MINUTES: July 30, 2013

Board members present: Steve Hawley, Don Chioffi and John Paul Faignant

The Meeting opened at 6:30 P.M.

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

Mr. Hawley said the Board would wait until the next meeting to review the minutes because the all three members present at previous meeting are not currently present.

The Board took questions from the floor. There were no questions from the floor

Clerk & Treasurer: Ms. Marie Hyjek reported:

  1. In addition to the school vote delaying the setting of the education tax, the Town reappraisal is an additional factor. She said the final Grand List must be in place before the State can set the education tax rate. Ms. Hyjek said if she gets the Grand List to the State on August 2nd then the education tax rate would be available on August 6, 2013.

  2. Tax bills will be printed by NEMRC on August 7th.

  3. Requested the Select Board meet on August 6th to set the tax rate.

  4. The $1.8 million Fire Station bond has been deposited into the US Bank of Boston. The proceeds are in a trust, they will not be invested and it is a nun interest bearing. She said the principal for the Town is 100% guaranteed.

  5. Told the Board the Line-of Credit is scheduled to be paid off on August 1st. Have used $200,000.00 to date with $7,962.03 in accrued interest.

  6. A requisition must be made for payment. The money will be available the same day Ms. Hyjek calls in the transfer.

Mr. Hawley told Board members that he had spoken with Mr. Rhodes and that Mr. Rhodes had said the extension of a water line, for the Fire Station project, is on hold until the Board receives a cost estimate as well as determining if the line will be 6” or 8 “ in diameter.

Mr. Chioffi said there has been a lack of coordination the between the Fire District and the Town on the project. He said no one seems to know why about 100 feet of line was not included in the project. He said no one knows who is going to pay for the line extension. Mr. Chioffi said it was not included in the Bond. Mr. Chioffi said it could cost up to $8 ,000.00.

Mr. Chioffi said the Fire District is fairly adamant that they should not have to pay for the new line. Mr. Faignant said the Board needs to have a meeting with the Fire District. Town Administrator Mr. Joseph Zingale Jr. will schedule the matter for the next meeting.

Mr. Chioffi said there has never been a meeting between the Town and the Fire District regarding the construction of the new station. Ms. Hyjek said she will be requesting good paper back-up for invoices submitted.

Transportation Council & SWAC: Mr. Charles Shields reported:

No meeting, No report.

Regional Planning Commission Mr. Fred Nicholson reported:

  1. Informed the Board that in June he had been elected Chairman of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.

  2. Mr. Nicholson told the Board that the RRPC budget would be tight this year.

  3. Informed the Board that new legislation allows RRPC's to assume ownership of Brown Field lots and to apply and receive Federal money to clean them up. Mr. Nicholson said liability issues could be significant.

Mr. Chioffi suggested that Town officials giving reports sit at the table so they can be heard. Mr. Shields said he does not want to go to the Table to give his report when all he has to say is “no meeting, no report”. Mr. Chioffi said he would only have to sit at the table when he has a report.

    Town Road Commissioner: Mr. Byron Hathaway reported:

  1. Reported to the Board regarding upgrading Quarterline Road. He said if the road is paved at 18 feet wide, then construction cost would be about $18,000.00 and paving would cost about $19,500.00. He said the total of $37,500.00 would be split over two years. He said the pavement would be extended about 700 feet.

    Mr. Hathaway said if the road is upgraded to subdivision standard then there would be 20 feet of pavement with associated shoulders and ditches. He said
    significantly more tree cutting would be done. He said construction would be $31,500.00 and $24,000.00 for paving. He said the total would be $55,500.00 . Mr. Hathaway said a resident on the road said he would prefer the 18 foot widening verses the 20 foot widening.

    Mr. Hathaway said the project is do-able in this year's construction budget and next year's paving budget. He said it is just a matter of adjusting a few streets and moving things around.

    Mr. Faignant said it sounds a lot like do as I say and not as I do. Mr. Faignant asked if it is not hypocritical to require 20 feet from everybody else that puts a road in. He said when we go to put a road in we give ourselves a break and don't do it.

    Mr. Chioffi said there was precedence in the matter. Mr. Faignant said he does not care if there is precedence Mr. Faignant said it strikes him as a little disingenuous, that the Board would consider doing something less than what we require of other people. He said he is sure there are other developments in Town that could have got away with 18 feet but we made them do 20 feet.

    Mr. Hathaway said 20 is the standard from AOT on down for small collector roads. Mr. Hathaway said the Board should be doing what it is telling other people to do.

