Meeting Minutes : Select Board Minutes – August 23, 2017

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.

Select Board members present:  Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chair, Thomas Hooker, Vice Chair, Jane Cornell, W. Joseph Gagnon, and David Trombley.    Also present:  Mike Warfle, Kelly Forrest, Raymond Forrest, Sally Eugair, Dolores Briggs, Brett Erickson, Rebecca Davenport, Barbara Willis, Tom Browe, Bev Browe, Rula Moradi, Mary Lou Moradi, Chris Redman, Shawn Erickson, Chad Eugair, Brad Rousseau, Donna Wilson, Peter Wilson, John Haverstock and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.

J. Haverstock indicated that there was a need for Executive Session for 3 personnel issues–one involving the Old Hubbardton Road, one involving the Transfer Station, and one involving the Police Department.  Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to enter into Executive Session for personnel. Motion passed unanimously 5– 0.

T. Pelkey indicated that the agenda needed to be amended to add a Highway Right of Way Access Application and a Pittsford Day wrap up.

Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to adopt the agenda, as amended.  Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.



The Select Board minutes from the August 2, 2017 meeting were signed, with no corrections.



The orders in the amount $45,048.30 (FY ’18); $16,514.14 (FY ’17) and $13,712.81 (Payroll) were approved, with the following discussion:

J. Gagnon inquired about the expense of $2,113.19 for a U Joint for a Highway Department truck. Shawn Erickson explained that this expense also included towing the vehicle for repair.



J. Haverstock reported on the following:

  • The Highway Department has completed work with the crack sealing/seal coating contractor at the Municipal Offices, Highway Garage and Fire Station.
  • Wilk Paving has advised that they will be in Town during the week of September 18 working on and Stevens Road and a section of Plains Road.
  • The 5 cuts that were made on West Creek Road for the culvert replacement project will be patched soon with hot mix by the Highway Department.
  • The Town Manager will be sending letters soon to residents who may be in jeopardy of facing tax sale.  The letters will explain the various options to avoid the tax sale.
  • Sullivan & Powers personnel will be at the Municipal Offices on September 6 and 7 and again on September 18 – 20 for the Town’s annual audit.
  • A member of the Chittenden Select Board has contacted Pittsford to ask whether it might be able to provide police services once Chittenden’s contract ends with the Sheriff’s Department.  There will be more discussion on this in the future.
  • The Planning Commission has approved the Caverly subdivision, thus creating a separate 5 acre parcel around the “Haunted House”.
  • There will be a Staff Meeting on August 31 at 9:00 AM and the members of the Select Board are invited to attend.
  • The Municipal Offices and related Town services will be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of Labor Day.
  • The 5 year Union Contract expires on June 30, 2018.  There will be requests for Select Board volunteers to participate in the negotiation process.
  • Photos for full time staff have been taken.  Jerry Tift will generate the ID badges. The Fire Department members will have their photos done in the near future.
  • The Nickwackett Haunted House event will be held on October 20, 21, 27 and 28.  More details to follow.
  • The Town removed the snow for the School District last year.  However, the District has been notified that they will need to coordinate their own snow removal this year as they have resources following the merger of several schools within the Supervisory Union.
  • The VLCT Annual Meeting will be held in early October.  The Select Board members have been asked to review the Legislative Policy that was included in their packets and direct any comments to the Town Manager.
  • Representatives from Senator Bernie Sanders’ office visited the Town Office to discuss the Lake Champlain clean-up project; Wastewater Treatment Facilities; Route 7 project frustration.  A “thank you” was relayed with regard to the award of the Sidewalk Grant and the Kendrick Dam Removal Grant.
  • The trucking company whose truck backed into the Police cruiser was found to have no insurance.  The claim of $2,360.49 was collected from the Town’s VLCT uninsured motorist coverage.



None presented at this time.



Continued Discussion of Class 4 Portion of Hubbardton Road:

J. Haverstock reported that a letter was sent to residents who have expressed interest and participated in the discussions to date.  The plan is to restore the Hubbardton Road to the preconstruction state.

D. Trombley explained that at the last meeting, the majority of the Select Board members agreed to change the road back to the original state.  J. Cornell inquired if the Town would be legally liable if someone’s vehicle was harmed since the road is currently passable.  J. Haverstock explained that the Town is not responsible to maintain a class 4 road.

Ms. Eugair stated that this is a Town road and it is easier for emergency vehicles to access residents with the road at the current state.

