Home News and Features Heard on the Street, May 17, 2023

Heard on the Street, May 17, 2023


Reappraisal: Property Owners See Assessments Spike 55%

The city of Montpelier contracted with New England Municipal Consultants, Ltd., to reappraise all properties in the city, leading to an average 55% jump in values, according to Montpelier city assessor Marty Lagerstedt. Consultants spent the past two years inspecting all homes and businesses and coming up with new values, which represent the perceived fair market value as of April 1, 2023, according to the assessor’s office. Between May 23 and 27, people can meet with the assessing company to informally grieve their assessment. Formal grievance hearings will follow in June. Call (802) 223-9504 to set up an appointment.

Barre City Tackles Homelessness Crisis

The Barre City Council is discussing the imminent end of the emergency motel shelter program. City Manager Nicolas Storellicastro told those at a meeting on May 8 he is working with Berlin and Montpelier on “plans to address the end of the state’s housing program for those experiencing homelessness.” One person suggested opening the Barre Auditorium just as they would in any other emergency. Others discussed the lack of shelter beds and needs for medical and mental health services. Developing camping locations or converting vacant homes into shelter housing was also vocalized. One key question was which level of government is right to address the issue? Also, who foots the bill? And, it was stated that a solution needs to be found quickly. See story on page 1.

Berlin Mall Rebrands with New Name

The Berlin Mall is now the Central Vermont Marketplace. It still looks the same, but has new signs, flags, and central courtyard furniture. In addition to Walmart, the property houses Verizon, Passumpsic Bank, MJ’s Beauty Salon, Treasures Unburied, Planet Fitness, Five Below, Optical Expressions, Gamestop, and Hobby Lobby. Owned by Heidenberg Properties Group, the parking lot has been noticeably fuller since Hobby Lobby moved in where JCPenney used to be.

East State Street Project Delayed

Drivers using East State Street should plan on continuing to slalom among the bumps and other obstacles on the road for a while longer. Montpelier officials had hoped to replace the water and sewer lines on East State Street this summer, but that has been delayed to 2024 because of a variety of issues including a shortage of in-house engineering staff, according to Public Works Director Kurt Motyka. Final paving and sidewalk construction is now scheduled to take place in 2025. Motyka said the city will be doing some related stormwater work this summer from the bottom of East State Street to the Rialto Bridge. Efforts to complete this stormwater portion of the project last summer were stymied when a contractor could not be found to do the work. Montpelier voters approved $7.2 million in bonds to fund the reconstruction of East State Street in March 2022.

—compiled by Carla Occaso with a contribution from Phil Dodd