FBPA Header

Facilities and Services

Overview: Growth and Funding

In the past few decades, Fairfax's population has continued to grow to historically high levels. Population trends and forecasts indicate that this trend is not likely to abate in the near future. Fairfax's population as a percentage of the County total continues to rise, asserting the Town's position as a major area of potential growth in the region.

The potential for significant future growth is evidenced by the variety and quality of services and facilities available to residents, while still providing the charm of small town life in an enriching social and natural environment. By and large, Fairfax offers a greater level of services than do surrounding communities, including excellent schools (with school recreational facilities), municipal water distribution and wastewater treatment systems, an extensive community library, and curbside trash, recycling, and household hazardous waste collection.

As the Town continues to experience growth pressures, especially in light of continued expansion of the Chittenden County commutershed, and major industrial job creation to the South, a need for additional or improved services and facilities will likely occur.

Clear forethought and aggressive planning within limited monetary resources will be necessary to ensure that the rate of future growth in Fairfax does not exceed the ability of the community and the area to provide necessary facilities and services to maintain public safety, environmental integrity, and a high quality of life.

Currently, the majority of services and facilities are funded through local property taxes, with additional revenue coming from water and sewer user fees. Solely utilizing property tax assessments to fund municipal services should be carefully examined, in light of the need for additional or improved services in the near future. The proposed expansion to Bellows Free Academy, which will begin in the spring of 1998, will increase annual property taxes by an estimated $50-$250 each year for the next twenty years. The Town water distribution system is currently ailing, and is inadequate to provide sufficient pressure to all parts of town for drinking and firefighting. The Wastewater Treatment system is nearly at capacity, given additional committed units that have been allocated to new developments and school expansion.

Voters at 1996 and 1997 Town Meeting adopted a provision limiting the number of building permits issued annually to 25. While this may help slow future growth, it will also limit the expansion of the Town's tax base, which is utilized so instrumentally for provision of the services listed above. Further, even under the current growth cap, improvements to existing systems, such as water and sewer facilities are presently needed.

In a community survey distributed to residents in 1997, the majority of respondents indicated that effects on property taxes were the greatest concern with regard to the potential impacts of future development.

Fairfax is poised at a difficult crossroads. Successfully slowing growth while adequately funding those municipal services in need of improvement will require careful fiscal planning. Developing a capital budget would allow the Town to plan for municipal improvements, leading to the most efficient use of tax revenues. Additionally, non-repayable funding sources (such as grant programs for facility and service improvements) should be aggressively sought to minimize the need to raise taxes in the future.

Town Government

Personnel

The Town of Fairfax is managed by a three five member Selectboard elected during the March Town meeting and serving for three-year staggered terms. The primary responsibilities of the Selectboard are to provide for the general health and welfare of the community, to see to the maintenance of the roads, to draft the town budget and to set a tax rate. The budget is presented at Town Meeting for approval by the voters. The Selectboard also appoints the members of town commissions.

The Town Clerk is elected for a three year term at the March Town Meeting. Duties of the office include maintenance of town land records, overseeing elections, maintaining the voter check list and issuing licenses for which the town has authority.

The Treasurer is elected for a three year term at March Town Meeting. In Fairfax the Treasurer handles the collection of taxes, banking and accounting for both the town and the School District. The town runs on a calendar year while the school runs on a fiscal year starting in July. Taxes are due on November 15th.

Listers are elected at March Town Meeting for three-year staggered terms. The Listers appraise property and maintain the Grand List. A reappraisal is planned. was completed in 1990 to bring the Property evaluations up to 100 83% (2003) of fair market value, as mandated by the State for distribution of school funding.

The thirteen members of the Board of Civil Authority validate the voter checklist before each election and assist in counting votes. In addition, the board hears appeals of property appraisals and must view each property in question. All three five Selectboard members serve on the board. The remaining members are nominated at the biennial caucuses of the Democratic and Republican parties--in the same year the governor is elected. The five members nominated by each political party are elected by the people, traditionally unopposed. The Town Clerk serves as clerk of the board; in addition, the Town Clerk has the power to cast a vote in the event of a tied vote on the board. The ten elected members, but not the Selectboard automatically serve as Justices of the Peace.

The constable is elected annually at March Town Meeting. At this time the Town Constable is primarily responsible for enforcing the town dog control ordinance.

The full time road crew employed by the Town of Fairfax is made up of one foreman, and two crew members. The full-time crew is responsible for winter and summer maintenance of all town roads. They also make any necessary repairs to the town water distribution lines. The Select Board assumes the duties of road commissioner, instituting a regular maintenance program and continually evaluating pending projects. Part-time help is hired by the town as needed.

The Fairfax Wastewater Department has employed a full time supervisor since August 1996. Several improvements to existing systems have been made since that time.

The Vermont Commissioner of Health appoints the Health Officer on the recommendation of the Selectboard. The Health Officer is responsible for protecting the town against the cause, spread and development of disease.

Fairfax and Fletcher Georgia share Vermont Legislative District 5-1. One state representative is elected to the Vermont House of Representatives to serve that constituency. As a municipality of Franklin County, Fairfax participates in electing two representatives to the Vermont State Senate.

Town Commissions

The Planning Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Selectboard for four year staggered terms. Generally the commission is responsible for preparing the five year Town Plan and implementing its bylaws (i.e. zoning). In addition the Commission acts in a quasi-judicial capacity by holding public hearings to review large development proposals, right-of-way requests, and site plans.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment Development Review Board meets on an ad hoc a regular basis to decide on requests for development proposals, subdivision, right of ways and site plans. In addition the DRB hears requests for any variance from the zoning bylaws, and for conditional uses, as well as appeals of the decisions of the Zoning Administrator. It suggests changes to zoning regulations where advisable. The board has five seven members, appointed by the Selectboard, which determines the term of service.

Fairfax is represented on the Northwest Regional Planning Commission's Board of Regional Commissioners.

Town Ordinances and Bylaws

Fairfax's Zoning Bylaw was adopted January 15, 1980, with subsequent amendments in 1985, and 1988 and 2002.

Pursuant to 23 V.S.A. 4404 the zoning bylaw includes regulations to permit, prohibit, restrict, regulate and determine land development including:

  1. specific uses of land, water courses and other bodies of water;
  2. dimensions, location, erection, construction, repair, maintenance, alteration, razing, removal and use of structures;
  3. areas and dimensions of land and bodies of water to be occupied by uses and structures, as well as areas, yards, and other open spaces and distances to be left unoccupied by uses and structures;
  4. density of population and intensity of use.

A village sewer use ordinance is in effect, which provides rules for the control and regulation of the use of the public sewer system. Copies of the ordinance are available for review at the town office.

An ordinance addressing the rights and responsibilities of dog owners is available in the town office for review.

A solid waste management plan (SWIP) was adopted on December 29, 1997, and has been submitted for state approval. Fairfax's Solid Waste Implementation Plan draft prescribes a program of education, collection, recycling, processing and disposal for wastes generated in the Town. Goals of the Plan include 100% participation in municipal recycling, and in-state disposal of Fairfax's solid waste. Complete copies of these regulations are available for review in the town office.

Fairfax's Road Standards were adopted in 2003, to better address and regulate the construction of new roads throughout the town.

Public Facilities and Municipal Properties

The town clerk's office is located on the first floor of the former principal's house owned by the Fairfax School District. The office houses working space for the town clerk, town treasurer, the listers, and the zoning administrator. It also serves as a meeting place for the selectboard, planning commission, and zoning board of adjustment development review board, and is handicapped accessible.

Future growth in the Town will necessitate the construction of additional office space. In the interim, the current building will adequately serve the needs of the Town, although exploring the availability of alternate meeting space for large groups may be necessary as additional office workspace is needed. There are currently no plans for expansion of the existing facility. The town office is open five days a week from 9:00 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, and Monday evenings from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.

The Fairfax town garage is a sixty foot by one hundred foot steel building erected in 1982 on the Fletcher Road. The garage has its own water supply and sewer facilities. In addition to being headquarters for the three person town road crew, it also houses most of the equipment used to maintain the town's highways and the village water system. The garage is now heated using a waste oil heater, for which the town accepts waste oil from residents.