    Mr. Chioffi said the Town botched the matter by not requiring the developer to contribute to the cost of road improvements as the Town has done with other developers in Town, whether they were Town roads or not.

    Mr. Chioffi said the Town took over roads after the developer paid to build the whole road. He said now we are in a situation where the Town is paying for the whole thing because we did not require the owner to do so.

    Mr. Chioffi said the owners should contribute to the upgrade cost. Mr. Faignant questioned whom should pay. Mr. Chioffi said the developer. Mr. Hawley said the question is “how long has it been a road”. He said it was a road long before the development was built.

    Mr. Hathaway said it was a gravel dirt class 4 road between towns. Mr. Hathaway said the Town has upgraded the road in sections at tax payer expense to the benefit of the developers along the line. Mr. Hathaway said it is water over the dam.

    Mr. Hathaway said previous Boards failed to require the three developers to contribute to the cost of the road. Mr. Hathaway said according to State statute the cost of bringing a class 4 road up to a class 3 road can be born by the landowners. He said it did not happen.

    Mr. Chioffi said a good compromise is to build the 18 foot verses the 20 foot. Mr. Chioffi cited the fact the proposed improvements would not go all the way to the

    Mr. Zingale cited the following:

Captain Ted Washburn & Chief Ed Dumas reported:

  1. The reporting period is from July 11 to July 25

  2. 23 total calls for service, 203 for the year

  3. Call types; thefts, frauds, burglaries, agency assists, assaults, suspicious persons,

    Vin inspections, Citizen assists, business alarms, vandalism and a 911 hang-up.

  4. 20 cases were closed, two arrest were made, there are four pending arrest.

  5. 5 motor vehicle stops, 3 tickets issues, total fine amount was $561.00

  6. Mr. Washburn worked 70 patrol hours and 10 administration hours

    Chief Dumas said he would take over (from Officer Washburn) the nightly closing of the Northwood park gate.

    Ms. Hyjek told the Board that Mr. Washburn is doing a good job with the unlicensed dogs. Additionally, she said there was an incident with a fireworks display and a very aggravated person who came into the building. Ms. Hyjek said Mr. Washburn handled it very well.

Recreation Director: Mr. Mike Rowe reported:

  1. The new mower is working nicely.

  2. The pool will close on either August 18 or 20 depending on staffing.

  3. Soccer registration is until August 16th.

Mr. Hawley gave Mr, Rowe a copy of a letter from a Town resident with concerns regarding the pool. Mr. Hawley said Mr. Rowe could report to the Board on the matter until the next meeting.

Town Administrator: Mr. Joseph Zingale reported:

  1. Reviewed the Flory Heights water meter problems with the Board. Mr. Zingale report back to the Board when he has a price for installing “old” style meters. Mr. Chioffi suggested an O&M sewer charge to pay for the water meters.

  2. Reported regarding the status of the Zoning document. Mr. Zingale said the document which the Board had is dead. He said it is dead because statutorily it did not come back from the Board in time to go up for a vote.

    Mr. Zingale said a zoning document would have to start with the Planning Commission.

  3. Informed the Board that for $150.00 Mr. Dean Russell can provide the computer file update, which Mr. Zingale would like to get. Mr. Chioffi made a motion to purchase the file for $150.00. Mr. Faignant made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Informed the Board that the Town had received the Green Mountain Power Corporation's (GMP) solar farm proposal for the old Rutland City landfill.

  5. Incorrectly told the Board that it had received the Gro Solar proposal for the Cold River Road / Stratton Road intersection. The Board received a Solar Panel application for the Allen property on the East Pittsford Road.

    Mr. Chioffi questioned Mr. Zingale regarding the possibility of Interim Zoning. Mr. Zingale told the Board that State law changed in 2003 to allow for the adoption of Interim Zoning for a two year period, with a one year extension. Mr. Zingale said interim Zoning would make all development in Town a conditional use. He said the Board would administer the regulations.

    Mr. Zingale said the Town would be required to be working on adopting full zoning while administering the Interim Zoning regulations. Informed the Board he is waiting to hear from a lawyer as to whether the adoption of Interim Zoning would make the Town a 10 acre municipality for Act 250 purposes.

An individual asked why the solar proposal for the Cold River Road / Stratton Road intersection does not have more information. Mr. Zingale said the process does not require the submital of much information.

Mr. Faignant asked if we ever found out who told Attorney Kevin Brown to write to the PSB and say the Town was not opposed to the West Proctor Road project. Mr. Zingale said he must have done so since he called Mr. Brown for the Board and relayed the Board's feelings. Mr. Faignant said he did not see a corrected letter in his packet. Mr. Zingale said a copy of the letter was included in the Board's packet. Mr. Zingale said Mr. Brown clarified the position he had stated previously.

