Meeting Minutes :


February 28, 2011 – Lothrop School Gymnasium

Select Board Members Present:                           Also Present:

Thomas (Hank) Pelkey, Chairman                   Matthew Harvey, Moderator

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman                       John Haverstock, Town Manager

W. Joseph Gagnon                                                   Helen McKinlay, Town Clerk

Thomas Hooker                                                    Jean Parker, Asst Town Clerk

Linda Weeden                                                           Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

Approximately 115 guests


Moderator Matthew Harvey called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.

Boy Scout Troop #110 presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman of the Select Board read the dedication of the Town Report to the residents present.  The Town Report was dedicated to Margaret “Peg” Armitage and Robert J. Hemple.  The cover of the Town Report included Boy Scout Troop #110, of which there have been 7 members reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.


Moderator Harvey called attention to the Annual Town Meeting Guidelines, which were included on the chairs as residents entered, as well as indicated that there is no campaigning at Town Meeting by those running for office.


Representative Charles “Butch” Shaw was present and discussed the proceedings that are occurring in Montpelier.  Rep. Shaw is currently serving on the Corrections and Institutions Committee, to which Rep. Shaw explained the duties involved with this committee.  Rep. Shaw thanked the School Board members for participating in the Challenge for Change Program this year, as many towns did not participate.  Rep. Shaw invited residents to meet with him on the second and forth Saturday of each month, from 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM, at the Fire Station, to discuss anything that is happening in Montpelier.


Moderator Harvey asked for any non-voting resident of Pittsford to identify them selves and explained that they may not vote on any town business that is transacted at this town meeting.


Moderator Harvey read the following warning:


The legal voters of the Town of Pittsford are hereby notified and warned to meet at the Lothrop School Gymnasium, in the Town of Pittsford, on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. to transact the following business not involving voting by Australian ballot. 




Article 1:  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To hear the reports of the Town Officers and take appropriate action thereon.”


Motion by Jamie Stewart and seconded by Denise Mahoney.


Moderator Harvey indicated that there were errors in the printing of the Town Report.  These errors are in the column headings on pages 26 – 30.  The headings should have 1 year added to the existing column headings.  The next error is found on page 93 indicating that Richard Beriau is currently not serving as Justice of the Peace, however, Walter “Terry” Poor is serving in this capacity.  The final error is on page 28, the Listers’ section; the revenue should be in the Property Map Changes and not the Reappraisal Expenses.  Dorothy Parkinson indicated that Article IV of the School District Warning should read “To see if the voters will authorize the Board of School Directors to deposit into the existing reserve fund for the school facilities including maintenance, repairs, renovations, and or construction any surplus funds or portion of such funds as the Board deems appropriate existing at the end of any fiscal year?


Moderator Harvey did a quick review of the report and invited general questions of the material.  Mr. Harvey advised that these discussions would not include any budget reports until the members of the Select Board had made their presentations.




Chairman Pelkey introduced the members of the Select Board.  Chairman Pelkey explained that he would be conducting the overview of the General Fund; Allen Hitchcock would be presenting the Water & Sewer Commission information; W. Joseph Gagnon would be presenting the Highway Department information.


Chairman Pelkey wished to thank all departments, department heads, John Haverstock, Linda Drummond, Helen McKinlay, and all staff for their assistance on the budget process.


Chairman Pelkey explained that the budget was level funded for the third year in a row, even though all town functions still must go on in an orderly fashion.


Chairman Pelkey explained that revenues were higher than anticipated by $7,204, while expenses were $17,473 lower than budgeted.  The revenue of property taxes, solid waste fees, investment interest, and traffic fines were lower than budgeted.  There was an increase in state grants of $42,404.  Heating fuel, building maintenance, solid waste removal fees, employee benefits and insurance were lower than anticipated.  These were off-set by an increase of $45,551 in legal fees.


Chairman Pelkey explained that for the year 2010, the Select Board was able to carry-over $150,000 in the fund balances to help reduce the tax rate, for the 2011 – 2012 budget year, the remaining $120,000 amount was applied to this year’s tax rate reduction.  Chairman Pelkey explained that all of the surplus funds, except the State recommended 15% of the budget carried over to the next fiscal year; therefore, there will be no reduction this year.

Chairman Pelkey indicated that the $4,000 increase in the budget is 1/3 of 1% over 2 years and the amount raised by taxation is level.  The pressure for budget increases continues to be employee benefits and insurance.


Chairman Pelkey indicated that, currently, at 2/3 of the way through the budget year, the revenue is at 82% and the expenses are at 66.5% and that 90% of the property tax revenue has been collected for this fiscal year.


