Members Present – Thomas Hooker, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, David Mills, Alicia Malay and W. Joseph Gagnon. Others Present: Charles “Butch” Shaw, Town Manager John Haverstock, Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Chairman Pelkey.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to enter into Executive Session for Personnel (Recreation Department) and Contracts (Clerk’s Office). Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to enter into Executive Session. Motion passed 5 – 0.
J. Haverstock stated that there a need to amend the agenda to add the review of a Highway Access Right of Way Permit Application; discussion of Dog Registration penalties; Need to schedule a dog hearing. Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by A. Malay to accept the agenda as amended. Motion passed 5 – 0.
The minutes of the July 1, 2020 Regular Select Board meeting were signed, with minor corrections.
The orders in the amount of $17,643.76 (FY ’20); $137,139.54 (FY’ 21) and Payroll in the amount of $15,709.81 were signed, with the following discussion:
J. Gagnon inquired about the cost for the office air compressor. J. Haverstock stated that this air conditioning equipment needed replacing. J. Gagnon also inquired about the cost for the hedge replacement. J. Haverstock explained that this was for the hedges that were planted in the front of the Municipal Offices. The Town has been advised to wrap these in burlap for the winter months to better protect them.
Town Manager’s Report:
J. Haverstock reported the following:
- The Municipal Office resumed normal hours effective July 6, 2020 and opened to the public on July 13, 2020.
- There was an engineer that dug two test pits for the stormwater project on Mechanic and Arch Street. The Highway Department time for this project is “billable” under the RRPC grant.
- There was a pre-bid meeting for the Depot Hill Project substation held with about 8 contractors present.
- The Town will be forced to request a 1-year extension for the installation of the bridge on Fire Hill Road. The structure for the project has not been secured.
- The Salt/Sand Shed project has gone to bid. The Town will be holding a pre-bid meeting on July 27, 2020 with a construction substantial completion deadline of November 2020.
- There will be a meeting with Chittenden with regard to them converting some 4th class roads to trails. This will happen on August 1, 2020 at 10:00 AM at the intersection of West Road and West Road Extension. There will be a request for information due to the Town of Pittsford’s need for access to its water sources.
- The OMYA Community Issues Team meeting that was scheduled for July 31, 2020 has been cancelled. The Town is still waiting for the information on the lot to construct the fire station in Florence.
- There will be a 3-week gap between Select Board meetings and some members may be asked to visit the office to sign orders.
- The Town received a 45-day notice for the Plains/Pine Woods Road solar project. The developer has been asked to attend a Select Board meeting, as well as the August 27, 2020 Planning Commission meeting.
- Members of the Police Department and Assessor’s Offices have been expressed concern about slow internet service. This concern will be discussed with VT Digital to explore the possibility of increasing the broadband, etc. More information will be presented when it becomes available.
- There will be a Staff Meeting on July 23, 2020 at 9:00 AM. Members of the Select Board are invited to attend.
- VTrans has delayed the review of Highway and Structures grant applications until the Legislature passes a full-year budget.
- State education tax rate information was included in the packets. The Town’s tax rates cannot be set until the grievances have been heard and determined by the Board of Civil Authority.
- There will be a “Thank You” Car Parade for Randy Adams from 6:30 – 7:30 PM on July 22, 2020 at the Town Offices.
- The Summer Newsletter deadline was July 15, 2020.
J. Gagnon inquired about the reasoning behind the Chittenden converting Class 4 roads to trails. J. Haverstock explained that this was due to the maintenance issues and new stormwater rules. D. Mills inquired if this would impact the access to the Town of Pittsford’s water sources. J. Haverstock explained the history of accessibility issues.
A. Malay stated that she has heard inquiries regarding the “Swim at your own risk” policy in place at the Recreation Area. J. Haverstock explained that this enacted in the absence of lifeguards to control the number of people that are there.
Rep. Shaw stated that the Board of Civil Authority has had experience on Class 4 roads being converted to trails and stated that they found that the property owners on each side of the road take ownership. There was further discussion concerning the owners of the property around the water sources.
Select Board Comments:
None presented at this time.