Equipment housed in the garage includes three dump trucks ranging in age from two years to fifteen years old. Also housed in the building are a 1990 John Deere grader, a Case model 590 backhoe purchased in 1993, and a Caterpillar bucket loader, model 926 which was manufactured in 1986.

Other miscellaneous pieces of equipment which have significant importance in the day to day operations are: a sand screen, a highway paving machine, three snowplows for the trucks and three wings, a plowing wing for the grader, three road sanders for the trucks, a brush hog attachment for the backhoe, a Steam Jenny (a valuable tool used in thawing frozen culverts), and cleaning equipment. The present facilities are adequate for several more years.

The Town is currently listed as the owner or part-owner of several pieces of property in town. These are listed in Table 1.

The post office is located in the Fairfax Commons. There are approximately 378 lock boxes that can be rented at the post office building. Rural route carriers serve approximately 150 miles of postal routes for Fairfax residents. These routes also serve parts of East Georgia, Westford, Fletcher and Fairfield. The post office in Cambridge also services a small part of Fairfax.

Libraries

The Fairfax Community Library is located in the school, and is one of a small number of Vermont libraries that combine both the school and public libraries in the same facility. It is, however; the only such library in a K-12 facility. The school and town libraries work together to coordinate programs that serve both the school and the community. These programs include: children's programs, summer programs, reading discussion groups, services for home-bound individuals, and inter-library loans. A volunteer group "The Friends of the Library" is working on providing the opportunity for more adult programs, and expanded community use of the library. The library is open each day during the school year, two evenings a week, and Saturday mornings. It is also open for 1/2 days several days a week during the summer.

The combination of Community Library and School Library continues to be a unique community resource by providing a variety of valuable services in a single location. Books on tape, large print books, and inter-library loan materials are readily available. The Library is now fully automated, and is networked directly with the State Library system. In addition, computers networked to the school server make many software programs available for community use. The Library's central location in the school makes it easily accessible for senior citizens. However, the limited parking space available and unsafe walking conditions during the winter sometimes limit its use. The community librarian has attempted to offset this disadvantage with a "books on wheels" program. In addition, the proposed BFA school expansion project bonded by Fairfax voters in 1996 will did provide additional designated handicapped and library parking spaces, which should improve the situation.

The use of a shared staff allows the library to be open more hours than would be possible otherwise; daily when school is in session, night hours for the general public year round, and both daytime and evening summer hours.

________________________________________________________

Library Facilities: Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goal

  1. Continue to offer a broad range of quality community programs and services through Fairfax's combined school / community library facility.

Objectives

  1. Provide access to a wide variety of informational resources for both school and community use, including print, audio-visual, and software materials.
  2. Provide access to library materials beyond those available on-site, or which are owned by the community library.
  3. Encourage regular use of the school / community library as a valuable public resource.

Policies

  1. Provide adequate reserved parking to allow safe access to the library for handicapped and senior citizen populations.
  2. Evaluate the need for additional library evening hours to meet Fairfax residents' demand for library services.
  3. Develop a process to keep abreast of advances in technologies which may broaden access to information or improve the quality of services for library patrons in the future.

 

Recreation Facilities

As a rural community, much of the town's recreation takes place outdoors. The Lamoille River, which flows through the southern portion of town, is used for fishing and canoeing. A gateway allowing canoeists to circumvent Fairfax Falls was installed by

Central Vermont Public Service during their recent re-licensing process. The wooded areas and fields found throughout the town are used each season for hunting, and for snowmobiling and cross country skiing in the winter.

The school has traditionally served as the social, recreational and educational center of the community. The single complex houses grades K-12 as well as the Community Library. It is the only constant location for community groups to meet and serves the school communities of Fairfax and Fletcher. The School Board has made classrooms, meeting rooms, gyms, and kitchens available to the general public when they are not being used for programs for students. Public access is generally available each evening when school is in session. Its central location in the village keeps traffic isolated in a single multi-use area within walking distance of village residents, and has available parking for vehicles.

