Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford

Dec. 16, 2008

Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting
 December 17, 2008

Thomas "Hank" Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:30 PM.  Select Board members present were:  Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, David Markowski, and Joseph Gagnon. Allen Hitchcock arrived at 6:35PM. Thomas Hooker was absent. Also present were John Haverstock, Linda Drummond, Kelly Giard, Tom Carrara, and Shannon Murray.  Representative Margaret "Peg" Flory arrived at 6:55 PM.



The Select Board minutes of December 3, 2008 were approved.



The order of December 17, 2008 in the amount of $19,977.19 was approved. 



Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year

Town Offices will be closed on successive Thursdays, December 25 and January 1 for the holidays.  The Town Manager wishes the Town Staff and indeed all residents a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Winter, 2009 Newsletter

All submissions for the Winter Town Newsletter must be received by Linda Drummond by January 10, 2009.

Town Report

All submissions for inclusion in the Town report must be received by Janet Mondlak, Town Report Coordinator, by December 31.

Town Budget

Town staff have worked together to revise the draft budget proposal and the Town manager has written a memo for the Select Board explaining the assumptions that have gone into the figures and noting the decisions that need to be made to finalize the budget.  Thanks to Helen McKinlay and Linda Drummond for their input.


The auditors from Sullivan & Powers will address the Select Board at its January 7, 2009 meeting instead of tonight.  J. Haverstock has finalized the draft of the Management Summary Report which will be sent to Sullivan & Powers for review and inclusion in the auditors' final report.

Representative Flory to Address Select Board

Peg Flory will address the Select Board to discuss the upcoming legislative session and the Town's goals at tonight's meeting.

Investigation of Report of Animal Neglect

Upon a report from the Humane Society, the Town Manager dispatched the Constable's office to investigate the possible neglect of horses along Kendall Hill Road.  I am pleased to report that this report was unfounded and that the horses indeed have access to shelter, hay and water.  Should concerns persist, I have encouraged the Humane Society to contact the Constable directly.

Rasmussen v. Rasmussen, White and the Town of Pittsford

Given the Town's role in granting a permit for the trailer recently delivered to Mary White on the Rasmussen farm, the Town has been named in a lawsuit, seeking among other things the invalidation of such permit.  A hearing was held today, December 17, 2008, and the Town has retained the services of Attorney Jack Facey to protect its interests.  J. Haverstock has not heard from J. Facey today about the public hearing.  Peg Flory reported on Court's continuance of the matter later in meeting.

Rowe Gravel Pit

J. Haverstock had a notice from Sanborn & Head that they would be doing some probe drilling at the Rowe Gravel pit at the southern end of the existing pit, which occurred on December 15, to evaluate the potential for a possible expansion of the pit.  Bruce Babcock consulted with Sanborn & Head to be sure there was no potential damage to any Town water lines.

Allen Hitchcock requested that J. Haverstock inquire into the periodic testing of three water wells that Rowe's Gravel Pit needs to be recording with the Zoning Administrator three times each year.


Truck versus Train Collision

There was a low speed truck versus train collision near the Omya entrance several days ago.  J. Haverstock has notified Agency of Transportation, along with Fire Chief Tom Hooker, about the need for a signal light or better lighting at the rail crossing.  AOT is investigating options through their rail division and traffic & safety division.  D. Markowski reported that VTRANS has been on site surveying the location for a signal light.


CDL Alcohol Policy Draft

J. Haverstock has heard back from Ron Pickering, Union Representative, approving the draft CDL Alcohol policy.  The draft will be presented to the Board for implementation in January, 2009.


VLCT Legislative Preview

Linda Drummond, Assistant to the Town Manager, attended a legislative preview seminar in Middlebury put on by Karen Horn, VLCT Director, Public Policy & Advocacy.  K. Horn reviewed VLCT 2009 municipal policy priorities that were outlined in a pamphlet and memo addressed to VLCT members. Discussed at the seminar were the following priorities that VLCT endorses for the 2009 legislative session:  transportation funding; education funding; payments in lieu of taxes-PILOT; unfunded mandates and property tax; property tax exemptions; health care; corrections; policing; and growth, land use and environmental policy.  K. Horn particularly stressed keeping in touch with the Town's legislators and to keep the legislators informed of the Town's needs.

Also discussed were the possible Federal stimulus funding and the availability for the funding for water, sewer, highway, bridge, and sidewalk projects.  If projects are engineered and ready to go, these projects will have the best chance for stimulus funding.  VLCT would like to have the municipalities report to them regarding the percentage of increase or level funded of the Town budget over last year's budget. Also, VLCT is requesting towns to report on the percentage of delinquent taxes due this year in comparison to last year.


Recording Secretary

J. Haverstock reported that tonight was Linda Drummond's last night as Board Recording Secretary.  Kelly Giard will be the Recording Secretary as of January 1, 2009.  L. Drummond will fill in for K. Giard when needed.  A. Hitchcock complimented L. Drummond along with the other Board members on the improvement of the meeting minutes.


Brandon Mosquito District

Brad Ramsay from the Brandon Mosquito District inquired about the Town's funding if the Town votes at Town Meeting to join the Brandon Mosquito District.  Part of the draft warning item was read:  "To see if the Town will appropriate and authorize to be raised by taxation $91,000.00 to join the Brandon Mosquito District."  Discussion was held regarding the possibility to create Pittsford's own district.  J. Haverstock stated that the Brandon Mosquito District infrastructure is all in place and that joining that district would be far cheaper than establishing our own district.  J. Haverstock will review the petition received regarding the issue of mosquito eradication to have the correct wording for the warning item.  Peg Flory stated that the warned item can be amended at Town Meeting by the voters present.

West Creek Road

J. Haverstock reported that the Town received the formal extension from the Agency of Transportation for the West Creek Road project until June 30, 2009 to finish the guardrails and paving.


Complaint of Burning of Plastics

The Town received a complaint of alleged burning of plastics at a residence in Florence.  The Health Officer will respond if it happens again.


Depot Hill Road Erosion

Eric Hansen notified the Town it will be on a priority list for help next summer to work on the erosion problem on Depot Hill Road through the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.



Discussion was held regarding the Mosquito Brandon District start up cost of $91,000, truck repairs, and tractor repairs.



Discussion of Listers' Vacancies and Status of Work

J. Haverstock reported that there are no updates at this time.


Presentation of Audit Report by Sullivan & Powers

The presentation of the audit report by Sullivan & Powers will be given at the January 7, 2009 meeting.


Presentation by Representative Peg Flory Regarding the Upcoming Legislative Session

Representative Peg Flory reported on the financial news from Montpelier, which appears bleak, particularly as it relates to State Aid to municipalities.  Potentially, the economic recovery packages on the Federal level may bring some relief with water and sewer concerns.  Engineering for Town water and sewer infrastructure projects should be complete and contractors ready to go on projects to be considered for the funding.   J. Haverstock reported that water study has been completed with the recommendation of $4,430,000 in upgrades, consisting of combining the two water systems, water metering across Town, and all the piping upgrades especially Route 7 South.

The Water & Sewer Commission has authorized preliminary engineering to go forward. Otter Creek Engineering has completed the water upgrade mapping and making sure the Town would be ready to apply for stimulus funding.  David Markowski stated that there are plenty of pre-qualified contractors for the infrastructure projects at this time. Discussion was held regarding the sewer infiltration study in progress.  This study (which should be completed in Spring, 2009) needs to be completed as soon as possible to be ready for stimulus funding.  P. Flory mentioned that other areas that might be considered for stimulus funding are sidewalks, salt sheds, and low/moderate income housing. 

Discussion was held with regard to the State permit & regulatory process which takes years to obtain instead of months.  P. Flory stated with the massive State job losses, the permit process will not improve.  The State regulatory and permit process needs reforming with standard, simplified forms for permits.

J. Haverstock asked P. Flory regarding the legal case of Rasmussen vs. Rasmussen what had transpired in public court today.  P. Flory stated that the case will be continued on Monday, December 22 at 10:00AM with the main focus on trying to establish status of ownership, rights to control activities on the property.

P. Flory departed at 7:45PM.



Continued Consideration of Town Budget

The Board had received the updated Town Budget for consideration which included sections revised by J. Haverstock, H. McKinlay, and L. Drummond during a joint conference.  The Board also received a revised memo with J. Haverstock's budget preparation assumptions explaining the current revised draft budget.

The Board reviewed the Draft Town Warning presented by J. Haverstock and H. McKinlay.  Two draft items regarding the proposed Pittsford Post Office relocation were deleted from the draft warning after discussion was held.  It was the consensus of the Board to remove these two draft articles due to addressing a private business matters and not a Town related matters. 

Discussion was held regarding a draft warning article addressing the petition received earlier in the year regarding mosquito eradication.

J. Haverstock reported that the Town's business would be first on the agenda at the Annual Town Meeting on March 2, 2009 at 6:30PM and that the School presentation would follow.  The School Board requested a joint meeting with the Town.  It was the consensus of the Select Board to keep the two Boards separate as the budgets are separate items.  The Select Board had a public input meeting on Town budget on December 3, 2008.

Allen Hitchcock suggested that holding back on capital expenditures until later in the year might be beneficial for the Town considering the economic circumstances.  H. Pelkey noted that upon reviewing the budget preparation and assumptions memo that the draft budget reflected prudent and cautious considerations.  The Board will be addressed by the auditors January 7, 2009 and will make final decisions on the budget after the auditor's presentation.

The consensus of the Board was not to authorize any new special appropriations unless they go through the petition process.  There is appropriated $200 for Green-up Day expenses and the Board's consensus was to offer $100 to the State Green-up Day fund and use $100 for Town expenses for Green-up Day.



FY09 Budget Status Report

J. Haverstock reported that the Town is on track with revenue and expenses except the Highway Dept. whose shortfall can be attributed to big paving expenses, the West Creek Road project, and the Kendall Hill Road Bridge project.  The last two projects will have grant reimbursements towards the projects.  The Board signed tonight the application to request the grant funds for the Kendall Hill Road Bridge project.


Abatement of Penalty & Interest

D. Markowski made a motion to abate the penalty and interest of $71.63 for Margaret Rawlings parcel #0843.  A. Hitchcock seconded the motion.  J. Haverstock explained that a death in family delayed M. Rawlings by a day in paying the principal property tax.  The motion was passed unanimously.



Service Contract on 2007 International Truck

J. Haverstock reported that Clark's Truck Center sent a quote from International regarding the increased engine hours for the Town's 2007 International truck which will total approximately 4500 hours.  The cost for the extension is $280.  The Board's consensus is to go ahead with the additional coverage.


Proposed Tandem Truck

J. Haverstock reported Shawn Erickson's request for the Board to consider seeking bids for a tandem truck to replace an old truck which is scheduled to rotate out of the fleet.  S. Erickson's research on tandem trucks reveals better traction, require far less filling and many other towns seem to buying tandem trucks for these reasons.  This is not a commitment to purchase but to seek bids for a tandem truck.  The consensus of the Board is to hold off on the bid process for now.


Thomas "Hank" Pelkey made a motion to go into Executive Session at 8:16PM to discuss matters in Personnel and Legal.  Joseph Gagnon seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.  J. Haverstock was asked to stay.



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 8:16 PM. The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:36 PM.

After Executive Session, the Select Board reported that it was very pleased with the work done to date by new Town Manager John Haverstock, who has successfully completed his 6 months on probationary status.  All contractual obligations have been satisfied by both the Select Board and the Town Manager.

Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:36 PM.

Respectfully submitted:                 

Linda Drummond

Recording Clerk                                                 


Thomas "Hank" Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Markowski, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman - ABSENT


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