Mr. Faignant said the concerns he raised regarding the West Proctor Road project will be coming more and more to the Board's table. He said the Board needs to come up with a way to assist because it seems to be a streamline process where these things go in with the filing of a few pieces of paper. Mr. Faignant said he is not against solar energy. He said we are being foolish if we squander our other natural resources, such as the scenery.

Mr. Chioffi said he agrees with Mr. Faignant. However, he said the Board is holding out false hopes to he people. Mr. Chioffi said as a Board they will foolishly waste taxpayer money and the time of the individuals if we are not honest and tell them that the fix has been in since the legislature decided this is good for the State. Mr. Chioffi cited the fact the Board has opposed the adoption of Zoning regulations. He said the Board would not have a leg to stand on trying to oppose solar proposals.

Mr. Faignant cited the fact that aesthetics is considered in the 248 process. He said if we are going to see solar fields popping up all over Town, then we need to take a position as a Town to protect the tax-payers for one of the reasons they live in Town. Mr. Faignant said the project on the West Proctor Road was scaled down and put away so that it does not impact somebody's view.

Mr. Faignant said the Board should get an opinion from the Town attorney as to what the Board could do to assist residents. Mr. Faignant said Town Government should assist people when they are in crisis. Mr. Faignant said Mr. Chioffi might feel different if he had to look at a solar field.

Mr. Chioffi said he does not want to get into a fight unless it is proven he has some chance of winning. Mr. Faignant said Mr. Chioffi is not going to win a fight if he does not show up. Mr. Chioffi said the matter should be challenged at the Legislature.

Mr. Faignant said a municipality may carry more weight than a landowner in the permitting process. He said the Board should be educated by a letter from our attorney.

Mr. Chioffi said the Board had previously received a letter, which outlines the criteria and what the Town's standing is in the matter. Mr. Faignant said he does not remember the letter addressing the Board's standing.

Mr. Zingale told the Board that according to the Town Attorney very specific language in the Town Plan would be the the best way to address the matter. He said the plan would have to specifically state that certain places in Town should not be developed.

Mr. Faignant said he is not willing to put his head in the sand on the issue. Mr. Zingale cited the fact that the 248 process considers “historic properties”.

Town resident Mr. Jim Hall suggested the Board consider a stand alone ordinance to address solar farms. He said the ordinance would be in effect indefinitely and that a Town Plan expires after 5 years.

Town resident Mr. Bob Carrara Jr. made the following comments:

Mr. Chioffi cited the fact no one in Town opposed the solar demonstration project off US RT 7. He said he can understand people are upset with the fact they will no longer have bucolic scenery to view from their homes. He said he is not in favor of spending upwards of $100,000.00 fighting the State because people do not want to look at solar panels. He further questioned what the Board could do to oppose solar projects.

Mr. Chioffi said he is in agreement that the Board should get a letter from the Town attorney advising what the Board can and can't do. Mr. Chioffi said if the Board has a good chance of beating the proposal then he wants to know what it is. He said he also wants to know how much it would cost to exercise that chance.

Mr. Chioffi said he wanted to hear from the people present to know if they are looking for modifications or if they don't want the project at all. Mr. Faignant said the Board would be able to deliver modifications a lot better negotiating from a position of strength rather than with weakness and knowing what the Board can and can't do.

Mr. David Fucci questioned if zoning would give the Town any authority in the matter. Mr. Chioffi said he did not know. Mr. Zingale said he did not think it would since the project would produce power and is a Act 248 project and not an Act 250 project.

Mr. Zingale informed those in attendance that he had mis spoken earlier in the meeting when he said the Town had received the Gro- Solar application. He said the Town has not received the Gro-Solar application but has received an application for solar panels for a residential property on the East Pittsford Road.

Mr. Zingale told the Board that the Gro-Solar developers said they would move back the solar panels planned for the intersection of the Cold River Road and Stratton Road. He told the Board that the developers are also seeking two curb- cuts to the property. He said the project would also require a Town digging in the street permit.

Mr. Carrara said the Board should ask the Town lawyer how the Town can steer the projects. Mr. Faignant cited the fact there are places in Town where panels could be placed where there would be no objection. And he cited up to a dozen panels on a roof as being generally acceptable.

Mr. Faignant said placing the panels in an undeveloped open field will be traumatic for the people who live near the field. Mr. Chioffi said many of the properties in Town no longer in farming are attractive sites for solar farms. Mr. Hawley said the next step may be to try to put pressure on the legislature. He suggested the Board consider contacting Representative Tom Terenzini and Senator Kevin Mullen.

