With one week to go before Town Meeting day — for most towns — voters and municipal officials are geared up for a week of discussion and debate as numerous Franklin County towns hold public hearings and informational meetings.
Meanwhile, on the pandemic front, the state is relaxing some if its guidelines surrounding travel and longterm care facilities, with changes set to take place this week.
Here are three key things to know for the last week of February:
1. St. Albans City public hearings
On Monday, the St. Albans City Council hosted a slew of public hearings via Zoom call — most of which has to do with this year’s Town Meeting ballot.
First up was a public hearing on the proposed $9 million budget with an estimated tax rate of $.9556 on the Grand List. That was followed by hearings on three bond proposals — $5 million for an indoor pool and facilities at Hard’Ack Recreation Area, $1.55 million for a beautification and infrastructure project on Kingman Street and $2.3 million for a new water storage tank on Aldis Hill.
These were followed by a public hearing on Vermont Community Development Project grants, including a $500,000 grant to provide low-income households struggling under the pandemic mortgage and rental assistance, financial counseling and some limited housing rehabilitation.
2. Relaxed travel guidelines/nursing homes
Gov. Phil Scott announced during a press conference Friday that, beginning Tuesday, fully vaccinated Vermonters will no longer have to quarantine after traveling out of state.
Those coming from out of state will also not need to quarantine if they can provide proof of full vaccination.
Scott said Vermonters must have received two vaccine doses to be considered fully vaccinated, and will only be eligible for the reduced travel restriction two weeks after the second dose. He said that fully vaccinated Vermonters will receive vaccination cards, and that these cards should be on hand when Vermonters travel in or out of state so that they can be displayed upon request.
Beginning Friday, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said fully vaccinated residents at long-term care facilities where there is no active outbreak may be able to take part in congregate activities. He said this would also depend on if the facility in question is within federal guidance for COVID-19 positivity rates.
Smith said visitations would also be allowed for facilities that meet the guidance criteria, but whether or not visitors must be vaccinated is being left up to the individual care facilities.
3. Informational meetings
Beginning Monday, numerous towns will be holding virtual renditions of their legally-mandated informational meetings ahead of Town Meeting Day, which is on March 2.
While these meetings are normally in-person affairs, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to towns holding these meetings virtually via Zoom. A list of these public hearings can be found in the calendar section below, and Zoom call-in information can be found on the respective municipal websites and town warnings.
Tuesday, Feb. 23
— Missisquoi Valley School District to hold informational meeting at 7 p.m.
— Georgia Planning Commission is meeting at 7 p.m.
— St. Albans City Downtown Board & Board of Directors of St. Albans for the Future scheduled to meet at 6 p.m.
— St. Albans Town Planning Commission meets at 6:30 p.m.
— Enosburg Falls Board of Trustees meet at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 24
— Enosburg Falls Development Review Board meets at 6:30 p.m.
— Town of Georgia to hold Town Meeting Informational Meeting at 6 p.m.
— Franklin Selectboard is holding a budget public hearing at 7 p.m.
— Enosburg Development Review Board is meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25
— St. Albans Town Development Review Board meets at 6:30 p.m.
— Swanton Development Review Board is meeting at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27
— Fairfax Selectboard and School Board to hold Town Meeting Informational Meetings at 1 p.m. and 10 a.m., respectively
— Town of Montgomery Informational Meeting 1 to be held at 10 a.m.