Chairman Pelkey explained that a 3-year Union Contract was negotiated and approved last year, and that employee raises will be level at 2% across the board.  The Union Contract also included a right to choose an insurance plan with a higher deductible with no employee contribution, or continues with the current plan in place, with employee contribution.  Currently, it looks like about 50% of the employees chose the higher deductible plan.


Mr. Rademacher inquired if the $150,000 was applied, as mentioned in the past Town Meeting minutes, as well as the $353,500 that was mentioned in the minutes and asked for clarification as to what Chairman Pelkey mentioned in his presentation of being only $120,000.  Mr. Rademacher also inquired the particulars of the 15% State advised carry-over and Mr. Rademacher referenced the Treasurer’s Report.  Chairman Pelkey explained that that there is a lag time and this year’s proposed carry-over is $167,954, which calculates to 15.7% carry-over.


Tom Carrara indicated that the Transfer Station is losing funds annually and asked what is happening to resolve this issue.  J. Haverstock indicated that options are being reviewed by the Select Board, and some of the options are to privatize operations, internally “tighten-up” operations, instituting a receipt system, as well as a physical inspection from what is being declared at the attendant and what is being dumped into the compactor.  J. Haverstock explained that there have already been a reduction in the punches at the sale of the permit, there have been educational materials included in the newsletter, and visual displays at the Transfer Station.  These approaches are being taken in a “softer approach”.  Ken Gagnon indicated that Proctor sells bags and these are the only bags that are accepted.  J. Haverstock explained that the auditors recommend that there should not be cash handled at the facility.  Currently, there is a “customer convenience” factor that is being reviewed and it is not always convenient for customers to purchase punch cards during regular Town Office hours, so, it may be a possibility to sell these cards at Keith’s or Kamuda’s.


Tom Carrara indicated that the legal fees against Mr. Paynter may have been avoided if there had been an open dialog between Mr. Paynter and the Select Board without an attorney involved.  Mr. Paynter explained that the statements are not correct that he is not suing the town; however, these suits are in regard to environmental appeals that the Town chose to retain an attorney.  Mr. Paynter indicated that the Select Board should have discussed their decision and vote in open session and not in Executive Session and that $125,000 was spent for optional litigation.


Joe Gagnon indicated that the Highway Department projects included brush removal on the Syndicate Road, improvements on the East Pittsford Road, Oxbow Road, paving on the Furnace Road, maintenance on the Old Hubbardton Road, replaced a culvert on Elm Street.


Mr. Gagnon indicated that there was an overhaul at the existing highway garage to include a break room and office space, replacement of the fuel tank and heating system, and installation of doors on the east side of the building.  The projects were performed by the lowest bidder in all aspects.


Mr. Gagnon explained that the fuel tanks were replaced at the Highway Garage, Fire Station, and the Town Office.


Mr. Gagnon indicated that a new tandem dump truck was purchased for approximately $175,000 and the truck that was replaced was sold for $8,125.  Mr. Gagnon indicated that a new Ford 550 has been ordered to replace the current Ford 550.  The cost estimate for this vehicle is $90,000, and the truck that will be replaced will be put up for bid.


Mr. Gagnon indicated that there was also a chipper purchased this past year.  The chipper purchase was discussed in detail at Select Board meetings and there was little interest in “sharing” with other towns.  The purchase will eliminate the need to rent a chipper, if available, when needed.


Mr. Gagnon explained that the Select Board discussed the possible purchase of the grader from Killington, which was defeated.


Mr. Gagnon indicated that the Highway Department is looking into paving Whipple Hollow Road, and is still negotiating the approach to Depot Hill Road.  The negotiations include whether to completely pave the road, or a partial approach, all state funding dependent.


Mr. Rademacher inquired what line item in the budget was affected by the Highway garage construction.  J. Haverstock explained that there is a dedicated fund in the Highway budget with modest surplus.  Mr. Gagnon explained that there are also building repair funds available for these types of projects.


Tom Carrara inquired if there are any amounts available for the engineer involved on Arch Street.  Mr. Gagnon explained that the sewer project is going to be going through this area and it is hoped that the sidewalk can be installed from where the current sidewalk ends, and will follow through to the school and can be installed after the sewer project is completed.  J. Haverstock explained that this is a Transportation Enhancement Grant, which was received from the Agency of Transportation.  Kathleen Ramsay actually initiated the application process and the grant was received in 2 segments, totaling $175,000 for a $220,000 project.  J. Haverstock explained that the Town is responsible for 20% of the project, 10% in cash and 10% can be “in kind” (meaning in materials and/or labor).  J. Haverstock explained that the Agency of Transportation recommended that an engineer be consulted regarding this project.  Currently, the Select Board is evaluating the project and the possibility of “tacking on” the engineering segment with the sewer system project.


