Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting
September 20, 2006

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m.  Select Board members present were:  Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Joseph Gagnon, Allen Hitchcock, David Markowski, and Thomas Hooker.  Also present were Michael Balch, Linda Drummond, Robin Rowe, Wayne Rowe, John Reardon, Barbara Pierce, and Nancy Gaudreau.  At 6:35PM Sally Eugair, John Eugair, Alan Roberge, and Andrea Roberge arrived.  At 6:40PM Tom Carrara arrived.


The Select Board minutes of September 6, 2006 were reviewed, discussed, and approved.   



The orders of September 18, 2006 were reviewed, discussed and approved in the amount of $57,418.54.


Mike Balch reported on the following:

The State Ancient Road Certification deadline to use the Vermont Transportation Town Roads report to resolve ancient roads issues is the three reports filed from now until Feb 10, 2009.  The Legislature has recently passed Act 178 which authorizes the Town to add ancient roads to the Town map as Class 4 roads or trails, or to give them up in a public discontinuance process, or to let them fade out and discontinue on their own in nine years.  In order to amend the Town maps, all abutters must be notified 45 days before a public hearing.  Will review minutes from Select Board meeting minutes from years ago that addressed ancient roads. The next newsletter townspeople will be asked about any ancient roads they might be aware of.

The Town received the water permit amendment along with the original permit from the Water Division.  M. Balch has reviewed it and found a few technical changes that were made and he understands why they were made.  The Select Board will review the amendment.  A plan needs to be in place to meet the schedule in the amendment.

There are private alarm problems in Town.  The State Police have not been able to respond to all of the alarms in Town.  The State Police dispatcher calls the Town constable & officers who are willing to assist.  There have been repetitive false alarms so the Town may have to start enforcing the regulation that the Town can charge for false alarms.

The budget process is under way with the capital budget forms out this week with a lower capital amount of $2500 which complies with GASB 34 in order to track items for accumulation.

The schedule is being reviewed by Gordon Delong, Town Clerk/Town Treasurer and will be issued by the end of the week.  The budget documents which include history, request for work plan, and request for projections for the coming year are scheduled to go out September 29.  A public information meeting will be scheduled for the budget.

VLCT’s  Town Meeting Day is October 5, 2006 and if a Select Board member could attend then the Board needs to vote for that member to vote at the annual meeting.

Copies of OMYA’s press release on 9/15/06 were handed out to the Board members in regards to the water monitoring results of the flotation reagent.  Also included are a letter OMYA sent to residents and the conclusion page from OMYA’s consulting engineer’s report on what was in the water.  The Summary of the Engineer’s Report and the Engineer’s Report are available for the Select Board to review.

M. Balch received a confirmation on the mediation meeting for Mr. Mumley which is for October 30, 2006 at 10 AM at Jim Carroll’s office in Middlebury with Ira Lobel mediating.

Francis J. Martin submitted his letter of resignation as a Special Officer.  The Board accepted his resignation with regrets and a thank you letter will be sent.

Shawn Erickson has been working on a winter maintenance plan.  When it is complete, it will come before the Board for adoption before it is put into place.  It documents all that the Highway Department will be working on.

M. Balch sent a follow up letter to Margaret Flory in regards to the disposition of the bill proposing to allow town land in Chittenden that is used as part of a water system to qualify as current use land.

Jim Carroll has sent the appropriate documents to draft a lease of the Town owned parcel to the Carpenters.  M. Balch will write a draft lease for review.

M. Balch is starting the process to optain the Blittersdorf and Patch easements and rights of way needed to extend the Town sewer line to the rear of the Patch property on Route 7.  M. Balch will meet with Jim Carroll regarding the right of way issue and will follow the process.

The history of power usage at the Depot Hill Rd. pumping station was distributed to the Board.

M. Balch spoke with Tina Feeney at Vermont League of Cities & Towns in regards to insuring the Pittsford Food Shelf under the Town blanket.  T. Feeney said that the Town could appoint the Food Shelf as a Town Committee, but if they become a 501 they are out on their own.

