Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting

December 20, 2006

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m.  Select Board members present were:  Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Allen Hitchcock, Joseph Gagnon, David Markowski, and Thomas Hooker.  Also present were Michael Balch, Linda Drummond, Alan Roberge, Wayne Rowe, Robin Rowe, Tom Carrara, and Don Nickless.   Helen McKinlay arrived at 7:40PM.


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


The orders of December 20, 2006 were reviewed, discussed and approved in the amount of $207,597.89.


Mike Balch reported on the following:

April Moulaert, Wetland Restoration & Protection Specialist from the Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks, & Rec., is scheduled to speak with the Board at the January 3, 2007 meeting in regards to purchasing the Robert Forrest property.

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:30 PM, for the Board with Dominic Cloud to help with the Town Manager search.

The Town received a notice from the State Water Division of an alleged violation for the Pittsford water testing because a lead and copper test was not done this year.  Bruce Babcock stated there was a misinterpretation of the water sample test schedule which was sent out from the State.  Other towns misinterpreted the schedule as well.  Notification of the alleged violation will be done immediately to the Pittsford water consumers by the procedure outlined by the State.  The test will be done at the next specified time.

The sewer plant had its first ecoli violation in six months.  Measures are being taken to resolve the issue.  The flows were high a few days before the test.

The Division of Property Evaluation Review Certified Equalization Education Property Value

Report was received this week.  The report indicates whether a town is in compliance with (COD).   M. Balch explained that the co-efficient of dispersion(COD) is how much the values are spread out from the appraisal and measures the distance between a sale and an appraisal as an absolute number.  The Town’s number is 11.13%. According to the State,  a COD of 10% or lower is considered to reflect a relatively high level of equity across taxpayers’ assessments.  Pittsford’s appraisals are 5% higher than the sales price.

Check CVPS bills for Depot Hill Rd.—One electric bill was for the Depot Hill Road pumping station and one is for the Pittsford Commons pumping station which is now a separate expense account so it can be tracked easier.

A report was enclosed in Board packets on the status of the compliance plan for the Pittsford Water Permit amendment.  It will be reviewed during the Water Department meeting.

Address missing bench mark at Gorham Bridge.  Gordon Delong located a reference to an elevation reference mark located on the western wing wall of the old Gorham covered bridge.  M. Balch visited the bridge and couldn’t find any mark.  The Pittsford Quadrangel does not reference that bench mark, therefore, he concludes it was unofficial but it was referenced on the flood maps.  The nearest official bench marks on the Quadrangle are all located approximately 1.5 to 2.0 miles away from the Elm Street area in question.  The State hired a contractor to replace Gorham Bridge and they should be responsible for replacing the marker.  Tom Carrara had seen a stone marker close to where the temporary bridge was built and will look for the marker.

Don Nickless will be attending this evening’s meeting to consider DRB as an alternative to the current structure and present an update on the Planning Commission.

A letter was sent to David Schneider and Carolyn Devlin responding to their request to improve Goat Farm Road.  The letter stated the Board’s conclusion that other needed highway projects would benefit more Pittsford residents than the upgrading of Goat Farm Road at this time.

A.     Hitchcock inquired on the status of the watershed forest area for forestry purposes.  The Board would like an update from Eric Hansen on the forestry project.  Also needed is an update from Peg Flory in regards to the disposition of the bill proposing to allow town land that is used as part of a water system to qualify as current use land.


Alan Roberge asked for clarification on the elevation marker his surveyor needs for the lowest adjacent grade for his Elm St. property.  Discussion was held in regards to where other markers are located in Town which are shown on the topographical maps.  M. Balch will be sending a letter to the State for replacing the marker which was removed or covered during the reconstruction of the Gorham Bridge.  The benchmark is listed on the flood maps.

Alan Roberge asked if the Board has had correspondence with Allen and Diane Gottlieb in regards to an area near the Cooley Bridge.  H. Pelkey said the matter has not come before the Board by the Gottliebs.  M. Balch will check with R. Adams of the Pittsford Trails Committee to see if he has any information.

R. Rowe asked if there was recently a water leak on Route 7 South.  Bruce Babcock was repairing a water service shutoff in that area. R. Rowe inquired about whether or not there is money in the budget for replacing the 1” water line on Route 7 South as the right of way survey should be done in the Spring.  Once the Act 250 permits and the right of ways are in place and there is a pipeline route that won’t be disturbed and the right of way is approved by the State and the Board then the pipe will be replaced which will be funded by a bond.  A draft of the financial plan will be presented to the Board by mid-January 2007.

R. Rowe asked about updating of the website.  The website was down for about a month while the server was being changed.  Agendas for meetings are posted around Town and minutes are posted after approval by the Boards.


