Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WVTK Local & State News November 6, 2013

Governor Peter Shumlin announced a proposal to provide an additional $500,000 annually to strengthen city and town centers across Vermont.  A press release says lawmakers will be asked to approve a 30% increase to the $1.7 million Downtown and Village Tax Credit program. The tax program helps support historic renovation, housing, job creation, and other qualifying efforts to strengthen economic vitality.  The $500,000 proposal would allow the program to fund another 5 or 6 projects per year. If passed, there will be $7.5 million more in investment funds for Vermont downtowns and villages.

Just as the winter season and cold weather kicks in, the cost of natural gas is going down.  Vermont Gas announced a drop in rates which means a six-percent decrease in heating bills for homeowners and business owners alike.  This is the 16th rate reduction Vermont Gas has sent on to its customers in five years, thanks to an abundant supply of natural gas in North America.  The rate reduction kicked in last Friday, November First.

The turf wars are over in Hinesburg, literally, now that the voters have spoken.  A one-point-five million dollar bond was rejected Tuesday by voters in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne and Williston.  The money would have paid for two artificial turf fields at Champlain Valley Union High School.  With the bond turned down by a narrow 113 vote margin, student athletes will continue to use the seven grass playing fields at the school.

According to a report released recently by Coldwell Banker Bill Beck Real Estate in Middlebury, real estate sales during the third quarter of 2013 were robust locally.  Through the first three quarters of 2013, the report noted, the average sale price was $255,805 which is where it was in 2005. 

A new methadone clinic has opened in Rutland.  It is called West Ridge, and it will be serving Rutland and Bennington Counties.  Methadone clinics are designed to help people who are addicted to heroin and other opioids.  Some neighbors have concerns about having the clinic in their area, but police say there is nothing to worry about.  West Ridge is the fourth of five methadone clinics to open in the state.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says hunters contribute $292 million to the state’s economy every year.  The state says a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau determined that hunters spend $39 million on travel, $190 million on equipment and $62 million on other items.  Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry says hunting is also especially important because much of it occurs after foliage season and before skiing and the spending takes place throughout the state, including in the state’s most rural areas.