Mr. Forrest explained that the road is currently a safety issue for the residents who live along the road.  S. Erickson addressed the audience by saying that the “team” (meaning Select Board members, Town Manager and Highway Department) decided to do the upgrade – maybe not to the level it is now, but the main purpose was safety.  The Town could address areas of concern, one being the ledge in the area of the Forrest property, which is bad during storms.  Mr. Erickson recommended that everyone work together to make the project work.

Ms. Forrest stated that the Highway Department did a good job on the road and she uses the road; however, she was nearly rear-ended and now has a blind driveway.  Ms. Forrest stated that she witnessed Chief Warfle pulling off the road into her driveway to avoid a vehicle.  Ms. Eugair stated that people “always fly” on Fire Hill Road and inquired if it was possible to lower the speed limit in the area.

Mr. Forrest stated that the Hubbardton Road is not wide enough for 2 vehicles.

D. Trombley stated that this is a saddening project that has torn neighbors apart.  D. Trombley stated that the project began with a dead end road that residents purchased with peace and tranquility in mind.  D. Trombley explained that the decision was made at a May 2016 meeting to authorize a few loads of gravel and a couple of days labor, not the extent that was performed with $16,000 in expenses.  The neighbors have had their privacy taken away and the Select Board decision was overridden; VAST was not notified; the Select Board was wrong with the installation of the gates, which were removed and to return the road back to the original state would lose only the labor as the material is usable in other projects.

Brett Erickson inquired if this was a public road.  D. Trombley explained that this was a class 4 public road and that the Town is not responsible for maintenance.  Mr. Erickson inquired what would happen next year when the Fire Hill Road will be shut down for box culvert installation.

Ms. Redman inquired if this was considered a dead end road.  T. Hooker explained that the road is a Class 4 road.  T. Hooker explained that ambulances are sent that way via their GPS.

T. Pelkey stated that he drove to the area with his small car doing 15 mph, met a truck that was doing approximately 20 mph and the road was too narrow.  There were safety issues on the road and the project has created more safety concerns.  S. Erickson stated that other roads are narrow and the Hubbardton Road gives more access.

T. Hooker inquired if water bars and signs would be beneficial to slow vehicles and suggested an advisory speed limit of 15 mph.

Mr. Forrest stated that the road is not wide enough to handle the volume of traffic that has been created since the project has been completed.

Mr. Moradi explained that GPS does not recognize the road and Google does not recognize the road as drivable or walkable.

Ms. Eugair inquired if the Town receives any state funding for this road.  D. Trombley stated that this is a Class 4 road and no state funds are received.  Ms. Eugair inquired why the Town didn’t “throw it up”.

Mr. Rousseau inquired why forming a pent road has not been explored.  J. Haverstock explained that any pent road gates cannot be locked.

J. Gagnon stated that he is opposed to returning the road to its original condition as it is a Class 4 road; however, there are legal ways to close the road, which were not followed.  J. Gagnon recommended that the road be opened up and work with the Police Department to lower the speed limit; however, the Police Department can not be present all the time and the road must be signed properly.  M. Warfle explained that the only enforceable speed limit signs are the white with black lettering.  M. Warfle stated that he has spent 4 – 4 ½ hours out there throughout several days and has only seen 2 vehicles, however, he was advised of “heavy traffic” times and will try to be out there during these times.

Mr. Browe explained that the road has destroyed the neighborhood and he counted “many” vehicles on August 22, who were not local neighbors.

Ms. Forrest stated that there is a lot of traffic now that are doing “burn outs” and shooting at signs.  Ms. Forrest showed photographs of this damage.

J. Haverstock stated that he received comments from Barbara O’Hehir, who stated that the road improvements are welcome and Chip Sumner stated that he was pleased with the plan that was outlined in the letter that was sent to the residents.

T. Pelkey recommended the strategic placement of water bars, with appropriate signage and work on a speed limit ordinance.

Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by J. Cornell to reconsider the motion that was made at the last meeting and to place several water bars/speed bumps within the recently-improved portion of the road, together with safety signage.  Motion passed 4 – 1 (Trombley opposed).

T. Hooker stated that water bars and speed bumps should slow people down.  S. Erickson stated that he would like to see traffic counts for the area, which J. Haverstock explained would be necessary prior to lowering any speed limits.  D. Trombley stated that the road is not wide enough for 2 lanes.

