 9-12, 2014). All project worksheets have been written for DR 4207. If your town is still waiting for a payment, please make sure you have completed and returned all subgrant paperwork to Karen Smith ( Subgrant paperwork includes the signature page and Request for Payment (form 502). We also need a Project Completion and Certification Report form (PCCR), signed by the town and by your Agency of Transportation District Technician, to document that all work has been completed in accordance with the scope(s) of work of your project worksheets before we can release final payment to your town.

    DR 4232 (severe storm and flooding of June 9, 2015). FEMA has written all 24 project worksheets for the nine Applicants (in Addison and Chittenden counties only) for this disaster, and all but three have been obligated.

    DRs 4022, 4066, 4120, 4140, 4163, and 4178. A total of 141 open Large Projects remain to be closed out from Tropical Storm Irene, and a total of 23 open Large Projects from the various smaller disasters since Irene. Roughly a third of these have already been submitted to FEMA for review.

    If you have questions about the status of an open Project Worksheet, please contact Public Assistance Officer Kimberly Canarecci ( or 802-585-4209). For more information about the Public Assistance Program and to find all referenced documents, visit

    Steps necessary to receive payment.

    It is critical to maintain documentation of FEMA-reimbursable work, including pre-disaster inspection and maintenance records, site photos, and daily activity logs for town personnel and equipment used during disaster repairs. You should also review the new Applicant’s Guide and Checklist published at as useful tools to guide your town through the FEMA Public Assistance process. The Applicant’s Guide lists the documents required when FEMA writes a Project Worksheet. The Applicant Checklist lists the 11 steps of the disaster recovery process.

    For small projects (currently defined as projects with total eligible value of less than $121,800 but greater than $3,050), the Department of Public Safety (DPS) pays out 100% of the federal share (which is typically 75% of the project’s total eligible value) immediately upon notification of obligation, provided that the town has executed its subgrant agreement and submitted the GMU 502F Financial Report form, which is provided by the DPS Business Office as part of the original subgrant agreement packet). Towns do not receive the state share on small projects until they have completed the scope of work for every small project for that disaster and we have received the PCCR signed by your local VTrans District Technician to verify that all scopes of work were completed.

    For large projects (greater than $121,800), payments are on a “reimbursement basis.” This means that payment is sent out only after the applicant (you!) requests payment from the Business Office by submitting a 502F Financial Report requesting partial payment, along with documentation of actual expenses incurred. They can only pay out up to 75% of the federal share prior to close-out. Partial payment drawdowns can occur at any time, whenever a town submits documentation of expenses incurred on its large project(s). The remaining balance of federal share and the state share is not paid out on a large project until the project is closed out.

    For Large projects that are still “open” (i.e. not yet closed out by FEMA), you are federally required to report quarterly progress. The report form is simple and can be found on Email quarterly reports to by the 15th day of April, July, October and January for the preceding quarter.

    It sounds confusing and it is! Again, if you are not clear on what is expected of your town or are not sure of how to receive funding for FEMA-eligible work already accomplished, contact Kim Canarecci.

    ERAF: An update on how your town’s State Share is determined. The State of Vermont portion of the non-federal share for federally-eligible disaster assistance comes from the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (“ERAF”). The ERAF percentage paid to each town is based on whether or not the town has taken various measures. In the year since the new ERAF criteria took effect, the percentage of Vermont communities:

  • Water Works: VPA Fall Conference, Dec. 11, 2015
  • 11/12/2015
  • The Vermont Planners Association will present Water Works, a summary of current water quality issues, innovation in planning, and best practices on Friday, December 11, 2015, at the St. Albans Historical Society in St. Albans, Vermont. The day-long conference will focus on big-picture water quality planning in the morning and best practices in the afternoon. Big picture planning will include presentations on more rural watershed-based clean water initiatives as well as a more urban holistic water quality plan. An update will be provided on current watershed planning efforts the state has initiated with regional planning commissions. The VPA annual meeting will occur prior to lunch to facilitate the election of officers to update membership on the implementation of the Strategic Plan. A briefing on Act 64 and the state’s efforts to date will follow lunch (provided). The remainder of the afternoon will focus on best practices for improving water quality and will include low impact development standards, green infrastructure, and stormwater utilities. Lessons learned from different implementation techniques will be shared and a walking tour of green infrastructure will be provided.

