Meeting Minutes : Select Board

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

Select Board members present:  Joseph Gagnon, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Allen Hitchcock, Margaret “Peg” Flory and Thomas Hooker.

Also present:  Joe Damiata (VLCT), David Sichel (VLCT), Lisa Lindner (VLCT), Tom Heins, (Trident Insurance), Linda Weeden, John Weeden, Ann Roemer (Trident Insurance), Tom Carrara (6:35 PM), John Haverstock and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

Chairman Pelkey opened the meeting with congratulations to Ms. Flory for her appointment to the Senate in Montpelier.


The minutes from the December 2, 2009 meeting were reviewed and signed with no corrections.


The orders of $358,468.15 (General Fund); $11,544.42 (General Fund); and $9,164.62 (Payroll) were approved and signed following discussion as stated below:

J. Gagnon inquired about the purchase of tires for equipment, and whether multiple quotes were received in this purchase.  J. Haverstock will speak with S. Erickson to follow-up to be sure that this practice is being done on larger purchases.

M. Flory inquired if there is a Purchase Order system in place.  J. Haverstock reported that Purchase Orders are still a requirement.


J. Haverstock reported on the following:

  • The Water & Sewer Project is progressing.  Work is taking place on Kendall Hill Road.  The Otter Creek crossing is still being investigated.  The work is continuing onto West Creek Road, moving toward the Florence pump station before winter shut-down.  There is a notice being sent to customers to be in contact with the metering contractors for installation of the new meters.  A second project meeting was held on December 8th with the engineers, contractors and Town staff.
  • A Select Board meeting will be held on January 6, 2010 at 6:00 PM and again on January 7, 2010 at 6:00 PM for Town Plan adoption.
  • The recent snow storm of December 9 was discussed and thanks to the Highway and Water Departments for their work on this storm.
  • Communication was received by Doug Zorzi from the VT State Agency of Transportation – Rail Division with regard to purchasing 4.8 acres of Town property that is located in wetlands for the purpose of relocating the trestle to improve rail service in the area.  J. Haverstock is continuing communications and will keep the Board informed.
  • There are two Select Board seats up for re-election at Town Meeting (J. Gagnon and D. Markowski/M. Flory) and two Listers’ seats up for re-election (David Chapman and Bob Harnish).  The Listers’ seats are due for re-election as they were appointed and not elected at the last Town Meeting.
  • A thank you was expressed to Charla Helton and Kelley Lyons from the Pittsford Business Community for placing wreaths on the covered bridges in town.  Shawn Erickson and Greg Eastman assisted in this project.
  • There is a copy of the Pittsford Community Corporation survey included in the packets for review.
  • There will be a staff meeting on Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 9:00 AM and all Select Board members are invited to attend.

T. Carrara inquired whether the Pittsford Community Corporation is linked to the Town.  J. Haverstock reported that this is an independent group and information is relayed only as a courtesy to keep the Board members informed.  A. Hitchcock indicated that he is a member of this organization and NOT an officer.


L. Weeden inquired about the length of the terms that are expiring.  J. Haverstock reported that J. Gagnon’s seat is a 3-year term and the seat currently held by M. Flory is a 2-year term.

T. Carrara inquired if there was any information available with regard to the Health Plan and that a couple of other towns have left the VLCT insurance and have sought independent insurers.  T. Pelkey indicated that there is insurance discussion on the agenda.  J. Haverstock indicated that the insurance to be discussed does not include health.

T. Carrara inquired about the process that is used on the highways in storms with regard to use of road salt.  There was discussion that Clearlane is currently being used in Pittsford.  T. Carrara indicated that he is under the impression that the State of Vermont and Rutland Town is currently using a “pre-wetting” process.


Update on Timber Sales:

J. Haverstock reported that Eric Hansen has been in contact with the 3 individuals that expressed interest in the Caverly timber sale, on an informal basis.  The contract has been signed and the payment has been received in full with regard to the Nickwackett 2 timber sale.

