Meeting Minutes : Select Board

March 17, 2010

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

Select Board members present:  Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Joseph Gagnon, Linda Weeden, Allen Hitchcock, and Thomas Hooker.  Also present:  Bruce Paynter, John Weeden, Tom Carrara, DJ Lewis, Trish Lewis, Sally Eugair, Shawn Erickson (7:50 PM), John Haverstock and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


The minutes from the March 3, 2010 meeting were reviewed and signed with no corrections.


The orders of $230,454.70 (General Fund) and $9,058.47 (Payroll) were approved and signed following discussion as stated below:

T. Pelkey explained that there was a check for $125 payable to “Funny Business” that was voided and re-issued.

A. Hitchcock inquired about the expenditure to Beardsley for $341 for “underground tank”.  J. Haverstock explained that this is a diagnostic visit for the metering/monitoring at the Highway Department.  There has been a depletion of oil and it is a “mystery” as to whether a leak has occurred.  J. Haverstock reported that there was further depletion. Pyrofax has pumped the tank and an Environmental Engineer will be on-site to evaluate the situation on March 18, 2010.  A. Hitchcock inquired if the State is involved.  J. Haverstock reported that the State is involved and is agreeing with the measures that are being taken.  There was discussion concerning the possibility of a new tank because the current tank is 23 years old.

A. Hitchcock inquired about the expenditure for a wrecker service for one of the trucks.  J. Haverstock reported that this was for a faulty cam sensor.

J. Gagnon inquired about the expenditure for rock climbing and inquired if this was for the Recreation Department and was reimbursed.  J. Haverstock reported that this is for the Recreation Department and was reimbursed, as with most of the Department’s program expenses.


J. Haverstock reported on the following:

  • Markowski Excavating will begin spring construction on or about April 5 with approximately 7 crews working on the water project with the anticipated completion being in early July.  Meter installations are still occurring with 6 – 8 installations per day.
  • There was a reminder for the Feinstein Food Challenge with Proctor.  Residents are reminded to bring their donations to the Municipal Offices before April 30.
  • There was a small electrical fire at the Transfer Station.  This was reported to be caused by mice causing a short in the electrical panel.  Larry McDuff has repaired the damage and a claim has been submitted to the VLCT.  Updates on this will be forthcoming.  There was no interruption in service and this fire occurred in the Compactor Building.
  • The Listers have been invited to address the Select Board on March 31 for an update on their work.
  • Shawn Erickson has been invited to meet in Executive Session with regard to the possible purchase of a used grader.
  • A website has been recommended: .  This is a documentary about the blood annual drive in Rutland.

T. Pelkey noted that he was on the website and noted that Peg Flory is still listed as a Select Board member.  This will be changed to Linda Weeden and a new picture will be posted.

S. Eugair inquired if there were Zoning Regulations for Pittsford on the website.  Bruce Paynter explained that these are listed under “documents”.


Bruce Paynter indicated that Greg West spoke with his wife with regard to a video that is available on-line with concern to Pittsford Town Meeting in 1947.  Mr. Paynter would like to link this to the Town website.  J. Haverstock will research this video.

Mr. Paynter presented a handout with regard to a subdivision that occurred on Sangamon Road and believes that the Town should be concerned as the Zoning Administrator issued a permit and no hearing was held “as required by law”.  Mr. Paynter discussed this concern.

S. Eugair indicated that she was under the impression that a permit sign had to be visible for 15 days.  Mr. Paynter explained his understanding of the hearing requirements.

T. Carrara commented about the following:

  • Concerns about Mr. Babcock’s health
  • The cost to insulate the Town Office.  J. Haverstock indicated that Dan Adams has paid $500 for the study and the report has been submitted to Mr. Adams.  Mr. Adams indicated that he would like to review this report and submit comments to the Select Board.
  • The cost of the Ford 550 trucks and indicated the newer trucks are 10-lug wheels instead of the current 8-lug wheels.
  • The loader was moved to the repair shop and inquired what was repaired.  J. Haverstock will look into this and report back.
  • Would like to be involved in the purchase of a different grader.

T. Pelkey explained that only a portion of the information about the possible purchase of equipment can be discussed in public session due to the negotiations that occur.  Some must be discussed in Executive Session so as to not jeopardize the Town’s bargaining power.  S. Eugair inquired about the condition of the current grader.  J. Haverstock indicated that the current grader is 27 years old and the expected life is 30 years.


Update on Timber Sales:

J. Haverstock reported that the Caverly sale will be executed in Fall/Winter of 2010.  The Nickwackett timber harvest is 80% done and Eric Hanson has shut down the operation due to the weather and ground conditions.  The Nickwackett section will be completed when the conditions improve.

Discussion of Used Grader Purchase:

J. Haverstock indicated that there has been past discussion of purchasing a “less used” grader than the current grader.  Recently, there has been contact with another town about a used grader available for purchase.  The current grader is a 1983 Caterpillar grader and the current vehicle replacement schedule calls for its replacement after 30 years.  A new grader would cost roughly $300,000.  The negotiations will be held in Executive Session with Shawn Erickson.

T. Carrara inquired about the present hours on the current grader vs. the proposed grader.  S. Erickson indicated that the current grader has 9100 hours and the proposed grader has 7100 hours.  T. Carrara inquired if S. Erickson has driven the proposed grader, listened to the engine, checked the equipment and the condition of the tires.  S. Erickson indicated that he has done all of the above and that there are 4 new tires on the proposed grader.

T. Carrara inquired how many hours are put on the current grader per year.  S. Erickson indicated that over the 14 years that the equipment has been owned, there is an average of 328 hours per year.

There was much discussion concerning the potential grader purchase and there is no further information available for public and discussion.  The matter was referred to Executive Session with Mr. Erickson.

