Meeting Minutes : BLSG Board

Present: Ben Lawton, Wayne Rausenberger, Brad Lawes, Mike Blaisdell, Jeff Whiting, Jeff Smith, Jim Bosman (replacing Gary Gibb), Will Mathis, Steve Belcher
Guests: Tom Hogan and Bruce Baccei, from Proctor

Ben Lawton called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm.

  1. Minutes for the meeting of May 17 and of June 7 were approved. As the meeting of June 15 with representatives from the Department of Agriculture and other interested parties did not have a quorum from the BLSG Board, no minutes were kept, although a detailed written report of the discussion was circulated (see #3). At a later point in the meeting, appreciation was expressed for the quality of the Minutes kept by Kerry White.
  2. Wayne Rausenberger presented a Treasurer’s Report.
    The balance for Equipment and Capital improvement is $5,542.88.
    The balance in the general fund is  $21.346.68The state owes $67,818.75 for invoices sent to them.
    There remain two invoices to be charged to the 2017-2018 grant, one for $4,303.33; the second is the payroll invoice and the amount is as yet unknown.
    On June 12, the BLSG took $30,000 from the credit line, on top of the $42,000 used to pay for the helicopter costs. The balance in the general fund is what remains of that $30,000. He is concerned how and when we will be able to pay the bills. Ben noted that the Dept. of Agriculture had promised payment of $40,000 in outstanding invoices from 2018 funds before June 30. There was discussion of when the Towns’ contributions might arrive, and how to allocate the capital buy-in from Pittsford. When the State funds arrive, Wayne plans to pay off the $42,000 for the helicopter treatment. The question whether the State could cover the interest costs in the line of credit was raised. No decisions were made pending the July meeting, by which time the question of state and town funds should be clearer.
    After discussion, the report was accepted.
  3. Discussion of the June 15 meeting with the Department of Agriculture
    Ben reported that the Dept. of Agriculture representatives had been very helpful, and willing to work to ensure payment of some invoices out of current funds. Discussion included:

    • The unchanged figure of $140,000 for mosquito abatement, now divided 50-50 between BLSG and Lemon Fair, despite significant disparities in treatment areas; there is also now interest in the island areas to start treatment, which might come from that same pool
    • The devolution of responsibility for sampling and identification from the Dept. of Agriculture to the Districts, with adjustment of financing for these additional costs.
    • Sampling techniques, species of concern, thresholds (should they be lower)? LF spends more on sampling and identification than the BLSG; does the BLSG sampling provide useful information for immediate action?
    • Potential merging of operations for LF and the BLSG, which would present significant challenges and doubtful use.
    • Ben wished to express thanks on the record to Butch Shaw, who had been very supportive and helpful.
  4. Two items were delayed so Will Mathis could present the Coordinator’s report before going off to spray).
    Will Mathis presented the Coordinator’s report on activities, noting that the “weather has not been in our favor.” Staff is now treating woodland pools and catch basins with dip counts of over 10/20 per dip. He reviewed the status of the equipment. A question came up on the number of no-spray requests, now 64.
    At the June 15 meeting, LF reported plans for an open house, to publicize their activities; such an idea seemed less appropriate for the BLSG because of the storage of pesticides. But there have been suggestions for outreach through community events such as a Blue Grass Festival, the Brandon Independence Day parade, Field Days, Pittsford Day. The idea was encouraged.
    His report was interrupted by a discussion of legal documents circulating in the town inviting their participation in the appeal being brought by the Toxic Action Committee against the issuance of the PGP; this discussion was then tabled for the Executive Session.
    Two guests from Proctor spoke; Proctor is interested in joining the operations of the BLSG. They discussed areas, techniques, potential costs, and a time-line
  5. and 6: Articles, Public Perception, and Misinformation
    Ben had circulated some articles on mosquito control. He also noted the existence of on-line forums (Front Porch Forum) on which discussion of mosquito control was occurring, and the need to contribute information to the discussion. There was also a recent Rutland Herald article, to which Will Mathis had drafted a response that the board members were to review.
    Jeff Whiting moved, and Brad Lawes seconded, to go into executive session in accordance with the Vermont Open Meetings law for two purposes:

    • To discuss the legal advice Ben Lawton had received regarding the Appeal by the Vermont Law School (and others) of the issuance of the PGP Permit to the BLSG by the Agency of Natural Resources.
    • To discuss personnel issues.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Following the Executive Session, Jeff Whiting moved that Ben be authorized to request inclusion in the proceedings of the appeal, and this was approved.

Another motion was made and approved to contract with Kerry White for general PR activity.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.

 

Submitted,

Steve Belcher, pro tem