Mr. Moradi sated that the amount of traffic has changed the neighborhood and he can not see a car coming if he is trying to turn left out of his driveway.

The Select Board will meet with Shawn Erickson and inspect the situation on completion of the road changes.

Mr. Moradi stated that trucks are turning around in his driveway and he is assuming the Town will pay for the repair of any damage caused due to breakdown of the pavement.  T. Pelkey indicated that Mr. Moradi assumed incorrectly.

All neighborhood residents exited at 7:35 PM.


Discuss Speed Limit on Hubbardton Road (D. Trombley)

This was discussed during the above topic.


Review Highway Truck Body Bids (S. Erickson):

J. Haverstock stated that information was included in the packets for review.

S. Erickson recommended the Tenco truck as this was the lowest bid and he has been in communication regarding the quick coupler, coal door and asphalt tarp, which are included in the current pricing.

Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by J. Cornell to approve the purchase of the new truck body from Tenco, with option #2, at a price to not exceed $60,449.  Motion passed unanimously        5 – 0.


Discuss Whether to Fund Another Day of Crack Sealing (S. Erickson):

T. Hooker inquired if there were any critical roads that would benefit from another day of crack sealing.  S. Erickson said Furnace Road, but this road could wait if necessary.  T. Pelkey inquired about the status of the Highway budget.  J. Haverstock stated that the Highway Fund budget was in deficit for FY17.  J. Haverstock reminded the Select Board that the Highway budget has an upcoming, unbudgeted expense for $20,000 for the chipping of the log pile at the Transfer Station.

The Select Board agreed to not add another day of crack sealing.


Discuss Pittsford Day Wrap Up:

T. Hooker will work with J. Haverstock to get thank you letters to the volunteers who supported the event.  There was recommendation to eliminate the Street Dance in the future and it was felt that the mosquito spraying was beneficial.

D. Trombley recommended that the fireworks be thought about in the future as there have been a couple of incidents – 1 live firecracker a couple of years ago and this year there was about 3 hours of cleanup of debris at Harry Carter’s residence.  T. Hooker suggested that the fireworks could be eliminated and the funding be redirected to carnival rides for the kids.  Further discussion of this topic will take place in the future.



Remarks from Members of the Cemetery Association:

J. Haverstock read a letter from Ms. Willis.  The Cemetery Association and Town Manager collaborated on a draft of language to be included in the Town Plan.  This was included in the Select Board packets for review.  The Cemetery Association is planning now for an additional cemetery as it believes the current cemeteries will be at capacity within the next 40 – 50 years.  J. Haverstock reported that there is approximately $42,000 in the Cemetery Development Fund.  The Select Board agreed unanimously to ask the Planning Commission to incorporate this information in their work on the Town Plan.

Ms. Willis and Ms. Davenport exited at 6:47 PM.


Consider Appointing New Member to the Water & Sewer Commission:

J. Haverstock reported that Mike Blaisdell and Hank Pelkey have both expressed interest in serving on the Water and Sewer Commission.

Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by J. Cornell to appoint Hank Pelkey to the Water and Sewer Commission.  Motion passed 4 – 0 – 1 (Pelkey abstained)


Review and Approve Financial Management Questionnaire:

J. Haverstock explained that this was a document that is provided by the external auditors in preparation of the upcoming audit.

The questionnaire was signed by the Select Board members.


Consider Highway Right of Way Permit:

J. Haverstock reported that a Right of Way permit request was submitted by Terry and Jane Wilbur for property at the corner of Pine Woods Road and Route 7.  Two accesses are being requested.  S. Erickson recommended that the driveway(s) include an apron or fill to deal with the steep driveway grade.

Motion by J. Gagnon and seconded by J. Cornell to approve the request with the Highway Foreman’s conditions.  Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.



T. Pelkey made a motion and seconded by D. Trombley to go into Executive Session for personnel discuss the 3 personnel issues where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town, and may be jeopardized by public disclosure.

In accordance with 1 VSA 312 (b), where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of personnel at 7:49PM. Town Manager Haverstock and Police Chief Warfle were invited to remain for Executive Session.

Chief Warfle exited Executive Session at 7:57 PM.


The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:03 PM, with no action taken.

The meeting adjourned at 8:03 PM, with no action taken.

The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on September 6, 2017.


Respectfully Submitted,


Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman

Thomas Hooker, Vice Chairman

Jane Cornell, Selectman

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Trombley, Selectman