Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting
September 19, 2007                 

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:30PM.  Select Board members present were:   Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Allen Hitchcock, Joseph Gagnon, David Markowski, and Thomas Hooker.    Also present were Kathleen Ramsay, Linda Drummond, Lee Kahrs, Margaret Flory, Don Nicless, William Carris, Michael Leehy, David Peebles, David Burley, and Roger Tetreault.


The Select Board minutes of September 5, 2007 were approved.

The Select Board minutes of September 12, 2007 were discussed and corrections will be made for the next meeting.



The orders of September 19, 2007 were reviewed, discussed and approved in the amount of $31,550.95.                



Kathleen Ramsay reported on the following:

The new Temporary Operating Permit for the Water System was received September 6, 2007.

The Fall Town Newsletter deadline is September 26, 2007.  All articles and ideas for articles should be forwarded to Linda Drummond by that date.  Any ideas for the Annual Town Report please forward to K. Ramsay.

The temporary, part-time water and wastewater position will be advertised in the Rutland Herald and The Reporter for two weeks.

As a representative of the Pittsford-Florence Water Supply, K. Ramsay attended the OMYA/Section 5 Study Oversight Meeting on Phase II Hydrogeology Findings.

Wetlands Delineation for the West Creek Road project will take place the week of September 24, 2007.  Letters will be sent out to adjacent landowners by September 21, 2007.

The FY 2009 budget process is underway. Budget request forms will be sent to Department Heads and other agencies by September 21, 2007.

OMYA has formed Community Issue Teams.  Shawn Erickson has been representing the Town on the Transportation Issue Team and OMYA has invited K. Ramsay to represent the Town on the Community Issue Team.

A portion of the October 17, 2007 Select Board meeting will be dedicated to a review of the implementation of the outdoor burning ordinance and to discuss implementation obstacles and opportunities.

Liz Royer of Northeast Rural Water will be back in Pittsford working on the update of the (Water) Source Protection Plan during the first week of October.

The Town Treasurer's Office reports that it is working on the re-organization of the Chart of Accounts, and asks that any Board concerns about this process be forwarded to them ASAP. 

A. Hitchcock suggested including another article on the Ancient Roads in the Fall Newsletter.  K. Ramsay will send an article to L. Drummond for the newsletter.


There was no public comment.


Representatives from the State, David Peebles, Director, Community & Restorative Justice Programs of the Department of Corrections; David Burley, Chief of Engineering for State Buildings & Grounds; and Roger Tetreault, Project Engineer for the Department of Corrections offered a presentation on siting work camps. This was a preliminary, introductory meeting.  The presentation included an 11-minute video about work camps with David Peebles giving an overview presentation of the work camp siting progress. A brief presentation by David Burley on infrastructure requirements was followed by a question and answer period.  David Peebles thanked the Board on behalf of the State for the interest of those attending the meeting for the willingness to participate in preliminary dialogue about work camps.

The video shown was made about the Caledonia Community Work Camp just south of St. Johnsbury which was created in the early 1990s.  It has been a very positive experience for the community.   It was created to alleviate overcrowding in the Vermont State prison system for low risk offenders who could go out into the community in work crews under direct supervision of the Department of Corrections to perform many tasks in the community.  The inmates who are part of the work crews' work on construction projects, snow removal, beautification projects, digging, and animal programs including training to help animals become adoptable.  Remodeling of row homes into affordable housing, building an addition to a library, along with many other community projects are some of the projects for the work crews who are busy and tired at the end of the day.  Projects include 10-man work crews with many individuals having trade experience.  The crews are provided with the tools for the work, transportation, lunch, and supervision.  These projects add value to the community. The State and Town relationship is one of cooperation, understanding, and trust.  The citizens of St. Johnsbury have come to regard the work camp as a valuable asset to the community that poses little or no threat.  The inmates understand that it is a privilege to be at the work camp.  The work camp crews work for a reasonable rate and the community benefits from their purchases for food, gas, and other necessities.  The State believes that communities would benefit from having more work camp facilities across the State.

Pamphlets Siting Criteria for Work Camp II for Department Corrections were distributed to the Board and to all present.  D. Peebles stated there is open dialogue with other communities about the work camps.  He would like to highlight items from the video.  One of the most valuable items for the residents of any Town to do is take a tour of the work camp facility and experience the process. The inmates are non violent and carefully screened earning day for day good time.  The only problem there has been is tobacco contraband.  The contract set up with the inmates is to say "I'm sorry", to gave back to a community, and to be a good neighbor by being part of the work camp.