The athletic fields and tennis courts are in continual use by school sponsored teams, as well as adult and youth groups. The available space is so completely utilized that there is not available time for intramural programs for the middle or high school and no programs for elementary students. This continual use of the school building and athletic fields demonstrates the value of the school to the entire community but at an increase in maintenance costs beyond those of a normal educational facility. In addition, population growth within the school may mean that additional classroom construction may encroach on existing recreational space.

There are no public Town sponsored facilities or programs at this time. There are no private facilities and programs with the exception of one cooperative tennis court, some limited access to legal snowmobile trails, and one campground. Little League baseball and softball programs currently use private property that is available for an uncertain period of time.

The Town is taking steps to meet the increasing recreational needs of the community at a time when access to private land is less available than it has been in the past and snowmobile trail access is being limited. The Town owns nearly 100 acres near the St. Albans reservoir that is potentially available for resident use for low impact recreational activities such as hiking and skiing. The Town and the School District have jointly purchased 20.5 acres from Central Vermont Public Service along the Lamoille River, a site currently under development for recreational use. for future community recreation use.

A Recreation Committee was formed in 1994 and in 2003 developed into the Recreation Department. A variety of projects have been examined by the Committee, including purchasing and developing improved community ball fields. A recreational path, which would connect the natural surroundings with key community features such as stores, ball fields and schools is under development. Potential, additional phases are being investigated and planned for; while construction is possible. in the investigation and planning phase with future construction possible. The Town land on Maple Street affords limited access to the Lamoille River. Town ownership of flood plain or other undesirable building sites would minimally affect the tax base and make the village more attractive for increased density while serving as a good site for recreational use.

Toward that end, in Fiscal Year 2002, the then Recreation Committee applied for and was awarded a $98,102 grant through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The award, in part, funded the development of the park athletic fields with multiple sports fields, walking paths, drainage and retaining walls. Remaining funding and match services have been secured.

 

_______________________________________________________

Recreation Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goal

  1. Maintain and enhance recreational and scenic resources for the enjoyment of all residents of Fairfax.

Objectives

  1. Provide in convenient and suitable locations, recreational areas and facilities for the use and enjoyment of residents.
  2. Conserve prime recreational resources from incompatible land uses.
  3. Provide an open space system for the preservation, protection and enhancement of major physical and environmental features such as mountains, waterways and bodies, wildlife and other natural resources.

Policies

  1. A process should be implemented to identify, procure, develop, and maintain areas suitable for use as public parks, recreation areas, paths, programs, and river access.
  2. Support the Recreation Department's Committee's activities as part of the budget process.
  3. Continue the policy of working closely with the School Board to ensure efficiencies of management and supervision of shared public facilities.
  4. Develop Maintain a Capital Budget/Program that includes a planned program of recreation space acquisition, development and management.
  5. Implement a procedure to utilize State and Federal Grant programs that are consistent with the recreational goals of the town.
  6. Continue to work with the Town Recreation Department Committee to construct a recreational path system for non-motorized recreational use.

 

 

Solid Waste

The Town currently has a contract with Greenia Trucking which collects solid waste from Fairfax and trucks it to a transfer station owned by Casella Waste Management. The solid waste is then trucked to landfills outside the state. Solid wastes are collected through curbside pickup weekly. Recyclable items are picked up twice a month. The town garage is a site for the collection of recyclable metal items, and there are two hazardous waste collection days a year. In 1997, a solid waste plan was adopted that discourages household hazardous waste and recyclable items from being included in the town's rubbish. There is no hard data to indicate the participation rates for recycling or the amount of recyclable materials which still remain in the solid waste leaving Fairfax. However, community survey results show over 95% of households in Fairfax recycle (see Appendix).

The Town left the Northwest Solid Waste District in 1993 in an effort to provide more local flexibility regarding solid waste management strategies. The Town has no plans to rejoin the District. The solid waste implementation plan submitted to the Agency of Natural Resources is not yet in effect, pending voter approval. The draft Plan places an emphasis on cost-effective waste reduction and re-use through a program of public education, and through the provision of accessible recycling opportunities to the community.

