Meeting Minutes : Select Board Minutes – 11/17/21 – Draft



Members Present – W. Joseph Gagnon, David Mills, Alicia Malay, Tom Hooker, Thomas “Hank”

Pelkey. Others Present: Betsey Morgan, Baird Morgan, Charles “Butch” Shaw, Steve Belcher, Lisa Wright, Donna Wilson, Vanessa Mills, John Haverstock – Town Manager, Kelly Giard Recording Secretary.

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Chair Malay.

J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to enter into Executive Session Personnel (Town

Report honorees). D. Mills stated the need to discuss Personnel (Town Manager and Police) Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by D. Mills to enter into Executive Session for Personnel. Motion passed 5 – 0.

J. Haverstock stated that there was a need to amend the agenda to add the discussion of an upcoming Special Session of the State Legislature on Municipal Mask Mandates. Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by D. Mills to adopt the agenda as amended. Motion passed 5 – 0.



The minutes of the November 3, 2021 meeting were signed, with no corrections.



The orders in the amount of $2,160,254.34 and Payroll in the amount of $11,799.61 were signed, with the following discussion:

J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for the trees that were purchased for the Municipal Offices. J. Haverstock explained that there were 3 flowering Crabapple trees purchased.

D. Mills stated that there was $2 million transferred to the school system.


Town Manager’s Report:

J. Haverstock reported the following:

  • The Sidewalk Scoping Study was reviewed at the Sidewalk Committee meeting on
  • October 26, 2021 and will also be discussed at the November 30, 2021 and December, 21, 2021 meetings. There will be a second required Public Hearing scheduled for some time in January or February 2022.
  • The Veteran’s Day Ceremony was held at the Municipal Offices on November 11, 2021 at 11:00 AM. Thank you to all who attended and/or participated.
  • There will be an OMYA Community Issues Team meeting on November 18, 2021.
  • Anyone with concerns to be raised with OMYA should contact the Town Manager.
  • Donna Wilson has reported that the Pittsford Village Farm grant application has had some requests for information, which have been answered and they are waiting for a
  • decision from the funding agency.
  • There will be a tree lighting ceremony at the Pittsford Village Farm on November 28, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:30 PM.
  • The Town of Chittenden will be testing their 4 sirens on November 22, 2021 at 11:00 AM.
  • The Municipal Offices and related services will be closed on November 25 and November 26, 2021 in observance of Thanksgiving.


Select Board Member Remarks:

T. Hooker stated that he has heard a complaint that the lighting at the intersection of Route 7 and Plains Road is not bright enough, while others have complained that the Dollar General signage lighting is too bright.

D. Mills stated that he has also heard complaints regarding the lighting at the intersection of Route 7 and Plains Road; has had contact with Susan Elliot regarding the Adams Road solar project and is concerned with the impact on the bird habitat in the area; The Rutland Regional Planning Commission had a presentation from the Grandpa’s Knob Wind Project. The net height including the blades will be the same as the current cell tower that is in place. There was a statement made that the wind tower would not be visible from Pittsford. J. Haverstock stated that there was a letter written by the Town of Hubbardton in the packets for review.


Public Comment:

Rep. Shaw explained that there may be a possibility that in the future, the State may collect the school taxes and not the towns. There was discussion whether there would be an impact on the collection and interest and penalty on delinquent taxes.

Vanessa Mills presented a letter regarding the proposed Grandpa’s Knob Wind Project to the members of the Select Board and read it aloud.

Lisa Wright asked that the Select Board review and respond to the letter that was received from the Town of Hubbardton.

Vanessa Mills expressed concerns regarding the intersection of Woodland Drive and Route 7 and the accidents that have occurred in that area. T. Hooker explained that this is a State highway and safety concerns are relayed all the time.


