Members Present – Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Alicia Malay, David Mills, Thomas Hooker and W. Joseph Gagnon. Others Present: Charles “Butch” Shaw (via Zoom), Kevin Blow, Police Chief Warfle, Town Manager John Haverstock, Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary (via Zoom).
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Chair Alicia Malay.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to enter into Executive Session for Legal (highway); Personnel (Recreation Department and Select Board); and Contracts (Police Department). Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by T. Pelkey to enter into Executive Session for Personnel, Contracts and Legal. Motion passed 5 – 0.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to amend the agenda to remove the discussion of the Humphrey Road Speed Limit and Comments regarding West Creek Road and Depot Hill Road. Motion by D. Mills and seconded by T. Hooker to accept the agenda as amended. Motion passed 5 – 0.
The minutes of the March, 17 2021 regular meeting, Dog Hearing and Liquor Board were signed, with no corrections.
The orders in the amount of $331,131.25 and Payroll in the amount of $11,728.23 were signed, with the following discussion:
J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for the Police truck repair. J. Haverstock explained that there was a $1,000 deductible and the repair cost was far less than originally anticipated. Chief Warfle stated that the truck has been picked up from the shop and Brandon’s loaned cruiser will be returned. J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for the Wastewater Treatment Facility camera. J. Haverstock explained that this security measure was grant – funded.
Alicia Malay inquired about the expense for a NEMRC license agreement. J. Haverstock explained that this was the annual agreement fee for software support for the Town’s accounting system.
Town Manager’s Report:
J. Haverstock reported the following:
- There was a “substantial completion” meeting held at the Salt/Sand Shed site on March 18, 2021. The Town Manager has sent the warranty to the manufacturer and documentation is being submitted to VTrans for the grant funding reimbursement.
- The Depot Hill Pump Station project is nearly complete. The seeding and mulching will be the last thing to be done at this site. The focus will now turn to the automation of aeration at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
- The Highway Department will begin the repairs to the Depot Hill Road bridge on April 12, 2021. The plan is to remove the deck’s surface boards and to install running boards. There will be appropriate signage posted. There has been communication to OMYA, Florence Crushed Stone, the Police Department, the Fire Department and First Response.
- Daniels Construction will begin work on the Kendall Hill Road bridge project in May or June. OMYA has submitted its contribution to the project in the amount of $30,000.
- The new Highway Department truck has been delivered to Viking for the body installation work.
- The deadline of March 29, 2021 for the sidewalk scoping project has passed. There will be a remote review of these bids on April 9, 2021 with VTrans and Rutland Regional Planning Commission representatives in attendance.
- The Town Manager met with the Town Forester on March 31, 2021 to review and discuss management of the Town forests. The recommendation is to harvest the Nickwackett Block in Chittenden in 10 years. The information was included in the packets for review.
- The Gagnon family has submitted evidence of euthanizing the dog that was the topic of recent dog hearings.
- The groundskeeping, fuel and paving Requests for Bids have been sent out to contractors.
- The damaged Police cruiser has been retrieved from the shop and Brandon’s cruiser will be returned on April 8, 2021. The total repair cost was $3,430.90 with the Town responsible for a $1,000 deductible.
- Middlebury Fence has completed their punch list at the Recreation Area. The remaining payment will be issued.
- The Village Farm has stated that the grant application will be going out prior to the April 14, 2021 deadline.
- Royal Security has submitted a security camera proposal, which is included in the packets for review and discussion at a future meeting.
- UVM and VTrans will be doing a study on two flashing crosswalk signals between April 13 and May 15.
- The OMYA Community Issues has not been meeting, due to COVID-19. A report was presented in print and was included in the packets for review. The hope is to be able to meet in person soon.
D. Mills inquired about the location of the planned Water & Sewer Department generator. J. Haverstock explained that this was going to be a trailer – based portable one. The generator will be usable at the Elm Street and Depot Hill pump stations.
Select Board Comments:
D. Mills noted that there was a transit in the road on West Creek Road and inquired about the purpose. Chief Warfle stated that he saw this as well and that there were cones in the road.
Rep. Shaw stated that the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding will be received by most towns, however, the Federal guidelines on allowable expenses have not been released. The State has consultants that will advise the towns that will be receiving funding.