___________________________________________________________

Solid Waste Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goals

  1. Develop an efficient, environmentally sound, and cost-effective long-term solid waste program through a contracted relationship or as a member of a solid waste district.
  2. Allow for a variety of solid waste disposal options for Fairfax in the near and distant future.

Objectives

  1. Develop close working relationships with public and private solid waste disposal agencies and explore options for a variety of long term solid waste programs.
  2. Improve the effectiveness of solid waste disposal by reducing the amount of solid waste generated in Fairfax, increasing citizen participation in Town recycling programs, and providing for the environmentally sound disposal of household hazardous wastes and yard wastes.

Policies

  1. Develop and publicize a State approved long term solid waste plan, in conjunction with public or private solid waste disposal agencies.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of citizen participation in the recycling program, and take steps to increase the programs' effectiveness, within budgetary constraints.
  3. Develop a cost-effective, environmentally sound program for the disposal of yard wastes.
  4. Evaluate the use and effectiveness of the hazardous waste disposal program and identify strategies to increase its environmental and economic efficiency.

 

Public Utilities

Water Supply

The Fairfax Water Department distributes water to the village population through a system which was updated in 1999. The system was originally intended to serve only the school, but as time went on the system was expanded to include houses in the

 

 

village. The system currently serves approximately 182 192 connections, including the school. The source is a well located on the Fletcher Wheezy Way Road, which produces 60 gallons per minute. The water is collected in a 52,500 two 176,000 gallon storage reservoirs (with an additional 36,000 gallon storage reservoir), and distributed to the village by gravity flow four pumps. Two pump stations, located within the system, provide water to above gravity fed elevations. The system now controls levels of manganese in the water.

Water is pumped from the source on demand for storage, which is controlled by a computer and radio frequency communications constantly from 5 am to 11 pm. No Mechanism currently exists to regulate water levels in the storage reservoirs. Water pumped from the source well used to overflow at the old storage reservoir at times of low demand;. Consequently, The estimated demand of 57,000 gallons per day may be was artificially inflated due to water waste from old reservoir overflow. In fact with the new storage tanks, the system experiences a 42,500 gallon per day demand with no overflow.

The well can supply an adequate amount of water to meet the needs of those connected to the system, but the distribution system is antiquated and needs to be replaced. The 30 fire hydrants, located along the roadways, do not have fire protection flow capability, and are only also used to flush existing water lines.

A manganese filtration system installed in 1995 1999 has successfully cleared up problems with sediments in the drinking water. However, high manganese levels persist in the drinking water.

Funding is being sought through the Farmer's Home Administration and other sources to make several vital improvements to the system. In addition to manganese and iron control, Funding is being sought for iron control to reduce water waste through a reservoir level control mechanism. Perhaps most importantly, funding sources are being investigated which would finance the replacement of Fairfax's ailing water lines with a new distribution network. These improvements would greatly improve the quality of Fairfax's drinking water, and would reduce waste while increasing distribution efficiency. Securing all or part of the necessary funds in the form of non-repayable grants would enable the Town to improve the water distribution system while minimizing local property tax increase.

Exploration of an additional supply well is currently being investigated; without success to date.

A Well Head Protection Area (WHPA) with a radius of 1,050 feet, was delineated by the State of Vermont in 1992. This area is defined as "the surface and subsurface area surrounding a water well or well field supplying a public water system, through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach such water well or well field as designated by the Commissioner of Health." There were fifteen individual properties located within the 1,050 foot radius at the time the area was identified.

Current user fees are sufficient to maintain the entire new upgraded antiquated distribution system at this time, which covers a yearly bond payment and monthly operation and maintenance expenditures. Town clerk records indicate that eight percent of the town road crew time is spent working on the water system. This repeated need for the town road crew to make emergency water system repairs interferes with their daily responsibilities and other Town projects. The two well system is at maximum capacity at this time. One 60 gpm well is currently meeting supply demands and one 15 gpm well is available as a backup for the 182 192 connections. The distribution lines will not handle an increased supply or pressure. Thus, it remains to be seen if the existing system can provide an adequate supply of water at appropriate pressures to all its users during periods of high demand. One example is that water pressure drops in the school when the dishwashing system is in full use. A second involves the use of functional hydrants in emergencies.