Rep. Shaw was present to explain that quasi-judicial committees can now meet electronically. The Board of Civil Authority will be holding their hearings by the end of July through a Zoom subscription that they purchased. Liz Willis is the administrator on the Zoom account. The documentation for each hearing will either be mailed or emailed to the members.
The Board of Civil Authority will be discussing the balloting for the upcoming election, which will be held on August 11, 2020. There was an error with the absentee ballot request cards that were sent to some residents of Pittsford with a Newport return address. This issue has been resolved and Newport authorities have agreed to forward this information to the Pittsford Town Clerk. There was much discussion regarding the social distancing, sanitization, check-in, check-out and possibility of a drive through ballot drop off.
The Legislature will be undertaking adoption of a rest-of-the-year budget when they return to session.
Discussion of COVID 19 Coronavirus Response:
J. Haverstock reported that the Government orders change almost daily. Currently, the Town Office staff are utilizing face masks, hand washing, using sanitizer and the office is being cleaned more with more of a focus on the frequently touched areas. The Office opened to the public on July 13, 2020 and J. Haverstock reported that everything has been working as planned with the social distancing and the mask usage.
Continued Discussion of Anticipated COVID 19 Repercussions for Municipal Finances:
J. Haverstock stated that the State Education rates have been received. However, grievances need to be resolved before any local tax rates can be set.
Discussion of COPS Grant Status and Possible Police Relationship with the Town of Proctor:
J. Haverstock reported that Proctor officials met on July 13, 2020 and he spoke with the Proctor Town Manager who indicated that the board members would be compiling a list of questions regarding the idea, which will be forwarded to Pittsford. D. Mills inquired if there was a requirement to acknowledge the grant. J. Haverstock stated that there was a 45 day limit, however, an extension can be sought.
Continued Discussion of Village Sidewalk Bids and Discuss Alternatives:
J. Haverstock stated that only one bid was received for the project. The bidder indicated that the Town’s granite curbing stockpile could not be used. J. Haverstock explained that if the area by the guardrail was removed from the project scope, there could be a possible savings of $11,000. J. Haverstock has spoken with Chad Eugair and the Highway Department does not have the experience in sidewalk construction and curbing. There was discussion to either (a) rebid the project, (b) decline the grant or, (c) D. Mills proposed possibly just resurfacing the existing sidewalk. J. Haverstock stated that he would be in contact with VTrans to discuss the possibility of resurfacing.
Review the Practice of Listing Tax and Utility Delinquencies in Town Report:
J. Haverstock gave a scenario of a resident that had sold property after April 1 and the new property owners did not resolve the property tax balance prior to June 30. The previous owners were upset that their names would appear in the Town Report summary of tax delinquencies and contacted the Town Clerk’s office, who replied to the letter explaining the practice that is followed by the Town. Following discussion, the Select Board agreed that this is a topic that is up to the voters at Town Meeting.
Request for Highway Access/Right of Way Permit:
A request was received from Robert and Marcie LaFlamme for a Highway Access Right of Way on West Creek Road. Chad Eugair has inspected the property and has approved the request with the condition that the driveway slope away from the road. Motion by J. Gagnon and seconded by T. Hooker to approve the request with the condition set by Chad Eugair. Motion passed 5 – 0.
Discussion to Waive Dog Registration Penalty Fees:
The Town Clerk’s Office had an original deadline for dog licensing of April 1, which was extended twice, ending on July 15, 2020. The dog registrations are down from years past and the Clerk’s Office would like to waive any penalties. Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by A. Malay to approve the waiving of any penalties related to dog licensing for this year. Motion passed 5 – 0.
Set Date for Dog Hearing:
There was a recent dog bite that occurred at the Bar Harbor Bank parking lot. The Select Board will conduct a dog hearing on July 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM.
The Select Board recessed at 7:57 PM.
T. Pelkey made the motion and seconded by T. Hooker to go into Executive Session for personnel and contracts 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 and contracts at 7:57 PM. Town Manager Haverstock was invited to remain for Executive Session.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:14 PM with no action taken.
The Select Board meeting was adjourned at 8:14 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on August 5, 2020.
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Alicia Malay, Vice Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Mills, Selectman