Discussion of Transfer Station Operations:

J. Haverstock indicated that a memo was included in the packets for review.  There have been financial losses at the Transfer Station in the past years.  The Auditor and Town Clerk have been consulted with regard to this issue.  J. Haverstock recommended that C. Rivers and E. Potter (primary operators) attend a future meeting for discussion or at least be asked for their ideas.

A. Hitchcock inquired if there have been other operators contacted as a possibility.  J. Gagnon inquired if there could be presentations made prior to making any decisions.  J. Weeden expressed concerns with the way Brandon’s Transfer Station is operated and everything “goes in the same box” and suggested that, if Hubbard is considered, the contract must be more than 3 months.  J. Haverstock indicated that there is an environmental concern that needs attention if a third-party were to operate the facility.

There was discussion as to possible alternatives. One example was pre-selling bags.

J. Haverstock indicated that the revenues are going down and the fees are remaining roughly the same.  There is a possibility that the honor system is being abused where patrons tell the attendant that there are X number of bags and they may be dumping Y bags.

T. Hooker indicated that the current punch card is now a $20 card, instead of a $40 card.  This practice should recoup some of the revenue losses, over the course of a year as residents will need to purchase the cards more frequently.

T. Carrara indicated that he has spoken with individuals who felt they have been treated unfairly and that the staff is not polite and some words are not appropriate.  J. Haverstock indicated that he will have discussions with the staff regarding these concerns.


Remarks from VLCT:

Lisa Lindner, David Sichel and Joe Damiata were present to discuss the Property, Casualty, Auto and Workman’s Compensation Insurance through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.  Mr. Sichel indicated that the price for renewal of the stated insurance would cost $73,664.  Mr. Sichel explained that workman’s compensation was included in this proposal.

There is a January 1, 2010 deadline to renew the current policy.

Some highlights include:

  • Drug and alcohol testing is included for CDL drivers
  • Blanket Bond
  • Public Officials Bond
  • $500 deductible includes flood and earthquake damages
  • Sewer back-ups are considered no-fault
  • Wade Masure has helped to form a Safety Committee which meets regularly

Summary of Insurance Coverage and Cost Quote from Competitor:

Tom Heins and Ann Roemer were also present to discuss insurance.

Mr. Heins indicated that the current premium cost quote is $62,800.

Mr. Heins indicated that Trident Insurance is the #1 insurer in New England and #2 in the United States for insuring municipalities.

Mr. Heins presented information for the members to review and indicated that there are 3 local municipalities included as reference.

Ms. Lindner, Mr. Sichel, Mr. Damiata, Ms. Roemer, and Mr. Heins exited at 7:43 PM.

Budget Preparation Status:

J. Haverstock indicated that he is working with Helen McKinlay and Denise Mahoney and overall level funding will be achieved.  The budget warning is currently being drafted for Town Meeting and the proposal to restore the excess tax revenue will be included as a separate article.

T. Pelkey indicated that the Special Appropriations should also be level funded and if any of these are looking for an increase, the appropriation must be warned separately, indicating the increase.   New appropriations also must be warned and a representative must be present to answer any questions from the taxpayers.  M. Flory inquired if a petition is required.  T. Pelkey indicated that the Board can approve the request to be included in the Warning, without a petition and the decision is the taxpayers.

Audit Status:

J. Haverstock reported that a draft report has been received from the auditors.  J. Haverstock, Helen McKinlay, and Denise Mahoney have been asked to review for communication back to the auditors.  A final report is expected shortly for review at an upcoming Select Board meeting.  The General Fund surplus is expected to be $404,350—roughly $50,800 more than the $353,550 excess tax revenues.

Water & Sewer Project Status:

A. Hitchcock reported that there was recently a water break on Whipple Hollow Road.  There are 4 customers affected.  There is a possibility that this section could be included in the current water project.  Currently, the two breaks on the line are repaired, with a full line replacement waiting until funding can be secured.  The estimated cost to replace the 980-foot line is roughly $60,000.