There are two privately operated community water systems in Fairfax. The system in Windtop, incorporated in 1968 serves 40 homes. No longer incorporated, Windtop became a fire district in 1995. The Fairfax Heights Water Co-operative, incorporated in 1971 serves 24 units, and is also filled to capacity. Residents living in North Fairfax whose properties are crossed by the St. Albans City Water System have the option of getting their water from the City of St. Albans.

_____________________________________________________________

Water Supply Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goals

  1. Provide a safe, reliable source of municipal drinking water for the residents of Fairfax and for the Fairfax school system.

Objectives

  1. Maintain a quality water system within the financial limits of a user and hook-up fee system at little or no expense to the Town.
  2. Provide for the efficient delivery of increased water supply for fire protection in Fairfax village.

Policies

  1. Continue to pursue funding to build and maintain a modern water distribution system, including provisions for adequate, low-waste water storage, and improved water treatment or filtration.
  2. Pursue additional municipal water project grants for future water system improvements or expansion.
  3. Work closely with the North East Rural Community Assistance Program in matters pertaining to developing, funding, and operating a municipal water system.
  4. Assess the role of the town road crew in maintaining the existing water system, and explore more cost-effective alternatives to current maintenance strategies.
  5. Develop regular procedures for assessing appropriate water user fees.
  6. Assess the benefits of forming a fire district for the current water system.
  7. Explore the possibility of joining an existing regional water system.
  8. Maintain develop a nd Capital Budget/Program which includes provisions to fund future water system improvements.

 

Sewage Disposal

A village sewer system and treatment plant were installed in Fairfax in 1982. The present system is capable of discharging 78,000 gallons of treated waste per day. In 1997 the system was discharging The system continues to discharge an average of 42,000 gallons of treated waste a day or 54% of capacity. An additional 20,031 24,717 gallons per day have already been allocated to planned, approved development and school population growth; 7,800 account for municipal reserve. There are only 15,969 3,483 gallons per day or 20 4% uncommitted; the equivalent of 28 8 single family residences. As a result, the current treatment system is in serious danger of reaching or exceeding capacity soon.

The system is monitored by the State when monthly samples are submitted. Sludge is cleared from the facility and spread every two five to three seven years according to sludge accumulation state specifications. The available spreading area is sufficient for the capacity of the plant as long as it continues to run effectively. The Fairfax Wastewater Department is currently investigating innovations which would eliminate the need for the clearing cleaning and subsequent spreading of sludge. Sludge-eating bacteria are currently being used in other localities that eliminate the need for frequent cleaning of treatment lagoons. Alternative approaches such as this could significantly improve the efficiency of the current treatment system.

Significant improvements have been made to the system since August 1996. An entirely new system was installed to deliver oxygen to the three sewage treatment lagoons. Previously, bacteria in the treatment lagoon were dying as a result of a lack of oxygen. This resulted in decreased efficiency in waste treatment, as well as an increase in odors from the plant. The new oxygen delivery system has improved the treatment efficiency (and therefore capacity) of the facility, and has alleviated the previous problem of excessive odor. In addition, two main pumps have been replaced since the system was built. The fees being charged are currently covering the yearly costs.

The current system is not adequate to meet the needs of the future population of the village area, even under the stringent limits of the existing building permit cap. Without improvements to the current system, design capacity could be exceeded before the life of the this Town Plan expires.

The Fairfax Selectmen have allocated sufficient units to meet the expanding needs of the school for the next few years. However, the current system may not be adequate to meet the needs of other users in the Town unless improvements or expansion are pursued.

_________________________________________________________

Sewage Treatment Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goals

  1. Provide an efficient human waste treatment system within the high density growth center which will accommodate the increased demand on the system brought by future growth.

Objectives

  1. Maintain an efficient, reliable, environmentally sound sewage disposal system within the financial constraints of a user fee system at the least possible expense to the town.
  2. Assess the future demand on the sewage treatment system, accounting for population increase and concentrated development in the village area, to determine necessary improvements or expansions to the existing system.

