Members Present – Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, David Mills, Thomas Hooker, Alicia Malay and W. Joseph Gagnon. Others Present: Mark Winslow, Brad Rakowski(via Conference Call), Lisa Wright, Lt Dion (Vermont State Police), 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 (Clerk’s Office; Recreation Department). Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to enter into Executive Session for Personnel. Motion passed 5 – 0.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to amend the agenda to remove the discussion of GPS Mapping. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to accept the agenda as amended. Motion passed 5 – 0.
The minutes of the August 19, 2020 Select Board meeting were signed, with no corrections.
The orders in the amount of $365,012.34 and Payroll in the amount of $11,080.57 were signed, with the following discussion:
J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for West Creek Road and Whipple Hollow Road gravel. J. Haverstock explained that this was for shoulder transition work following the resurfacing project.
A. Malay inquired about the expense for property taxes to Chittenden. J. Haverstock explained that they were for the property on Mount Nickwackett. A. Malay also inquired about the expense for sludge removal to Rutland City. J. Haverstock explained that Rutland City processes the sludge.
Town Manager’s Report:
J. Haverstock reported the following:
- The Fire Department distributed State supplied masks. There were some masks remaining and they will be given out as needed.
- The Select Board meetings will soon be held with Zoom capability.
- Applications were submitted for an LGER grant to recoup expenses arising due to the pandemic. The Town Clerk has submitted a grant application to digitize the land records.
- A contract will be signed soon with Casella Construction for the Depot Hill Road project.
- There were repairs to the Depot Hill Road covered bridge decking. There will be engineering sought on longer term repairs to the bridge.
- The Highway Department is nearly done with the stone lining of ditches on Sugar Hollow Road, Barnard Road and Goat Farm Road. The funding for this project was received through a grant.
- The Town’s Class 2 and Class 3 roads have been striped.
- The crack sealing is complete, with attention given this year to Oxbow and Corn Hill Roads.
- The external audit with Sullivan and Powers will begin on September 8, 2020.
- The deadline for the Fall 2020 Newsletter is September 15, 2020. There were comments received that the residents would like to have the printed version instead of the online version. There will be further discussion on this topic at Town Meeting.
- Residents are urged to participate in the Census. The school will be sending home reminders and the library has fliers to remind residents.
- The Railroad Crossing track work is completed. The concrete panels will be arriving and there may be some further closings/detours.
- The Municipal Offices and related services will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2020 in observance of Labor Day.
Select Board Comments:
None presented at this time.
None presented at this time.
Update on Town’s COVID 19 Response:
J. Haverstock stated that there were no additional updates.
Update on Recreation Director Recruitment Efforts:
J. Haverstock stated that 12 applications were received with 5 people interviewed. There were 3 Recreation Committee members, Bill Moore (Brandon Recreation Director), Randy Adams, and the Town Manager participating. The committee has narrowed the field to 3 candidates and the Town Manager will be making an offer soon.
Discussion of Role and Start Date for New Recreation Director:
J. Haverstock explained that there have been discussions with the applicants that there is a possibility of combining the Recreation Director with an Economic Development function. There was discussion of various possibilities and time divisions. The start date is applicant-dependent. There will be future discussions concerning how to make use of savings from unpaid salary and benefits.
Consider Approving Postponed Date for Humane Society’s Coin Drop:
The Rutland County Humane Society postponed their Coin Drop to October 3, 2020. The Select Board agreed unanimously to approve the new date.
Review Salt Shed Construction Bids:
Brent Rakowski was present via conference call to discuss the Salt Shed bids. The only bid was from Casella Construction, however, the $491,557 bid amount estimate was significantly higher than the engineer’s estimate. One reason for the increase in the pricing is that this is a specialty project. Grant funds will be sufficient to cover the bis. J. Haverstock inquired if VTrans agrees with recommendation to accept the bid. Mr. Rakowski stated that there is agreement. D. Mills inquired if there were any other structures that are similar in Vermont. Mr. Rakowski stated that there were in Addison County. Mr. Rakowski stated that the other towns had a different funding source. Mr. Rakowski stated that the plan is to begin as soon as possible with the completion date in November, 2020. T. Hooker inquired where the matching funds would be coming from. J. Haverstock stated that there is enough in the Bridge Replacement Fund. D. Mills inquired the amount of the matching funds. J. Haverstock stated approximately $110,000. J. Gagnon inquired whether the site was ready for construction. J. Haverstock stated that some material would need to be moved. Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by A. Malay to accept the bid from Casella Construction. Motion passed 4 – 1(D. Mills opposed).
Remarks from Town Assessor:
Lisa Wright was present to update the Select Board on the activities of the Town Assessor. These comments are included in the individual topic sections.
Review Town Policy Regarding Remote Access to Lister Card Information:
Ms. Wright explained that Lister cards are public record and can be obtained online safer than in the office, with the pandemic. A decision on this topic was tabled.
Consider Assessor’s Recommendations Regarding GIS/GPS Mapping Services:
This item was tabled until additional information is received.
Consider Assessor’s Recommendation Regarding Conversion from VISION 6 to VISION 8 Assessment Software:
Ms. Wright stated that this is a priority. One of the reasons for this proposed change is that the current information is located on an old server that is not as reliable as it should be and there will be new grand list software coming out in 2022 that will need the updated software. D. Mills inquired if the new grand list software was compatible with the VISION 8 software. Ms. Wright stated that this was compatible. J. Haverstock explained that there is approximately $158,000 in the Town’s Reappraisal Fund. Motion by D. Mills and seconded by T. Hooker to approve the use of $10,000 from the Reappraisal Fund for the VISION upgrade. Motion passed 5 – 0.
Remarks from Vermont State Police Regarding Racial Justice in Policing:
Lt. Dion from the Vermont State Police was present to discuss the racial profiling and the way the State Police are handling the situations. The Vermont State Police will be more engaged with the communities better that they serve than in the past. There was information in the packets regarding Police Reform from VLCT.
Lt. Dion exited at 6:50 PM.
Discussion of State’s Proposal Regarding Future Town Costs for Dispatch Services:
J. Haverstock stated that there was information in the packets regarding the anticipated rising cost for State Dispatching services. This is something that will be reviewed and implemented at budget time.
Review of Town Planning Commission’s Energy Plan:
Mark Winslow, Chairman of the Town’s Planning Commission, was present to discuss the Town Planning Commission’s draft Energy Plan, as requested by the Select Board. The Planning Commission recommends that the Select Board contact the State to advocate for the deregulation of energy purchasing.
J. Haverstock inquired about the status of the subcommittee that was formed to assist the Planning Commission. Mr. Winslow stated that this committee was formed to assist with the Town Plan and has disbanded.
Mr. Winslow exited at 6:56 PM.
Acknowledge Receipt of Auditors Questionnaire:
J. Haverstock explained that this is an annual exercise required by external auditors Sullivan & Powers. The Select Board members signed the document, acknowledging receipt of the questionnaires filled out by Helen McKinlay, Liz Willis and Pat Johnson.
Appoint Town Delegate to VLCT Town Fair Business Meeting:
J. Haverstock stated that he has served in this capacity in the past and is willing to continue. The Select Board agreed unanimously to have him continue to serve as the Town’s Delegate.
The Select Board recessed at 8:17 PM.
T. Pelkey made the motion and seconded by A. Malay 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 8:17 PM. Town Manager Haverstock was invited to remain for Executive Session.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:33 PM, with no action taken.
The Select Board meeting was adjourned at 8:33 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on September 16, 2020.
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Alicia Malay, Vice Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Mills, Selectman