Four basic considerations for a work camp facility:

Is there an available site that makes sense to the State?  The site needs to be in close proximity to another correctional facility.

Is there an available work force?  There are 45-50 jobs that would be available for hire with people who live close to a facility.

Availability of appropriate types of work for the camp within a 25 mile radius. There is a wide range of services that are performed by the work camp crews.

Nature of the relationship with the State correctional services.  What's in it for Pittsford?

What would the State be willing to put on the table in exchange for host communities?

$100,000 could be spent locally to supply the work crews staying in the facility. $2.3 to $2.5 million in payroll could be for staff for the facility. 

Dave Burley spoke about the siting criteria for a facility.  A facility can help with the economics for a Town's stability.  The State is looking for a 10-acre site with 6-acre developable area and reasonable zoning regulations.  The Town must endorse the site and there needs to be appropriate land use. Municipal water is preferred which the State can extend to the facility.  The State would prefer to be connected to municipal sewer but could develop on site.  Another criteria would be reasonable access to power and to roads system.

The St. Johnsbury work camp is the only one in the State.  Discussion was held in regards to the Vermont State Police Academy and State lands owned in that area and whether they have been considered for a facility.  That land has not been considered at this time and it is not known if it would be feasible to put a work camp on the property due to residential areas in close proximity.

It was stated that 150 to 200 inmates were eligible for work camp crews. M. Flory asked what is the criteria for eligibility for the work camps which was answered by D. Peebles as  non violent, minimum security inmates with good behavioral records in prison for DUI, sale or possession of drugs, and burglary of an unoccupied building.

Discussion was held in regards to the recidivism.  D. Peebles will get detailed data in regards to rates of recidivism for M. Leehy and other interested persons.  There are many variables that go into the data.  Studies show that very few inmates stay in the area after they are released because their families are located in other areas.

A quick study was requested as to the feasibility of a work camp facility on the Vermont State Police Academy State owned land.

W. Carris inquired about the issue of possible expansion once a facility is built.  The State negotiates a legal agreement with the Town.  The State cannot increase the number of beds without going back through the process with the Town agreement.

D. Nickless inquired how the fees for the work crews are developed.  The fees are based on the value added to the community and the complexity of the work.  Fees are to cover the cost of the crews' meals, clothing, tools, etc. needed to do the work.  There are risks because human beings are involved but these crews are under supervision and no negative results have come from the work camps.

P. Flory stated that it would be helpful to have the numbers of recidivism.  D. Peebles will get the data which is available but is complicated and more time is needed to review.  Since this was to be a preliminary and introductory meeting, he had not planned to review this data tonight.

M. Leehy asked for clarification on the statement that there would be 45-50 jobs available with $2.3 to $2.5 million in salaries.  He asked if the State had done any studies of local work force verses the work camp crew and any loss of local economic dollars. D. Peebles replied that the work camp crews usually do the work for enhancement in a community which might not be done by local contractors because an organization can not afford to do the work.

D. Peebles, D. Burley, and R. Tetrault stated that they would like to help the Town in any way.  They will gather and distribute more information and data as requested as well as look into sites for a facility and also arrange a tour of the St. Johnsbury facility for any interested parties. The Board thanked them for their presentation and the audience for their pertinent questions.

D. Peebles, D. Burley, R. Tetrault, M. Flory, and W. Carris departed at 7:35PM.  The Board took a 10-minute break. 

The Board reconvened at 7:45PM.


Discussion with Planning Commission Chair Don Nickless re: Grandpa's Knob Windpark Temporary Wind Measurements Stations

Don Nickless reported that the Planning Commission (PC) had a meeting last week with Noble Environmental Power who presented an overview to the PC of the proposal to build wind towers along Grandpa's Knob Ridge.  Discussion was held in regards to input from other communities about the aesthetics of wind towers. Three temporary wind towers will be put up shortly as a test.  Further discussion was held in regards to holding a meeting for public input.  K. Ramsay will call Brad King, Project Manager for Noble Environmental Power, to see if he will give a presentation on the temporary wind measurement stations as well as the full build-out for Grandpa's Knob Windpark at the Select Board's special meeting on October 10, 2007 for public input.  Based on the input received at the meeting, the Board may decide to comment on the project to the State Public Service Board (the permitting body for wind power facilities) as Noble Environmental Power has to file for a Certificate of Public Good.  The meeting will be included in the Fall newsletter due out October 6, 2007. 

Michael Leehy departed at 8:00 PM.  D. Nickless and L. Kahrs left at 8:10PM.