Town resident Mr. Ryan Rainville said the Town needs policies regarding solar farm maintenance, decommissioning and a replacement plan to replace panels that may be shot out. Mr. Rainville said any neighbor can intervene in the process and voice their concerns.

An unidentified individual asked if they is any way the Board could get the project screened so it would not be as visible. Mr. Carrara said his biggest concern is financial impact on his property. Mr. Chioffi said trees 15 to 20 feet in height would help screen the project and would not effect solar generation. He said the trees could be planted along the north and east property lines.

Mr. Fucci said solar companies are targeting the Town because there is no zoning. He said individuals living in Town will not want to look at solar panels. Mr. Fucci said this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Town Planning Commission Chairman Mr. William Matteson said the proposed Cold River Road solar site is in the Town Plan as “Industrial”. He said the panels will not generate any where near the capital in taxes, which industrial use would generate.

Mr. Matteson said he believes solar panels could be cited in Vermont where they would not adversely effect other properties. Mr. Matteson said Montpelier is steering the ship when it comes to regulating solar panels.

Planning Commission: Mr. William Matteson reported:

  1. The Commission recently conducted a two lot sketch plan hearing.

  2. Told the Board that development is still slow in Town

  3. Encouraged the Board to consider the adoption of Interim Zoning regulations or to begin work to adopt zoning. Mr. Matteson said the expectation is that the Town would be working on full zoning, while Interim Zoning is in effect.

Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that he needs to know the Board's official position regarding solar panels prior to the RRPC discussing the topic.

Mr. Mark Youngstrom, of Otter Creek Engineering and Mr. Jamie Stewart, Executive Director of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), met with the Board and presented the results of the Center Rutland corridor sewer and water feasibility study. Mr. Stewart told the Board that the study area includes the area from the Carris Property in Center to the rail tracks in West Rutland.

Mr. Stewart cited the fact that Mr. Youngstrom and Otter Creek Engineering conducted the study for providing water and waste water in the Center Rutland / West Rutland corridor.

Mr. Stewart said providing water & waste water is important to the properties in the corridor because the properties:

Mr. Stewart said the total price tag was a lot less than what he expected it to be. Mr. Stewart said Mr. Youngstrom has done a good job outlining the funding sources and the pieces that go along with it.

Mr. Stewart said he wants to make sure everyone understands the study is a present form Mr. Youngstrom as a community service.

Mr. Youngstrom said he is glad he could help the project along. He told the Board that for decades he has looked at the area and questioned what it would take to upgrade some of the properties.

Mr. Youngstrom made the following points:

Mr. Youngstrom said because of this knowledge it was easy for him to determine what is there, how much capacity is available and what are the options. Mr. Youngstrom said the most cost effective way to get service in the corridor is for West Rutland to extend their utilities.

Mr. Youngstrom said there is a 12” water main and a sewer manhole at the end of Pleasant Street in West Rutland with plenty of capacity. He said Fire District # 1 in Rutland Town does not have enough well capacity to service the project.

Mr. Youngstrom said multiple municipalities would be involved if Fire District #1 were to provide sewer service while only West Rutland would be involved if West Rutland provides sewer service.

Mr. Youngstrom said West Rutland has really low water rates. He said 60 % of the project is located in West Rutland. Mr. Youngstrom said the most cost effective way of doing the project is to put the water and sewer lines in the same trench.

Mr. Youngstrom described the special type construct which would be used to place both line in the same trench. He said by doing so would save a considerable amount of money. He said the State has agreed to allowing both to be place in the same trench. Mr. Youngstrom said the water line would have a pressure of about 100 pounds per square inch (psi).

Mr. Youngstrom said the project would cost $1.8 million dollars. He said because West Rutland is a “poverty rate community” the project could be funded through West Rutland.

Mr. Youngstrom said he would be meeting with West Rutland officials to see if they are interested in doing the project. Mr. Youngstrom said the project would not raise the West Rutland users rates. He said Rural Development currently looking for projects to fund. Mr. Stewart said he would be meeting with West Rutland officials on August 12, 2013. Mr. Chioffi thanked Mr. Youngstrom for his work.

Mr. Chioffi questioned Mr. Youngstrom regarding project cost. Mr. Youngstrom said Rutland Town users would be treated the same as users in West Rutland. Mr. Youngstrom said 68 new users is the break even number for the project. He said the new 68 users would pay on the loan. He said there would be no net increase in cost to anyone in West Rutland. Mr. Youngstrom said the number of users required would go down if a larger grant received.