Tom Carrara inquired if the town’s people would have a vote on the sidewalk project.  J. Haverstock explained that the Select Board is elected to represent the taxpayer’s interests.  Chairman Pelkey invited and encouraged citizens to attend the Select Board meetings to express their concerns.


Allen Hitchcock explained that the $4.725 million project is nearly complete combining the Pittsford and Florence systems, increase in the size of the water main from the Pittsford Mills running south, changes in the inter-connection to enhance fire protection.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that only system payers pay for the upgrades, however, all taxpayers pay for the fire protection through the general budget. Mr. Hitchcock explained that one of the main concerns now being the 5 miles of pipe that runs from the springs in Chittenden to the reservoir.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that there are approximately 550 users on the system and when the billing cycle was sent, approximately 20 complaints were received and investigated.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that the entire system will be on meters to accurately bill for water usages as there was approximately 60% of the water that left the reservoir was not being accounted for and billed properly.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that the annual target bill is $400 per resident.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that there are currently 9 ERU (equivalent residential users) not metered due to some with weak plumbing within the structure or accessibility issues.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that the Water & Sewer Commission is currently reviewing legal steps to place a stipulation on the residences so a transfer of property can not occur without a meter installed.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that there are some “combined jobs” within the projects and these projects need to be approved by the grant source to combine any projects.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that there is currently office construction occurring at the Wastewater Treatment Facility to accommodate the Water Department employees, as they are currently in the basement of the Municipal Offices and this office space will be in the area where the bagging system was located and the funds are coming from the sale of the aqueduct building.



Tom Carrara asked who received the bid on the construction of the office project.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that The McKernon Group was the low bidder and received the bid.


Peter Cady inquired about the formula used in calculating the water bills.  J. Haverstock explained that a 3-month “read” was conducted and essentially doubled, minus the allotment of 6,000 gallons, then adding the related bond fees.


Gordon DeLong inquired if there were any contingency funds remaining and if so, what would happen with these funds.  A. Hitchcock explained that the funds remaining are grant funds and there will be some services replaced along Route 7 in the area of the Congregational Church and Keith’s II, on the east side of the road and this will occur in the spring.


Jamie Stewart inquired if the billing was done based on “assumption”.  J. Haverstock indicated that this calculation process has been communicated for months and there were no projections occurring during this process.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that the State average bill is $400 and Pittsford is approximately $413.


Bonnie Stewart inquired how the “non-metered” units are being billed.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that these were being billed on a flat-rate, which is based on the statewide averages, based on the engineers’ recommendations.


Bruce Paynter indicated that the proposed Water Ordinance, which is only in the draft stage, and it seems as though the Town Officials are trying to “grab” more authority than they are delegated.  One topic that Mr. Paynter discussed was the power to turn off water and explained that the water can only be turned off in an emergency or non-payment, with several stipulations, to which Mr. Paynter explained.  Mr. Paynter indicated that the new ordinance indicates that water can be turned off for waste, to which Mr. Paynter feels is illegal.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that this ordinance is still in the draft form.


Mr. Hitchcock explained the sewer project as being a $1.97 million project with grant funding of $750,000.  The project will include Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrades of chlorine contact chamber, infiltration and leakages.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that the State assessed $27,000 in fines due to a spill of solids when a truck was being loaded for removal.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that the Town has negotiated to a fine of approximately $13,500 and that the fine has stipulations and the money can be used for water related projects.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that the project will be completed in phases.   Phase I is currently under construction at the Wastewater Treatment Facility, to include the construction of a chlorine contact chamber, which will have fabric covers installed to help prevent freezing in the chamber.  The amount of this phase is $408,000.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that Phase II is for replacement of the Elm Street pump station, replacing the lines on Mechanic Street, Arch Street, and Pleasant Street to help eliminate infiltration.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that there is another portion of this project to include the sleeving of a segment on the Plains Road, where tree roots grow into the system, which is dependent on funding.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that the bids will be sought in the spring, with construction to occur in the summer and fall.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that the sewer fund is losing money on a regular basis.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that Rep. Shaw is currently working with a group of effected residents to establish a fire district, with regard to the abandonment of out of district users on the Proctor water system.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that there are approximately 70 residents that are affected.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that, although Pittsford has no “legal” responsibility, the Commission is ethically concerned.


Mrs. Falco inquired if there is a timeframe that these residents will lose water.  Mr. Hitchcock explained that Proctor has no schedule in place.


Mr. Falco inquired if the fire hydrant, which is near his house, would be disconnected.  Mr. Hitchcock indicated that it is anticipated that this will be disconnected if the supply is from the Proctor system.  Mr. Falco was referred to Rep. Shaw with these types of questions and concerns.


Mr. Hitchcock explained that the contracts are very detailed and time consuming, thus, thanked the office staff for their time in the administration of these contracts.


The Article passed unanimously.


