Legislature: city’s local option tax must return to voters - and other news

The proposed city charter approved by voters in March cleared one legislative hurdle this week, then hit another.

As reported in the April 18 Winooski Bridge, a statewide sportsmen’s group last month told lawmakers they oppose a city charter provision regulating firearms possession. The gun language predates the changes approved by voters this March. It was discussed by city officials during pre-vote discussions, and was left unchanged. Last month, however, the sportsmen feared that approving the new city charter might be seen as state approval for local gun-control regulation, which they saw is forbidden by a “sportsmen’s bill of rights” law passed in the 1980’s. According to Rep. Clem Bissonnette, this problem was resolved by language changes that satisfied all parties concerned.

However, the House Government Operations Committee did recommend another significant tweak: before exercising the one percent local option tax made lawful by the charter change, it must seek voter approval. If the city waits several years before levying the tax, voters may see matters differently then, the committee reasoned. A similar requirement was made for the St. Albans charter, Bissonnette said.

City officials welcome discussion about dog concerns

by Gail Callahan
It started as a handful of postings on Winooski's Front Porch Forum, and the topic is a matter of concern for some residents and city officials alike.

Winooski City Manager Katherine “Deac” Decarreau indicated she hoped residents, who have concerns about dogs, or who would like to see a dog park established within city limits contact the City Council. She also asked residents to speak with law enforcement officials, and not to assume complaints are known just because they are posted on Front Porch Forum.

"People need to go to City Council meetings," Decarreau said. "If people are interested in (a dog park), they should make requests and start the conversation."

Decarreau said city officials will also shortly begin to examine best use for open land in Winooski. She also noted that there's been mention around town about the construction of a dog park, but no one is certain about a location.