The project is going well, however, is a little behind schedule, largely due to the issues experienced on Route 7 and Otter Creek.  Markowski Excavating has increased man power to help with this.

A request has been received from Giddings Equipment to increase service to their property on Route 7 South.  The engineers are researching this possibility and will report back.

There is no further information with regard to the Proctor abandonment of Pittsford residents.  Mark Youngstrom is still in the process of collecting data.  A. Hitchcock noted that there are a number of these customers that Pittsford could not serve due to elevations and pump stations would need to be replaced.  J. Haverstock reported that he just received communication that Proctor did decide on Monday, December 14 to abandon the surface treatment and the service line and Mark Youngstrom has been so advised.  Further updates will follow on this topic.  Proctor did indicate that they would like to have members of their Select Board meet with a representative or two from the Water & Sewer Commission (quorum free), their attorney, and their water superintendent.  This did not receive favorable responses.  A. Hitchcock reported that more information is needed prior to any type of meeting.

The Sewer infiltration report and WWTF upgrade engineer’s letter were received and were discussed by the Water & Sewer Commission.  Some highlights of the engineer’s report include:

  • Restructure the way sludge is handled.
  • Increase chlorination.
  • Reduce Storm inflow.  Some inflow is coming in through manholes.
  • Reduce the size of the chlorine tanks, based on anti-infiltration measures.
  • Bond vote for chlorination chambers and sewage handling and infiltration as one project.
  • Elm Street and Depot Hill pump stations need repairs as Bob Berardo has done some minor adjustments and achieved noticeable flow changes are coming through.  The area at the Maxhams’ needs to be adjusted to even the flows so there are fewer surges.
  • In the areas on Arch Street from the library to the fire station, leakages have been noted.
  • The sewer lines on Mechanic Street will hopefully be included on the current water project.

J. Haverstock indicated that the total project costs appear to be a bit less than $1 million.

A. Hitchcock is expecting the bid specs to be presented at the January 19, 2010 meeting.  J. Haverstock reported that these projects are being investigated, due to State violations.

M. Flory inquired if the sewer users have been advised to install back flow prevention devices.  T. Hooker indicated that Bruce Babcock has recommended this to residents that have experienced issues.

A. Hitchcock indicated that the engineers have recommended a regular flushing of the sewer lines, for example the line on Plains Road.


J. Gagnon inquired whether the Railroad’s request needs action.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Railroad will need to approach the Select Board.

M. Flory inquired if there has been any advancement on the Police Academy with regard to the sewer allotment.  J. Haverstock reported that there has been no further communications on this issue.

A. Hitchcock indicated that he has had communications with the Vermont Land Trust with regard to a study of wildlife corridors in Pittsford.  A representative would like to speak with the Select Board.  A. Hitchcock will recommend that they be in contact with J. Haverstock to be included on a future agenda.

T. Hooker reported that the new fire truck construction is on schedule and delivery is expected in mid-February.


J. Haverstock reported that there are 6 legal issues pending litigation updates involving the Town, and Union contractual issues and insurance policy discussions thus recommending Executive Session.

M. Flory made a motion and seconded by T. Hooker to go into Executive Session for legal issues where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town, personnel and contractual issues that may be jeopardized by public disclosure at 8:33 PM.   The motion was unanimously passed.  J. Haverstock was invited to stay for the entire 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 enter into Executive Session for the purpose of Legal, and Contractual at 8:33 PM.  The Select Board came out of executive session at 8:58 PM with the following action taken:

M. Flory moved and T. Hooker seconded to instruct the Town Mananger to further research the best insurance deal for the Town and to renew with VLCT unless new information comes to light causing there to be a strong Town Manager feeling that the Town should go with the competitor’s bid.   Passed 5-0.  Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

The next meeting will be held on January 6, 2010.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman

Margaret “Peg” Flory, Selectman