Old Business:

Update on VLCT Retention and Efforts on Recruitment/Hiring of New Town Manager:

J. Haverstock stated that there was an update from the consultant in the packets for review and advertising has begun.


New Business

Presentation of Second FY 2023 Budget Draft:

J. Haverstock explained that there are some expenses that are uncertain, which include Town Manager pay, health insurance and car allowance. Town Clerk, Assistant Town Clerk and Bookkeeper wage changes have been factored in. The Zoning Administrator’s health insurance contribution is reflected. The Police Cruiser fund appropriation has been increased to $20,000. A 1.5% wage increase as stated in the union contract is included. An increase was made for the Recreation Director health insurance. This draft doubles the Recreation Department Capitol fund contribution (from $4,000 to $8,000). There are increases in vehicle and heating fuel; and in the Assessor’s budget. There were some typographical errors in the original budget proposal, which included requiring an additional $13,500 (originally submitted as $1,500 and not $15,000) in the transfer to the Water Fund budget. This draft also includes removing $12,000 from the highway paving budget and including the Highway fuel budget of $32,000.

J. Haverstock explained that the younger workforce has resulted in a reduction of $5,000 in each of the Water and Sewer department labor budgets. Increases in the water and sewer rates have also been included.

J. Haverstock stated that the current proposed budget is showing a General Fund deficit of $15,288; a Highway Fund deficit of $49,000; a Water Department Fund deficit of $44,000 and a Sewer Department budget is nearly balanced. Insurance cost information is expected soon from VLCT. T. Hooker inquired about the status of the First Response Vehicle Fund. J. Haverstock stated that there was $37,000 to start with $5,000 being allocated annually.


Discussion of Assessor’s Office Budget and Staffing:

Lisa Wright was present to discuss the budget process and is proposing the creation of an Assessor Clerk position. Ms. Wright explained the success that she is seeing in other towns that have adopted this position and it is bringing younger people into the profession. J. Haverstock will work with Ms. Wright on creating a job description and hourly rate.


Discussion of Digital Mapping (GIS) Proposal:

Lisa Wright was present to discuss GIS Mapping which has been proposed in the past. The program is in use currently in many nearby towns, including West Rutland, which includes tax mapping online, map overlays, zoning maps, with the possibility of adding water and sewer lines or Listers’ cards. J. Haverstock inquired if this would possibly be eligible for ARPA funding as this move is a result of COVID 19 restricting the accessibility of records in the Municipal Offices. There was discussion regarding the pricing and annual fees. J. Gagnon inquired if there were any disadvantages. Ms. Wright stated that the disadvantages are minimal. The Select Board was supportive of moving forward.

Discussion of Proposal for Personal Property Tax Re-Appraisal:

Lisa Wright was present to discuss the possibility of a Personal Property Tax Re-Appraisal. She stated that she is not an appraiser of personal property and this is clearly stated in her contract. The inventory forms that are being returned by the businesses are widely varied and she believes there are likely misappraisals resulting in lost and incorrect collections. The Select Board members were given a proposal from an independent appraiser, which was reviewed and discussed. D. Mills inquired whether there was any training available from the State. Ms. Wright stated that she was not aware of any. Ms. Wright will seek clarification of the vendor’s quote and may seek competitor quotes.


Review and Act on BLSG Mosquito District’s Proposed By-Law Changes:

Steve Belcher, the Pittsford representative to the BLSG Mosquito District, was present to explain that the BLSG resolution to amend the original 1978 bylaws was passed at their recent meeting. D. Mills inquired if there were any additional changes. Mr. Belcher stated that there were no additional changes following the original that the Select Board had supported. Motion by D. Mills and seconded by T. Hooker to instruct the Town Manager to write a letter in support of the proposed changes. Motion passed 5 – 0.


Discussion of Municipal Mask Mandate:

Rep Shaw was present to discuss a letter that was received from the Governor regarding a possibility of State legislation to empower municipalities to adopt mask mandates if they wish. T. Hooker explained that enforcement is a concern.

Betsey Morgan, Baird Morgan, Lisa Wright, Vanessa Mills and Charles “Butch” Shaw exited at 7:37 PM.



Motion by T. Hooker 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 7:51 PM. Town Manager Haverstock was invited to remain for Executive Session.

The Select Board exited Executive Session at 8:20 PM, with no action taken.

The Select Board adjourned at 8:20 PM.

The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on December 1, 2021.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard

Recording Secretary

_______________________________Alicia Malay, Chair

_______________________________David Mills, Vice Chair


Thomas Hooker, Selectman

_______________________________W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

_________________________________ Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Selectman