Mr. Stewart said 68 total new users in both Rutland Town and West Rutland would be needed if a 30% grant is awarded. He said 53 users would be needed with a 45% grant and 24 would be needed if a 75% grant is awarded. Mr. Youngstrom said the additional payments to West Rutland would cover the bond payment. He said it would be a “wash” for West Rutland.

Mr. Youngstrom said there would not be any capital cost to either West Rutland or Rutland Town. He said all costs would be amortize into the loan. Mr. Hawley thanked Mr. Youngstrom for his work.

Rob, from Small Dog Electronics, met with the Board and explained what the I pad can do for the Board. Rob said his company has sold I pads to the Vermont Legislature and several Vermont towns.

He said the I pads could reduce cost over time by using less paper and can improve productivity. Rob told the Board that the devices are portable and easy to use. Rob said the Vermont Legislature got a pay back in the first year, due to saving on printing paper.

Rob told the Board that his company is working with Vermont and New Hampshire law enforcement officials to use the I pad in their daily reporting. Rob cited the fact that applications (apps) are much cheaper to purchase than software programs. He cited the cost of a Tuff Book at $6,000.00 and the I pad is coming in at under $1,000.00 He said with applications the I pad would be about $1,500.00. Rob said an I pad with the Apple care plan start at $414.00.

In addition to savings money from not using paper to print documents, Rob said there is also savings in printers, ink costs and toner costs.

Mr. Faignant asked if Rob could estimate whether the I pad would be a savings to the Town. Rob said he would need to know how much paper the Town is generating. Rob told the Board that the Town of Hinesburg purchased I pads for all the Select Board members as well as for the Police and Fire Departments.

Rob said the I pads are very easy to learn because they have a touch screen. He said training is also available.

Mr. Hall reported to the Board regarding the VLCT Public Safety Committee he attended recently. Mr. Hall told the Board he has been on the committee for the past five or six years. He told the Board that the committee reviews proposals that VLCT would like considered by the Legislature. He said State funded mandates was discussed at the recent meeting.

Mr. Faignant asked Mr. Hall how it was that he came to attend the meeting. Mr. Hall said he was appointed to the Committee by the Select Board several years ago. Mr. Hall said he informed Mr. Zingale of the July meeting and that Mr. Zingale felt Mr. Hall was still the Board's representative. Mr. Hall said he then attended the meeting.

Mr. Faignant said he thought Mr. Hall had been appointed as the Public Safety Select Board representative. Mr. Faignant said Mr. Hall's position would automatically expire when he retired from office.

Mr. Faignant said any non- Select Board representatives serving on a VLCT Board was appointed to the Board after their term of office had ended. Mr. Hall asked Mr. Nicholson if his VLCT position had come up for discussion. Mr. Nicholson said he was reappointed in the spring.

Mr. Faignant moved to appoint Mr. Stan Rhodes as Town Health Officer. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Zingale informed the Board that the Town Municipal Building chimney had been rebuilt.

Fire Chief: Mr. Joseph Denardo reported:

Not present

The Board reviewed packet correspondence.

Regarding the Johnson Energy correspondence Mr. Hawley told Board members that Mr. Rhodes had spoken with Tom Johnson and that Mr. Johnson is unwilling to give the Town 25 feet of property in exchange for the Town giving up the easement.

Mr. Chioffi and Mr. Faignant said the full Board should be involved in the Johnson discussion. Mr. Hawley told Mr. Faignant that if the Town give up the easement we are looking to get 20 feet of land on the side of the Fire Station from the Johnsons.

Mr. Hawley said Mr. Rhodes had the conversation in regards to other things going on with the fire station construction. Mr. Faignant said he would like the record to reflect the Johnsons gave the Town the easement when the Town needed it. He said since the Town no longer needs the line and has abandoned the line he is not in favor of asking for anything and should give it back.

Regarding the status of Zoning in Town, Mr. Chioffi said the Board needs to set a date and discuss the matter rather than just letting it disappear into an abyss. Mr. Chioffi said the Board has been putting the matter off all summer because there has not been a full Board.

Mr. Chioffi cited the fact that Mr. Youngstrom gave the Town a professional discount of $8,150.69 for his work on the Center Rutland study.

Board members discussed scheduling a meeting to set the Tax Rate. Mr. Chioffi told Board members that a meeting is also needed to discuss the Personnel Policy. The Board set August 6 at 6:00 P.M. to set the Tax Rate.

Mr. Faignant moved to close the meeting at 8:54 P.M. Mr. Chioffi made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.