MINUTES: November 18, 2014

Board members present: Steve Hawley, Mary Ashcroft, Don Chioffi, John Paul Faignant and Joe Dicton

The meeting opened at 6:38 P.M with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Hathaway announced that the Town Road Commissioner, Mr. Byron Hathaway will not be present.

Board members reviewed the November 5, 2014 minutes. Ms. Ashcroft moved to accept as printed. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0. Mr. Faignant abstained from the vote.

The Board took questions from the floor.

Town resident Ms. Sara Neller presented a petition signed by 26 Adele Stanley Apartment residents, which supports the Board's decision to build a sidewalk from the Adele Stanley Apartments to U.S. Route 7. She told the Board that it is particularly dangerous walking in the winter months due to snow banks.

Ms. Neller told the Board that a crosswalk across U.S. RT 7 is also needed. She said presently the only crossings are at McDonalds and at Hannaford's. Mr. Hawley said the Board is moving forward and he cited the fact the Town has awarded an engineering contract to design a sidewalk. He said the Board would consider a crosswalk across U.S. Route 7 after the sidewalk project is complete. He cited the fact that State permitting will be required.

Mr. Dicton asked if the sidewalk would be included in the highway budget or whether it would be a bond item. Mr. Hawley said the Board would decided how to handle the funding. Mr. Hawley said the Town might build the project or would hire a company to build the sidewalk.

Board members discussed how it would fund the Cold River Road sidewalk construction. Mr. Hawley suggested the Board may ask the voters for permission to spend some of the 1% money to construct the sidewalk. Mr. Hawley said there are several payment options the has not discussed.

Mr. Hawley said the matter would be discussed at a General Budget meeting. Mr. Hawley said once the engineering is complete and the cost is know the Board will decided the best way to fund the sidewalk.

Mr. Chioffi said if the Board makes a decision it would be a sever break from Board policy for an infrastructure item such as this. He said one reason the Municipal budget is under control is because the Board has not taken on the responsibility for street lights in neighborhoods. He said to be fair to the whole community the Board does not incur the cost. He said to support a request would be opening the Board up to requests from all neighborhoods in Town.

Mr. Chioffi said he would like the voters to decide whether to construct the sidewalk. He said the voters should decided the project even if 1 % funds are used. Mr. Hawley said he does not have a problem with Mr. Chioffi's position.

Ms. Ashcroft said the discussion will happen when the Board receives the engineering for the sidewalk.

Mr. Hawley congratulated Mr. Tom Terenzini for his recent election win.

Town Road Commissioner Mr. Byron Hathaway reported:

Not present.

Town Representative to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission Mr. Sherman Hunter reported:

Not Present

Town Transportation Council representative Mr. Martin Wasserman reported:

Not Present

Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. Andrew McKane reported:

  1. He told the Board the Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday and would begin to work on the Land Use map.

  2. Mr. Matteson said the Commissioners reviewed the proposed changes to Cop John Drive and discussed the Complete Streets process.

Town Representative to the Solid Waste Alliance Communities Mr. William Matteson reported:

  1. He informed the Board that the Town's SWAC assessment would increase

    significantly as a result of new Solid Waste laws. Mr. Matteson told the Board that he was shocked to learn that the legislature had unanimously approved the new Solid Waste laws in 2012. Mr. Matteson said he is concerned with the new regulations and the new costs.

    Mr. Chioffi said the Legislature's action is yet another example of an unfunded mandate from State government. Mr. Chioffi said for the State to tell the Town to adopt an ordinance is oppressive.

    Mr. Matteson said the new solid waste legislation is designed to get towns to stop spending tax money to pay for trash disposal. Mr. Dicton questioned Mr. Matteson regarding “zero-sort”. Mr. Matteson said “zero-sort” has to do with recyclables and not solid waste. Mr. Zingale said dealing with food waste will be the biggest expense. Mr. Matteson said the best way to get rid of food waste is backyard composting.

    Mr. Matteson said schools and restaurants will have a difficult time complying with the new food waste disposal requirements. Mr. Matteson said the law will take full affect in 2020.

    Ms. Ashcroft asked if SWAC has a model ordinance for the Town to consider. Mr. Zingale said he had previously provided the Board with a copy of the model ordinance and that the Board was waiting to hear more from Mr. Matteson prior to considering adopting the ordinance.

    Mr. Hawley said the Town has until July 2015 to adopt a per bag fee. Mr. Chioffi said according to the new law the Town must charge more for a trash bag large than 32 gallons. Mr. Matteson said it will be up to the Town to police bag size.

    Board members discussed bad sizes and possible changes to the Town's fee structure. Mr. Zingale told Board members that in a province in France, everyone household was given a chicken to help dispose food waste.

    Mr. Dicton said the Board has to come up with a way to pay for food waste disposal since the Town will not be allowed to charge for the collection of food waste. Mr. Matteson said he would get the Board information, which will answer their questions.

Town Clerk & Treasurer Ms. Donna Zeller reported:

  1. Ms. Zeller requested an executive session to discuss a personnel matter with the Board at the end of the meeting.

  2. The new mailbox is up and running. Ms. Zeller thanked the Highway crew for

    installing the mailbox. Ms. Zeller said she will save a half hour a day by not

    having to go to the Post Office, plus mileage. Ms. Zeller told the Board that she purchased the mailbox using her credit card and that she had put ion a bill to the Town.

  1. Told Board members that Circle articles are due Friday. She told the Board she would write an article regarding the new address.

  2. She informed the Board that Mr. Zingale had contacted Johnson Energy regarding new thermostats for the building. Mr. Zingale said the cost would be about $400.00 for all four thermostats.

  3. Ms. Zeller asked the Building Committee to get the front door repaired. Mr. Faignant will contact Mr. Larry Young regarding repairing the door.

  4. Ms. Zeller reminded the Board that a BCA grievances is scheduled for December 1, 2014. She said she has a court reporter to record the meetings and that notices had been sent out.

  5. Ms. Zeller requested Board signatures regarding a certificate of substantial completion for the Bond Bank for the Fire Station project. Board members and Ms. Zeller discussed the matter and it was decided to hold the paperwork until the next meeting. Ms. Zeller said the Board signed a certificate of substantial completion in March.

    Ms. Zeller said the certificate of substantial completion paperwork should have been sent in six months earlier. Mr. Faignant said information has come to light since the Board signed the March certificate of substantial completion, which prohibits the Board from signing the paperwork for the Bond Bank.

Mr. Dicton asked Ms. Zeller if she has considered on-line tax payments. Ms. Zeller said we have quite a ways to go before we get there. She said the Town will need to purchase financial software to track Town finances.

Ms. Zeller said presently tax payments are received by hand and entered into a spread sheet. Ms. Zeller said some of the nearby towns use NEMRC software, which integrates tax payments, water and sewer payment and town finances. Ms. Zeller said she needs town accounting software before she can begin receiving electronic payments.

Town Fire Chief Mr. Frank Cioffi reported:

  1. Mr. Cioffi requested an executive session to discuss issues regarding the new

    Fire Station.

  2. Mr. Cioffi requested the Board to vote on the proposed Fire Department Bylaw

    Amendments. The Chief said most of the changes are language changes. He

    said the Bylaw Committee has been working on the changes for the past year. He said there could be additional amendment request in the future.

    Mr. Cioffi cited the fact that Mr. Faignant has been working with the Bylaw Committee. Mr. Cioffi said only the items approved by the membership were changed.

    Mr. Chioffi question the change allowing non-resident fire department members to hold a rank above captain. Mr. Faignant said due to changes in the law, courts have struck down the residency limitation as being arbitrary. Mr. Faignant said the courts have determined that living with in a a five mile radius of the Town is reasonable as a requirement for membership in a municipal department.

Ms. Ashcroft cited the fact that the Bylaws state that the Select Board “shall” appoint the individual elected Chief by the department by secret ballot. Mr. Faignant said page 5 section 3.1 should be changed to read the Select Board “may”. Mr. Chioffi said the section should read “subject to the approval of the Select Board and subject to removal by the Select Board for cause. Board members agreed with the proposed change.

Ms. Ashcroft moved to adopt the Fire department Bylaws with the changes the Board has added concerning residency. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Town Police Captain Mr. Ted Washburn reported:

These are the stats of the Rutland Town Police Department for the previous two weeks:

-Calls for service within this period: 27

- Total calls year to date in 2014: 766

-Types of calls assigned

Theft, Citizen Assist, Found Property, Juvenile Problem, 911 Hang-up, Vandalism, Directed Patrol, Public Speaking, Agency Assist, Traffic Hazard, Family Fight, Service of Abuse Prevention Order, Animal Problem and Motor Vehicle Crash, property damage only.

Closed Cases: 25

Motor Vehicle Stops: 22

  1. Chief Dumas: 3

  2. Captain Washburn: 28.5

  3. Officer Gamble: 40

Total number of Admin hours: 60.5

  1. Chief Dumas: 24.5

  2. Captain Washburn: 43.5 (42.5 Training, 1 Admin)

  1. Officer Gamble: 0

Special announcements:

Once cruiser has had the graphics applied to it. November 20th, the second cruiser will have the graphics applied and Dec 4th the final cruiser will have the graphics applied.

A recent phone scam has been going around (see attached press release) in an attempt to get people to give cash money to these people. Rutland Town PD wants to remind people to not give our any personal, credit card or account information over the phone. Should you receive one of these phone scams please report it to the Police so we can document and report it to the Attorney Generals office.

Town Recreation Director Mr. Mike Rowe reported:

  1. Basketball will begin on Wednesday.

  2. There will be a Senior Luncheon on December 16th.

Town Administrator Mr. Joseph Zingale Jr. reported:

  1. Informed the Board that the heater in the office at the Transfer Station needs to be repaired or replaced. Mr. Zingale will find someone to take care of the matter.

  2. He informed Board members that Ms. Sheila Grace, who is with the State Department of Public Service, has offered to meet with the Board regarding any questions pertaining to the proposed New England Clean Power Link DC Transmission line. Board members instructed Mr. Zingale to invite Ms. Grace to a Board meeting.

  3. Mr. Zingale told Board members that the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) is conducting an on-line survey aimed at deterring whether member Towns would be interested in receiving additional services from the RRPC.

  4. He told the Board members that he has received one bid proposal for a new ductless heating / cooling system for the Town Municipal Building. He said he would forward bids to the Board, after he receives a second bid.

  5. Mr. Zingale told Board members that he had spoken with the City Engineer regarding the installation of a cross-walk at the Ripley Road / West Street intersection. Mr. Zingale said he would report back to the Board when he has an answer.

    Mr. Hawley said Mr. Hathaway had contacted the VTrans and that the State of Vermont is considering the installation of a cross-walk in front of the Town Hall. Mr. Hawley said the Town would need to receive a permit from the State of Vermont to do the work. He said additionally the Town would have to pay for construction costs.

  6. He informed the Board that he had contacted the State Attorney General's office regarding the company that is offering to sell water and sewer line insurance to Town residents. He said he was told that the company is registered with the State of Vermont. Mr. Zingale said he was told by a spokesperson with the Attorney General's office that residents should not do business with the company selling water and sewer line insurance.

    Mr. Hawley read a Highway report prepared by Mr. Hathaway. Mr. Hawley said the Town would be receiving a check in the amount of $195,000.00 from the State of Vermont for road retreatment. Ms. Ashcroft moved to sign the paperwork to receive the retreatment check. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

    Board members reviewed pack correspondence.

Mr. Chioffi made a motion to sign the resolution for sustainable education funding. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. Mr. Chioffi said the trend over the last 7 to 10 years has been that more and more towns are being put into the sending categories as was predicted when Acts 60 and 68 passed.

He said there is a general feeling in the State that the education funding structure needs correction. He said education increases over the past 10 years have been out of control. Mr. Chioffi said the resolution is a vehicle which gives the State some direction that local municipalities are at their limit.

Mr. Chioffi said most Town residents that he has heard from sight their inability to

pay increased education cost in this economy. He cited per pupil cost of up to $14,000.00 pep elementary student. He said a family of four does not provide enough taxation to pay $13,000.00 a year per student in school. Mr. Chioffi said the resolution is a vehicle to try to impact State legislation.

Mr. Chioffi siad with the substantial change in the make up of the State legislature to the point where people may listen to a reasonable suggestion. Mr. Dicton asked where the resolution originated and which town have endorsed the resolution.

Mr. Chioffi said he believes the Town of Killington has approved the resolution and Mr. Zingale said the resolution is from the Town of South Burlington.

Ms. Ashcroft said it is all well and good to raise questions and she agreed that it is time to look at the education funding formula. Ms. Ashcroft said she is concerned because the resolution calls on the legislature to cap total education property taxes at the fiscal year 2015 level for the next two years and to raise any necessary school expenses from some other State revenue source.

She said her concern is that the public does not know what other taxes or fees will be increased in order to pay for the moratorium on property taxes. Ms. Ashcroft cited the fact that property taxes have an income component built in to protect those folks that don't have a lot of money to pay excess property taxes.

She said she will not vote for the resolution because it allows the Legislature to raise other taxes, and the public does not know what taxes they might raise. Mr. Chioffi said he is not worried what tax will replace the property tax because it will come from somewhere and that it is not going to come from the property tax.The matter was discussed further.

The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 1. Ms. Ashcroft voted in the negative.

Mr. Chioffi made a motion at 8:33 P.M. to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter with the Town Clerk and Mr. Zingale. Ms. Ashcroft made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Hawley declared the executive session closed at 9:03 P.M.

Ms. Ashcroft moved at 9:05 P.M. to meet in executive session with Chief Cioffi to discuss station construction issues. Mr. Faignant made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Hawley declared the executive session closed at 9:18 P.M. Ms. Ashcroft moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 P.M. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.