  • Training Needs for Municipal Floodplain Managers
  • 11/02/2015
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation's Rivers Program is planning training opportunities for municipal officials involved in floodplain management and river corridor protection. If you're a floodplain administrator, zoning administrator, town manager, planner, or a member of a local review board, please take a few minutes and complete this brief survey by Friday, November 13.

  • USDA Rural Development Updates
  • 10/30/2015
  • USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Programs serve non-profits and public bodies located in rural areas of up to 20,000 in population. Use our loans and grants to renovate, repair, purchase or construct buildings which house community services. Read more.

    In FY15, RD’s Water Environmental Program (WEP) invested $15.5 million in 14 Vermont communities and $12.1 million in five New Hampshire communities. FY16 WEP applications are being accepted now. Read more.

    If you sign up for Rural Development's GOVDELIVERY service, you can select the type of information you want to receive. Sign up here.

  • Public Assistance Updates
  • 10/13/2015
    • The Public Assistance Applicant Guide and Public Assistance Applicant Checklist can help you with the Public Assistance Grant process. They list the documentation required when FEMA writes a Project Worksheet and provide 11 steps to guide you through the disaster process.
    • Project Thresholds for the New Federal Fiscal Year. With the start of the new federal fiscal year, FEMA has published new thresholds for the Public Assistance program. For disasters declared after October 1, 2015, the minimum amount for a Project Worksheet has increased from $3,040 to $3,050, and the Small Project threshold has increased from $121,600 to $121,800. Any project with a total cost exceeding that amount is now considered a large project.
    • Quarterly Large Project Progress Reports. If you have an open Public Assistance subgrant from DPS, Quarterly Large Project Progress Reports are due soon. They must be emailed to Public Assistance Officer Kimberly Canarecci at by the 15th day of April, July, October, and January for the preceding quarter. Quarterly reporting is federally required for all open large projects until they are closed in FEMA’s database. These reports give visibility on your project progress and whether or not you will need to submit for a time extension. The quarterly large project report form is posted here.
    • Small Project Monitoring. With small project thresholds up to $121,800, applicants can expect fewer large projects in future disasters. Large projects have to go through the formal closeout process because final payments are based on actual documented project costs. When FEMA writes a small project (i.e., below the threshold, which is now $121,800), we can release the federal share to you immediately (provided that you have executed your subgrant), based on the value of the Project Worksheet, even if it was an estimate. Just because a Project Worksheet is a “small project”, however, does not mean that no cost documentation will ever be required. Federal agencies and auditors expect the State to conduct random sampling of small projects from each disaster to conduct “mini-closeouts”, verifying that the applicants have properly procured contractors, complied with permit requirements, and can provide material invoices, time cards, and equipment usage records for review. It is always important to keep all paperwork for each project separate, so that you will be prepared in the event of an audit. Even for projects below $121,800, it is also important to follow your local procurement standards when hiring contractors.
    • DR4207 (severe winter storm of Dec. 9-12, 2014) Update. All projects have been written for DR4207. If your town is still waiting for payments, please make sure you have completed all subgrant agreement paperwork and returned to Karen Smith ( You must submit for payment by completing the signature page and request payment on the 502-F form. Your Project Completion and Certification Report (PCCR) should also completed which verifies that all work was done according to the approved FEMA scope of work.
    • DR4232 (severe storm and flooding of June 9, 2015) Update. FEMA has projected a total of 24 project worksheets for the nine applicants of DR4232, with three of those anticipated to be large. This disaster was declared for only Addison and Chittenden counties. Eighteen projects have already been written, of which two have been obligated/awarded for payment.

    For more information on the Public Assistance Program, visit

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Information
  • 09/24/2015
  • A disease called the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) affected a number of farms in the Midwest last year. While no human case of HPAI virus has been detected and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from HPAI infection to be low, domestic poultry are veryy susceptible to HPAI H5 virus, which can spread rapidly from bird to bird and typically results in high mortality rates. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) encourages poultry owners, producers, and enthusiasts to prepare for HPAI, which is expected to impact the East Coast by the spring of 2016.

