• City Hall Reporter’s Notebook: Fair and apathy edition
    By Gordon Dritschilo
    Staff Writer | February 24,2014
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    All sorts of people are coming up to me, wanting to share their stories about skullduggery at the Vermont State Fair.

    Very few will let me quote them while putting those stories in print.

    I will keep listening to whoever will talk to me until I’m satisfied the whole story is out. The fair is a local institution and its health matters to all of us. Sunlight remains the best disinfectant.

    In a wrinkle that might make the whole affair much more interesting, or might not ever come to anything, Mayor Christopher Louras said Thursday that city officials were monitoring the situation.

    “I don’t know if step in is the right word, but we’re looking for ways we might get involved,” he said. “The city, I believe for decades, has always had a very strong interest in seeing that real estate be utilized in a manner that most effectively benefits the city of Rutland. I think a lot of people believe its highest and best use is something other than what it has been.”

    Board of Aldermen President David Allaire said he did not see how the city might get involved.

    “It seems, as of right now, a personnel matter between the trustees of the fair and their general manager,” he said.

    However, he concurred with Louras that there was a prominent school of thought that better use could be made of the fairgrounds.

    “It’s a piece of property that does not pay taxes,” he said. “It’s a piece of property that generates activity for limited times of year. There is always an interest in seeing the property used to its full potential.”



    Public disinterest

    You might recall I put out a call to my readers not long ago, asking what sort of questions you folks would like me to ask the aldermanic candidates.

    Know how many responses I got?

    None.

    Not even any snarky ones.

    At least I got people suggesting names for the Northwest neighborhood when I was soliciting those a while back.

    This dovetailed nicely with a conversation I had with Alderman William Notte following the Rutland City Democrats cancelling a forum due to — among other reasons — “the quality of the candidates.”

    Notte said he was happy to see John Matteson on the ballot for a third time, but disappointed that none of the first-time candidates from last year’s race decided to give it another go.

    Notte himself needed two tries before he made it on to the board. He said a candidate should almost expect not to win the first time out, and consider the first year as a chance to introduce oneself to the voters.

    Later this week, we’ll be running our annual information box where each candidate is asked the same five questions and gives a brief answer. One of them was about increasing the level of public engagement. Hopefully there will be some novel ideas.

    Anyone want to share their own?



    Calendar

    Tonight, the Finance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to discuss what to do about uncollectible parking tickets. The city will also hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at the Northwest School on the proposed $5 million bond for the stormwater separation project in the Northwest neighborhood.

    Tuesday, the Charter and Ordinance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to go over the revised Rutland City Master Plan.

    PEG-TV will air its annual aldermanic candidates forum live at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

    gordon.dritschilo

    @rutlandherald.com
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