Town of Pawlet Development Review Board Hearing, Monday, January 18, 2016, 7:00 PM, Pawlet Town Hall: To continue discussion of the application for a Conditional Use Permit for 289 VT Rte. 153, West Pawlet, submitted by John Edwards.

Upcoming Pawlet Town Government Meetings: All meetings are open to the public and are held at the Pawlet Town Hall on School Street.
Select Board, Tuesday, January 19, February 2
Energy Group, Monday, January 25, 12 PM, Town Hall
Planning Commission Monthly Meeting, Monday, January 25, 7:30 PM.

Public Hearing, Town of Pawlet Select Board, Tuesday February 2, 7:00 PM, Pawlet Town Hall: This hearing is a continuation of the process of adopting the 2015 Pawlet Town Plan. The existing town plan was last adopted in November 2010. The new town plan is proposed for readoption by the Pawlet Select Board in February 2016.  The purpose of Town Plan is to reflect the objectives and needs of Pawlet’s citizens and may be used as a guide to the future growth and development of the Town. The draft of the full text and maps are available for review at the Pawlet Town Clerk’s Office at the Town Hall and can also be viewed here: Pawlet Town Plan 2015.

13th Annual Woodchuck Festival, February 6, 10 AM – 3 PM, Mettawee Community School, West Pawlet: Sponsored by the West Pawlet Ladies Auxiliary and the West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department, this fundraiser event is a family day for all ages. Activities include the silent auction, a craft vendor market with many hand-crafted and homemade items, and home-baked goods.  There will be the cow plop Bingo, and Nicole O’Neil will provide face-painting fun for children.  Little Angels Daycare will offer childcare during the events. Enjoy great food at the firemen’s Woodchuck Café. For more information contact:
Craft vendor market: Beth Moser-Duquette, 802-645-0398 or woodchuckfest05775@gmail.com.
Silent auction: JoAnne Reid, 802-645-0244.
Baked goods market: Ellie Park, 802-287-1639.  
Cow Plop Bingo or the Woodchuck Café: Tom Collard, 802-645-0839.

West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department Pancake Breakfast, Sunday, February 14, 7:30 – 11 AM, West Pawlet fire house: This monthly event is sponsored by and benefits the West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department. The breakfast menu includes many kinds of pancakes — regular, chocolate chip, blueberry and cranberry and local maple syrup; as well as waffles, West Pawlet’s world-famous home fries, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon. Beverages include: coffee, tea, milk and orange juice. Starting in January, breakfast prices are $9.00 for 12 years and up, $5.00 for 5-12 years and free to children under the age of 5 years. Breakfast profits are dedicated for the department’s equipment and training needs. New members for the department are welcome. For more information contact:  Antonio Landon at 802-345-4312 or wp5801@yahoo.com .

Get ready for Town Meeting Day, March 1, 2016: Thinking about running for local office? A preliminary list of town offices with terms that will be expiring March, 2016, is available from the Town Clerk or at http://pawlet.vt.gov/town-offices/town-clerk/ . The deadline for local candidates to file petitions and consents with the Town Clerk is January 25, the sixth Monday before the election. The last day for voters to file a petition with the town clerk to have an article appear on the ballot for town meeting is January 14, 47 days before town meeting. Thank you, Deb Hawkins, Town Clerk

Education Spending Caps and Act 46, from Representative Robin Chesnut-Tangerman: In the coming week the Legislature will be debating whether to remove, raise, or keep unchanged the school spending thresholds established in Act 46. The law is intended as a cost containment measure and gives schools a small but variable allowance for spending growth before severe tax penalties kick in. Spending caps are not the most controversial part of the law, but with school budgets due this month, they are the most pressing part. Last year I voted against Act 46 on the House floor, partly because of the spending caps and partly because of the enforced governance consolidation. I don’t believe either of these will achieve their intended goals. This year I have submitted a number of recommendations to the Education Committee and I am co-sponsoring a House bill to repeal the spending caps.

Everyone wants education to be as cost effective as possible. The question is whether the caps are a fair way to limit spending and impose penalties when so many costs are out of the hands of the local school boards struggling to create a workable budget. Some of these expenses are special education services including aides, health insurance cost increases, multi-year contracts, offering Pre-K education, and emergency maintenance. The schools in this legislative district, which includes parts of three different supervisory unions, are managing the budget cap situation well. Tinmouth’s spending increase is offset by their consolidation tax incentive, Mettowee School’s spending is just a hair over the limit (they would pay a 0.004% penalty), while Middletown Springs, Pawlet, and Rupert have all come in under the limit. However, as the caps stand now, about 125 towns across the state will be paying penalties.

While the Legislature is debating spending caps, towns are actively engaged in intense conversations about consolidation into new, larger Supervisory Districts. Now is the time to get involved! Thank you, Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, rchesnut-tangerman@leg.state.vt.us or 235-2050.

Rutland Area Visiting Nurse offers monthly community health clinics: The Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice sponsors a wide range of clinics for area residents and businesses, including health education, screening, testing, and adult immunizations. For more information visit http://vermontvisitingnurses.org/events/categories/rutland-area/ to learn about their flu and foot care clinics; cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure screenings; and many other important services.