Town Plan Review Report—Don Nickless

Don Nickless gave an overview report on the Planning Commission.  He highlighted the following items:

·        Four new members joined the Planning Commission in the past year

·        There have been ten site plan reviews in the last year

·        There have been two meetings dedicated to information/training

·        To get public input towards development of a new town plan, the Planning Commission has met with representatives from different Town committees and organizations.  There are several other representatives they plan to meet with for their input for the town plan.

·        The Planning Commission has added a second night each month to their schedule therefore doubling their work effort to work on both the town plan and to do site plan reviews.

·        To complete and get a new town plan approved will require a minimum of another six months, and probably longer.  A number of other important tasks that the Planning Commission should be addressing will meanwhile be on hold since most of these require that the Town have a valid town plan, which presently the Town does not.

·        There are several outstanding projects that need attention.  In order to carry out these projects, the Planning Commission propose renewing the old Town Plan, spending about three months on the outstanding projects, then returning to the task of developing a new town plan.

·        The Select Board agreement is needed to initiate renewal of the old plan.

Don Nickless proposes to readopt the old Town Plan to give the Planning Commission some time to address some of the outstanding projects that need to be addressed and then continue to complete the new Town Plan.  Discussion was held on readopting the old Town Plan.  The consensus of the Board was to readopt the old Town Plan and the Planning Commission will go ahead with that process.  The Planning Commission is showing a good faith effort towards working on the new Town Plan. 

Discussion was held about the need to reconsider a Development Review Board (DRB).  The Planning Commission would work only on the town plan and new ordinances.  The Zoning Board(DRB) would work on site plan reviews and zoning activities.  Don Nickless departed at 7:30PM.

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

The Select Board reconvened  7:40PM. 

The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Sewer Board 7:40PM.

The Select Board reconvened at 7:50PM.

H. Pelkey made a motion to go into Executive Session for Personnel at 7:50 PM.  D. Markowski seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.  Helen McKinlay was asked to stay.

M. Balch requested to speak to the Board before they came out of Executive Session for Personnel.

Wayne Rowe, Robin Rowe, and Tom Carrara departed at 7:50 PM.  Helen McKinlay departed at 8:00PM.


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 Personnel at 7:50 PM.   The Board came out of Executive Session at  8:25 PM.

The Select Board reconvened at 8:25 PM.

M. Balch was instructed by the Board to include an article for the Annual Town Meeting (ATM)  of the discontinuance of the elected Town Auditors.  The Board concluded that the Town Auditors are no longer needed with Certified Public Accountants doing the Town annual audits.  An annual Town Report coordinator would be appointed with a stipend.

OLD BUSINESS (Continued)

Review Budget—Third Draft

M. Balch reported on the budget which is a zero growth budget and balances to last year.

There are requests for additional money from different organization for special appropriations.  The Board has level funded all of the Town department budgets. In good conscience the Board can not grant additional money.  L. Drummond was instructed to write to the different organizations requesting the increases to their appropriations explaining that because the Board is holding all departments to level funding from last year no increases will be granted this year.


Review—Draft Annual Town Meeting Warning

There is a petition from Southern Vermont Council on Aging in the ATM warning requesting the sum of $1,100 which will be an additional amount on top of the $990.   Their intent was to add $110 to the $990 they are already receiving.  It can be modified on the floor.  The Ice Caves are up for renewal for exemption from both Municipal property taxes and Educational property taxes for a period of five years.

M. Balch reported that this past year the Legislature authorized the increase in Veterans’ exemption from $20,000 to $40,000 enabling the towns to offer it to the veterans.  The question is from the public if the Town will go with the exemption increase towards property taxes.  Further discussion was held on the impact it would have on the taxpayers.

Gordon Delong had two requests that the Board may want to consider to have on the ATM.

1.      Allow tax payments to be accepted by the postmark date which IRS accepts.

2.      Have a graduated penalty charge for delinquent taxes such as 2% Nov. 11, 4% Nov. 28, and 8% Dec. 28.

The consensus of the Board is positive on both items.  M. Balch will write a draft for the Board to review.

T. Hooker reported on the major breakdown on the Engine 21 fire truck.  Sludge and algae got into the pickup pump.  One quote was for $7,000 to repair but he was able to get it repaired for much less.  The transfer pump valve was not working properly.  The smaller of the two pumps was replaced.  An extra filter has been installed as a precaution to prevent plugging.

There are some repair issues with the cruiser including the brake light switch on the pedal, transmission, and fuel gauge not working.  The mileage is being recorded on the police officers’ time sheets.  There is money in the budget for the cruiser’s replacement for next year.

Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:55PM.

Respectfully submitted:


Linda Drummond, Recording Clerk

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Markowski, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman


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