The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.
Select Board members present: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Vice Chair, Jane Cornell (6:48 PM), W. Joseph Gagnon, and David Trombley. Also present: Mike Warfle, Mary Lou Moradi, Rula Moradi, Tom Browe, Bev Browe, Randy Adams, Baird Morgan, Dave Soulia, Bill Powers, John Byatt, Douglas Bonneau, Kevin Blow, Chuck Charbonneau, Rick Conway, Sandy Conway, John Haverstock, Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
Haverstock stated that there was a need for Executive Session for legal (Police Department; Burditt Funds); Personnel (Town Manager’s Assistant). Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to enter into Executive Session to discuss legal and personnel. Motion passed unanimously 4 – 0.
Haverstock stated that there was a request to amend the agenda to include a Homestead Penalty Abatement. T. Pelkey stated that this is a topic that could be postponed until the next meeting. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to adopt the agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously 4 – 0.
The Select Board minutes from the October 18, 2017 meeting were signed with no corrections.
The orders in the amount $256,775.02 and $11,407.67 (Payroll) were approved with no discussion:
TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT
Haverstock reported on the following:
- The first draft of budgets will be presented at the next Select Board meeting with the Highway and Recreation Department presentations.
- Lyle Jepsen and Mary Cohen would like to address the Select Board regarding the Killington Area Marketing Plan and a funding request.
- The ribbon cutting ceremony at the VT Fire Academy Burn Building was postponed due to the wind storm. The Select Board will be advised when this event is rescheduled.
- The Haunted House spooked 3446 guests over the 2 weekends.
- The Chittenden Dam siren has been installed and tested.
- The Town and School land swap is nearing a closing date, with the attorneys now drafting the needed documents. The public notice expires on November 10 and the closing is anticipated to be soon after that.
- Bill Powers reported that there will be a segment on channels 22 and 44 on Thursday morning with regard to the history of Fort Vengance. This segment will run at 5:40, 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 AM.
- The Town Manager will be out of the office on November 8 and 9 to attend a Town Managers Conference
None presented at this time.
Discuss Preparations for Veterans’ Day Ceremony:
Haverstock reported that the speakers have committed to their part in the ceremony, which will be held on November 11 at 11:00 AM at the Municipal Office.
Discuss Possibility of Providing Police Coverage to Chittenden:
Chief Warfle was approached by a member of the Chittenden Select Board with regard to Pittsford providing police coverage in Chittenden. The Select Board is currently researching options and the research was included in the Select Board members’ packets. J. Haverstock reported that VLCT was contacted and stated that the liability and legalities are not an issue. Chief Warfle stated that he has met with the Select Board member that contacted him and it appears that Chittenden would also want animal control services. The weekly coverage hours would be fewer from November 1 – March 1 and more during the remainder of the year. Chief Warfle stated that this is still in the research stage and the budget will be reviewed in January/February 2018, with Chittenden following up if and when they want a proposal from Pittsford.
Old Hubbardton Road:
Trombley stated that he has thought about the facts that have been discussed and feels that it is important that the taxpayers know how the decisions were made and to deal with rumors that are “muddying the water”. The public is not aware that the Town Policy states that any town agency can spend a certain amount ($1,000) before the Town Manager needs to approve; the Town Manager can spend a certain amount ($5,000) before the Select Board needs to approve. When this project started, Shawn Erickson came before the Select Board to improve .6 miles of the Old Hubbardton Road to allow easier access for equipment and requested to draw fill to fill in bad spots with no timetable or amount of fill needed. Fall and winter came and went with little work. The Board met with the Town Manager and the Select Board had no knowledge and was unaware of the project as the Town Manager was not keeping track of it. Shawn Erickson met 3 times with the Town Manager to review and approve the project and permission was granted to proceed. The Select Board was led astray by the Town Manager who approved and spent nearly $30,000. It was insubordination on the part of the Town Manager by not following Select Board orders and not following the Town Policy. Stringent discipline should take place by requesting the Town Manager’s his resignation and/or terminating his contract. Something has happened and needs to be addressed. T. Pelkey stated that this is a personnel issue and should be discussed in Executive Session.
Gagnon stated that he was under the impression that the gravel would come from the culvert work on Fire Hill Road and would involve “a few loads”; this is what was presented to the voters in March at Town Meeting. J. Gagnon agrees that this project got out of hand.
Mr. Morgan exited at 7:40 PM
Consider Scheduling Public Hearing on Issue of Potential Renewal of Fireworks Sales Permit:
The Select Board agrees to hold this Public Hearing in conjunction with the Town Plan Public Hearing on December 4, 2017.
