Meeting Minutes : Select Board

February 9, 2011

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

Select Board members present:  Joseph Gagnon, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Linda Weeden, and Allen Hitchcock (6:35 PM).   Also present:  Bruce Paynter, John Weeden, Denise Mahoney, Helen McKinlay, Fred Duplessis, Tom Carrara (6:54 PM), John Haverstock, and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary.


The minutes from the January 19, 2011 meeting were signed, with no corrections.


The Orders in the amount of $661.36 and payroll in the amount of $10,576.82 were signed with no comments.  (The Orders in the amount of $75,321.34 dated February 2, 2011 were signed by three members of the Select Board previously, due to the weather realted postponement of the February 2 meeting.


J. Haverstock reported on the following:

  • The automated controls are anticipated to be installed at the Florence Pump station at any time.  The rest of the project has come to a standstill until spring.  There have been several calls received from residents due to the water billing that was recently sent out.  Some of the concerns included confusion over the computations; the size of the bills; and skepticism about the accuracy of meter readings.  A. Hitchcock inquired how many calls were received.  J. Haverstock indicated roughly 15 – 20 have been received thus far.  J. Haverstock explained that the metered usage was metered for 3 months and doubled to reach a 6 month bill.  There will be further information included in the next issue of the Town’s Newsletter, as well as on the Town website.
  • An application for a more permanent water operations permit has been submitted.
  • The concrete has been poured at the Wastewater Treatment Facility for the construction of the chlorine contact chamber.  The bids will be sought for phase two of the sewer upgrade project within the next month or so.  The interim financing has been secured.
  • The Planning Commission approved the permit for the Water Operator’s offices at the January 27 meeting.  A pre-bid meeting was held on February 4.  A representative from the Labor & Industry was at the Treatment facility to review the pending office project.  The main concern was to include an ADA compliant bathroom.
  • The used highway truck was sold to Casella’s for $8,125.
  • There will be a public auction at the Monahan property on February 24.  This property is on Route 7 south.
  • Pyrofax Gas has withdrawn their charges for the removal of the propane tanks.
  • Trish Lewis has spoken with J. Haverstock to invite residents to the VT Interactive site on February 11 at 9:00 AM for a discussion on “Our Streets  Shape What Happens Around Them”.
  • A. Hitchcock indicated that, in the past, about 60% of the water that left the reservoir was never accounted for.  Currently, with the Florence and Pittsford water systems combined, the two parts of Town are using less water than Pittsford alone had in the past.


Bruce Paynter inquired if there would be a way for the Orders to be scrolled for the PEG-TV viewers while they are being signed.  Mr. Paynter indicated that he would be able to make the information “scroll” if he is given this information.  T. Pelkey indicated that this is a public document.  Mr. Paynter will be in contact with the Town Manager and the Town Clerk to obtain such documents in the future.


Interim Sewer Financing:

J. Haverstock explained that the bills for the project are coming due.  Paul Guiliani has submitted the information required to secure the interim funding, including a Tax Certificate, Resolution, Governmental Certificate, and Promissory Note for $1.242 million.  The required funding was secured at a 2.11% interest rate, payable on or before October 9, 2011.

The related documents were signed by the members of the Select Board.


External Audit Report:

Mr. Duplessis of Sullivan, Powers & Co. presented the findings from the external audit and discussed the following points:

  • The accounting practices continue to be consistent from year to year.
  • A Management Discussion and Analysis is included in the Select Board packets
  • Balance Sheet and Income Statement were explained
  • The Fund Statements were explained
  • The Budget Actual – General Fund were discussed
  • The Enterprise Funds were explained
  • The Footnotes are included in the packets
  • The Fund Schedules are included in the packets
  • Capitol Projects and Reserve Funds were explained
  • Trust Funds were explained

Mr. Duplessis explained Sullivan, Powers & Co.’s recommendations, which included the following points:

  • Improved record-keeping for Projects and Grants
  • Concerns about the Transfer Station handling of cash

Mr. Duplessis explained that the responses received from the staff were given to the Select Board.  The Town attempted to implement several prior recommendations but some were rejected by the Union, including changing from a weekly payroll to a bi-weekly payroll.

Mr. Duplessis indicated that his letter to the Select Board indicated that the audit ran very smoothly, the staff was prepared, and felt that it was an excellent audit.

J. Haverstock indicated that there was a good relationship with Chad from Sullivan, Powers & Co. and inquired if there could be a “lock-in” to retain services for 2 – 3 years.  Mr. Duplessis will submit a proposal.

T. Pelkey indicated that good reports were well-received and informative.

Mr. Duplessis, H. McKinlay, and D. Mahoney exited at 7:03 PM.

Discussion of Transfer Station Operations:

J. Haverstock indicated that the Transfer Station is continually operating at a deficit. A memo to the Select Board was read explaining the losses.  The losses in 2008 were roughly $51,000; 2009 the losses were roughly $65,000; and the losses in 2010 were roughly $47,047.  Some reforms have already been implemented including stronger enforcement of the permit requirement, stronger enforcement of the bag size limits, and the decreasing from a 20 punch card to a 10 punch card with the purchase of individual permits.

