WRC NEWSLETTER                                             OCTOBER 2017
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IN THIS ISSUE
QUICK LINKS
WRC Commissioners
WRC CALENDAR
November 1, 9:00 am:

November 1, 2:00 pm:
Statewide Parcel Mapping Project Meeting
Newfane Union Hall

November 2, 6:00 pm:

November 7, 6:00 pm:

November 9, 4:00 pm:
Westminster State Police Barracks
 
November 9, 4:30 pm:
Community Development Committee

November 14, 6:00 pm:

November 17, 9:00 am:
Environmental Due Diligence in Property Transactions Workshop (See Article "Bagels & Brownfields")
118 Elliot Street, Brattleboro

November 20, 5:30 pm:

November 21, 12:00 pm:

November 28, 6:00 pm:
North River Corridor Plan Public Meeting
Halifax Town Office

November 29, 6:00 pm:
North River Corridor Plan Public Meeting
Whitingham Community Center

**All Committee Meetings take place in the WRC Conference Room unless otherwise noted.
 
**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.
UPCOMING GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

America Walks
DEADLINE:  Nov 10, 2017
 
Clif Bar Family Foundation
DEADLINE:  Feb 1, 2018

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund
DEADLINE:  Rolling (Seed Grant) 
For more information click here.
 
USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans 
& Grants
DEADLINE:  Ongoing (contact USDA office)
For more information click here.
 
Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
DEADLINE:  Rolling
DEADLINE:  Nov 6, 2017
 
US Environmental Protection Agency
DEADLINE:  Nov 16, 2017

Vermont Agencies of Transportation/Commerce and Community Development
DEADLINE:  Jan 31, 2018
DEADLINE:  Nov 17, 2017
DEADLINE:  Nov 22, 2017
Vermont Community Foundation
DEADLINE:  Rolling
Windham Foundation
DEADLINE: Nov 15, 2017 
For more information . click here
 
Windham Regional Commission
DEADLINE:  Nov 6, 2017
DEADLINE:  Rolling 
DEADLINE:  Rolling 

Upcoming Grants will  be a regular column in the  WRC Newsletter, for  a complete 
list please  click here

For additional  information about  grant possibilities  for your projects  please contact Susan at 
Funding Announcement

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for funding through the 
Water and Environmental Programs. Loan and grant funds may be use d by municipalities and non-profits to finance improvements to essential community facilities (healthcare facilities, municipal buildings, educational facilities and more) and to invest in water, wastewater and stormwater systems.  To connect with a Rural Development specialist for support in developing a project and submitting an application for the 2018 funding year, call  (802) 828-6011 or visit Rural Development's  website . Community Facilities Program initial deadlines are Nov. 17 (loan) and Dec. 8 (grant). Water and Environmental Program initial deadline is Dec 1st.
WRC to host Floodplain Administration Discussion

The WRC will host a brown bag lunch for Zoning Administrators and Floodplain Administrators on December 6 at noon in the WRC conference room. The topic will be administering local flood hazard area regulations. While many know about the National Flood Insurance Program federal requirements for regulating development in floodplains, fewer are familiar with state requirements for river corridors. This will be a chance to ask questions and share advice about administration of flood hazard regulations.

For further information, please contact Alyssa Sabetto at  257-4547 X113, or John Bennett at 257-4547 X110.
WRC to hold North River Corridor Plan Public Information Meetings

The WRC will host two public meetings to present the draft North River Corridor Plan, in Halifax on November 28 and in Whitingham (Jacksonville) on November 29. Fluvial geomorphology consultants Fitzgerald Environmental Associates will discuss the results of their assessment of the East Branch of the North River and Branch Brook and the Corridor Plan created as a result of that study. The presentation will include recommended high priority projects to enhance stream stability and future flood resilience.

The meetings will start at 6:00 pm in the Halifax Town Office and the Whitingham Community Center.