J. Gagnon indicated that he is not in favor of purchasing the proposed used grader and believes that this decision is based on the physical condition of the equipment and that a 2000 hour differential between the two machines is not worth making the upgrade.  J. Gagnon indicated that S. Erickson takes very good care of the Town’s equipment.  L. Weeden agreed that if there is nothing wrong with the current grader, than there is no need to replace it.


Budget Status Report:

J. Haverstock reported that the General Fund expenses are at roughly 73%; the highway fund is roughly 61%; Clearlane purchases are at roughly 87% of budget.

Update on Activities of the Water & Sewer Commission:

A. Hitchcock explained that the water upgrade project has been shut-down due to winter.  There may be an issue with rights-of-way for Route 7 work, however, there may be alternatives in mind and further reports will follow.

A. Hitchcock reported that the State has criticized the operations at the Wastewater Treatment Facility due to sludge handling and chlorine contact and the State is recommending a double tank system.  The permits have been extended through the State and these projects need to be done to come into compliance with State regulations.

A. Hitchcock reported that the proposed project cost at the Wastewater Treatment Facility is roughly $480,000; Arch Street sewer improvements (that can not be combined in the water project – as previously stated in the Rural Development discussions) is roughly $710,000 (combined water & sewer – covers from Kamuda’s to Mechanic Street);  Mechanic Street and Pleasant Street sewer work (hopefully done at the same time as the water project, however, there may be some proximity issues to be addressed) the cost is roughly $1 million; Elm Street pump station is over 20 years old, leaks badly; Depot Hill pump station can be repaired at a reasonable cost and can be done locally.  The total cost for all of the projects is roughly $2.35 million.  The USDA loans offer a grant of up to 45%, which would be the cheapest route at this point.  For the complete proposed project to proceed, the user rate impact is roughly $195 per year.  Currently, there is an annual deficit in the Sewer budget  and this deficit is being paid by ALL taxpayers.  The work at the WWTF must be done and the Commission has discussed project “packages” and there is no final decision which “package” is best. There will be public meetings held prior to a bond vote.

T. Carrara inquired about the base of the roads.  A. Hitchcock indicated that the road will be paved and not just “patched”.

J. Gagnon inquired what would happen to the sidewalk grant on Arch Street.  A. Hitchcock explained that it is unknown how the sidewalk will be affected, however, the engineers recommend moving the sewer line to the north side of the road with a 6” pipe

and not the current 4” pipe.  J. Haverstock indicated that there is roughly 2 years remaining on the grant.

Report from Rutland Regional Planning Commission:

J. Haverstock reported that Trish Lewis has accepted the appointment to the Pittsford Planning Commission.

Trish Lewis, the representative from Pittsford to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission was present to give an update.  The following items were discussed:

  • The RRPC would like someone from the Select Board to review the energy efficiency commitment.  (Information was given to the Select Board for review.
  • RAFFL (Rutland Area Farm and Food Link) and Green Mountain College are beginning a mobile quick freeze.  This enables farmers to take their produce to Green Mountain College to prepare the goods to freeze and sell throughout the year.  There is no cost to this program as yet as this is the test year and a fee will be determined (this year may be the cheapest).  S. Eugair inquired if there is a spot in Town for local folks to sell produce.  J. Gagnon indicated that he owns property on Route 7 in Rutland Town that could be used for this purpose.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Congregational Church in Town also hosts the annual Harvest Fair.  RAFFL is looking for an roughly 100-acre parcels of land to assist folks in planting crops and this would be like a community farm on this land.
  • A meeting will be held on May 6 from 6 – 7:30 PM at the Rutland Regional Medical Center on the topic of wind farms.  There will be 2 doctors speaking at this meeting (1 on each side of the issue).

Execution of Highway Grant Application:

J. Haverstock explained that there is an application in the packets for review with regards to the paving of Whipple Hollow road (3.8 miles).  A financial report is required to document the approval at Town Meeting of expenditures to confirm eligibility.  T. Carrara inquired if this grant covers the paving of West Creek Road from the underpass to the Harvey Farm.  J. Haverstock reported that while the State AOT rated this portion of the road as “poor condition,” the grant application relates to Whipple Hollow Road.

Authorization of Execution of Water Payment Documents:

J. Haverstock will be out of Town at the next signing of the metering project payment documentation meeing.  Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by L. Weeden to authorize Allen Hitchcock to sign this documentation.  (The meeting for the Markowski documentation has been postponed and J. Haverstock will be available to sign these documents).

Application for Access/Right of Way Permit

An application was received from John & Glenna Cowans.  This application was approved by Shawn Erickson with the condition of an 18” culvert required.  Motion to approve the application by J. Gagnon and seconded by A. Hitchcock.  Motion approved unanimously 5 – 0.


Liquor Board:

Recess the Select Board at 7:23 PM to sign the Liquor Board minutes of the March 3, 2010 with no corrections.

Reconvene as the Select Board at 7:24 PM.


J. Haverstock reported that there are legal issues including pending litigation updates and issues involving the Town contractual issues, thus recommending Executive Session.

T. Hooker made a motion and seconded by A. Hitchcock to go into Executive Session for legal issues where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town, and contractual issues that may be jeopardized by public disclosure at 8:15 PM.   The motion was unanimously passed.  J. Haverstock and S. Erickson were invited to stay for 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 8:15 PM.

The Select Board came out of executive session at 8:55 PM.

Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by J. Gagnon to not purchase the proposed used grader.  Motion carried 3 – 2 (Pelkey & Hooker voted nay – and wished to purchase the grader).

Meeting adjourned at 8:56 PM.

The next meeting will be held on March 31, 2010.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman