Friday, March 8, 2013

WVTK Local & State News March 8, 2013

The bridge over Lake Champlain linking Addison and Crown Point is new, but has had a problem for months.  Drivers say there is no issue but those that walk over the bridge say they have problems seeing at night because the arch and hand rail lights only work on one side of the bridge.  New York Transportation Officials say it is too cold to investigate right now because the wiring will be too brittle but they do plan to start fixing the bridge lights this spring.

A re-vote has been scheduled for the Rutland City School Budget.  The proposed budget of over $8-million dollars was rejected on Town Meeting Day.  The school board wasted no time trimming $128,000 from the budget.  There will be an informational meeting on March 25 at 7 PM at Rutland Town School. Voters will cast their votes the following day, from 7 AM to 7 PM at the Town Hall and the school.

Vermont Gas has announced they will change a segment of its 42-mile-long proposed Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline route.  The proposed line is supposed to follow the current utility corridor that exists in the Hinesburg-Monkton-New Haven area.  Many Monkton and Hinesburg residents expressed concerns during Town Meeting about the pipeline's route in their part of Chittenden County.

Vermont has been ranked 4th in the nation for Highest Taxed States by a non-partisan group.  The Tax Foundation's 2013 State Business Tax Climate report ranked the best and worst states for taxes to enable business leaders, policymakers, and taxpayers understand how their states measure up.  According to the report, Vermont gets slammed for high property taxes, which are the third highest in the nation with a 5.27 percent effective rate.

Hunger Free Vermont is the recipient of this year's anti-hunger advocacy leadership award.  The nonprofit focused on feeding the hungry received the award at a national conference in Washington, D.C., this week.  But now they are back in Vermont and focused on their new goal of providing free lunch for all low-income kids in Vermont.  They are using the efforts of free breakfast as the baseline for success. Hunger Free Vermont estimates free lunch for low-income kids would cost the state $300,000 and will result in an additional $400,000 from the feds.

A House Committee will be holding hearing next week to discuss protections for the shores lakes around Vermont.  A new proposed bill would call for the state Agency of Natural Resources to write new rules requiring buffer zones around the edges of lakes, stopping runoff from immediately entering waterways.  Existing lakeside cottages would be exempt, unless they were being enlarged or undergoing other substantial changes.  Some property owners are concerned the bill would infringe on their rights.

A new survey by the state of Vermont finds the number of residents without health insurance has dropped by nearly a third in the past seven years, mainly due to growth in government programs.  Results made public yesterday at a meeting of the Green Mountain Care Board show more than 61,000 Vermonters were without health coverage in 2005, or 9.8 percent of the population. The number dropped to 42,760, or 6.8 percent, by 2012.