March 16, 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. Also present: Bruce Paynter, Anita Paynter, Mike Smith, John Weeden, Lucia Suarez, Amy Loomis, Mark Youngstrom, Shawn Erickson (6:53 PM), Tom Carrara (6:37 PM), John Haverstock, and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary.
The minutes from the March 2, 2011 meeting were signed, with no corrections.
The Orders in the amount of $61,047.10 and payroll in the amount of $11,101.92 were signed with the following comments:
L. Weeden inquired about the expense for Crystal Rock for coffee for the Town Office. L. Weeden also inquired about the expense for a Police Duty Jacket. J. Haverstock explained that the amount falls within the authorization of the Constable. J. Gagnon indicated that the employee is usually only responsible for the shoes.
J. Gagnon inquired if the diesel purchases and the expenses to Weston & Sampson could be combined into one line item on the Orders. J. Gagnon inquired about the expense listed as “Rec Pool Use”. J. Haverstock reported that this was a field trip through the Recreation Department during a recent school vacation.
J. Haverstock reported that there was approval from the State Agency of Natural Resources to convert the $13,375.00 sewer discharge penalty to a donation to a water quality enhancement project. This was approved by the Water & Sewer Commission at their meeting on March 15, 2011. J. Haverstock explained that this funding would be directed to the Rutland Natural Conservation District for a local project.
TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT:
J. Haverstock reported on the following:
- The last meeting of the Sewer Project contractors was held on February 24, 2011. Phase I is over 50% complete, the workmanship is excellent and the project is under budget.
- The bids for sewer line (Phase II) will be sought in the next few weeks for construction to occur and pump station replacement this construction season.
- The Water Department Office project is waiting for a Labor & Industry permit. Once this permit is received, and conditions at the site allow, the McKernon Group will begin the office renovation work.
- The Ford 550 truck is ready to be picked up. Shawn Erickson will be taking the truck to Howard Fairfield for the installation of the accessories, such as sander and plow.
- The deadline for submissions to the next newsletter is April 15, 2011.
- The Town Manager will be on vacation from April 11 – April 15, 2011.
- Thank you to OMYA for their generous donation of $500 for the Memorial Day flags.
- The Feinstein Million Dollar Food Challenge with Proctor is in full swing and will continue through April 30, 2011.
- Denise Mahoney will be conducting a Town-wide dog census. Reminder to all pet owners that dogs must be registered by April 1, 2011.
- Doc Potter is no longer the Animal Control Officer. The new Animal Control Officer is Dennis Duby. Doc Potter gave many years of faithful service in this capacity.
T. Carrara inquired the cost of the extended warranty offers on the new 550 truck. J. Haverstock reported that a couple of options were quoted. The base care quote is $2,615 and the premium care quote is $3,425. Both of the quotes have a $100 deductible. T. Carrara inquired if the additional weight and a load of sand would be handled by the truck and if the warranty would be still valid. J. Haverstock indicated that John C. Stewart was consulted and the weight would be fine and will not void the warranty.
T. Carrara inquired if there was any further information on the Transfer Station Operations. J. Haverstock indicated that this is included on the agenda.
Discussion of Transfer Station Operations:
J. Haverstock reported that information was included in the packets for review from other Towns with regard to Transfer Station operations.
Keith Arlund, from Brandon, reported that the move to Earth Waste Systems has saved Brandon money and is state-monitored. Mr. Arlund is willing to come to a future meeting to discuss the operations.
The operations in Proctor are actually in Pittsford’s domain, is self-operated by the Town of Proctor and new rate structures are being implemented on July 1, 2011.
Kathleen Ramsay, from Killington, reported that operations are currently operated by the Town of Killington and there is a loss of $25,000 per year.
Castleton reported that they increased their fees to $2.50 per bag six years ago and the deficit is now $10,000, as there has been a noticeable increase in recycling.
J. Haverstock will be meeting with Mess’rs. Rivers and Potter in the near future to tighten up operations.
J. Gagnon has spoken with Operator Potter and feels that the staff should be invited to a future meeting. A. Hitchcock recommended requesting non-binding proposals from third-party contractors and discussing the situation with the current employees. A. Hitchcock stressed that whatever occurs, that there should be no increase in the trash on the roadsides.
