Vermont

Ludlow Selectboard hesitantly approves rental registry

Amidst ambivalence and hesitation, the Ludlow Selectboard, at its meeting on Monday 7th November 2022, decided to approve the development of the tenancy register in the town of Ludlow, which will be prepared in partnership with the firm Granicus. Photo provided

LUDLOW, Vt. – Amidst ambivalence and hesitation, the Ludlow Selectboard, at its meeting on Monday 7th November 2022, decided to approve the development of the tenancy register in the town of Ludlow, which will be prepared in partnership with the firm Granicus.

The meeting was marked by examples from citizens, city officials and even the representative of Granicus urging the selection committee to go ahead and make a decision on whether to either approve or dismiss the registry, and overall mixed reactions from most members of the selection committee. Community leader Scott Murphy began the conversation by laying out the options: first, to create a register with Granicus, or second, to create a voluntary register where short-term rental (STR) owners would be free to register their own information with the to catalog town, village. Chairman Bruce Shmidt suggested a third option at this point – to wait until July 2023 and the next fiscal year to complete the register.

Granicus’ rep, one Samantha White, was able to chime in during the call, claiming that the $27,000 to do the registry really isn’t an issue, and that the more important question is whether the city will release rental information “this season, or next?” In response, Schmidt asked White how she would propose raising funds for the registry. White was able to offer four different options, including using ARPA funds and deferring the corporate fee until the money was out of the register was collected.

Schmidt seemed reluctant to engage in further conversation about the registry, saying, “I don’t know if I want to write a big dissertation tonight,” and that the city had spent a lot of time discussing the topic in the last two meetings to discuss. Some time was allowed for citizen comments, however, and several Ludlow residents stood up to urge the selection committee to make a decision either way. Murphy suggested splitting the fee between the two fiscal years, to which the board took little action.

White, again weighing in, emphasized that with “a topic this controversial, it’s important that you have the data first and that a decision isn’t made based on emotion.” Board member Justin Hyjek chimed in, stating that he “actually thinks[s] that the timing is perfect” as ski season approaches. Again, Shmidt seemed hesitant, stating that if the city decides not to issue an STR ordinance, he considers it a waste of money to keep a register. With minimal input from board members Robert Brandt and Scott Baitz, the selection committee ultimately decided to enforce registration, a decision applauded by many in attendance.

In addition, the selection committee decided to advance a traffic study for Preedom Hill Road to gather information on whether the speed limit should be reduced. Southeast Vermont Transit CEO Randy Schoonmaker announced that while the bus routes in Ludlow will remain the same as last year, a different company will be responsible for transportation. Several other items on the agenda, such as approving a generator for the community center, passed without discussion.

In relation to the Vail Bridge, paving is scheduled to be completed on Thursday 10th November with final finishing and cleanup shortly thereafter. The city health commissioner and deputy health commissioner also recently resigned, and Murphy announced that the city would consider anyone interested in filling the position.

The next meeting of the Ludlow Selectboard will be on Monday 5 December at 6pm at Ludlow Town Hall

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