Members Present – Thomas Hooker, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, David Mills, Alicia Malay and W. Joseph Gagnon. Others Present: Linda Trask, Chad Eugair, Josh Martineau, Charles “Butch” Shaw, Mary Shaw, Town Manager John Haverstock, Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Chairman Hooker.
T. Hooker reported that there was a need to enter into Executive Session for Personnel (Town Report and Listers’ Office). Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by A. Malay to enter into Executive Session for Personnel. Motion passed unanimously 5– 0.
J. Haverstock stated that there was no need to amend the agenda. Motion by D. Mills and seconded by A. Malay to adopt the agenda as posted. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
The minutes of the December 4, 2019 Regular Select Board meeting were signed, with no changes.
The orders in the amount of $80,054.58 and Payroll in the amount of $17,374.72 were signed, with the following discussion:
J. Gagnon inquired about the expense to NE Municipal Resource. J. Haverstock stated that this was the NEMRC program that is used in the Clerk and Listers’ Offices. J. Gagnon inquired about the expense to the Smith’s for a land purchase. J. Haverstock explained that this was due to the Water & Sewer Commission purchasing land around the reservoirs. J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for the annual audit. J. Haverstock stated that Sullivan & Powers does a great job and that this has been put to bid in the past and there were poor results received from other accounting firms.
Town Manager’s Report:
J. Haverstock reported the following:
- The Town Manager and the Zoning Administrator met with the developer of a proposed solar farm. The developer will meet with the Planning Commission in the future to discuss the project.
- There will be a Staff Meeting on December 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM. Members of the Select Board are invited to attend.
- There are now 4 parcels on the tax sale list.
- The Planning Commission currently has a vacancy, which has been advertised.
- Bruce Babcock will be stepping down as the Town Health Officer upon his retirement. This position has been advertised.
- The roof project at the Transfer Station is nearly complete.
- Proctor has requested a Policing Sub Committee meeting
- The draft audit has been received from Sullivan & Powers. A representative from Sullivan & Powers will be attending a Select Board meeting in the near future to discuss this audit.
- The Municipal Offices and related services, including the Transfer Station, will be closed on December 25, 2019 and January 1, 2020 in observance of Christmas and New Year’s Day respectively.
- The Town Manager will be out of the office between the Christmas and New Years holiday, therefore, the packets for the next meeting will be delivered on Monday, January 6, 2020.
Select Board Comments:
Selectman Mills inquired the status of the Chevrolet truck. Chad Eugair stated that the truck would be built in the near future and the delivery is anticipated at the end of January, 2020.
Chairman Hooker stated that the Hose Company needs to purchase 5 more SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) units. Half of the cost will be paid from the proceeds of the Fire Department’s Haunted House revenues.
Rep. Shaw stated that he recently attended training at Norwich University regarding ransomware. VLCT Policy involves cyber security insurance protection options. J. Haverstock explained that this ransomware concern is one of the reasons that the NEMRC fees have increased substantially.
Update on State’s Review of VT Route 3 Traffic Study Concerns:
J. Haverstock reported that there was a “good” meeting with VTrans and that the residents were “fairly happy” following the meeting. VTrans agreed to move the 35-mph transition .3 miles south of the current transition and VTrans will establish a 40-mph transition zone between the Proctor town line and the Taranovich ballfields. Rep Shaw stated that there was a discussion regarding possibly removing “slip” lane at Corn Hill. Rep Shaw stated that he would be willing to assist in the seeking of funding for the removal of the “slip” lane, which would make Corn Hill a ‘T’ intersection.
Discussion on the Future of the Lister’s Office and Town Meeting Preparations:
J. Haverstock stated that a paper ballot is required to make the decision of the Lister’s Office and that this can occur at Town Meeting. The options are to do nothing with the office; adopt a charter to have an assessor plus one or more Listers; or abolish the Listers and go to a professional assessor. This topic was deferred to Executive Session.
Review and Discussion of Highway Vehicle & Equipment Replacement Schedule:
J. Haverstock stated that information was included in the packets for review, which compares the replacement of the vehicles on a 7-year cycle vs the current 10-year cycle. The comparison revealed that the older the vehicle, the more repairs and shop time is involved. Chad Eugair used the absence of Truck 5 as an example of expenses incurred. This topic will be discussed further at a future meeting.
Select a Date for Pittsford Day:
The consensus of the Select Board was to select Saturday, August 15, 2020 for Pittsford Day. J. Haverstock will be in touch with the Fire Department, OMYA, and Village Farm.
Update on Budget Preparations:
J. Haverstock read a memo explaining the increase in the NEMRC fees; that the VLCT insurance information was received; the First Response was included in the budget and removed from the list of Special Appropriations. Currently, there is a $16,000 deficit in the General Fund and a $6,000 surplus in the Highway Fund. D. Mills inquired about the Special Appropriations and stated that he has done some calculating to reduce the cost of out of town organizations by 50% and leave the Town organizations at 100%. J. Haverstock stated that this would require a special article on the Town Meeting Warning. J. Haverstock will incorporate this recommendation in the next draft for discussion. D. Mills recommended that the Librarian attend a future meeting to discuss the programming at the Library so residents are aware of its programming. J. Haverstock will invite the Librarian to a future meeting.
Consider Authorizing Town Manager to Sign Railroad Crossing Upgrade Agreement:
Josh Martineau from VTrans was present to discuss the Railroad Crossing Upgrade Agreement, which is submitted to every town hosting upgrades to railroad crossings. This project will involve the installation of new gates and lights at Kendall Hill Road and Depot Hill. Mr. Martineau stated that the Town will have no increased responsibility. The project in Florence would involve the removal of pavement, installation of concrete and gates. D. Mills expressed concerns with the Hazardous Materials Contamination section and inquired why the Town would be responsible. Mr. Martineau stated that this was for towns that own the state highways and there was no liability to the Town here as this is out of the Town’s right of way. J. Gagnon inquired if this was a safety precaution for the passenger rail service. Mr. Martineau explained that the crossings undergo diagnostics testing and the Town will bear no burden or responsibility other than the maintenance of the signage and striping, once the project is complete. The Select Board consensus was to sign the agreement, with Selectman Mills opposed.
Discuss Possible Conversion of Humphrey Road Intersection from a ‘Y’ to a ‘T’:
J. Haverstock stated that the information concerning this topic was included in the packets for review. Chad Eugair stated that the proposed reconfiguration would make maintenance easier. C. Eugair stated that the State will assist with the transition. J. Gagnon suggested that the residents be contacted for their input. Motion by A. Malay and seconded by D. Mills to move forward with the conversion. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
Approve Roster of Fire Department Officers:
Motion by A. Malay and seconded by D. Mills to approve the following slate of officers for the Fire Department: Chief: William Hemple; Assistant Fire Chief: Tom Shannon; Captain: Todd Hemple; Captain: Shawn Hendee; Lieutenant: Darren Laughlin; Lieutenant: Craig Bowman. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
Discuss Preparations for Town Meeting and Town Report:
The Select Board is accepting recommendations for the cover and honorees of the Town Report. These recommendations can be submitted to any board member or the Town Manager.
A. Malay made the motion and seconded by D. Mills to go into Executive Session for personnel where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town and may be jeopardized by public disclosure.
In accordance with 1 VSA 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 personnel at 7:57 PM. Town Manager Haverstock was invited to remain for Executive Session.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:15 PM, with no action taken.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on January 8, 2020.
Thomas Hooker, Chairman
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Vice Chairman
Alicia Malay, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Mills, Selectman