J. Haverstock reported that there were no performance issues with the current employees and that the auditors are recommending that no cash be handled at the facility. Operator Rivers has indicated that there would be an inconvenience to the residents if cash is no longer accepted at the facility.
L. Weeden explained that Casella’s is going to be going to “No Sort Recycling”, however, residents MUST recycle properly or the entire load is contaminated.
Review of Proposal for Automated Gate at Transfer Station:
There were proposals included in the packets for review with regard to the installation of an automated gate.
A. Hitchcock inquired if there is evidence that there is dumping occurring during the times that the facility is closed. J. Haverstock reported that Operator Rivers reported that there was a half a hopper left, since Saturday. The Board members requested that security tapes be reviewed to try to determine who is dumping at a closed time.
T. Hooker expressed concern that this is an item that should be budgeted in an upcoming budget year.
Discussion of Proctor Water:
Mark Youngstrom was present to discuss options for the 70 Pittsford residents that will be abandoned by the Proctor water system.
Mr. Youngstrom indicated that there is a Steering Committee that has been formed. A. Hitchcock indicated that the Steering Committee is NOT a Select Board function and is independent of the Select Board.
Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the Steering Committee has approached him seeking options. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the options presented would include all of the affected residents. The study options can be funded through a loan. The cost of the study is approximately $22,000, however, the Planning loan must be obtained through a municipality, with the loan being due in 5 years at 0% interest.
J. Haverstock reported that the use of the contingent funds remaining from Pittsford’s water project was researched and determined not to be a viable funding source. A. Hitchcock inquired if the Town would be responsible for the 0% interest loan in 5 years. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the loan would not be payable in a lump sum, however, would be amortized over 20 years. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the $22,000 might be repaid by the Steering Committee or from the $250,000 amount that Proctor has set aside.
T. Pelkey indicated that there is a moral obligation to assist these affected residents.
Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by T. Hooker to approve the application for the Planning Loan, in the amount of $22,000, to cover the cost of the engineering study. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that he is currently working with Rep. Shaw on this project. There was further discussion on this topic.
J. Gagnon inquired if other possibilities have been exhausted. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that other possibilities were explored. J. Haverstock indicated that this situation is involved in pending litigation. Bruce Paynter indicated that the pending litigation is whether the transmission line can be shut down, considering health and safety.
The motion passed 4 – 0 – 1 abstained (Pelkey). Mr. Youngstrom will provide the loan documentation for signature.
Mr. Youngstrom exited at 7:14 PM.
Discussion of Funding/Timing of Village Sidewalk Project:
Mike Smith, engineer from Weston & Sampson, was present to discuss the Arch Street portion of the sewer project.
Mr. Smith indicated that (Phase II of the sewer project will be going to bid soon. Mr. Smith indicated that a sidewalk grant was recently received from AOT. Mr. Smith indicated that a proposal was submitted to the Town for design services to include the sidewalk issue. Mr. Smith believes that it would be most cost effective to use the sewer project contractor to complete the sidewalk prior to pavement. Mr. Smith has discussed this situation with Rural Development, who agreed that if the Town can track the sidewalk expenses separately from the sewer project, then a separate source of funding can be used for the sidewalk.
Mr. Smith indicated that there are a couple of culverts, which are in this work area, that need replacement. J. Haverstock included the culvert information in the packets for review. J. Haverstock reported that one of the culverts is at the catch basin near the elementary school and runs between the highway garage and the fire station down to Mechanic Street. The other is a box culvert that runs under Arch Street near Village Manor.
Mr. Smith explained what would be involved with the replacement of the culvert in the area of the highway garage and fire station. Mr. Smith stated that the culvert near Village Manor is a stone arch culvert that is beginning to decay. Mr. Smith indicated that if the Town were to replace the culverts included in the project area, it might void any contractor warranty. Mr. Smith indicated that the stone culvert would need a stream alterations permit for replacement.
A. Hitchcock inquired about the effect on the timing of the sewer project and inquired if the sidewalk could be delayed for one year, to allow for settling of the sewer project. Mr. Smith indicated that a temporary trench patch could be installed and settled over one frost season, with the final paving and the sidewalk work to occur the next year.
There was discussion concerning the culvert in the area of the fire station. S. Erickson explained that there would be a grate over the catch basin and that the catch basin would be somewhat in the road, due to the fact that the sidewalk will run in that area.