Article 2.  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To see if the Town of Pittsford will appropriate the sum of $1,221,608.00 (One Million, Two Hundred Twenty-One Thousand, Six Hundred Eight and no/100ths Dollars) to defray the General Expenses of the Town for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, of which the sum of $948,613.00 (Nine Hundred Forty-Eight Thousand, Six Hundred Thirteen and no/100ths Dollars is to be raised by property taxes?”


Motion to accept by Margaret “Peg” Flory and seconded by Denise Mahoney.


Mr. Rademacher inquired the revenue on page 23 of the Town Report being reduced by $353,000 and the tax will be taxed based on the $970,000.  J. Haverstock indicated that there will be no additional return of surplus funds.


Motion passed unanimously.


Article 3.  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To see if the voters of the Town of Pittsford will appropriate the sum of $938,121.00 (Nine Hundred Thirty-Eight Thousand One Hundred Twenty-One and no/100ths Dollars) to defray the Highway Expenses of the Town for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, of which the sum of $822,171.00 (Eight Hundred Twenty-Two Thousand, One Hundred Seventy-One no/100ths Dollars) is to be raised by property taxes?”


Motion to accept by Jamie Stewart and seconded by Mrs. Poor.


Article 3 passed unanimously.


Article 4.  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To see if the voters of the Town of Pittsford will appropriate the sum of $19,000 (Nineteen Thousand and no/100ths Dollars) to defray the Village District’s Expenses for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, of which the sum of $19,000 (Nineteen Thousand and no/100ths) is to be raised by property taxes?”


Motion to accept by Clarence Greeno and seconded by Dan Shea.

Article 4 passed unanimously.


Article 5.   Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To see if the Town will authorize collection of taxes on real and personal property by its Treasurer in three equal installments, due on or before August 10, September 10, and November 10, 2011?”


Motion to accept by Bruce Rowe and seconded by Ernie Brod.


Article 5 passed unanimously.


Article 6.  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To see if the voters of the Town of Pittsford will authorize the Pittsford First Response Ambulance Replacement Fund to also be used for building repairs and other expenses of the Pittsford First Response Squad Inc. as the members of the organization see fit?  If so, the name of the fund will be changed to the Pittsford First Response Ambulance/Building Expense Fund.”


Motion to accept by Mrs. Poor and seconded by Dan Shea.


Peri Swan was present and explained that the First Response can avoid requesting higher allocations if the funds are available for general use as their Workers’ Comp. insurance is rising, as well as other expenses within the organization.


Article 6 passed unanimously.


Article 7.  Moderator Harvey read the following article:  “To transact such other non-binding business as legally may come before said meeting at this time.”


Senator Flory discussed the happenings in the State Senate.  Sen. Flory indicated that she is currently serving on the Transportation Committee and the Gov. Ops Committee.  Sen. Flory indicated that the proposed budget is level funded, minus any stimulus funds; the Route 7 project is currently on track for each of the next 8 years with Segment 5 being scheduled to be completed and Segment 3 to start with wires and pole placement in 2011, with construction beginning in 2012.  Sen. Flory explained that the Middlebury rail spur is in the budget with OMYA and VT Rail working on their segments.  Sen. Flory indicated that there is still discussion that the upgrade of the railroad bridge on the Kendall Hill Road.


Sen. Flory indicated that the Gov. Ops Committee is working on the Executive Session and Open Meeting Laws, as well as the possibility of a term of 4-years for Governor, as well as a re-districting.


Gordon DeLong recommended that the Select Board add funds to the Veterans’ Memorial Fund, which was originally established by Emerson and Jocelyn Frost.


Tom Carrara recommended that the Town use small contractors instead of the highway department.  Chairman Pelkey invited Mr. Carrara submit facts and figures for the Select Board to review.


Article 8.  Moderator Harvey read the following article.  “To elect the following officers of the Town:


  1. a.             A Town and School District Clerk for a term of three (3) years
  2. b.             A Town and School District Treasurer for a term of three (3) years
  3. c.             A Town and School District Moderator for a term of one (1) year
  4. d.             A Selectman for a term of three (3) years
  5. e.             A Selectman for a term of two (2) years
  6. f.              A Lister for a term of three (3) years
  7. g.             A Grand Juror for a term of one (1) year
  8. h.             A Town Agent for a term of one (1) year
  9. i.               A Trustee of Public Funds for a term of three (3) years
  10. j.               Three Maclure Library Trustee for a term of one (1) year each
  11. k.             A Pittsford School District Director for a term of two (2) years
  12. l.               A Pittsford School District Director for a term of three (3) years
  13. m.            An Otter Valley Union School District Director for a term of three (3) years.


Motion to adjourn at 8:28 PM.


Respectfully submitted:


Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary