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Town of Pittsford

Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting
February 20, 2008

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:32 p.m.  Select Board members present were:  Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Allen Hitchcock, Joseph Gagnon, David Markowski, and Thomas Hooker.    Also present were Kathleen Ramsay, Linda Drummond, Constable Michael Warfle, David Rowe, Tom Carrara, Sally Eugair, Matthew Harvey, Helen McKinlay, and Lee Kahrs.  Frank vonTurkovich arrived at 7:25 PM.

 

MINUTES   

The Select Board minutes of February 7, 2008 were approved.

 

ORDERS

The orders of February 20, 2008 were reviewed, discussed and approved in the amount of $27,120.03.               

 

TOWN MANAGER'S REPORT

Repair of F550 truck

K. Ramsay reported on the repairs of the F550 highway truck:  Towing $181.50; Repair: $962.53 - Totaling $1144.03.

Directional Signs to Omya

In response to the Select Board's declaration of the public safety emergency hazard posed by trucks lost in Florence due to the lack of directional signs to Omya, Assistant Attorney General for Transportation, John Dunleavy, agreed to allow a stay of enforcement to allow Omya to put up the directional signs that were taken down until the new green directional street signs are installed.  K. Ramsay commented that additional arrow signs may be needed to help with the direction to Omya.

 

At the previous meeting, T. Carrara asked about the receipts for the computers sold.  The record of the receipts is in the general ledger.

 

K. Ramsay testified today in front of the Transportation Committee at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Legislative Day.  She indicated that several segments of the Pittsford-Brandon Route 7 improvement project are ready to go, all designed, all permitted, with bonding needed for the construction.

 

K. Ramsay will be attending and giving testimony at the Public Hearing for Act 250 on Segments 1 & 4 of Route 7 as a representative of the Route 7 Steering Committee from Pittsford.

 

K. Ramsay expressed her thanks to Janet Mondlak and Linda Drummond for their excellent work on the Town Report and to L. Drummond for setting up the reception for the Town Report dedication to Joseph Sposta with his wife Norma Sposta, friends, and Town officials attending on Friday, February 15. 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

Discussion was held in regards to the practices of the purchasing policy for each department.

The Select Board reviews and authorizes each purchase at every Select Board meeting by signing the orders for the purchases.

Discussion was held in regards to reviewing the possibility of donating office equipment when it is replaced to other Town departments or Town organizations.  This practice has been done in the past and it was agreed to strip computers before recycling or selling them.

 

Sally Eugair presented and distributed the following page of questions at the Select Board Meeting on February 7, 2008:

"On December 19th the Listers, asked if the comparison of their budget was applied to other departments in the town, specifically administration, highway, library, fire department, and clerk/treasury.  The Chairman, Hank Pelkey responded that those actions were taken.  I am asking what departments were compared, when, and what was the results?  The people of the town would like to know and can we receive a written response by the next scheduled select board meeting or does the Taxpayers need to ask this question at town meeting? 

I question if the Town Select-board members acted on the final decision weather it was a good business decision or a personal decision on behalf of the Taxpayers?

Mr. Pelkey, you stated to the Rutland Herald three years ago that you wanted to stay through to see the resolution of the sewer treatment plant, recently you have resigned from the water/sewer board, is that an indication that this problem has been resolved and not other issues exist?  I suggest you might want to talk to the Town of Dorset to see how much this type of decision has cost the taxpayers!

In Nov. of 2006 I suggested to the Select-board as the Acting Regional Planning Commissioner to act on applying for a federal grant to pay for a consultant to update our Wellhead Protection Plan, no action. 

Question:  How much are the taxpayers paying for a consultant to write this new plan that has been over due sine 5/15/2006.  I volunteered my hours to this job and no one took me serious!  Why are we having such a problem getting volunteers to fill needed positions? 

Pittsford Water Department operating permit expired on 5/1/2007.  How can this occur?  We have always paid a full time Town Manager!

Village Center Designation had been approved by the State of Vermont, why wasn't this put into Pittsford Newsletter to alert Village Businesses.  Again, I put in free hours on writing for this, seeking mapping and traveling to Montpelier for a whole day to accomplish this task as a town Planner, when the former Town Mgr. stated to Mr. Nickless that Mr. Racine from Brandon would do this for $2,500."

In response to Sally Eugair's written and verbal questions submitted to the Select Board at the February 7, 2008 meeting, Thomas "Hank" Pelkey submitted for the record the Select Board's response as follows:

Hank Pelkey, Chairman-Pittsford Select Board

Sally:

Here is the Select Board's response to the written and verbal questions you submitted to us during the public comment section of the Feb. 7, 2008 meeting.

Regarding question #1:

Over the years the Select board has asked for and been provided information from the VLCT and other sources regarding the compensation and benefits that other towns provide to their employees. The VLCT each year publishes a survey to facilitate this comparison.  We have used this information to see how Pittsford compares to other towns.  All town employees have been looked at: from town manager, to highway foreman and other highway employees, listers, recreation director, etc. This information has been useful during union negotiations, during the search for two town managers, as well as comparing how much the Town of Pittsford contributes to the library to what other towns contribute to their library.  For example, for budget year 2006, based on information we received, the S.B. raised the appropriation for the library from $36000 to $45000.  The Board has strived neither to be the lowest paying town nor to be the highest paying town in Vermont but to compare favorably to the average. 

Regarding question #2:

Due to conflicting and contradictory statements from the listers department, as well as what seemed to be high per parcel cost, the Board sought to compare the total listers budget to other towns.  A comparison was made to surrounding towns during which the Board was criticized for not comparing apples to apples.  We were asked to do a comparison based on similar sized towns with similar COD's and similar CLA's.  The Board agreed to this request.  Attached please find the independently gathered information the board received from the town manager with input from the state's PVR statistician and the listers.  Also attached is a copy of my analysis of what I think the listers budget should be and what I will be submitting to the rest of the S.B. for their consideration.  Given the current status of the listers department, the S.B. feels it would be prudent to look at all options, including hiring a qualified municipal assessor.  No decision the S. B. makes is personal but all decisions made are business decisions based on our interpretation of the facts.

Regarding question #3:

During my tenure on the sewer board an outside engineering firm was hired to document the shortcomings and design deficiencies of the new sewer plant and to provide options to remedy these problems. The report was completed long before my resignation and some of the solutions have been carried out. The S.B. receives regular updates from the Water and Sewer commission.  Proposals for the chlorine tank, sludge pumping, and analysis of the delivery system are presently moving forward.  The legal process now underway was initiated by and is being overseen by the Select Board.  We are hoping that funds recovered through this legal process will help to partially pay for improvements.  So I still have a vested interest in the outcome of the sewer plant.

Regarding question #4:

The plan was updated at no cost to the Town by the Vermont Rural Water Association of which Pittsford is a member.  The plan was submitted to the State on 1/28/08.  You were not appointed to this position because the S. B. felt you would be overburdened by your commitments as a member of two other organizations: the Pittsford Planning Commission and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.  Your own letter of resignation from both the above listed committees that was accepted by the S.B. at our Dec. 5, 2007 meeting should give you some insight as to why many towns throughout the state are having trouble filling volunteer positions, including most volunteer fire departments.  I believe you cited job commitments and time constraints as reasons for your resignations.

Regarding question #5:

I do not really have an adequate answer for this one.  My understanding is there was a delay in getting the paperwork sent and then a delay on the other end in processing the paperwork.  In any case, a new operating permit was issued by the State to the Town on Aug. 31, 2007 and is valid until May1, 2010.

