Posted by Carrie Fenn on Jul 15, 2020
Jessica Brumsted is our speaker today. She shared the work of the Vermont House during COVID, the challenges and benefits of legislating remotely and the use of COVID relief funds.

July 15, 2020

Charlotte Shelburne Hinesburg Rotary

Via Zoom

Chris called the meeting to order at 7:35am.

It was noted that multiple people were wearing Rotary polo shirts. It was noted that a couple of other people wanted shirts but they were still in a box in the church basement. France relayed that Fred at the Trinity Episcopal Church will allow access for someone to go into the basement to retrieve items such as the box of shirts.


Nancy Danforth read this morning’s devotional.

“On the pulse of the morning” by Maya Angelou.


“A Rock, A River, A Tree

Hosts to species long since departed,   

Marked the mastodon,

The dinosaur, who left dried tokens   

Of their sojourn here

On our planet floor,

Any broad alarm of their hastening doom   

Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.


But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,   

Come, you may stand upon my

Back and face your distant destiny,

But seek no haven in my shadow,

I will give you no hiding place down here.


You, created only a little lower than

The angels, have crouched too long in   

The bruising darkness

Have lain too long

Facedown in ignorance,

Your mouths spilling words

Armed for slaughter.


The Rock cries out to us today,   

You may stand upon me,   

But do not hide your face.”




Chris had the honor of announcing that Bob Sanders has received the Paul Harris+6 Award. There was a round of virtual applause for Bob.


Chris noted that Richard Fox also received a Paul Harris award, although he was not sure of the levels until Keith gets him the info.


Discussion turned to committee activities and talking about the school lunch program. Chris spoke about what was happening in Charlotte.


Ric is trying to figure out how to do a car raffle by zoom. Looking at writing an amazing marketing letter to convince past donors to contribute. He is also thinking about not having a car at all and lowering the ticket price to $250. He will be speaking with Lincoln-Woodstock (NH) Rotary. Richard relayed that Lincoln-Woodstock is doing the raffle online but is still having a car as a visual prop. Richard also noted that Lincoln-Woodstock switched from a Corvette to a pick-up truck.


Erik spoke about the PR committee. He asked people to complete the survey he sent out. The committee will be working to make the directory up-to-date with accurate information. He will also be holding a meeting of the PR committee.


Linda spoke about projects. Food meals through July and August in Shelburne and Charlotte. In August there will be garden upkeep in Charlotte. In September there will be cleaning of the Rotary pond in Shelburne. In September, there might be the tractor parade (waiting to find out). In October, there would be the Halloween Parade. Richard is proceeding on the assumption that it will go forward. He will be in communication with the town in August. Also in the fall will be the winter coat and boot donation project.  Linda noted that she has nothing about Hinesburg currently.


Chris confirmed that the Board meeting will be Thursday, July 16, at 7:30am. Dan will send out the Zoom link and the agenda. Jessica asked to attend to discuss speakers. Chris noted that anyone is welcome to attend the board meeting.


Let’s all remember to fill out the survey Erik sent out. Look for an email from Erik on July 8.


The following members have decided not to renew membership: Russ Blodgett, Alan Hathaway,  Don Horenstein, Matt Segel.


Jessica Brumsted is our speaker today. She shared the work of the Vermont House during COVID, the challenges and benefits of legislating remotely and the use of COVID relief funds. 


On March 17, the state legislature started meeting remotely. They first had to figure out if they could vote remotely, because the old laws said that only physical voting was allowed.  In looking at the makeup of the legislature, it became clear that they needed to get out of the building because a lot of members are older and at risk.

All the meetings became taped and uploaded to YouTube. The problem with that is community members couldn’t join live and couldn’t speak unless they were invited. The benefit was that meetings were taped and people could go back and watch to see what was going on.

For all of April, the body only focused on COVID response. May was focused on the dollars- how to distribute the COVID response funds. Some other things that needed to get pushed through were able to get passed, like the lifetime hunting and fishing licenses for Abenaki, which was signed yesterday by the governor.

Childcare access and education were important pieces for this term. People have a lot of misinformation around property tax funding with education.

CRF Funds: Covid relief funds:

On June 30, the body recessed after passing a three month “skinny budget.” The short term nature of the budget was a response to the House passed the budget earlier in the year but they knew the Senate wouldn’t be able to pass it because of the uncertainty around funds coming in. 

Finalized a three month budget, spent a billion dollars of the federal COVID relief funds. Coming back August 25 for three to four weeks to finalize the budget. They needed to wait to see what monies will be coming in.

Businesses said loans wouldn’t help and that they really needed grants. Legislature worked with the legal team to determine how the federal funds could be used. The feds are currently trying to take back FEMA money from Irene because they claim it wasn’t spent properly so the state needs to make sure it is distributed properly.

The governor is dispersing COVID relief monies to owners of businesses who pay sales tax and meals and rooms tax, non-profits, women owned businesses, the Vermont Arts Council, Tourism and marketing efforts, Working Lands Enterprise Fund, outdoor recreation for adults, financial and technical support to businesses, restaurants and farmers to be innovative to feed the hungry, milk processors, non-dairy producers and processors, forest economy stabilization grants, local government reimbursements, microbusiness grants through community action agencies, schools, childcare, children’s integrated services, health care system, homeless shelters, summer meals for children, hazard pay for essential workers (the state has filed an appeal against the feds denying the hazard pay for essential workers), broadband expansion.


Under childcare, $3.9 million went to the Parent Child Center Network. $9million for restart grants earmarked for afterschool programs, summer camps, $100,000 to immediate need services, like laptops, training for virtual services, $50,000 to the Vermont Foodbank for diapers.


Please see attached notes for Jessica’s update on school funding and the use of property tax to cover state shortfalls.


Respectively submitted,

Dan York and Carrie Fenn