  • Implementing Low-Cost Modifications to Improve Nutrient Reduction at Wastewater Treatment Plants Webcast
  • 09/23/2015
  • A webcast on October 15 focused on the recently released draft report, “Case Studies on Implementing Low-Cost Modifications to Improve Nutrient Reduction at Wastewater Treatment Plants.”

    As many studies have shown, nutrient pollution is one of America’s costliest and most challenging water quality problems. However, many of the nation’s wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were not designed for nutrient removal and major retrofits may be a significant hurdle. The recent EPA draft report showcases a number of communities that were able to achieve better nutrient treatment at WWTPs through relatively low-cost modifications without requiring costly infrastructure upgrades. Nitrogen discharge levels in 12 case study plants were reduced by 20% to 70%. Two case studies also documented low-cost phosphorus reduction of 40% to 58%. In many cases, these facilities also reduced energy consumption and lowered operational costs. The webcast will summarize the report and highlight two of the case studies in Crewe, Virginia, and Victor Valley, California.

    EPA is also interested in learning of additional communities’ successes and intends to update this document to help more of the nation’s WWTPs make progress towards additional nutrient reductions. You can submit comments and additional case studies by December 15, 2015 to The draft report is posted here.

  • Public Hearings on Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan
  • 09/15/2015
  • The Public Service Department is hosting five hearings around the state in October on its draft Comprehensive Energy Plan to solicit Vermonters’ thoughts on the state’s energy future. The goal of the Comprehensive Energy Plan, set for release the week of September 21, is to meet 90% of the state’s energy needs by renewable energy in 2050. Vermonters have an opportunity to shape how their state achieves this goal.

    To find information about the CEP update and the five October public hearings or to comment on the plan, visit

  • Stormwater Offsets in Lake Champlain Watershed
  • 09/04/2015
  • Under state law, unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues the final Lake Champlain Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) by October 1, 2015, all projects requiring an operational stormwater permit for discharges within the Lake Champlain watershed will be required to show no increase in phosphorus. This requirement will apply to all applications for coverage under GP 3-9010, 3-9015, or individual stormwater permits, which are received after October 1st. This requirement is in addition to existing requirements to meet “net zero” in stormwater-impaired waters as described in Environmental Protection Rules Ch. 22 (Stormwater Management Rule for Stormwater Impaired Waters).

    Section 31 of Act 64 of 2015 amends our stormwater statute (10 V.S.A. § 1264). Among the changes to statue is a new section (1264(h)(2)) that covers requirements for issuing permits. It effectively requires that projects within the Lake Champlain watershed not increase phosphorus load if there is no TMDL for the lake. This applies to both new projects and to the renewal of existing permits. To renew an existing permit, a feasibility-based upgrade to meet the WQv, Rev, and CPv standards of the Vermont Stormwater Management Manual will also be necessary. Per section 54(2) of the act, these requirements will take effect on October 1, 2015.
    EPA’s comment period on their proposed TMDL ends Thursday, October 15, a 30-day extension over the initial deadline. Based on this timeline, it is very unlikely there will be a TMDL in place by October 1st. Please note that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does not control the timeline for issuing the TMDL, but we remain optimistic it will be issued relatively soon. Information on the TMDL is available here.
    We anticipate that we will issue a procedure in the coming weeks to guide applicants who need to meet these requirements. You may direct any questions you have in the interim to the Stormwater Program staff person covering the district of the project in question.

    DEC’s longer term plan for managing stormwater once the TMDL is issued is contained with our draft Lake Champlain TMDL Phase I Implementation Plan. DEC will commence a public process to finalize this plan once the EPA adopts the TMDL.

  • KnowledgeWave Learning Site
  • 09/01/2015
  • As a VLCT member, your organization has access to the wide range of training and application support services provided by KnowledgeWave, a Microsoft Learning Partner located in South Burlington. VLCT is making the KnowledgeWave Learning Site available to all members at a special yearly rate. The membership includes access to the online learning site so that you can learn at your own pace, monthly webinars, access to live classes, and much more.