Regarding question #6:

The S.B. regrets that the State's approval of the Village Center Designation was not included in the recent newsletter.  It was an oversight. It will be in the next newsletter.  I would like to note that S.B. did acknowledge at our Dec. 5, 2007 meeting that the Village Center Designation was granted on Nov. 26, 2007.  The minutes further proclaim that great thanks were extended to Sally Eugair and Peg Armitage for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the Town of Pittsford.  Furthermore, the Designation and thanks were included in the Select Board's Annual Report as well as the Historical Society's Annual Report both of which will appear in the upcoming Town Report.  No slights were intended to either you or Peg nor were any inconveniences intended for town businesses. 

Regarding sale of public assets:

Whether to put an item out to bid or to accept an offer made for a town owned asset is a judgment call made by  the S.B. depending on the our estimated value of that item.  Typically an item is placed out to bid but not always. Three assets not put out to bid come mind: 1) The S.B. accepted an offer from Tom Carrara for the old conference room chairs ($5 each as I recall). 2) The S.B. gave the wooden roll top desk, which was used in the Town Clerk's office, to Gordon Delong in appreciation of his 43 years of service to the Town. 3) The Water Dept. barn located on Mechanic St. was sold to an adjacent property owner for the appraised price.  Some Board members feel this property should have been auctioned off with the appraised price as the minimum bid. I can recall no other items that were not placed out to bid.  Regarding the sale of the computers, Allen's recollection is the sale was presented to the S.B. as a "fait accompli" by the former town manager.  He believes this information was given at a meeting where I was absent.  While not entirely happy with this situation the S.B. made a judgment call not to pursue the matter further at that meeting.  It should be noted that the cost to advertise a sale in the Reporter and the Herald could cost as much as $120.00 and the cost to strip Town information from the hard drive is estimated to cost between $50-$100.

ATTACHMENT

Memo

To:                   Select Board

                        Listers

From:              Kathleen Ramsay, Town Manager

Date:               January 11, 2008

Re:                  Research on Assessing Information

I have attached a copy of a summary spreadsheet comparing various pieces of municipal assessing data based on the most recent information available to me from William Smith, PVR Statistician, on January 3, 2008.

Methodology

Taking PVR's  parcel count information spreadsheet, entitled "Count of Homestead and Non-Residential Properties from the 2006 Statewide Grand List," I sorted the municipalities by parcel count, from lowest parcel count to highest parcel count;

Using Coefficient of Dispersion (COD) and Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) information as of 7-9-07, provided to me via e-mail by William Smith on 1-3-08 as the most recent COD and CLA information publicly available, I added the COD and CLA information for Towns with CODs of 12 and less to the spreadsheet on parcel counts;

For municipalities with similar parcel counts and COD and CLA's to the Town of Pittsford, I telephoned those municipalities on January 8, 2008 and obtained budget and reappraisal year information and added it to the spreadsheet;

At Mr. Smith's suggestion, I also added the number of property transfers, with 11-30-07 data provided on the State's web site.

I shared the January 10, 2008 draft of the spreadsheet on my research with the Listers.  They asked that Pittsford's parcel count include personal property accounts, and that Jericho's parcel count include the Village, which is handled out of the Town of Jericho's Listing Office.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to review any of my source documents for this research or discuss it in greater detail.

ATTACHMENT

Parcel Count, Coefficent of Dispersion, Common Level Appraisal;

Budget; Cost Per Parcel & Reappraisal Year for Selected Towns

 

 

 

11-Jan-08

 

 

 

 

 

Town NAME

Homestead

Non Residential

Total

COD

CLA

Budget

Cost/

Reappraisal

 

COUNT

COUNT

PARCELS

7/9/2007

7/9/2007

 

Parcel

Year

Pittsford

914

516

1430

11.13

105.16

39,276

27

2006

Ferrisburgh

811

654

1465

11.82

101.61

53,460

36

2005

Jericho

1231

248

1479

8.92

107.38

53,950

36

2005

Bristol

978

525

1503

10.38

102.05

25,650

17

2005

Norwich

986

545

1531

8.89

104.77

121,608

79

2005

Fairfax

1169

432

1601

8.46

99.11

40,641

25

2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information Added at Request of Listers 1-10-08

