MINUTES: April 9, 2013

Board members present: Stanley Rhodes III, Steve Hawley, Joe Dicton and Don Chioffi

The Meeting opened at 6:40 P.M.

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

Mr. Dicton move to approve accept the minutes as stated. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 0. Mr. Rhodes abstained from the vote.

Mr. Rhodes said Mr. Faignant is out of Town, in a trial, and would not attend the meeting.

The Board took questions from the floor:

Town resident Mr. Bernie Alexander made a complaint against his neighbor for operating a landscaping business in a residential neighborhood. Mr. Alexander said there are vehicles constantly going up and down the road because the business has grown.

The Board advised Mr. Alexander to check with the Act 250 office because the Town does not have any regulations to prohibit the commercial use. Board members discussed whether the Town Plan would have any jurisdiction. Mr. Zingale and Mr. Matteson said the Town Plan applies to the commercial use of residential land.

Clerk & Treasurer: Ms. Marie Hyjek reported:

  1. Informed the Board that she has not heard of a date for the next school budget re-vote.

  2. Told the Board that apparently some people believe there is a limit regarding the number of votes that can occur. Ms. Hyjek said according the State law there is no limitation on the number of votes. Ms. Hyjek said if there is no budget on or before June 30th then the School Board can borrow funds up to 87 % of the previous budget, to run the school. Mr. Chioffi said it makes no sense to have a meeting the night before the vote since nothing could be said that would change the vote. He said the meeting should be in advance of the vote, so changes could be made.

  3. Requested a policy from the Board regarding the barricades in the parking lot. Ms. Hyjek requested that the Highway Department be required to put up her signs and the barricades on November 1st and then in the spring take the signs and the barricades down, until the roof is corrected.

    Mr. Dicton said if the roof is not addressed in the spring then Ms. Hyjek's proposal is a fair assumption for the fall. Mr. Dicton said there would be a committee meeting to see about getting some snow stops for the roof.

    Mr. Hathaway said he does not have a problem removing the barricades but that he does have a problem putting up the barricades since the area is a non-designated parking area. He said the only designated parking is behind the building. Mr. Hathaway said he would put the barricades up if that is what the Board wants. Mr. Rhodes said Mr. Hathaway should take down the barricades

    Mr. Chioffi suggested the Board put up signs stating “parking only in designated area”. Mr. Zingale suggested checking with VLCT regarding Mr. Chioffi’s suggestion.

  4. Ms. Hyjek said the Board should look closely at how much the sewer and water accounts have gone down in the past two year because the Board is not collection Operation & Maintenance (O&M) fees.

    Ms. Hyjek said the Board is still below the $700,000.00 cap the Board had set. Mr. Hawley said the amount has not gone below $700,000.00. Mr. Rhodes cited the fact the account is still over $1 million dollars.

    Mr. Hawley suggested the Board begin to charge 10% for water and 5% for sewer O&M fees. He cited the fact that the rates were previously set at 20% for water and 10% for sewer.

    Mr. Zingale cited the fact the Board had just spent over $30,000.00 for the design of the the relocated pump station electrical panel. He said the construction could be over $100,000.00. Mr. Zingale will write a letter to all sewer and water users informing them of the new rates for the next quarter.

    Mr. Dicton moved to adopt the 5% sewer and 10 % water charges. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. Mr. Rhodes said the Board previously eliminated the 10% sewer and 20 % water charges. He said now we are going back to 5% and 10%. The motion passed unanimously.

    Mr. Zingale cited the fact that the Town contract with the Airport Industrial Park allows the Town to charge users in the Airport Park twice what the Town charges businesses within the Town. He said Ms. Hyjek would have to make an adjustment for the Airport Park users rates.

    Mr. Dicton asked Ms. Hyjek why the Town supplies all election clerks at the Town school. Mr. Dicton asked if there is a method to have the School Board offer up individuals to work the election polls.

    Mr. Rhodes cited the fact that Ms. Hyjek had been authorized to get anyone that is available. Ms. Hyjek said according to state statues only Select Board and Justices of the Peace can work the polls.

Transportation Council & SWAC: Charles Shields reported:

  1. There will be a household hazardous waste collection on Saturday April 13th. He said the hours would be from 8:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. Mr. Chioffi said the collection is the first of two required collections.

  2. Reported the semi-annual meeting will be held on May 2, 2013.

  3. Informed the Board and public that there will be an unused prescription/drug collection held on April 27, 2013 at the Diamond Run Mall.

  4. Reported the Transportation Council had met recently at the Leahy Center. Mr. Shields said because he went to the wrong location he missed the buffet dinner. He said the meeting had to do with health and safety.

  5. Told the Board that he had attended a meeting at the Regional Planning Commission and that Mr. Zingale and Mr. Hathaway did a good job representing the Town.

Town Road Commissioner: Mr. Byron Hathaway reported:

  1. Cited a grant approval letter regarding the School to Northwood Park side walk feasibility study. Mr. Rhodes cited the fact the grant had gone from a 20% local match (when the Board applied) to a 50 % match award. Mr. Hathaway said the Board should look over the letter carefully and that he does not have to respond until May 1, 2013.

    The Board and Mr. Hathaway discussed from which budget the money for the local match would be taken. Ms. Hyjek said the money would come from the Highway budget. Mr. Hathaway said the Board should make a decision on the 23
    rd as to whether the Board will accept the grant.

    Mr. Chioffi asked if the Town would have to go through another process to get construction funds. Mr. Hathaway said the Town would have to go through another process to get construction funds. Mr. Chioffi said the State would probably want to fund the construction since it awarded the grant.

    Mr. Chioffi said before he would vote to go forward with it (the grant award) he
    wants to know if it has a pretty good chance of succeeding. Mr. Hathaway said it is a worthwhile project to get the sidewalk at least to Chasanna Drive. Mr. Rhodes asked Mr. Hathaway how the construction grants are funded. Mr. Hathaway said they are typically 80/20.

  2. Informed the Board that a school program has requested the use of the Town chipper and one person to operate the chipper for disposing of wood collected on the school property, in the course of improving the walking trails.

    Board members discussed the matter with Mr. Hathaway. Mr. Rhodes said they should have proof of insurance at a minimum. Board members told Mr. Hathaway that he should be present when the chipper is being used. Mr. Rhodes said to make sure they have insurance.

  3. Mr. Hathaway told the Board that he had expected the owner of the home on the corner of Barrett Hill Road and North Campbell Road to be present to discuss financial assistance in replacing the shrubs Mr. Hathaway is going to remove. Mr. Hathaway said it would cost $400.00 to $500.00 to replace the shrubs with stockade fencing.

    Mr. Dicton asked if the Town had a clarification of the property boundaries. Mr. Hathaway said the picture which Mr. Zingale previously provided was spot-on.

    Mr. Rhodes said he is aware of at least two other similar situations in Town. Mr. Rhodes if the Town buys shrubs or fencing for one that we are going to have to do it for everyone. The Board discussed the matter further and decided it would not reimburse the homeowner since the shrubs are within the road right-of-way.

  4. Informed the Board that he would have the paving bids for the next meeting.

  5. Requested an executive session to discuss the performance of a plow contractor.

Planning Commission: William Matteson reported:

  1. No meeting no report

Fire Chief: Joseph Denardo reported:

  1. Reported the tank to engine # 4 has been repaired. He said he hopes to have the truck back in service the following week.

  2. Reported construction has started on the body of the new engine # 4. Mr. Denardo said per the contract he has received a bill for the first installment of $46,666.00

  3. Told the Board the Lock Box ordinance has generated several issues. He said building which have someone present 24/7 should not be required to provide a lock box, since there would be someone on-site.

    Mr. Denardo said the fact the businesses are open 24/7 precludes the need for a lock box. Mr. Denardo cited the fact that Mr. Zingale has been handing out notices to Town businesses. Mr. Denardo said he would send a letter to those businesses that are open 24/7 and inform them they are exempt provided they maintain the 24/7 occupancy.

    Chief Denardo said because it could cost the Diamond Run Mall up to
    $7,000.00 to provide boxes to the individual stores. Mr. Denardo said a master box with all the keys in the mall office would work.

  4. Informed the Board he is working with the company that is attempting to place solar panels at the old metro mail building to ensure fire access to the building.

  5. Mr. Denardo told the Board that 15 to 20 members of the Department attended a training session the previous week in Clarendon.

  6. Mr. Denardo said the Center Station bid requests would go out in the mail the following Tuesday. Mr. Denardo suggested that Mr. Zingale be designated as the contact person for the Town during station construction. Mr. Denardo said we are on schedule for a May 7th bid opening.

    Mr. Rhodes inquired as to how much the Department had reduced the estimated building cost. Mr. Denardo said the project is within
    $20,000.00 of the original amount. Mr. Denardo said a 20,000 watt generator will be installed. Mr. Denardo said $18,000.00 will be saved by switching from 50 year shingles to 30 year and an additional $12,000.00 by not including air conditioning in the office. Mr. Denardo said the items would come out of the project if the bids are high.

  7. Mr. Denardo said the Department's roster is around 38 or 40 total members.

Police Chief: Ed Dumas reported:

  1. Things are pretty good in town.

  2. Told the Board that Captain Washburn was short on hours last week due to required training at the Academy.

  3. He (Mr. Dumas) is working on a vicious dog complaint

Mr. Hathaway requested that Mr. Dumas get the accident information for a recent accident on the East Proctor Road, which resulted in damage to the town guardrail.

Recreation Director: Mike Rowe reported:

Not Present.

Mr. Dicton reported for Mr. Rowe.

  1. Mr. Dicton said the rebuild of the playground at Del Bianco Park at Dewey Field will take place on May 11, 2013. The community is invited and welcomed to participate in the event.

  2. Mr. Dicton said Mr. Rowe thanked the Town Highway crew for removing the old playground equipment.

Regional Planning Commission Mr. Fred Nicholson reported:

Not Present

Town Administrator: Mr. Joseph Zingale reported:

  1. Updated the Board regarding attempts to get paid electronically by the the Army Guard/Army Reserves.

  2. Informed the Board that a hearing has been scheduled for May 16, 2013 in Montpelier before the State Transportation Board regarding the US & Access Master Plan. Mr. Zingale said he would attend the meeting.

  3. Cited a letter from Stantec requesting an additional budget of $1,000.00 for the on-going Ponderosa waste water compliance matter. Mr. Zingale said he does not think the additional money is needed since the technical issues have been addressed. Mr. Zingale said weekly inspections have shown tremendous improvement in the lines. Mr. Rhodes said the Board has the money for the additional work.

  4. Reported to the Board regarding a recent meeting at the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) pertaining to the “new” local road the Town has proposed for the south end of town. Mr. Zingale said Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras express concerns that the new road would dump traffic into the City and would make possible new commercial developments.

    Mr. Zingale told the Board that he responded by stating the purpose of the new road is, first, to reduce vehicle trips on US RT 7 South and 2nd, to allow for the development of land that otherwise would be unlikely to receive permits to develop.

    Mr. Zingale said the $25,000.00 study would continue by analyzing the impacts of growth in the Town both with and with out the new local road.

    Mr. Chioffi moved to pay Stantec $2,600.00 for bills accrued. Mr. Hawley cited the fact the $2,600.00 bill had been paid. Mr. Chioffi withdrew his motion.

The Board discussed a request from the owners of the Ponderosa Restaurant to pay a reduced fee to the Town. Mr. Dicton said the owners are offering to pay $2,000.00 of a $4,340.13 bill.

Mr. Zingale said the $2,600.00 Stantec charge is not included in the $4,340.13 amount. Mr. Rhodes said the Board should wait until Mr. Faignant is present before making a decision. Mr. Hawley and Mr. Dicton said the Town needs to recoup our cost.

Mr. Chioffi moved to table the Ponderosa request to pay a reduced fine. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Board considered the appointment of a representative to the Rutland Regional Ambulance Service. Mr. Rhodes acknowledged the fact that Mr. Chioffi has expressed an interest in the appointment.

The Board discussed the matter. Mr. Dicton moved to have Mr. Chioffi serve as the Regional Ambulance representative until march 2015. Mr. Hawley made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 0. Mr. Chioffi abstained from the vote.

Mr. Rhodes said discussion of the Personnel Policy should be placed on the next agenda, since Mr. Faignant is not present.

Mr. Hawley told Mr. Chioffi that there had been several meetings to rewrite the policies the previous year. Mr. Hawley said the current policy is not like the policy first proposed.

Mr. Chioffi said the 2005 manual did not apply to elected officials. He said the current manual includes elected officials. He said elected officials were not included in the 2005 manual because of sovereign immunity.

Mr. Rhodes said the Board decided to include everybody to show the employees we are bound to it the same as they are. Mr. Chioffi said legally there is no binder to include the Select Board because Board members are not personnel.

He said philosophically the personnel policy is an excellent document. He said a document is needed to covered hired employees. Mr. Chioffi said he answers to a much higher authority than the document. He said he adheres to a much higher standard since he can be removed at the end of his term for no cause.

Mr. Chioffi said he understands Mr. Rhodes position and that he would adhere to the policies in the manual. Mr. Chioffi said the Board is not legally bound by the policy nor should it be.

Mr. Dicton said the policy is an overview of the Board and that the Board is not governing itself, according to the policy. Mr. Chioffi said it would be shaky legal ground to say the document pertains to the Board when it does not pertain to the Board. Mr. Chioffi said the information put out by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns specifically says elected officials are exempt.

Mr. Hawley said the policy puts the town in line with businesses regarding policies such as harassment, vacation time and sick leave. Mr. Hawley said the document is not a statement of policy or philosophy. Mr. Hawley said the policy is basically a working document for any issues that may come up, so the Board has something to draw on and a place to look at and say, this is kind of the policy that is in place and this is what we expect people to adhere too. Mr. Dicton said the document can be modified at any time.

Mr. Dicton moved to approve the liquor applications for, The Copper Bottom, Johnny's Boys and Mall Mobile and the Tobacco application for the Mall Mobile. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Board reviewed packet correspondence.

The Board discussed whether to stay in the MS4 litigation as an interested party. The Board instructed Mr. Zingale to tell attorney Kevin Brown to stay in the litigation.

Mr. Chioffi suggested the Board consider establishing a one percent Capital Trust Fund, that would receive any funds above what is required to fund the General Budget, from one percent tax revenues. Mr. Rhodes said the one percent money does not cover; highway, fire and recreation budgets.

Mr. Chioffi cited the cost of the new Fire Station as an expense that would reduce the amount of available revenues to the Board. Ms. Hyjek said the bond isn’t budgeted. She said the bond is figured into the tax rate. She said the bond is entirely separate from the budget. Ms. Hyjek said if a budget does not pass the Board is still responsible to pay the bond.

Mr. Chioffi said he would like the Board to consider a reasonable amount to be set aside, as a capital annuity. Mr. Rhodes said the Board decided a long time ago it may take some of the one percent revenues as a rainy day fund and just sock it away.

Mr. Denardo questioned if the State of Vermont could take any unspent one percent money from the Town. Mr. Rhodes said the State gets their 30% and they don't care what the Town does with our revenue. Mr. Chioffi said the Town must refund to the State any one percent money in excess of municipal budget needs, if a special fund has not been set up.

Mr. Chioffi said the Town could establish an account and put 10 % of the one percent money in the account and any residential amounts that are over the municipal budget.

The Board discussed the matter further and took no action. Mr. Rhodes said the matter is a full Board discussion.

Mr. Chioffi requested that Mr. Zingale make a direct hotlink between the Town's web site and the School's web site. Mr. Zingale said he would make the link.

Mr. Rhodes passed out Board committee assignments.

Mr. Hawley made a motion to appoint the previous representatives for; weigher of coal, fence viewers, tree warden, pound keeper, inspector of wood and Mr. Leah Adams as Town Moderator and Grand Juror. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Hawley moved to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters with Town Road Commissioner, Mr. Byron Hathaway and Town Police Chief Mr. Ed Dumas and to discuss the Mintzer property offer. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

When the Board came out of executive session at 9:05 P.M. Mr. Hawley moved to have the Police Committee meet with Sheriff Benard and look into securing more resources, in the short term, for general patrol up to 40 hours per week. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 0. Mr. Rhodes abstained from the vote.

Mr. Hawley moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 P.M. Mr Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.