For further information, please contact  John Bennett at 257-4547 X110.
Request For Proposals Released for Windham County Renewable Energy Program

The Windham Regional Commission has release the request for proposals for the second round of the Windham County Renewable Energy Program.  The successful grant program funds new renewable energy generation projects in Windham County and reimburses up to 50% of the project cost.  The program was developed by the Windham Regional Commission's Energy Committee in the fall of 2016.  The first round of funding brought in 12 applications with over a million dollars in requested funds.  Five projects are currently underway including three solar installations, one combined heat and power biomass generator, and a feasibility study for an anaerobic digester. The RFP for the second round of funding was released October 3 rd with applications due November 6 th.  More information on the program and the RFP can be found on our website under the  Energy tab .
WRC STAFF
Executive Director

Associate Director

Office Manager

Finance Manager

Senior Planner

Planner

Planner

Senior Planner

Transportation Planner

Planner
Learn about the Statewide Parcel Mapping Project, Nov. 1 in Newfane
 
Please join us for an informational meeting about the Statewide Parcel Mapping Project.  The meeting will take place on  Wednesday, November 1st, at 2pm at the Union Hall in Newfane, Vermont.
 
73 towns throughout Vermont are participating in the first phase of this funded project to produce up-to-date and standardized digital parcel boundary data.
Every town is eligible to participate and will benefit by having the state pay for part or all of their digital parcel map data creation or update!  In addition, improved data will appear in state online maps like the ANR Atlas and E911 Viewer. Bring your questions and enthusiasm about participating in phase 2 - which will start mid-summer 2018.   
 
The meeting is sponsored by Windham Regional Commission (WRC) and the Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI).   For information, contact Leslie Pelch (VCGI) at  Leslie.Pelch@vermont.gov, 802-882-3002, or Jeff Nugent (WRC), at  802-257-4547 X111.
 
A working meeting focused on the current state of connectivity in Southern Vermont will feature Clay Purvis, the Director of the Telecommunications and Connectivity Division of the Vermont Public Service Department and highlight current case studies from Southern Vermont such as EC Fiber, Town of Dover and Town of Readsboro.  USDA Rural Development will emphasize programs and funding around connectivity and Congressman Welch's office will discuss what is happening at the federal level around rural connectivity. Providers will be present for networking during the event but will not be presenting. Attendees will be from Southern Vermont towns who have formed a committee on connectivity, who are interested in addressing this challenge in their town, and who are looking for advice on process and next steps to help move the needle. 
 
Contact Sarah Lang for more information on summit: slang@brattleborodevelopment.com.

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Additionally, DPS will be hosting a public meeting after the summit to gather input for the forthcoming telecommunication plan. This public hearing will be held in the Dover Town Hall, Dover, VT  from 6:30-7:30 pm
 
Contact Clay Purvis for more information on the public meeting: Clay.Purvis@vermont.gov.
State Wood Energy Team Partners with Windham Wood Heat for Annual Conference this November in Brattleboro

Because of all the recent activity in Windham County with modern wood heat due in large part to the Windham Wood Heat Initiative and the Clean Energy Development Fund, the State Wood Energy Team (SWET) felt that their annual conference should be held in the midst of the activity.  SWET has partnered with the Windham Regional Commission's Windham Wood Heat Initiative for hosting the annual conference.  The SWET conferences have gathered facility managers and building owners, as well as professionals in the field and manufacturers, together to discuss the opportunities of modern wood heat and energy systems.

The conference will be a day-long event the last week in November with an engaging, interactive, and informative agenda.  The morning session will bring participants together to network over coffee then divide into breakout groups to discuss optimally running existing wood heat systems or the opportunities available in installing new systems.  The afternoon will feature a tour of facilities heated by modern wood heat.  This will include a school, a district heating unit for affordable house, the New England Center for Circus Arts new building, and hopefully the Hermit Thrush Brewery.  The tour will showcase how different building sizes and uses are conducive to these heating systems with the added bonus of craft beer tasting.

The detailed meeting logistics are still in process but the WRC is excited to welcome SWET to our region, and to showcase the good work that has been happening all over the County.  To get on the list of information about this conference please email Marion Major at mmajor@windhamregional.org.
Windham Regional Commission Co-Hosts Grant Training and Road Foremen Meeting
 
On Wednesday, October 18th the Windham Regional Commission (WRC), in coordination with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Better Roads Group, hosted an innovative joint grant training and road foremen meeting. The meeting was held at the Putney Fire Department and was attended by 35 individuals from 19 towns and three organizations.

The meeting began with an update from Linda Blasch and Alan May of VTrans about the Better Roads Grant program changes in FY 2018, including the grant application process. Changes include: application timing (grant applications are due on November 17th this year), changes to qualifying projects for category A, and changes in maximum grant amount to $60,000 for Category D grants. After the presentation a short break provided road foremen the opportunity to ask individual questions to Vtrans and WRC staff and discuss the program among themselves.

After the break. WRC Natural Resources Planner Emily Davis presented before and after photos of road work completed in Wilmington, Marlboro, Dummerston, Weston, Putney, and Readsboro by some of the road foremen in the room that was funded by the Grants in Aid program. By showcasing recent work related to the Municipal Road General Permit (MRGP), the road foremen were able to share some lessons learned with each other about what implementation of the MRGP means.

Following the morning presentations, WRC Transportation Planner Erica Roper facilitated a short exercise gathering road foremen input for inclusion in the WRC's comments on the current draft of the MRGP before it enters its final version. The road foremen almost unanimously supported the WRC's recommended changes to the draft MRGP, and had the opportunity to add their own comments.  

Contact Erica Roper with any questions at eroper@windhamregional.org or call her at
802-257-4547 X108.
Bagels & Brownfields

The Windham Regional Transportation Committee Hits the Road

The Windham Regional Transportation Committee met in Bellows Falls in October. It was attended by Rockingham Town Staff, Windham Regional Commission (WRC) Commissioners for Rockingham, members of the Transportation Committee, WRC Staff, and neighboring Southwest Region Planning Commission staff from New Hampshire.

The meeting began with a tour of  regional transportation concerns in the town, including the Depot St. bridge, the Bridge Street bridge, the train tunnel, and the Vilas bridge. This meeting is part of a two-month pilot program taking our transportation committee out into the Windham Region. The committee will be meeting in Westminster on November 9 th as the first part of a combined Transportation Committee / Westminster Bridge Deck Replacement Public Meeting. The meeting will be held at the Westminster Police Barracks at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. The Westminster Bridge Deck Replacement Public Meeting will begin at 6 p.m. The meetings will move back to Brattleboro for the winter, and the Committee will discuss the effectiveness continuing the On the Road meetings next spring.  Contact Erica for more information.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
  
Resuming the Municipal Shared Services Conversation
 
Is it time to resume discussion about municipal shared services, and what role the Windham Regional Commission might have?  Our town officials are increasingly being called upon to administer complex laws, rules and programs, including grant programs.  Some are required by state and federal government, and some can be undertaken at the discretion of selectboards and voters. There may be advantages to inter-municipal collaboration as opposed to towns going it on their own.
 
In 2014 and 2015 we began a conversation with towns about potential areas of collaboration and how the WRC might be able to help.  Possibilities for inter-municipal collaboration ranged from animal control services to zoning administration to bulk purchasing of everything from highway materials to heating oil.  This conversation stalled as the legislature took up a bill that would allow regional commissions and their member towns to establish a process by which towns would decide what services they wanted to share, and how those costs would be borne by only the towns that benefited from those services.  A law is now in place that enables regional commissions to assist in this effort.
 
Many of those who participated in the conversations two years ago have moved on from their positions, but the need and impetus has only grown.  Stay tuned early in the new year as we restart the conversation to learn what towns need, and what, if any, role they feel the WRC might play.  
Windham Regional Commission 
139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
Fax: (802) 254-6383