Update on Purchase of Land for Relocated Florence Fire Substation:
The Town Manager and OMYA representatives have signed a Purchase and Sales Agreement for the proposed property to construct the relocated Florence Fire Substation. The proposed deed has been forwarded to Atty. Kupferer and the permitting process will be researched with the Zoning Administrator. The discussion entailed where the funding would originate. T. Hooker stated that the Dennison Fund was for Fire Department related activities and believes that this would be an acceptable expense. Rep Shaw stated that he believes that the Dennison Fund has been basically untouched since its origination. This topic was tabled to a future meeting.
Review and Discuss ADA Compliance Report from Consultant:
J. Haverstock explained that the wheelchair lift to the basement is out of order and a consultant was contacted to review ADA compliance throughout the Town Office Building. The consultant determined that the basement is not a public – accessible location and, therefore, the lift does not require repair or replacement. The entire report was in the packets for review and future discussions.
Adopt Local Hazard Mitigation Plan:
J. Haverstock gave a history of the LHMP, which is required to be reviewed and renewed every 5 years. VT Emergency Management has approved the plan and has returned it to the Select Board for final adoption prior to sending to FEMA. Kevin Blow, who served on the committee which drafted the LHMP, was present to discuss the rivers that are shown on the map. Mr. Blow explained that the committee did not want the river corridor language included, however, the rivers are on the map. J. Haverstock stated that he would clarify this with Steffanie Bourque from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. J. Gagnon inquired if it was acceptable to bypass this language. Following discussion, the motion was made by T. Hooker and seconded by D. Mills to table the discussion and adoption until this can be clarified by Ms. Bourque. Motion to table passed 5 – 0.
Mr. Blow exited at 7:09 PM.
Discuss OMYA Proposal Regarding Truck Detail:
This topic was deferred to Executive Session with Chief Warfle.
Consider Retention of Sullivan & Powers as External Auditors:
J. Haverstock explained that Sullivan & Powers has served as the Town’s External Auditor for many years and has presented a 3 year unified contract for signature to retain their services. A. Malay inquired about pricing. D. Mills expressed concern over using the same firm year after year.. J. Haverstock explained that the auditors have accounting standards that are followed and T. Hooker stated that there are usually some different firm personnel every year. J. Haverstock explained that if this service were to go to bid, interviews would be required. T. Pelkey explained that there have been other auditors retained in the past and it was a horrible experience for the Town. J. Haverstock will contact Chad Hewitt and VLCT for their input on the situation. This topic was tabled to a future meeting.
Review Highway Access/ROW Permit Application:
Highway Foreman Chad Eugair has met with Green Lantern representatives at the Green Lantern site on Corn Hill Road. The recommendation was to approve the application with the condition that the brush is cut to allow better visibility to the south. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to approve the application with the conditions set forth by the Highway Foreman. Motion passed 5 – 0.
Consider Developing a Town Map for Economic Development Purposes:
J. Haverstock stated that the Rutland Regional Planning Commission is able to generate information for a Town map. The Library and the Village Farm are working on Welcome Kits for new residents and these maps could be included in the kits and distributed to residents broadly. A. Malay explained that the estimated time for the project is 11.5 hours for $1,000. J. Gagnon inquired if the Economic Development Coordinator was involved in this proposal. Following discussion, J. Haverstock will check into other options for maps.
Discuss Potential Changes to Select Board Meeting Format and Periodic Reporting from Department Heads:
A. Malay stated that the intent was to open the communication with the Department heads. J. Haverstock stated that he could schedule the personnel to attend meetings. T. Pelkey expressed that he would like to see this remain as is and, if there are concerns, then they can be addressed. J. Haverstock stated that the newsletters and website are also ways of communication. T. Hooker stated that there are no issues now and if the board begins “micromanaging” there will be issues. D. Mills recommended that the Recreation Director attend quarterly to discuss the upcoming programs and ask the library representatives to attend periodically to update the townspeople on their offerings.
T. Hooker made the motion and seconded by T. Pelkey to go into Executive Session for Personnel, Legal 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, Legal and Contracts at 7:47 PM. Town Manager Haverstock and Chief Warfle were invited to remain for Executive Session.
Chief Warfle exited Executive Session at 7:57 PM.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:31 PM, with no action taken.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on April 21, 2021.
Alicia Malay, Chairman
David Mills, Vice Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Selectman