Policies

  1. Develop regular procedures for assessing appropriate user fees.
  2. Allocate available units consistent with municipal and school district needs.
  3. Designate an individual or committee to seek funding immediately which would allow the expansion or improvement of the existing sewage disposal system, to meet future demand.
  4. Continue to maximize the efficiency of the current facility through the investigation and implementation of cost-effective, innovative waste treatment strategies.

 

Communications Services

Local telephone service for residents of Fairfax is provided by Bell Atlantic Verizon. Several long-distance service providers are available. Telephone rates for Fairfax residents, as for all Bell Atlantic Verizon customers, have risen over the past few years.

Internet, or "on-line" communications are available through several service providers. [Webmaster's note: The remainder if this RED information is incorrect. The FBBS ceased operation in 2000.] The Fairfax Bulletin Board System (FBBS), a private nonprofit organization, is available to all Fairfax residents with the proper hardware. The FBBS is supported through annual membership fees, and provides potential local dialing on-line access for several thousand people in Franklin and Chittenden Counties.

Local newspaper media coverage is supplied through The Buyer's Digest and the local monthly Fairfax News. Local news is also available at Fairfax Online. Regional newspaper coverage, including Fairfax, is provided in the St. Albans Messenger, which is published daily.

Public Safety and Emergency Services

 

 

Fire and Rescue Services

Fairfax has a volunteer fire department (staffed by residents of Fletcher and Fairfax)

and rescue squad. Calls made to these services are routed through a 911 telephone system. Road identification numbers have been assigned to each property so that when a call is received the site of the emergency can be quickly located. Both services are housed in a facility built in 1990 on the western side of Route 104 on land donated by Robert Young. The building has two offices, a meeting room, a kitchen, and sleeping facilities. All of the bays are currently full. If at some later time additional vehicles were required, an addition to the building would be needed. The Volunteer Fire Department provides valuable and adequate services to Fairfax and neighboring towns. Approximately 35 members from Fairfax and Fletcher train and serve as firefighters, approximately 18 of which are from Fairfax. The department has responded to an average of 59 emergency calls per year since 1993. Each year the fire department and the auxiliary sponsor fire safety programs in the elementary school. The current equipment inventory includes three two pumpers (1973 -750 gpm, 1983 -500 gpm, 1995 -1,000 gpm 1996 1,250 gpm and 2003 1,250 gmp), three tankers (1979 -1,500 3,000 gal, 1983 - 2,000 gal, 1985 -2,500 1,700 gal), and a utility truck, as well as a variety of specialty equipment and accessories.

Fairfax has a mutual-aid agreement with 27 other communities, but serves only 4 or 5 of those communities on a regular basis, including Milton, Westford, Essex, Cambridge and Johnson. The department has an ISO rating of 6, within 1,000 feet of a hydrant and a rating of 9, for 5 miles beyond the 1,000 feet; and is currently capable of handling any fires in this area. If Fairfax should develop any large industrial sites, an upgrading of equipment and training would be required.

For many years ambulance services for Fairfax were provided by the local funeral home directors. Later, the ambulance transport service was taken over by the Heald Ambulance Service in St. Albans. In the fall of 1975 a "jump squad" (now known as a First Responder Service) was formed. The squad purchased its first ambulance in 1984 to replace a station wagon that carried equipment to the scene of an emergency.

The rescue services in town are now provided by the Fairfax Rescue Squad, Inc. which is licensed by the State of Vermont to give emergency care to Fairfax and neighboring towns. The squad owns one ambulance. The squad serves primarily the towns of Fairfax and Fletcher. The group also serves as backup service to Westford, Milton, Georgia and Fairfield. The volunteers are citizens of Fairfax and surrounding areas.

The Fire Department and the Rescue Squad have provided quality services to all sections of the town. Their response time to all parts of the town is good. Their equipment is well maintained.

However, Fairfax Rescue is finding it more and more difficult to find enough volunteers to staff the ambulance around the clock, seven days a week. The squad is exploring options to increase the number of volunteers or to consider paid positions for some of the hours which need to be covered.