  • Security and Sustainability Forum Upcoming Webinars
  • 08/11/2015
  • The Security and Sustainability Forum has scheduled five webinars for August and September. Topics include Peace, Conflict, and the Scale of the Climate Risk Landscape; Rethinking Our Land: Growing Sustainable and Resilient Communities; and Why Investing in Nature Makes Economic Sense. More information is at

  • Funding for Diesel Vehicle, Engine, and Equipment Upgrades
  • 08/03/2015
  • The Vermont Clean Diesel Grant Program was developed with funding from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to reduce air pollution associated with diesel-powered engines, vehicles, and equipment. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking information from potential applicants for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions from diesel-powered engines, vehicles, and equipment operating in Vermont. DEC will be posting a Request for Proposals for this grant opportunity in the near future.

    Who will be eligible to apply? All interested local, State and regional agencies or departments as well as businesses, institutions, and nonprofit organizations operating in Vermont.

    What vehicles and equipment are eligible? Diesel-powered engines, vehicles, and equipment currently operating in Vermont, including buses, locomotives, medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, nonroad engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining or energy production (stationary generators and pumps).

    What projects are eligible? Eligible diesel emission reduction projects include:

  • Stormwater Mitigation Funding
  • 07/27/2015
  • $1.1 million of Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding is reserved for applications addressing environmental mitigation efforts relating to stormwater and highways. Also, the former $50,000 cap on federal funding for salt/sand shed construction projects has been omitted. Potential project ideas include:

  • Fleet Greening Program Participants Sought
  • 07/17/2015
  • The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) is launching a program to provide Vermont organizations with the technical assistance and financing they need to convert their fleets to electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. VEIC is seeking participants for a pilot of this program, which will run through the end of the summer. More information is here.

  • Updates to VLRB publications
  • 07/08/2015
  • Updates are now available for two Vermont Labor Relations Board publications: the Evolving Vermont Labor Relations Law, 3rd edition (updated through the end of April 2015, and the revised Guide to Vermont Labor Relations Statutes (updated through the end of May 2015).  Please complete and send in this order form to order these publications.

  • ECO AmeriCorps
  • 06/26/2015
  • The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is implementing ECO AmeriCorps, a new program, as part of its effort to protect Vermont’s lakes and streams. DEC is looking for host sites and AmeriCorps members for the 2015-2016 service year. There are a limited number of host sites and member slots (15), which will be filled before the program start date of September 14.
    Through this program, towns, watershed groups, and conservation districts will work with motivated college graduates to help plan and implement projects related to improving water quality and flood resilience. In order to participate, each host site will need to provide a cash match of $5,500 in exchange for one full-time ECO AmeriCorps member who will serve for one year (a total of 1,700 hours). Vermont DEC will provide training and mentoring. Host sites are asked to provide a meaningful service opportunity and regular supervision for their AmeriCorps member. Water quality-related work that AmeriCorps members could perform includes outreach and education, technical assistance, and project selection, design, and implementation.
    Please contact Linnea Myers ( or 802-272-1462) or Carey Hengstenberg ( or 802-595-1632) if you have questions or for help in identifying projects for members. More information is available at

  • SRF Combined Municipal Funding Application
  • 06/02/2015
  • Over the past year, staff from the State Revolving Loan (SRF) programs and the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank have been working to complete a combined "smart" application for all municipal funding applicants. This new application allows municipalities to apply for any loan or grant that is funded by the Water Infrastructure Financing Programs and the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank in one document. Here is a link to the new application.

  • VTrans Crash Data Public Query Tool
  • 05/29/2015
  • In 2012, the Vermont Agency of Transportation underwent a Crash Data Improvement Program review and a Traffic Records assessment, both conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The final reports for both reviews recommended that Vermont improve upon the data quality measurement of "accessibility." As a result, the Public Crash Data Query Tool was built to provide the public with access to non-personal motor vehicle crash data. Local officials, highway safety advocates, and the general public can use this user-friendly, interactive online data query tool, which is posted at

  • Comprehensive Energy and Electric Plan for Vermont
  • 05/22/2015
  • The Public Service Department is updating the Comprehensive Energy and Electric Plan for Vermont. The plan will chart the course for Vermont's energy future and affects every Vermonter. Local officials' voices are vital to developing a workable plan for addressing patterns of use, efficiency, renewable energy, climate change, siting, and our landscape in the future. Now is your opportunity to be involved in the conversation. Plan to attend this summer's meetings!