J. Haverstock also indicated:

  • There is a disconnect between the self-declared amount dumped at the entrance and what is actually dumped.  There are no receipts for verification and that this approach is based on the “honor system”, which can be, and likely is abused.
  • Casella charges by the weight and the current system charges by the bag.  One operator is against the scales system as it may tie up traffic.
  • Proposed that there be no cash exchanged at the facility once folks are out of punches.
  • The fence is often left open by the Highway Department, which is allows unscrupulous folks to dump, without paying.
  • There is no acceptance of scrap metals or electronics, which might generate additional revenue.
  • There are two employees that are over the age of 80, which limits their ability to perform the physical work that is required in the positions and increases the Town’s liability.

J. Haverstock recommended a Request for Proposals for outsourcing of the operations.  J. Haverstock explained the process that is used in Brandon, which is turning a profit at their operations after experiencing significant deficits.

A. Hitchcock inquired if there were weight differences noted over time.  T. Pelkey inquired how Brandon is profiting.  A. Hitchcock inquired if there was a volume change in Brandon with this outsourcing.  J. Gagnon inquired if there was a penalty for discontinuing the current contract.  J. Haverstock indicated that Earth Waste Systems honored the contract in place in Brandon until the contract lapsed.  J. Haverstock will research the concerns and report back at a future meeting.

A. Hitchcock indicated that if there is an increase in fees, there may be an increase in dumping on the roadsides.

J. Weeden indicated that if refrigerators were to be accepted at the Transfer Station, there would need to be a system in place to remove the refrigerants.

J. Weeden indicated that recycling should be encouraged to lower the amount that is dumped and that, in order to accept electronics, a separate dry building might be required.

There was much discussion concerning this topic, and J. Gagnon indicated that it would be nice to invite the current Transfer Station employees to a future meeting to discuss this topic.

J. Haverstock indicated that the employees in Brandon were offered first opportunity to continue their employment with the outside contractor.

Further discussion was tabled until a future meeting.

Application for Access/Right of Way Permit (P. McLaughlin):

Patrick McLaughlin submitted an application for Access/Right of Way on the Parker Hill Road.   S. Erickson approved the application, with the stipulation that a 36” diameter culvert will need to be installed and the driveway must be constructed to prevent run-off into the highway.

Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by A. Hitchcock to approve the application with the stated conditions.

Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.

Approval of Certificate of Highway Mileage:

J. Haverstock reported that Highway Foreman, S. Erickson confirmed the highway mileage as being 64.26 miles, which remains unchanged.

The Certificate was signed with no further discussion.

Consideration of Vehicle Idling Policy:

J. Haverstock indicated that the American Lung Association, in conjunction with VTRANS, is proposing that towns adopt policies for road crews to not idle vehicles and machinery unnecessarily.  J. Haverstock included a copy of the policy that was adopted by Milton.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Union has been consulted and that S. Erickson recommended that this policy be accepted.

J. Gagnon inquired who would enforce this policy.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Town Manager is the ultimate supervisor and that he, therefore, would enforce the policy, as drafted.

Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by L. Weeden to accept the Vehicle Idling Policy.

Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.

Discussion of Transportation – Village Grant:

J. Haverstock reported that a grant has been received in the amount of $140,369 for Village sidewalk enhancements, to be added to $175,000 already awarded.

J. Haverstock indicated that he walked the area proposed (Arch Street area) with VTRANS and an engineer to develop a budget.

There was much discussion on this topic and the consensus was that the Town Manager ought to generate a non-binding request for proposals.


J. Gagnon inquired about the status of the Equipment Rental Fund.  J. Haverstock indicated that there is no change in this budget cycle and that the project will be implemented in the future.

T. Carrara indicated that there needs to be a “slow down” on spending.  Mr. Carrara referenced the Water and Sewer projects that were recently done.

Mr. Paynter indicated that the Town Report honorees should be determined by a Committee and felt that this is a topic that should not be discussed in Executive Session and feels that it is improper for Executive Session to be used for this purpose.  J. Haverstock explained the procedure and indicated that the Select Board has traditionally been the Committee.


J. Haverstock reported that there is a Contractual/Personnel Issue to be discussed, thus recommending Executive Session.

T. Pelkey made a motion and seconded by A. Hitchcock to go into Executive Session for a Personnel Issue where premature public knowledge would be damaging to the Town at 7:54 PM.   The motion was unanimously passed. J. Haverstock was invited to remain 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 a Contractual/Personnel Issue at 7:54 PM.

The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:38 PM with the following action:
Motion by Allen Hitchcock and seconded by Tom Hooker:
Based on the recommendation of the Town Manager, and in compliance with the terms of the Union Contract, Linda Drummond is hereby awarded the Master Skills Rate of Pay, amounting to an increase of $1.50 per hour.
Vote 4-0-1, with Joe Gagnon abstaining.
The meeting adjourned at 8:42 p.m.

The next regular meeting will be held on February 16, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman


Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman


W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman


Thomas Hooker, Selectman


Linda Weeden, Selectman