The voters of Fairfax and Fletcher are asked each year to approve funds to help support the squad. Other sources of funding are billing and donations. Requests for ambulance services have shown an eighteen to twenty percent increase in the last five years. The squad sponsors public classes each year in specific areas of first aid. Once a month the entire squad holds training sessions, and the crews train once a week. The group now has members that are certified ECA's (Emergency Care Attendants), EMT's (Emergency Medical Attendants), EMT-I's (I.V. Technicians). All EMT's are certified to perform defibrillation, and a defibrillator is carried on the ambulance.

Law Enforcement

The State Police provide the bulk of law enforcement to Fairfax, although their presence has decreased in recent years due to budget cuts. The town rejected the concept of outpost Police services at 1995 Town Meeting by voice vote. Additional police services were not voted on in 1996 or 1997.

In addition to the Vermont State Police, a majority of the Town's law enforcement is served by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, based in St. Albans City. is provided through a contract with a deputy sheriff for 20 hours a week.

The Town Constable is primarily responsible for enforcing the town dog control and town parking ordinances.

The State Police received 380 calls in 1996. Call volume between January and October, 1997 showed a slight decrease, with an average of 28 calls per month, versus 31.6 in 1996. In the first 10 months of 1997, 54 property crimes were reported, including theft (29 incidents), burglary (14 incidents), and vandalism (11). In addition, two sex offenses and three assaults were reported.

__________________________________________________________

Public Safety and Emergency Services Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goal

  1. Provide for the physical safety of Fairfax residents through quality fire, emergency medical and law enforcement services.

Objectives

  1. Provide for periodic performance review of fire and emergency medical services, and assess the need for additional paid fire and rescue positions.
  2. Periodically assess the need for additional law enforcement services, and investigate funding sources should expanded law enforcement services be necessary to maintain public safety.
  3. Develop a system to provide up-to-date information regarding road locations and names.
  4. Continue to encourage proper E911 numbering of residential and commercial parcels for providing emergency services.

Policies

  1. Provide adequate law enforcement services, utilizing Continue to utilize the Franklin County Sheriff's Department the Vermont State Police as a primary law enforcement provider, to protect the safety of Fairfax residents, within the Town's budgetary constraints.
  2. Consider expanding the Fire and Rescue squad to meet increasing emergency call volume, within the Town's budgetary limits.
  3. Continue to investigate the costs and benefits of expanded law enforcement service through a contractual relationship with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office Vermont State Police, or through the creation of a local police force.

 

Health and Human Services

High quality medical services are within easy travel distances of Fairfax. The Northwest Medical Center, Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, and the Cambridge Medical Center are all located within 25 miles of Fairfax. A variety of medical and dental offices are located in neighboring towns. Nursing homes are available in St. Albans, Swanton, Richford, and Burlington. Family support services are available from Franklin-Grand Isle Mental Health and Social and Rehabilitative Services based in St. Albans. Two physicians, a pharmacy, and Huber House, a residential care home, are based in Fairfax. The school has a referral agreement and provides some preventative and rehabilitative counseling through Champlain Valley Drug and Alcohol. The Town supports additional services by contributing to the following: Franklin County Home Health Agency, Franklin-Grand Isle Mental Health Services, Inc., Franklin County Citizen Advocacy and Champlain Valley Agency on Aging. Meals on Wheels for Fairfax senior citizens is an all volunteer service.

The quality of health and human services available now will continue to meet the needs of the town well into the foreseeable future. The Fletcher-Allen Hospital is a teaching hospital and the largest hospital in the northern part of Vermont and New York. The standard of medical care available for Fairfax residents is thus the highest provided anywhere in the state. Mental health services are similarly situated.

_____________________________________________________________

Health and Human Services Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goal

  1. Provide access to health and human services for all Fairfax residents.

Objectives

  1. Encourage residents to utilize the high quality public health and human services available within the region as needed.

Policies

  1. Financially support public agencies serving the medical and human services needs of Fairfax citizens as much as is feasible, with consideration of other funding sources and the town's priorities.
  2. Annually review town financial support for public health and human service agencies.

 



Go to Top of Page Go to Home Page Go to Topic Index