MINUTES: January 31, 2012


Board members present: Stanley Rhodes III, Steve Hawley, Jim Hall and Joe Dicton


The Meeting opened at 6:50 P.M.


All rose for The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag.


The Board reviewed the January 13, 20112 minutes. Mr. Hawley moved to approve the 1-13-12 minutes with corrections. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 0. Mr. Hall did not vote.


Mr. Rhodes asked Town officials to offer their comments regarding the Life and Career of Mr. Mark Blucher, the late Executive Director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC).


Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. William Matteson, said he had known Mr. Blucher for approximately 25 years and that Mr. Blucher was a true professional and a very good friend to the Town of Rutland. Mr. Matteson said Mr. Blucher was able to stay below the fray and get the job done.


Mr. Matteson cited the fact that Mr. Blucher was instrumental in the Town receiving numerous Sate planning grants. Mr. Matteson said he couldn’t say enough good things to say about Mr. Blucher and that he will miss him greatly.


Mr. Fred Nicholson described Mr. Blucher as a quiet, in the background type leader. He said Mr. Blucher encouraged his troops to get out and do the work and that Mr. Blucher was always there to support his staff. Mr. Nicholson said Mr. Blucher wasn’t big on shouting orders and hogging the limelight.


Mr. Nicholson cited the fact Mr. Blucher’s staff has received many honors during Mr. Blucher’s time at the RRPC. Mr. Nicholson said Mr. Blucher will be very sorely missed.


Mr. Nicholson said there is talk regarding establishing a scholarship in the Field of Planning in honor of Mr. Mark Blucher.


Mr. Rhodes describer Mr. Blucher as a negotiator and a mediator and he cited Mr. Blucher’s recent involvement in the Green Mountain Plaza’s Act 250 hearing and how Mr. Blucher was instrumental in bringing all the parties together.

Mr. Rhodes said Mr. Blucher’s style was always very laid back and relaxing and made everyone feel they were equal. He said not a lot of people have such ability.


There were no questions from the floor.


Mr. Rob Howland representing Reunion Power of Manchester Vermont met with the Board regarding Reunion’s proposed Grandpa’s Knob wind tower(s) project. Mr. Howland said the Grandpa’s Knob ridge runs from West Rutland/Castleton to Pittsford/Hubbardton.


Mr. Howland said his client hope to get the necessary permits to build the project later in the year. Mr. Howland said his client would be required to hold a meeting with the Rutland Town Select Board in the future and notify the Town in writing prior to the meeting. He said his attendance at the current meeting is not the officials meeting.


He said the purpose of the current meeting is to introduce himself, his client and the project to the Board. Mr. Howland said the project has been in the works for over five years and that his client took over the project from a previous company that decided not to continue.


Mr. Howland said the ridge has been under evaluation for several years and that a considerable amount of resources have been spent to see if it is an appropriate site for a wind farm.


Mr. Howland said 15 to 20 wind turbines would be built along the ridge over a distance of six miles. He said the farm would produce approximately 40 to 50 mega watts of power. He said the farm would be connected into the VELCO Sub Station in West Rutland.


Mr. Howland said the environmental analysis shows there are no showstoppers with the selected area. He said his client wants to work with the State Agency of Environmental Conservation regarding their concerns with the project.


Mr. Howland cited the fact that the first commercial wind generation in the world occurred on Grandpa’s Knob in 1941. He said it has been demonstrated that there is adequate wind for a commercial power project.


Mr. Howland said there are ongoing discussions with a Vermont utility to purchase a substantial part of the output. Mr. Howland said he lives in Pittsford and that the project would be visible from his home.


Mr. Howland said there are about 15 landowners along the ridgeline and that easement agreements have been entered into with most of the landowners. Mr. Howland said renewable energy tens to help stabilize prices.


Mr. Howland said the proposed purchase price for wind power is above current market prices adding they will not escalate over time. He said they would increase at a known rate rather than being subject to oil or nature gas price fluctuations. Mr. Howland named the towns he has already met and discussed the proposed project.


Mr. Howland said the wind turbines would rotate into the wind to constantly capture the power in the wind. Mr. Howland said his client’s hopes to file with the Public Service Board by the middle of the year.


Mr. Dicton asked what the total disturbed area would be for the proposed project and if any instruments had been placed on the ridge to measure wind speed. Mr. Howland said two towers have been continuously gathering data since 2007. He said they also have data prior to 2007 and as far back as the 1930’s and 40’s.


Mr. Howland said each of the 20-wind turbines would need approximately 1.5 cleared acres as well as a class three road connecting all of the turbines. Mr. Howland said there could be up to 8 to 10 miles or road along the ridge. He said there would also be three new miles of power line.


Mr. Nicholson said that at some point the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources would have to issue a 401-water quality certification regarding the proposed project.


Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. William Matteson asked if Mr. Howland could cited any other 50 mega watt facilities. Mr. Howland said the McNeil wood burning plant in Burlington is 50-mega watts. Mr. Howland said Vermont Yankee is 500 mega watts. Mr. Howland said approximately half the homes in Rutland County could be powered from the proposed wind farm.


Mr. Howland said the top of the turbine blade would be 400 feet above the ground. Town resident Mr. Paul Clifford inquired as to the role the Town would play in the permitting process. Mr. Howland said the Town can request to be a party and that the Public Service Board would decide if the Town could participate.



Town Clerk & Treasurer:  Ms. Marie Hyjek reported:


  1. Informed the Board that the Town Report had been sent to the printer.


  1. Informed the Board that the Town ballots had gone to the printer


  1. Told the Board that all nominees had turned in their petitions.


  1. Told the Board the Presidential Primary ballot had arrived


  1. Has started her list for absentee ballots


  1. Told the Board that voters will have to designate their party. She said voters would be told that they are not declaring their party rather which ballot they want to use for the primary. She discussed other issues regarding the voting process.


  1. Told the Board that the Town & School warning, and a resolution for the School, had been posted in the proper areas.


  1. Told the Board The Circle would be assembled at Town Hall on February 16, 2012.


  1. Asked the Board to review a Liquor License request and the fourth of July fireworks contract.


Solid Waste Alliance Communities & Rutland Transportation Council:  Mr. Shields reported:


  1. Told the Board that at his last Transportation Committee meeting a VTrans aviation administrator gave a good talk regarding the Southern Vermont Regional Airport.  Mr. Shields cited some of the highlights from the talk.


Regional Planning Commission Mr. Fred Nicholson reported:


  1. Told the Board that Ms. Susan Schreibman is the acting Executive Director of the Regional Commission. He said the workload at the RRPC is being shuffled among staff members. Mr. Nicholson cited the fact that Planner Ed Bove will be out of the office for five months.


  1. Mr. Nicholson said the RRPC would form a search committee to look for Mr. Blucher’s replacement.


  1. Mr. Nicholson said a recent audit of the RRPC shows the RRPC is in good shape.


Town Road Commissioner: Mr. Byron Hathaway reported:


  1. Mr. Hathaway presented a list of the reimbursements the Town will receive in connection with Tropical Storm Irene. He said the Town would receive $18,921.26. Mr. Hathaway told the Board he would sign the FEMA document for reimbursement and send in the form.


  1. Discussed a letter he received from a State official regarding the hydraulic capacity of the East Pittsford Road Bridge since Tropical Storm Irene. Mr. Hathaway said he would meet with the local river management person and ask him for an opinion regarding the gravel bars in the river.


  1. Cited the fact he had submitted his draft specification for paving for Board consideration. There were no comments.


  1. Cited the fact he had submitted specifications for roadside mowing. Mr. Rhodes said he agrees with some but not all of Mr. Hathaway’s specifications. Mr. Rhodes said the Board should meet in executive session with Mr. Nicholson before sending out the roadside-mowing request.


  1. Briefed the Board regarding annual winter maintenance expenditures. Mr. Hathaway said the Town could save $1,343.00 for an average year, using one pre-wet system on the Town truck. Mr. Hathaway said there would be an $11,000.00 to $12,000.00 savings by installing pre-wet systems on all trucks. Mr. Hathaway told the Board that the Town of West Rutland is considering partnering with Rutland Town regarding shared use of a brine maker. Mr. Hathaway said the pre-wet system causes road salt to start melting at lower temperatures.


  1. Mr. Hathaway discussed replacing the culvert at the East Pittsford Road / Prospect Hill Road intersection. Mr. Hathaway said a 6’ culvert would be required. 


Mr. Hall requested that Mr. Hathaway submit his weekly reports to the Board.


Fire Chief: Joseph Denardo reported:


  1. Submitted a previously approved Fire Department Bylaw amendment for signature.


  1. Informed the Board that he had met with Mr. Larry Dingee and had reviewed the body building plans for the fire truck Mr. Dingee is building for the Town.  Mr. Denardo said a second hose reel would be added to the truck. Mr. Rhodes said he would like the Chief to get a price for a new hose reel as well as the used hose reel.


  1. Mr. Denardo discussed the planned 2013 pumper/tanker vehicle that is being designed.  Mr. Denardo said work on the design is almost finished and should be ready to go out to bid soon.


  1. Mr. Denardo clarified, that the Fire department is asking for $9,000.00 to develop plans to renovate the station. He said the $9,000.00 is not to renovate the station.


  1. Mr. Denardo suggested the Board consider spending some of the money from timber sales to put a back up generator in the Town Hall. Mr. Rhodes said the revenue has not been earmarked for any particular use. He said he has been thinking that the money could be used to put toward a new Highway Garage. Ms. Hyjek said there is about $100,000.00 in the timber sale account.


Mr. Shields told the Board that he does not think it would be good idea to select one contractor as the preferred vendor for the purchase of new fire trucks. Mr. Shields cited the fact that Town officials are required to get at lease three bids when making a purchase. Mr. Shields said it is dead wrong not to have competition in the purchase of a new fire truck. Citing a concern that a company many miles away could be the successful bidder, Mr. Shields said the Board could have a condition that all bidders must be within so many miles of the Town in order to bid.


Planning Commission: William Matteson


  1. Reported the Planning Commission would be meeting with Susan Schreibman on Thursday night to discuss the proposed zoning regulations.


  1. Informed the Board that the Aldi’s Supermarket final hearing is scheduled for Thursday night.


Mr. Rhodes briefed the Board regarding a request from Aldi’s for the Town to be a co-applicant in regards to a sidewalk construction permit from the State of Vermont. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Zingale if Aldi’s would maintain the sidewalk. Mr.Zingale said he believes the City and the Town would be responsible and not Aldi’s. Mr. Zingale cited the fact the Town has an agreement with the City of Rutland for the City to plow the sidewalk in the area in question. Mr. Rhodes signed the application.


Police Department: Chief John Sly reported:


  1. Mr. Sly said the Town school has not proposed to build a Police Department office at the Town school. Mr. Sly said there is a proposal to make an office for the Town school resource officer.


2.   Mr. Sly requested a brief executive session to discuss a personnel matter.


Recreation Director: Mike Rowe reported:


1.       Told the Board that basketball ball is winding down.

2.       Informed the Board that the first baseball meeting had just taken place. He said baseball registration would begin at the end of the month

3.       Told the Board that the Recreation Department had received a financial donation for the baseball program from Alderman’s Chevrolet.


Town Administrator:  Mr. Joseph Zingale reported:


1.       Informed the Board that he, Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Susan Schreibman, had met with State Senators Ms. Peg Flory and Mr. Kevin Mullin and State Representative David Potter from the Town of Clarendon. Mr. Zingale said the legislators suggested the Town get the proposed “Service Road” on the TAC road construction priority list as a means of funding initial studies. Mr. Rhodes said the Governor’s Highway Safety fund might be another source for funding studying the proposed “service road”. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Shields to try to find out how much money is in the Governor’s Highway Safety Fund.


2.       Told the Board that he had received word from the Rutland Post Office that the new town street name “Deer Run Place” had been rejected by the Post Office. Mr. Zingale said the name was rejected because there is a Deer Run Place in Mendon. He said Mendon and the Town of Rutland share the zip code 05701. Mr. Zingale told the Board that the residents living off the private drive would now like their road to be called “ Blackberry Ridge Place”. Mr. Zingale will check with the Rutland Post Office to determine if the new name is acceptable.


3.       Informed the Board that the Town’s Insurance Adjustor will pay the entire $16,198.48 A1 Sewer & Drain bill for pump station damage caused by tropical storm Irene. Board members discussed the fact that water is ponding around the Town pump station due to improper swale restoration work following tropical storm Irene.


4.       Told the Board that the Aldi’s Supermarket Act 250 hearing went well.


Mr. Shields asked the Board to apply for an Enhance Grant to build a sidewalk from the Town School to Chasanna Drive. Mr. Rhodes listed the following as possible Bond votes for the Town:


$600,000.00 School bond

$130,000.00 School solar panel bond

$500.000.00 or more for a Fire Station

$300.000.00 Highway Garage


Mr. Rhodes said the School should build the sidewalk. Mr. Zingale said the sidewalk from the School to Northwood Park would cost about $200,000.00 according to Dufresne Henry.   


Mr. Hall moved to honor the request for $75.00 for the Loyalty Day Parade. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


The Board reviewed the Fireworks contract. Mr. Rhodes said the contract price is $6,100.00 and that the Town would get the same show as last year. Mr. Hawley moved to approve the $6,100.00 contract with Northstar for the fireworks for July 4 celebration. Mr. Hall made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


Mr. Hall moved to approve the Liquor License for the Shortstop on US RT 4 East. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


Mr. Hall made a motion that any action to place any portion of Rutland Town in a neighboring legislative district is unacceptable to the Board. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


Mr. Rhodes acknowledged a $250.00 donation to the Town Recreation Commission from the Vermont Country Store. Mr. Rhodes read the letter submitted with the donation. Mr. Rhodes said the Town thanks Vermont Country Store for their donation.


Mr. Rhodes said the General Budget is up 1.48 %

Highway is up 1%

Fire is up 3.14 %

Recreation 1.32%


Mr. Rhodes read an e-mail from Rutland County Supervisory Union Director Debra Taylor to Mr. Zingale regarding her and the Town’s School Board’s not being able to meet on 1-31-12 with the Select Board to discuss a proposed $600,000.00 school bond and 20 year contract request.


Mr. Hall said he spoke with Ms. Taylor and that she said the bond would be for $547,000.00 Mr. Hall said we have since learned it will be for $600,000.00. Mr. Hall said that according to Ms. Taylor, the Town would receive a $49,000.00 payment each year. He Hall said according to Mr. Taylor there would be no cost to Rutland Town taxpayers since neighboring towns would contribute enough to cover the bond payment plus the interest.


Mr. Hall said Ms. Taylor did not give him a definitive answer as to his question regarding what happens if the Rutland School District is consolidated. Mr. Hall said plans for the proposed renovations at the school have been on file since 2009. Mr. Dicton asked if Mr. Hall discussed heating, janitorial and electric cost. Mr. Hall said the items were not discussed. Mr. Dicton said these residual costs would be extra.


Mr. Rhodes said according to the Town Meeting Warning there will be a request for $130,000.00 and a total project cost of $215,000.00.  Mr. Rhodes read from Governor Shumlin’s State of the State address regarding school consolidation.


Mr. Rhodes said the Select Board is talking about the proposed School Board Bond request in order to get the word out to the public.


Mr. Rhodes said the School’s 1995 bond will sunset in 2015. Mr. Rhodes said the annual payment is $80,000.00. Mr. Rhodes told the Board the 1997 $900,000.00 sewer bond will not sunset until 2016. He said the annual payment is $45,366.00. Mr. Rhodes questioned Ms. Hyjek regarding another possible school bond. Ms. Hyjek said she is unaware of any other school bond.


Board members and town officials discussed the proposed school bond(s) further.


The Board reviewed packet correspondence.


Mr. Hall informed the Board that he contacted several State Legislators and encouraged them to restore the base fund calculation for education. He said he did so based on an email request from VLCT. 


Mr. Dicton moved to go into executive session with Chief John Sly at 8:50 PM to discuss a personnel issue. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


Mr. Rhodes declared the executive session closed at 9:07 PM. Mr. Dicton moved to increase Mr. Ed Dumas’ hours from 28 to 34 per week and to be paid at the same pay rate as Mr. John Paul Faignant. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.


Mr. Hall moved to close the meeting. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 0.