In regards to Goat Farm Road, Shawn Erickson is researching the possibility for upgrading the road by the Schneider/Devlin property and will provide estimates for both the 0.3 miles requested for upgrading and the entire 0.7 class 4 road.  However, he did indicate that one of the road side stone walls will be lost if the road is widened. The Board would like to have a report from S. Erickson if possible by October 4 or 18 Select Board meeting.

The Pittsford water and sewer rates were distributed to the Select Board.

Via an email received from Nate Fice, Rutland County Forester, on 9/18/06 he stated that a progress report on the Town property forestry plan should be available for review shortly.

Allen Hitchcock is contacting NRG Systems and CVPS for some ideas in exploring the feasibility of using the water mains from Clarendon to generate electricity.  A. Hitchcock spoke with a licensed engineer who works with communities with small water systems from Woodstock.  The strengths of the joints of the old systems have caused problems with some systems when a generator is installed in the lines.  Putting a generator just short of the reservoir may cause increased pressure and the Town needs to be very careful with the lead joints.

Elm Street sewer project is under way.  Each sewer service will be dug out to the edge of the right of way on both sides of the street.

A. Hitchcock mentioned asking a lawyer to help with the right of way for the Town forest.  M. Balch will ask Jim Carroll to help with the agreements so they will be ready when the Forestry Management Plan comes in.


J. Reardon expressed his concerns about the reappraisal and the part that the Listers had in the reappraisal of OMYA.  He asked how the Town Manager felt about the Listers participation in the reappraisal of OMYA.  M. Balch responded that he expressed his opinion that the reappraisal should be professionally done.  The Listers concluded that they could do the reappraisal themselves with the help of a computer consultant which they did.  Even though there is no conflict of interest law in Vermont, J. Reardon asked if there were relatives of the Listers working for OMYA.  Lister J. Eugair responded that he had a son and a daughter who are employed by OMYA.  Lister Nancy Gaudreau responded that her husband works at OMYA as an engineer.  J. Eugair stated that Listers did all the leg work in regards to the quantity and the measurements of the buildings.  A paid commercial appraiser from VISION did the quality and values for OMYA spending a day at the East plant and a day at the West plant.  J. Reardon asked both J. Eugair and N. Gaudreau if they felt good about the reappraisal and if they did not have a conflict of interest with relatives working for OMYA.  J. Eugair and N. Gaudreau both replied that they felt good about the reappraisal.

T. Carrara commented about the reappraisal of OMYA with the Listers explaining their part in the reappraisal in the beginning of the reappraisal process at a Select Board meeting last year.  The Listers had stated they would do their best for the Town and answered all questions about conflict of interest. They felt their part in doing the quantitative part of the reappraisal could have no conflict of interest.  The commercial appraiser from VISION did all the qualitative work putting values to the property.  It was clarified that the Listers would do the legwork for the VISION consultant and he would determine the values.  The Listers did not do any assessing of value.  The rates from the Marshall Swift book were used and it is the standard which is accepted nationwide.

The Board waived the time limit to hear Public Comment on this issue.  Another 10 minutes were allotted for the OMYA reappraisal discussion.  The VISION consultant was paid approximately $5,000 which was quite a savings with the Listers doing the legwork.  There were bids to do the OMYA reappraisal for around $35,000. The Listers were accompanied around the OMYA plant by two OMYA Public Relations representatives.  The Listers had blueprints and the 1989 reappraisal with yearly updates from which to locate all the buildings.  J. Reardon asked the Listers if they feel comfortable with the appraisal.  J. Eugair and N. Gaudreau said that yes they feel good about the appraisal.  M. Balch stated that everything the Listers have done in the OMYA reappraisal has been in compliance of the law.

When the Listers had brought their involvement before the Board at the beginning of the reappraisal process in regards to the OMYA reappraisal, the consensus of the Board was that the parts the Listers were doing was not a conflict of interest and the Listers were doing it with good conscience.  Any official in a small town may have issues of a conflict of interest but we must rely on the integrity of the person to recuse themselves.