T. Pelkey recommended tabling the discussion. J. Haverstock inquired if there would be much impact on scheduling if decisions were delayed until the April 6, 2011 meeting. Mr. Smith indicated that there would be little impact.
J. Gagnon inquired what the cost would be if the project was done with current staff. J. Haverstock will discuss this with Shawn Erickson and report back at a future meeting.
J. Haverstock explained that Otter Creek Engineering worked on the original proposal that was submitted for the sidewalk grant, therefore, feels that they should be included in the discussion of designing the sidewalk portion of the project. Mr. Smith recommended that the Town should look at all options and compare the project completely. However, he recommended that the same contractor be used for all items.
Further discussion was tabled until a future meeting.
Mr. Smith and Shawn Erickson exited at 7:44 PM.
Letter to Mr. Carrara:
L. Weeden inquired about Mr. Carrara’s response to a letter that was written to Mr. Carrara. Mr. Carrara reported that he received a letter with regard to chairing a committee to research discontinuing the Highway Department and felt that this was a “joke”. J. Haverstock was instructed by the Select Board to write this letter in response to a comment that Mr. Carrara recently made at Town Meeting.
Review of Zoning Permit Fees:
J. Haverstock reported that the Zoning Permit Fees had not been updated since September 2001. Amy Loomis researched the current fees of various other towns and presented information in the packets for review.
J. Gagnon inquired if it was feasible to raise the fees at this time, with the current economic hardships. J. Haverstock reported that the associated costs are increasing, therefore, straining the General Fund.
A. Hitchcock inquired the cost of operating the Zoning Office to the income that is received. J. Haverstock reported that this proposed increase was endorsed by Don Nickless, however, research will be done to compare the cost of the office operation to the income received.
Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by L. Weeden to accept the proposal as presented. Motion passed 4 – 1 ( J. Gagnon opposed).
Review of Annual Hydrant Fee:
J. Haverstock reported that there has been an annual transfer from the General Fund, in the amount of $22,360 to the Water Fund to reflect the benefit to all taxpayers of fire protection. J. Haverstock reported that the number of hydrants increased from 54 hydrants to 91 hydrants, with the completion of the Water Project. J. Haverstock recommended an increase to $35,000, beginning with the 2013 budget year.
There was discussion that the hydrants benefit residents through the better accessibility to water in the event of a fire.
This topic was tabled.
Town Highway Financial Plan:
A certification was received to be signed certifying that the Town spends more than $300 per mile in annual highway maintenance. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to approve this certification. Motion passed and signed unanimously.
T. Carrara inquired about the grant that was recently awarded to Linda Drummond. J. Haverstock explained that this was a VLCT wellness award and half of the award was returned to the participating employees and the remainder will be used to purchase defibrillators for the Town Offices and the Recreation Department.
J. Gagnon inquired why the Constable was not performing the Dog Census, as he had done in the past. There was discussion that Denise Mahoney submitted a proposal to perform this task and that the Constable would be better able to serve the community if relieved of this burden.
T. Hooker reported that Fire Lt. Bernard McMahon passed away on March 13, 2011 and that a memorial service will be held on March 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM at the Fire Station.
The Select Board recessed at 8:10 PM to convene as the Liquor Board.
The Liquor Board adjourned at 8:13 PM and re-convened as the Select Board.
J. Haverstock will be attending a meeting on March 17, 2011 regarding the Kendrick Dam.
J. Haverstock reported that the budget expenses are currently at 71.45% and the highway expenses are at 94.9%, due to the timing of the Whipple Hollow paving project.
T. Pelkey reported that there is a Personnel Issue involving compensation and J. Haverstock reported that there is a contractual issue involving the sale of a police cruiser, thus recommending Executive Session.
T. Pelkey made a motion and seconded by T. Hooker to go into Executive Session for a Personnel Issue and a Contractual Issue where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town that may be jeopardized by public disclosure at 8:17 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 Personnel and Contractual Issues at 8:17 PM.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:39 PM. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by A. Hitchcock to freeze all salaries and stipends paid to elected officials for the next three years (until July 1, 2014) due to the poor economic climate and the Town’s need to level-fund budgets in recent years. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
The meeting adjourned at 8:43 PM.
The next regular meeting will be held on April 6, 2011.
Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chairman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
Thomas Hooker, Selectman
Linda Weeden, Selectman