  • GASB 68 Impacts on Municipal Financial Statements
  • 05/19/2015
  • Beginning with Vermont municipalities’ fiscal years ending on June 30, 2015 – and which will continue for future fiscal years – a new government accounting requirement will affect the audited financial statements of those municipalities participating in the Vermont Municipal Employee Retirement System (VMERS). A portion of any VMERS “net pension liability” will need to appear as a liability on the balance sheets of participating municipalities. Even though VMERS is 98.32% of being “fully-funded,” the requirement will mean that the 450 municipal and school entities participating in VMERS will have to show a share of $9.127 million in net pension liabilities for their fiscal years ending in 2015.

    The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is the independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments. Established in 1984 by agreement of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) and 10 national associations of state and local government officials, the GASB is recognized by governments, the accounting industry, and the capital markets as the official source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for state and local governments. Its standards are not federal laws or regulations and the organization does not have enforcement authority. Compliance with GASB’s standards, however, is enforced through the laws of some individual states and through the audit process, when auditors render opinions on the fairness of financial statement presentations in conformity with GAAP.

    GASB 68’s official title is “Statement 68 – Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions. The full text of the Statement can be found here.

  • New Residential and Commercial Building Energy Codes
  • 04/07/2015
  • On March 1, 2015, Vermont updated its residential and commercial building energy codes. The final versions of these codes – the Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) and Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES) – are posted on the Public Service Department website. Although they are listed as “drafts,” they are the final energy code requirements. These draft versions represent the final code language as adopted by Vermont. The PSD is currently working with the International Code Council to complete the official formatted versions of RBES and CBES. The only changes that will be made will be formatting, correction of typos and numerical errors, and internal references. The final drafts for publishing are being reviewed now and should be available soon.

  • Fuel Tank Safety
  • 03/30/2015
  • As the spring thaw gives way to potential flooding of Vermont rivers and streams, heating fuel providers throughout the state are participating in a tank safety education campaign. Propane and fuel oil tanks can shift during floods, breaking fuel lines and even dislodging tanks. The outreach effort reminds Vermonters that there are a number of things homeowners should do before, during and after a flooding event to protect their family and home.

  • Local Emergency Operations Plan – Update Reminder
  • 03/10/2015
  • Each year, all jurisdictions must submit updated Local Emergency Operations Plans to their regional planning commission following Town Meeting Day but before May 1st. Additional information, including the template for your Local Emergency Operations Plan, is at Please contact your planner at the regional commission with any questions.

  • Public Assistance Federal Grant Information and Updates
  • 02/24/2015
  • On February 3, 2015, public assistance disaster DR-4207 was declared for a December 9-12, 2014 severe winter storm in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor counties.
    Last week, applicant briefings were held to update towns and utility companies on new FEMA program information and explain how to seek reimbursement. If you missed the briefings and want to see one on-line, you can view an unedited taping of the February 13 applicant briefing on the DEMHS YouTube channel.

    To be included in DR-4207, an applicant must submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to by Thursday, March 5, 2015.  Applicants will be eligible to receive up to 75% federal funding, as well as a 7.5%, 12.5%, or 17.5% state match. In order to continue to qualify for a 12.5% state match , towns must have in place four elements: up-to-date Local Emergency Operations Plan; adopted Hazard Mitigation Plan; up-to-date Transportation Codes and Standards which meet or exceed the 2013  VTrans template (as shown in the 2014-2016 Orange Book); and participation in the  National Flood Insurance Program (if applicable). Communities also can qualify for a 17.5% state share by having all of those items and also taking steps to protect river corridors from new encroachment. To find out your town’s Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) state share, visit Towns have until March 5 to submit documentation to influence the ERAF percentage for this disaster. Here is a summary of how the State of Vermont evaluates and tracks ERAF criteria.

    DR-4163 and DR-4178 update

  • New Flood-Resilient Videos
  • 01/21/2015
  • The Connecticut River Watershed Council has produced six videos to help communities prepare for flooding:

  • Pedestrian Crossing Treatments
  • 01/21/2015
  • The purpose of the Vermont Agency of Transportation's Guidelines for Pedestrian Crossing Treatments, newly updated for 2015, is to ensure that pedestrian crossings are treated consistently throughout the state, on both state highways and local roads, by providing guidance on the location of marked and unmarked crossings and the associated pavement markings and signs. It supplements the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

  • Lake Wise Standards
  • 01/21/2015
  • Lake Wise standards apply to the land surrounding a lake that is within 250 feet of the lake's mean water level. Managing Vermont lakeshores according to consistent standards will maintain property values, good water quality, good aquatic habitat, good fishing, swimming, boating, bird-watching, and more favorite activities around and benefits of Vermont lakes. Using Best Management Practices ensures lakeshore standards are met.

  • Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions
  • 01/20/2015
  • Marijuana legalization is a controversial and multifaceted issue and the subject of serious debate. Last May, the governor signed Act 155, which required the Secretary of Administration to produce this report about various consequences of legalizing marijuana, whose aim is to inform the debate in Vermont but not to make any recommendation about whether Vermont should change its marijuana laws.

  • Education Fund Outlook
  • 01/20/2015
  • On January 16, the Joint Fiscal Office released this one-page Education Fund Outlook.

  • A Comprehensive Model for Building Vermont’s Universal Health Care System
  • 01/02/2015
  • On December 30, Governor Shumlin released Green Mountain Care: A Comprehensive Model for Building Vermont’s Universal Health Care System, which formed the basis for his decision to not pursue single-payer health care.

  • New Requirements for Local Authorization of Emergency In-Stream Work
  • 12/15/2014
  • Vermont law gives municipalities the authority to approve in-stream work to address imminent threats of significant damage to life and property. However, the 2012 Rivers Bill requires that in-stream work be authorized by a municipal legislative body to address imminent threats and to meet specific reporting requirements and implementation standards established by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). In accordance with the Rivers Bill, ANR adopted new rules that create a process for local authorization of Emergency Protective Measures. This video provides information on this new process.

  • 2015-2020 HUD Consolidated Plan
  • 12/05/2014
  • The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is in the process of preparing the 2015-2020 HUD Consolidated Plan. This is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the federal agency that governs the funds that the department receives. Vermont’s Consolidated Plan guides the investment of more than $10 million annually from HUD for three formula grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership funds (HOME) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).

  • River Corridor Base Map
  • 12/04/2014
  • The Agency of Natural Resources recently posted a Base Map of river corridors on its Flood Ready Atlas. A river corridor is delineated to provide for the least erosive form toward which a river will evolve during floods over time. River corridor maps guide state actions to protect, restore, and maintain naturally stable meanders and riparian areas to minimize erosion hazards. Land within and immediately abutting a river corridor may be at higher risk to fluvial erosion during floods.

  • FEMA Public Assistance Program Update
  • 10/15/2014
  • There are a few recent changes within FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Effective October 1, 2014, the small project threshold minimum amount increased from $3,000 to $3,040 and the small project threshold maximum increased from $120,000 to $121,600. In other words, damage to a site must total at least $3,040 to be considered eligible, and damages over $121,600 will be written up as “large projects” which eventually require a close-out version based on actual documented costs. Other changes include the countywide per capita indicator raising 1.7 percent to $3.56, and the statewide indicator to $1.41 per capita.  The State and counties must meet these thresholds in eligible damages prior to the Governor submitting a federal disaster declaration request. These changes apply to all disasters declared on or after October 1, 2014. Another big change is ERAF implementation. The Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) rules which will go into effect for any future disaster declared after October 23, 2014.

  • Public Comment on DEC Draft Flood Hazard Area and River Corridor Protection Procedure
  • 10/07/2014
  • In 2012, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 138 requiring the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to adopt a procedure to:

  • Vermont Telecommunications Plan Comments
  • 10/01/2014
  • On September 30, VLCT Advocacy submitted these comments to the Department of Public Service's public comment draft Vermont Telecommunications Plan.

  • Oversized Trucks on Vermont Highways
  • 09/26/2014
  • On September 25, VLCT Advocacy sent this letter to Vermont's congressional delegation regarding proposed legislation that would increase the size of tractor trailer trucks allowed on Vermont thoroughfares.

  • National Disaster Resilience Competition
  • 09/25/2014
  • The National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) will competitively award nearly $1 billion in HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Disaster Recovery funds to eligible communities to help them recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters. To complement these funds, the Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical assistance and training workshops to every eligible state and local government. More information is here.
    Eligibility. All states with counties that experienced a Presidentially Declared Major Disaster in 2011, 2012, or 2013 are eligible to submit applications. In addition, 17 local governments that received funding under PL 113-2 are also eligible. A full list of eligible grantees can be found in the attachment “NDRC Eligible Applicants.”
    Program Format and Timeline. The National Disaster Resilience Competition is a year-long competition structured in two phases: (1) the framing phase and (2) the implementation phase. The competition is structured to guide applicants in the framing phase through broad consideration of their disaster recovery needs, vulnerabilities, stakeholder interests, resilience and other community development investment alternatives. Then they can refine those needs and design potential solutions in the implementation phase.

  • Public Assistance Program Information
  • 09/10/2014
  • It has been another busy year for Vermont disasters. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourages towns to plan ahead.  How will you respond to and recover from future flooding events?  A good resource is the new Flood Ready Vermont website,  This site can help you:

  • Disaster Relief Funding Changes
  • 08/20/2014
  • Gov. Peter Shumlin and Joe Flynn, Director of Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security, recently urged communities to prepare for new criteria related to state disaster relief funding that will go into effect in October.
    Flooding is the most common and costly hazard faced by Vermont communities. After a federally-declared disaster, 75 percent of qualified public losses may be reimbursed by FEMA’s federal Public Assistance program. In Vermont, the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) also contributes to help cover repair costs. Municipalities that take the following four specific actions to prepare for and mitigate flood damage will qualify for higher percentages of state support (12.5 percent state share) after declared disasters:

  • Act 199 Order Revision
  • 07/25/2014
  • On July 25, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Karen Horn submitted these comments to the Public Service Board in response to the PSB's July 10 memo regarding "good cause" and "substantial deference."

  • 07/23/2014
  • Vermont local officials have a new online tool to help their municipalities become more flood resilient. Flood Ready Vermont ( compiles maps and information from around the state to help community leaders work to avoid damage from flooding and help their towns become more flood resilient. The website contains information on post-disaster funding and how well communities are prepared. Is your town prepared to avoid flood damage? Visit to find out. And be sure to attend the “Is Your Town Ready for the Next Flood?” workshop at Town Fair, where the website will be described in detail.

  • The Shoreland Protection Act
  • 07/10/2014
  • Vermont’s Shoreland Protection Act, passed by the legislature last session, went into effect on July 1. The shoreland protection legislation applies to activities within 250 feet of a lake or pond’s mean water level for all lakes and ponds greater than 10 acres in surface area. The Act establishes a new state regulation for guiding shoreland development. The intent of the Shoreland Protection Act is to prevent degradation of water quality in lakes, preserve habitat and natural stability of shorelines, and maintain the economic benefits of lakes and their shorelands by defining standards in creation of buildings, driveways, and cleared areas in shorelands.
    The Act recognizes that many shoreland properties in Vermont are already developed or are small parcels that cannot meet the new standards. Developed properties are “grandfathered” until the owner proposes redevelopment. On existing small parcels, the Shoreland Permit Program staff will work with homeowners so that the standards are met to the extent possible in cases of development and redevelopment.
    The Shorelands Protection Act requires the use of Vegetation Management Practices to protect vegetation within 100 feet of the mean water level of lakes and ponds. Within the first 100 feet the Act requires that new development be setback at least 100 feet. On existing small parcels the specification is setback as far as the parcel allows. Additionally, the Act requires the permit applicant to demonstrate building on a slope greater than 20% will not compromise slope stability. It also creates a maximum 20% impervious surface and 40% cleared area coverage; unless best management practices are utilized to mitigate the effects of additional impervious surface and cleared area.

  • Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System
  • 07/07/2014
  • Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer recently released the findings of an investigation into a state database that sheds light on prices, trends, and variation across Vermont’s health care system. The Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System (VHCURES) is a digital catalogue of all fees for medical services and products that insurers paid over the last seven years for Vermont residents. Hoffer’s inquiry found that while the State has made great progress in developing this resource, its entities have yet to fulfill the statutory duty of using the database to better inform consumers about health care. The report, called “VHCURES: Past, Present, and Future – Opportunities for Health Care Price Transparency and Greater Consumer Information,” is broken into three main sections based on the inquiry’s chief objectives, which were to:

  • Handbook for Shoreland Development
  • 06/30/2014
  • Act 172, Vermont's shoreland protection legislation, took effect on Tuesday, July 1. The Lakes and Ponds Program of the Watershed Management Division recently published this Handbook for Shoreland Development to guide activities in protected shoreland areas.

