TOWN OF RUTLAND
January 20, 2009
Board members present: Steven Hawley, James Hall, Stanley Rhodes III, Richard Del Bianco and Joshua Terenzini.
The Meeting opened at 6:30 P.M. with the pledge of allegiance.
The Board signed orders for forty-one minutes.
The Board reviewed the 1-6-09 minutes. Mr. Del Bianco moved to approve the 1-6-09 minutes as corrected. Mr. Hall made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
There was no Recreation Commission report. Mr. Zingale informed the Board that it might cost several hundred dollars to perform an asbestos audit of the Northwood Park Pool building prior to the planned renovation work.
Mr. Rhodes said the Recreation budget for last year was $137,900.00 and that the budget would be $ 131,900 or a $6,000.00 decrease. Mr. Rhodes said the Recreation Commission expects an $8,000.00 revenue decrease.
Mr. Rhodes said overall the Recreation Commission budget is up $2,000.00 over last year or a little over a 1% increase.
Town Representative to the Solid Waste Alliance Coalition (SWAC), Mr. Charley Shields said no meeting, no report.
Town Representative to the Rutland County Transportation Council, Mr. Charley Shields, questioned Mr. Zingale regarding the status of the planned Park & Ride site at the Town Municipal Building. Mr. Zingale said he had signed all of the paperwork and that he is waiting for the $2,500.00 payment to the Town from the State.
Mr. Zingale said the Highway Crew would use the money to put up signs and stripe the parking lot. Mr. Shields discussed with the Board the possible elimination of the Amtrak route into the City of Rutland.
Mr. Rhodes read aloud the SWAC Hazardous Waste collection schedule. Mr. Shields cited the fact the Hazardous Waste collection time would be shorter than in previous years, in order to allow for more sites to participate on the same day. Mr. Shields said the hazardous waste truck would drive between locations collecting waste.
Town representative to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, Mr. Fred Nicholson, reported that it looks like the RRPC will make it through the year without getting into the red. Mr. Nicholson said next year the RRPC would have to dip into their rainy day fund.
Mr. Nicholson said part of the problem is the fact that Federal funds cannot be used by the RRPC for fixed or overhead cost. He said the RRPC must use State funds for fixed cost. Mr. Nicholson said the RRPC would now watch their work with Towns much closer. Mr. Nicholson said in the past the RRPC worked with the Town until the project was finished. He said now the RRPC will stop work when the grant is expended.
Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that the RRPC planned to send a letter to the Act 250 Commission expressing concerns regarding Aspen Dental’s proposed lighting and pedestrian traffic flow. Mr. Nicholson said the RRPC had lighting concerns with the proposed Dicton project.
Mr. Nicholson said the RRPC would seek its standard condition requiring all lighting to be Wall mounted, shielded and directed downward.
Town Road Commissioner, Mr. Byron Hathaway, reported he had worked out a budget with the Highway Committee. Mr. Hathaway said the budget might be inadequate in some ways, however he said it probably will suffice.
Mr. Rhodes said the 08-09 Highway Budget was $817,230.00 and that this year’s budget is $816,200.00. Mr. Rhodes said due to the fact that projected revenue is at zero there will be a little over 13% increase.
Mr. Terenzini requested that the Highway crew take down the Christmas decorations at the Town Hall. Mr. Hathaway said he would take down the decorations.
Mr. Del Bianco questioned Mr. Hathaway as to why he recently sanded two of Mr. Tony Flory’s roads. Mr. Hathaway said he did so because the roads were inadequately salted. Mr. Hathaway and the Board discussed highway matters further and no action was taken.
There was no one present from The Fire Department. Mr. Rhodes informed Board members that last year’s Fire Budget was $159,300.00 and the new budget is set at $159,150.00.
Mr. Rhodes said last year’s General Budget was $960,856.00 and the new proposed budget is $974,706.00. Mr. Rhodes said the increase is $11,850.00 or a little over a 1% increase. Mr. Rhodes said revenue last year was $214,00.00 and that this year the Board is looking at $180,000.00 in revenue. Mr. Rhodes said the $34,000.00 decrease in revenue, will result in a little more than a 6% increase in the budget.
Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Hathaway discussed State Highway funding. Mr. Rhodes said the Board is looking at an estimated $8,000.00 decrease in Recreation Commission revenue.
Mr. Rhodes said there is a total of $142,000.00 decrease between the three budgets. Mr. Rhodes said the Board could make up the shortfall with revenue collected from the new 1% local options tax.
Mr. Rhodes cited the fact that the Town would have received an average of $900,000.00 in annual revenue over the past five years. Mr. Rhodes said given the state of the economy the Board could conservatively budget $150,000.00 in anticipated revenue from the 1% local tax.
Mr. Rhodes said the Highway Budget would receive $100,000.00 in funds from the 1% revenues, the Recreation Budget would receive $8,000.00 and $34,000.00 would go to the general budget. Mr. Rhodes said the revenue would level fund the three budgets to last year’s levels. Mr. Hawley said the 1% would be used in anticipation of taxes.
Mr. Rhodes said the 1% revenue money would be used to give the people a break on their taxes. Mr. Rhodes said it would make sense to target the 1% money to the budgets that have been reduced. He said this would put the money back into the taxpayers’ hands since the tax rate would be reduced with the 1% revenue.
Mr. Terenzini said the budgets were made not knowing the 1% money would be available. Mr. Terenzini said there is no fluff in the budgets. Mr. Rhodes announced that everything is as level funded as it can be. He said there would be no pay raises or anything. Mr. Rhodes said there are no layoffs at this point.
Mr. Terenzini said the Board took a good hard look at the $1.5 to $2 million General Budget and cut a $150.00 here and another $100.00 there throughout the budget.
The Board discussed the revenues to come from the 1% local option tax further and took no action.
Mr. Steve Wilk, of Wilk Paving, met wit the Board to discuss spring/summer-paving work. Mr. Wilk told the Board that the binding agent used to make asphalt has dropped almost 50% in price since the Board decided to put off last years paving work. Mr. Wilk said last fall’s price for the binding agent was a fluke.
Mr. Wilk reviewed the history of the binding agent’s pricing over the past several years with Board members. Mr. Wilk said his company paid $515.00 a ton for the liquid when the bid was placed with the Town. Mr. Rhodes said it looks like the Town is in a position to get more paving this year verses last year with the Town’s $460,00.00 in paving funds.
Mr. Hathaway told the Board that due to the fact the State of Vermont has not given the Town all of its highway aid money the Town would not have enough money to pay the $469,000.00 contracted amount. Mr. Hathaway suggested the Board put the paving contract back out to bid. Mr. Hathaway cited the fact the Town is waiting for $52,000.00 in highway funds to be paid by the State of Vermont.
Mr. Hathaway cited the fact the Town has a contract with Mr. Wilk that allows the Town to add or delete streets after the contract has been awarded. The Board will meet with Mr. Wilk again the first meeting in April.
Mr. Hall predicted the State is going to get a real earful from Vermonters on Town meeting day.
Mr. Jay Morel, manager of the Diamond Run Mall, met with Board members and discussed various rumors surrounding the possible closing of stores at the Mall.
Mr. Morel said all the stores in the mall have contracts, and if they do not, they are in negotiations for a new contract. Mr. Morel said he is not aware of any stores in the mall going out-of-business.
Mr. Morel said the closings of the KB Toy Store and the Rex store had nothing to do with Rutland Town or Rutland City. Mr. Morel said the two stores went out of business because their companies decided to pull out of the area.
Mr. Rhodes asked if there are any stores on the bubble. Mr. Morel said he is not aware of any. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Morel the status of the American Eagle Store. Mr. Morel said so far so good.
Mr. Terenzini told Mr. Morel the Board would do what it can to help promote businesses at the mall. Mr. Morel said a sign at the intersection of the bypass and Route 7 would help business a great deal.
Mr. Morel said some potential stores will not come to the mall unless there is a sign at the intersection of Routes 4&7. Mr. Morel cited the fact he has been working with Mr. Zingale on the sign matter.
Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Morel if many individuals using the Field House also go to the mall. Mr. Morel said the mall is working to promote the connection between the mall and the Field house.
When asked how well the Sports Legends Bar is doing Mr. Morel said the bar is doing well. Mr. Morel said K-Mart is doing very well. Mr. Morel said he is unaware of any layoffs at stores at the mall.
Mr. Rhodes said he is skeptical as to what Mr. Morel said, adding he is hopeful.
Mr. Zingale suggested Mr. Morel try to do join marketing with the local ski areas. He sited the fact that skiers might go skating on days it is too cold or windy to ski.
Town Planning Commission Chairman, Mr. William Matteson reported:
Mr. Zingale used the projector and showed the Board the locations of developable sites in town, which he submitted to the US 7 South Corridor Committee for consideration in conjunction with the study.
Mr. Zingale also showed the Board a potential new road, which might elevate some of the traffic related issues in the south part of the town. The road would connect Farrell Road to two possible locations at the Cold River Road intersection and the Curtis Avenue intersection on US RT 7 South.
Mr. Matteson said he believes the proposed road should be considered. Mr. Rhodes asked who would build and own the road. Mr. Zingale said the road is a concept at this point. Mr. Matteson said the town should not take the road on as its project but rather get the road into the current US 7 South study.
Mr. Hawley moved to have Mr. Zingale submit the conceptional road to the Route 7 Corridor study committee. Mr. Hall made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
There was no one present from the Town Police Department.
Mr. Hall told Board members that individuals have told him that the town police officers are not assessable. Mr. Hall cited a local business that was broken into and he said the Town police did not respond to the owners phone call. Mr. Hall said the individual did not call the State Police.
Mr. Rhodes said the Town should print the phone numbers for the Town’s three officers in the Town Report. Mr. Hall said the State Police phone number should also be included.
Mr. Rhodes thanked Town Clerk & Treasurer Ms. Hyjek for all her work preparing the Town budget information for the Board.
Ms. Hyjek reported on the following:
Town Administrator Mr. Joseph Zingale Jr. reported:
Mr. Rhodes questioned Mr. Matteson and Mr. Zingale regarding various zoning enforcement type issues. Mr. Rhodes said enforcement could break the back of the Town if certain current uses, such as sheds, are not grandfathered.
Mr. Terenzini said the Board should review the zoning document at their next meeting.
Mr. Hawley moved to approve the Hannaford Supermarket Tobacco and Liquor licenses. Motion second by Mr. Del Bianco, the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Terenzini informed Mr. Hathaway that a yield sign is missing at the Middle Road/ US Rout 7 intersection. Mr. Hathaway said he will look into the matter and will put up a sign if it is missing.
The Board and Ms. Hyjek discussed how the Town would use the 1% tax revenue. Mr. Hawley said if some of the 1% money were not directed to the General, Highway and Recreation budgets there would be up to a 16% increase to the taxpayers.
Mr. Rhodes said $100,000.00 would go to the Highway budget and $34,000.00 to the
The Board reviewed packet correspondence.
Mr. Rhodes said the health costs in the general budget are looking at a 6% increase. He said the cost would go from $52,000.00 to $60,000.00. Mr. Rhodes said the Health Insurance portion is going up 15.5 %. He said the Town is also adding a Town Constable to the Insurance at a cost of $8,500.00.
Mr. Zingale explained why he had Stantec calculate the cost of constructing a water line and annual power use for a prospective water bottler.
Mr. Terenzini questioned Mr. Zingale regarding a City of Rutland water connection request from a town business. Mr. Zingale said the owner of the NAPA Auto building has requested he be allowed to connect to City water.
Mr. Zingale informed the Board that the US Army is considering building on the Thomas property off US Route 7 North.
Mr. Rhodes said the Board needs to do a personnel review for Fire, Highway and Police, which pertain to executive session. The Board decided to wait two weeks before discussing.
Mr. Rhodes read the warning for the vote to increase the Veteran’s exemption from $20,000.00 to $40,000.00.
Mr. Hawley moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:00PM. Mr. Terenzini made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.