Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford Special Select Board Meeting
September 12, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM by Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Chairman.

Select board members present:  Joseph Gagnon, Thomas Hooker, David Markowski, Allen Hitchcock, and Thomas "Hank" Pelkey.  Also present was Kathleen Ramsay, Joe Acinapura, Rob Tikoft, Les Rider, Keith Arlund, Richard Baker, Roy Newton, Robin Rowe, Hull Maynard, Dick Norms, Allen Mills, Roberta Mills, Lee Kahrs, Cathy Rider, JoAnn Grafam, Jamie Stewart, Don Nickless, Thor Konwin, Bonnie Haraley, Peg Flory, Peter Cady, David Rowe, Secretary Neale Lunderville, Secretary Kevin Dorn and Kelly Giard - Recording Secretary.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss area infrastructure and economic development needs with Agency of Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville and Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.  Of particular concern with regard to both infrastructure and economic development needs is the Route 7 project.

K. Ramsay made opening comments and a background for the general public in attendance.

Secretary Lunderville gave a time-line of the proposed Pittsford/Brandon Route 7 project.  Currently, the first section of the project (segment 5 - High Street - Brandon to Otter Valley) is slated to begin in 2008.  Hopefully, the Right of Way process will begin in January 2008 with completion of April or May with the latest date of September (if the first section of the process is appealed to a court). The first section of construction would be to clear brush and move utility poles.  The next sections (segments 3 - Pomainville Farm to Plains Road and segment 4 - Otter Valley to Pomainville Farm) are scheduled to be completed by 2013.  The purpose of these sections is to include passing lanes, bike lanes and to straighten sections.  The remaining will be done in sections (segment 6 - Brandon Village to Otter Valley; segment 1 - Arch Street - Pittsford to the south; segment 2 - Plains Road - Pittsford to Arch Street).  Secretary Lunderville stated that these time frames were just estimates and were dependent on State and Federal funding.

The public commented on the taxes that were paid into the state from the Purchase & Use Tax, gas tax, and registration fees were being shifted to other funds and not remaining in the funds for road maintenance.

P. Flory reported to the public the history of the project and stated that this has been an ongoing process for several years.  P. Flory stated that there was a "Stop & Ask" in downtown Brandon for trucks and the results stated that 68% of those asked had no Vermont destination or origination, but were using Route 7 as an access road to other areas of the country.

Roy Newton stated that there was a very tragic accident in Brandon a number of years ago that may have been prevented if there were any passing lanes or wider shoulders.  Currently, there are no safe places to pass or shoulders between Brandon and Pittsford.

Secretary Lunderville stated that the Route 7 project is a high priority with the State of Vermont, however past promises have "caught up with reality" and the funding is not as readily available. 

Robin Rowe questioned the water situation on Route 7 south.  The town is not rectifying the water situation because the State has been promising a Route 7 project and stated that it would be very costly to place the water lines now and relocate them when the project is underway.  Secretary Lunderville stated that he was not aware of the severity of the water distress south of the village.

Richard Baker, Brandon Selectman, stated that the State should not continue with the "nickel and dime" projects, however, should work on the larger projects.  Mr. Baker gave some history of the Route 7 Brandon/Pittsford corridor.

Secretary Lunderville stated that folks need to support this project.

T. Hooker stated that "the time for talking is done" and the project needs to get moving before there are any more accidents on this section of road.

R. Newton stated that if there is a plan for construction to begin in 2008 that the requests for bid should be out now.  Secretary Lunderville stated that the bid process is actually a quick process and that the utility companies move the poles quickly, once the State owns the Right of Way.  Sec. Lunderville agreed to look at the possibility of getting the right of ways on Route 7 South earlier than indicated by the currently proposed schedule for that phase of the Route 7 construction project, 2014, (or later) so that the Town can construct its water line for Route 7 South in the next several years with some certainty that the new water line will not be in conflict with the Route 7 improvements there. 

Robin Rowe stated that the State Agency of Transportation placed stakes on her property last spring and now she is being told that that segment of the project will not begin until 2013 or 2014.  She would like to know why. 

Economic Development. Commerce & Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn shared a handout on the State of Vermont's Strategic Plan for Economic Development Implementation Strategy.  With a Mission to "Enhance Vermonters' Quality of Life Through Expanded Economic Opportunity," the strategy has three primary components:

  • retention & expansion of existing business;

  • support for entrepreneurship; and

  • recruitment.

 Secretary Dorn said that the Vermont Department of Economic Development's first priority is the expansion and retention of existing businesses.  Dorn noted that an enormous challenge faced in cultivating a vital economy is aging of the population, and, particularly, the low number of individuals in the 18-34 age group.  The Governor's "affordability agenda," aimed at reducing taxes and housing costs, to lower the cost of living in Vermont, is a component of a strategy to retain individuals in this age group.

K. Ramsay expressed concerns about aging underground water and sewer utilities, and the need to quantify the full extent of deficient underground utilities throughout the State and to help increase and secure funding to meet this enormous need. By way of example of the water and sewer infrastructure needs faced by municipalities, earlier this year, engineers estimated that the water line upgrades in Pittsford in the Route 7 corridor would cost $8.5M.  The cost of sewer line upgrades in segment 2 was estimated at over $1.2M; a combined total of just under $10M, for improvements in the Route 7 corridor alone.

Although long-term loans and grant funding are being sought for these improvements, with just 500 water users and 250 sewer users in Pittsford's village, the bill for these improvements will affect housing affordability if loan and grant funding can not be secured, either due to competition for or lack of availability of funding at the State or Federal level, through the Agency of Natural Resources or US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, respectively, Ramsay said. 

H. Pelkey asked for closing remarks.  Secretary Lunderville thanked the public for attending and felt that this was a good meeting.  Secretary Dorn agreed and thanked the public for attending.

The general public left at 8:35 PM.

The Selectboard reconvened at 8:50 PM.

T. Hooker stated that he and a few other firefighters would be taking a trip to West Elmira, NY on Thursday, September 13, 2007 to view a ladder truck.  The new truck for West Elmira has arrived and if this truck is what Pittsford is looking for, than they may drive it home.  Lin Bovey and "Butch" Shaw are 2 of the other members that will be making the trip and T. Hooker believes that Mr. Bovey is a good truck man and will inspect the truck before negotiations.  T. Hooker stated that he has asked K. Ramsay for a purchase order not to exceed $35,000.  Mr. Hooker is confident that this truck is what the Pittsford Fire Department is looking for and is confident that the mechanics are good.  The truck manufacturer (American LaFrance) is in Elmira, NY.  Discussion followed regarding the hours and miles and purchase.  D. Markowski stated that the main concern for the truck is the hours of service and not the actual miles. 

Motion by D. Markowski to expend not more than $35,000 for the purchase of a ladder truck for the fire department.  Seconded by H. Pelkey.  Motion passed unanimously.  T. Hooker recused from voting.

Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by D. Markowski to begin Executive Session to discuss personnel.  K. Ramsay was asked to remain.  K. Giard departed at 9:05 PM.

The Board came out of Executive Session at 9:10PM.  Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.

Respectfully Submitted, 

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Markowski, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman


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