Remarks from VTrans Regarding Route 7 & 3 Bridge Replacement Plans:
Doug Bonneau was present to discuss the bridge replacement at Routes 7 & 3. The mapping portion was presented by John Byatt (CLD engineer).
Gagnon inquired about the height of the bridge. Mr. Bonneau stated the bridge would remain the same height, however, the bridge would be widened. Mr. Bonneau stated that there would be 9’ shoulders. Mr. Bonneau stated that the wider shoulders were being installed due to safety concerns. Ms. Conway inquired if there would be a temporary sidewalk. Mr. Byatt stated that the sidewalk would be on the east side. Ms. Conway inquired if there would be crosswalks at the area. Mr. Bonneau stated that the crosswalk would remain as is now. Ms. Conway inquired if the temporary bridge could be moved north. Mr. Bonneau stated that there were Right of Way concerns and impacts.
Mr. Conway stated that the green in the area is a historic area and read from the January 8, 2015 AOT Scoping report. A copy of this report of the historic district was presented to the Select Board and Mr. Byatt, as were supporting pictures showing the green space in the past. Mr. Conway also stated that there is an issue with removing the green for safety concerns as Route 3 and Oxbow Road are not aligned properly. Mr. Conway presented information from the February 18, 2015 VTRANS concerns meeting.
Mr. Bonneau and Mr. Byatt exited at 7:09 PM.
Discuss Plans to Create an Ice Caves Trail:
Baird Morgan, Randy Adams and Bill Powers were present to discuss the possibility of creating a trail to the Ice Caves. Mr. Morgan reported that the Ice Caves and a rough trail to them have existed over 60 years. Mr. Morgan stated that he contacted the Historical Society, who stated that the trail is part of the VT Trail Network, which provides liability immunity to landowners. Mr. Morgan read the statute that provides this immunity.
Hooker started that the development/maintenance of the trail would put the firefighters and rescuers at a greater harm. D. Trombley stated that all the signage doesn’t help because folks do not always read or understand signs.
Mr. Morgan stated that the initial 0.6 mile of the trail is easily accessible, however, the remaining 0.2 mile portion is the most difficult portion. The meadow part of the trail is maintained by Camp Betsey Cox and Camp Sangamon.
Gagnon stated that this is a dangerous place and fears that this could be a bigger problem in the making as more exposure would attract more people, causing more problems. J. Gagnon recommended letting visitors research, find and navigate on their own instead of encouraging trips to the location.
Mr. Powers stated that the Historical Society supports the expansion of the Pittsford Trails System.
Motion by D. Trombley and seconded by J. Gagnon that the Rec Department and the Trails system, which is supported by the town, not actively be involved in any trailmaking or trail maintenance from Goat Farm Road to the Ice Caves. T. Hooker stated that he is in favor of the trail, but, not promoting the ice caves as the last .2 miles is not safe. Motion passed 3 – 1 – 1. (Cornell opposed). T. Pelkey abstained, due to his involvement in the Historical Society.
Mr. Powers exited at 7:33 PM.
Consider Revised Engineering Proposal for Fire Hill Road Culvert Replacement Project:
Haverstock reported that there was a memo in the packets for review stating that the engineers found siltier material than anticipated at the site of the twin tube culverts to be replaced and which are located just west of the Troy Minerals entrance. The engineers are proposing an increase in scope of work and cost from $18,500 to $27,100. This project qualified for a 90% VTrans structures grant. There is always an opportunity to request an increase in the grant funds or roll the increase into the construction grant to be sought in the future.
Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by D. Trombley to approve the increase. Motion passed unanimously 5 -0.
Planning Commissions Presentation of Proposed Town Plan/Schedule Public Hearings Regarding Proposed Town Plan:
Dave Soulia, Chairman of the Planning Commission, was present to present the proposed and amended Town Plan to the members of the Select Board. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by J. Gagnon to set the Public Hearings for December 4 and December 20. Motion passed unanimously 5 –0.
Pelkey made a motion and seconded by T. Hooker to go into Executive Session for personnel and legal, 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 7:58PM. Town Manager Haverstock and Police Chief Warfle were invited to remain for Executive Session.
Chief Warfle exited Executive Session at 8:04 PM; the Town Manager exited Executive Session at 8:16 PM.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:42 PM, with no action taken.
The meeting adjourned at 8:42 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on November 15, 2017.
Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Vice Chairman
Jane Cornell, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Trombley, Selectman