  • Vermont Municipalities and New Energy Efficient Construction
  • 06/24/2014
  • To encourage Vermont residents to build more energy efficient homes, Efficiency Vermont prepared a Municipal Guide to Vermont Energy Codes and Above-Code Programs that provides information on energy code requirements, explains the energy code process from application through documented compliance, and outlines the support available from Efficiency Vermont for builders and homeowners. Zoning and planning officials can influence the long-term affordability and environmental impacts of the building that occurs within their town by advising builders and home or business owners how they can build to meet or exceed Vermont’s energy codes. This document provides clear and relevant information so that zoning and planning officials can easily respond to permit applicants.

  • Wastewater System/Potable Water Supply Designer and Installer Fact Sheet
  • 06/17/2014
  • Recently, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Shoreland Permit Program issued this Fact Sheet for wastewater system and potable water supply designers and installers. The document summarizes the requirements of the Shoreland Protection Act, which regulates clearing and construction of impervious surfaces on lake shoreland parcels, and describes how those requirements interact with the requirements of the Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Rules.

  • Gov. Shumlin's Letter to EPA
  • 05/30/2014
  • Governor Peter Shumlin responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's critique of Vermont's plan to reduce phosphorus in Lake Champlain with this May 29 letter.

  • Vermont Idle Free
  • 05/15/2014
  • The American Lung Association has teamed with the University of Vermont Certification for Sustainable Transportation to launch Vermont Idle Free, a free online certification for Vermont diesel truck drivers and fleet managers about the benefits of idling reduction.

  • DOE Offers $15 Million to Help Communities Boost Solar Deployment
  • 04/18/2014
  • To help reach the goal of doubling renewable energy generation for a second time by 2020, the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. As part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity aims to help communities develop solar deployment plans that focus on building strong public-private partnerships to deploy commercial-scale solar. Communities will establish innovative financing mechanisms and launch creative community-based initiatives, such as shared solar programs. Find more information on the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity, including application requirements, here.

  • Reporting the IRC of Municipally-owned and Other Tax Exempt Property
  • 04/17/2014
  • A new law requires owners of certain tax exempt properties — including municipalities, we believe — to report each property's Insurance Replacement Cost (IRC) to their local assessing officials by April 1 of every year starting this year. Municipalities must both collect completed forms for non-municipal properties in their jurisdiction and provide their local assessing officials with a completed form for each municipal facility that is listed in their property insurance coverage document. If you haven't reported yet, there is a helpful form with a list of the property categories that are subject to this reporting requirement at Call 800-649-7915 for more information or if you are a PACIF member seeking your IRCs.

  • Unit-based Pricing for Waste Disposal
  • 04/02/2014
  • Vermont’s Universal Recycling law (Act 148) requires all Vermont municipalities to “implement a variable rate pricing system [also known as unit-based pricing] that charges for the collection of municipal solid waste from a residential customer for disposal based on the volume or weight of the waste collected” by July 1, 2015. The Waste Management and Prevention Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation has published this guide to unit-based pricing for waste disposal and recyclables. Additionally, the division has created this sample variable rate pricing ordinance by volume or weight for municipal solid waste collection (not reviewed by VLCT).

  • Flood Resilience Planning Website
  • 10/01/2013
  • A Sharepoint website has been set up to support planners working on flood resilience. Anyone working on a first generation resilience plan can use this site to find data and share ideas. And as you develop draft plans, please use this site to share your work with others. A separate website is in development to support the Flood Resilient Communities program. When released next summer, it will supplant this temporary site. Your feedback on the Sharepoint will inform the design of the final site.

  • VLCT Municipal Internal Controls Checklist
  • 01/20/2012
  • VLCT and the VLCT Board of Directors’ Financial Responsibility Committee are pleased to announce the availability of the new Municipal Internal Controls Checklist and accompanying guidelines. The checklist, which complies with current professional standards, can help municipalities improve their financial controls, and the guidelines describes the checklist in detail.