 

Homestead

Non Residential

Total

COD

CLA

Budget

Cost/

Reappraisal

 

COUNT

COUNT

PARCELS

7/9/2007

7/9/2007

 

Parcel

Year

Pittsford including personal prop. in parcel count

914

516

1579

11.13

105.16

39,276

25

2006

Jericho, including Jericho Village in parcel count

1231

248

2046

8.92

107.38

53,950

26

2005

 

ATTACHMENT

PROPOSED LISTERS BUDGET

The Selectboard was told by the listers and the state that the only fair way to compare the performance of the listers and their compensation (budget) was to compare it to towns of similar size with similar COD's and CLA's.  The comparisons we were given are in the top section of the spreadsheet. This spreadsheet was compiled by the town manager with input from the state.  If you throw out Norwich, whose cost bears no resemblance to the others, the average lister cost per parcel is $28/parcel with Pittsford at $27/parcel.  The lower section figures were supplied by the listers and it again shows Pittsford's budget to be below Jericho's by $1/parcel, $25 to $26.  I would agree that Pittsford should increase the lister's budge to match the average budget of other towns.

Based on the Lister's comparative spreadsheet between Pittsford and Jericho I would propose a Not-To-Exceed Budget using the $26/parcel @ 1579 parcels = $41054.00. I agree with the listers that this is a fair comparison and I 1do not have a problem using the figures they supplied to the town manager.

There are some similarities between the towns: CLA & COD but also some differences based on the 2000 census:

 

                                                                                  Pittsford                     Jericho 

Pittsford has 40% less population than Jericho:         3140                           5015

Pittsford has 40% lower median family income:     $44,079                     $72,500

Pittsford listers budget would only be 24% less      $41,054                     $53,950

Pittsford has 23% less parcels (per listers)                1579                          2046

Pittsford's per capita cost 18% higher with             $13.07                       $10.75

40% lower income

 

Therefore my proposed budget is as follows:

           

Secretary: $11.38/hr x 1020 hrs =  $11607.60       22% increase/time from the agreed to 832 hrs. (16 hrs/wk) but not an increase of 32% as requested by listers.

Mapping                                     =      2600.00        as requested

Expenses                                    =     10000.00       as requested

Listers Stipend                           =     16846.40       divided monthly per listers request

TOTAL                                           $41054.00        not-to-exceed

 

Compared to present:

 

Secretary                                 =   $9200.00       increase of      $2407.60

Mapping                                    =     2600.00                                0.00

Expenses                                   =   12500.00        decrease of     (2500.00)

Listers Stipend                          =   14976.00        increase of      1870.40

TOTAL                                         $39276.00       increase of    $1778.00

 

Sally Eugair asked if the town cruisers can be driven by others besides the constable and police officers.  Town officials can use the cruisers and other town employees with the permission of Constable M. Warfle.  There are times when the Pittsford Emergency Management Coordinator or Pittsford Fire Department as well as other Pittsford officials or employees may need the vehicles.

Preparation for Town Meeting - Meeting with Moderator Matthew Harvey- Including Review of FY09 Budget Proposals & Town Meeting Warning Articles

Matthew Harvey, new Town Moderator, wished to share with the Board ideas for a good approach to a good Town Meeting.  M. Harvey will be attending the Vermont League Cities and Town's training for Town moderators next week.  M. Harvey will not be answering questions of fact during the meeting.  He will defer the questions to the Board.  He views his job as a facilitator of the meeting.  H. Pelkey stated that the goal is to provide information to the public in an orderly fashion.  A. Hitchcock stated that M. Harvey should remind everyone about the Food Challenge with Proctor at both the beginning and the end of the meeting and to bring their food items to the voting polls. The candidates will be introduced during the meeting.  The Board will give short oral presentation of the articles.

OLD BUSINESS

Board of Listers - Vacancy in Elected Office

K. Ramsay reported that an advertisement for municipal assessing assistance by an individual or firm will appear in the Rutland Herald on 2/17 and 2/24/08; and in the Reporter on 2/20 and 2/27/08. It will be also posted in Town and on the Town's website.  The notice was also sent to 13 appraisal/assessing firms.  K. Ramsay has had local interest as well as two of the assessing firms have expressed interest.  An inquiry to towns in the region regarding their interest in sharing assessing services was also distributed with no response so far.  Dominic Cloud from VLCT stated that there is interest in a regional assessing approach.

Signature of Loan Documents for Final Design Engineering for Water Line Upgrade along Route 7 from Kendall Hill Road to Plains Road

This is the documentation for the $35,675.00 loan application submitted on October 17, 2007 for a 0% loan for 5 years from the State Department of Environmental Conservation for the final design engineering for the water line upgrade along Route 7 from Kendall Hill Road to Plains Road.  The Board signed the loan resolution and certificate.  Discussion was held on the final design engineering anticipated timeline which is contingent upon the Route 7 project.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Report on Water & Sewer Commission Meeting of February 12, 2008

D. Markowski, chair of the Water & Sewer Commission, reported that several topics were reviewed at the February 12, 2008 meeting. 

The Commission reviewed Otter Creek Engineering's proposal for conducting and infiltration and inflow study.  0 % loan financing for this study is available.  The Commission will finalize its review of the proposal at its meeting on February 26, 2008.  Since the work is best done in the March-June time period, timing is critical if this is something the Commission decides to do this year.  Discussion was held about the infiltration problem which results in the wastewater treatment facility processing clear groundwater.  Discussion was also held about the groundwater monitoring and sewer line inspection that are part of Otter Creek Engineering's proposal. A. Hitchcock stated that the complete sewer line system has never been examined and it is critical to have an updated infrastructure mapping of the system to determine where the infiltration is occurring so it can be repaired and for future reference.  Discussion was held in regards to previous studies and the need to move forward with the new complete inspection of the sewer infrastructure.

Requests for Proposals for preliminary engineering for water system improvements are due February 25, 2008.

The results of a statewide water and sewer rate survey from 2006 were reviewed and the Commission will finalize its recommendations for water and sewer rates at its meeting on February 26, 2008.

The unreserved hydraulic capacity of the wastewater treatment facility (WWTP), based on February 1, 2007-January 31, 2008 flow date, is :18,617 gallons per day.  This varies greatly seasonally and depends on rainfall/precipitation.

 

Act 250 Hearing on Route 7 Roadway Improvements Segments 1 & 4 on February 21, 2008, Bloomer State Office Building, Rutland  Reported upon under Town Manager's Report.

Kate Kennedy - Speed Limit on Humphrey Road  To be rescheduled.

Notice of Community Meeting  K. Ramsay reminded everyone about the community presentation on Monday, February 25, 2008 at Lothrop Elementary School Gymnasium from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.  The presentation is of an Independent Study of Environmental and Health Impacts of Calcium Carbonate Processing at Omya's Florence Plant.  Copies of the study are available on Omya's website or at the Town Office.

Monahan Property on Route 7

K. Ramsay will contact Frederick Nicholson, Stream Alternation Engineer, Agency of Natural Resources in regards to the flooding problem at the Monahan property on Route 7.

The Board went into a short recess at 7:25PM.

The Board reconvened at 7:30PM.

Frank vonTurkovich - Executive Session/Real Estate Contracts

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey made a motion to go into Executive Session for  Contracts at 7:30PM.  T. Hooker seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.  K. Ramsay and Frank vonTrukovich were asked to stay. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

In accordance with 1VSA 312(b) where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to go into Executive Session for Contracts at 7:30PM.  The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:28PM.  No action was taken.  Without further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:28PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda Drummond, Recording Secretary

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Markowski, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman

 



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