Appointment of Water & Sewer Board

K. Ramsay spoke about the strategy for the Water & Sewer Board which will be a subset of the Select Board during the reconfiguration time period for the next month or so.  Helen McKinlay submitted a letter of interest.  Sally Eugair submitted a letter of interest. Applicants for Water & Sewer Commissioners will be advertised in the Fall newsletter, The Reporter, posted in Town, and on the Town website.  At the October 17, 2007 Board meeting, the applicants will be considered.

Streetlighting on Route 7, north of St. Alphonsus Church

K. Ramsay reported that an additional 250 watt streetlight is $25/month.  An additional 400 watt streetlight is $35/month.  Most fixtures are 250 watt, the fixture currently at the church crosswalk is 400 watt.  The Board will consider the request for a new streetlight north of St. Alphonsus Church as it considers the FY2008/FY2009 budget for the Village, as this would add an additional monthly expense to the Village budget. Information on the possibility of adding an additional streetlight to the Village budget FY2008/2009 will be in the Fall Town newsletter.

Response to Request for Publication of Reappraisal Data

Discussion was held in regards to the Listers' response that they were not making a blue book publication of the new 2007 reappraisal data. A separate mailing of a blue book with the reappraisals was sent out by the Listers' office on May 26, 2006. The final reappraisal information of 2006 after grievances was published in the 2006 Town Report in February 2007.  Allen Hitchcock made a motion to include the results of this year's reappraisal in the 2007 Town Report.  Tom Hooker seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Update on Kendall Hill Road Field Inspection

K. Ramsay spoke with Aaron Guyette of the engineering firm of DuBois & King.  A. Guyette reported that they are currently awaiting results of the field tests from cores taken by Knight Engineering and the results of paint tests.  A complete report on the condition of the bridge is due in the first week of October.

Annual Report Coordinator

The Board signed a letter to Joseph Sposta in response to his letter of August 28, 2007 in regards to the stipend for the Annual Report Coordinator position which the Board had set at $500 per year on September 5, 2007.  The Board is keeping the stipend at $500/year.


Property & Casualty Insurance Coverage

A representative from Kinney, Pike, Bell, & Conner has visited K. Ramsay and the Town received a letter from their insurance company requesting to bid on the Town's property and casualty insurance which is currently purchased through Vermont League of Cities & Towns(VLCT) Property & Casualty Intermunicipal Fund.  K. Ramsay spoke with VLCT and they felt that in the long run their price consistency and value added services such as loss control and safety programs are worth the difference if there is any.

The Board's consensus is to send Kinney, Pike, Bell, & Conner the Town's current insurance coverage information so that they can prepare a proposal for property & casualty coverage to the Town of Pittsford.  The Town insurance renewal date is January 1, 2008.

Inquiry about Purchase of metal cage from the former Town Clerk's Office on Route 7

The Board viewed the metal cage from the former Town Clerk’s Office on Route 7 now stored in the Town Municipal Office basement on Plains Road.  The Board will look into the historical value of the piece which may be used in the Municipal Building perhaps in the Town Clerk's Office, or donated to the Pittsford Historical Society for its use.  The current owner of the former Town Clerk's office inquired about the possibility of acquiring it for her use.

Highway Department - Discussion of purchase of used chipper

Road Foreman Shawn Erickson asked K. Ramsay to inquire about the possibility of purchasing a used chipper for $8,000 from Vaillancourt Tree-Landscape.  The Town has been renting a chipper as needed for $200/day.   Discussion was held about the possibility of sharing a chipper with other communities.  A point was raised that insurance and repair issues might cause some problems.  In New York, highway equipment is owned by counties.  This is not the case in Vermont.  There is funding available for the purchase in the equipment fund.  The Board wants to review what the yearly need for a chipper has been so a comparison can be done on the cost of ownership verses the cost of renting chippers.

Budget Information

K. Ramsay will have the budget totals shortly as adjustments to a few accounts have just been completed.

Water/Sewer Analysis

A. Hitchcock inquired about the status of the water and sewer analysis between the listers' reappraisal information and the Town water and sewer billing.  L. Drummond has been working on this project which is about 50% done.  Adjustments to water and sewer billing were made in the August statements on any multiple dwellings that needed correcting or on new or inactive water accounts. L. Drummond will continue working on this project as time allows keeping a record of the changes.

T. Pelkey made a motion at 8:40PM to go into Executive Session for Personnel and Pending Litigation.  T. Hooker 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 Personnel & Pending Litigation at 8:40PM.  The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:48PM.

No action was taken

Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:48PM.

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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