J. Reardon asked what is the procedure when there are no applicants by the advertised due date for a position that has been posted.   No application was received by M. Balch for the advertised Lister position by the due date of September 13, 2006.   Once all of the requirements of the policy have been fulfilled, the Board can appoint anyone in Town who is interested in the position.  By advertising and posting the position, everyone in Town had an opportunity to apply for the position.  The Board has followed the Town’s rules and regulations by advertising the position.  The Board can appoint any person they feel is competent and is interested in the position.

J. Reardon asked about the M. Mumley case.  It is in litigation and can not be discussed.

J. Reardon asked where the money for the Elm Street project was coming from.  M. Balch answered that the money for the project will have to be borrowed which was a decision from the Sewer Board.  The amount is approximately $30,000.  J. Reardon asked if raw sewage was being dumped into the Furnace Brook.  M. Balch stated that there is no untreated sewage.  There always has been primary treatment and third stage treatment even during heavy rainfall.  The Town is working on two other projects at the wastewater plant.  1.  The plant needs another chlorine tank; and  2.  The sludge handling facility was not built correctly.

The last upgrade to the treatment plant was $1.4 million.

D. Markowski stated that when there are any issues that arise before the Board in which he has an interest he has recused himself from any input or voting on the issues to avoid any conflict of interest.

The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Water Board at 7:30 PM.

The Select Board reconvened at 7:35 PM.

The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Sewer Board at 7:35PM. 

The Select Board reconvened at 7:40PM.


Fields of Otter Valley Donation

H. Pelkey talked with Odell Johnston of the Lothrop School Board in regards to the Fields of Otter Valley donation.  O. Johnston stated that Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006 the School Board was meeting and voting on the donation to the Fields of Otter Valley.  The School Board and the Select Board can vote independently from one another.  The amount agreed upon was $10,000.  The decision must be unanimous from both Boards.  H. Pelkey made a motion that a donation be made to the Fields of Otter Valley out of the Burditt Fund in the sum of $10,000.  D. Markowski seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous with the 5 Select Board members approving the motion.


Consider Lister vacancy—Barbara Pierce

M. Balch received a fax from Barbara Pierce on September 14, 2006 to apply for the position of Town Lister.  The Board is free to appoint anyone who is interested after the advertised deadline of September 13, 2006.  A. Hitchcock made a motion to appoint Barbara Pierce to the Board of Listers.  T. Hooker seconded the motion.  Discussion was held on B. Pierce behalf.  The motion was unanimously passed.

Consider Application for Access/Right of Way permit Alan Roberge

D. Markowski made a motion to accept the application for access/right of way permit for Alan Roberge on Elm Street, Parcel A, west side next to Bonnie Capowski’s property with the provision that a 15” diameter culvert is needed.  A. Hitchcock seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

Consider Application for Access/Right of Way permit VT. Electric Power Co.

D. Markowski made a motion to accept the access/right of way permit for VELCO on the east side of West Creek Road located approximately 1765 feet north of the intersection with Hollister Quarry Road.  J. Gagnon seconded the motion. Discussion followed to clarify that the permit is for a curb cut to their right of way.  The motion was unanimously carried.

T. Hooker had a complaint about burning at the Town landfill after 7PM.  The wood out back was left burning.  M. Balch has already addressed the issue as the Town must be responsible and abide by the ordinance.  No fire should be left unattended.  The Fire Department responded and put out the fire.

M. Balch mentioned that a wrong padlock was put on the wood/brush area and residents could not dispose of their brush. This has been resolved.  A. Hitchcock asked about the right of anyone to remove wood from the wood/brush area.  M. Balch will look into this issue.

D. Markowski made a motion to go into Executive Session for Legal and Personnel at 8:00PM.    A. Hitchcock seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.


In accordance with 1VSA 312(b) where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to go into Executive Session for  Legal and Personnel at 8:00 PM.  M. Balch, John Eugair, Nancy Gaudreau, and Barbara Pierce were asked to stay and all others departed.  The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:34PM.

No action was taken.

Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at  8:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair 

Dave Markowski, Selectman

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman




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