Monday, March 7, 2022, Selectboard Minutes

Masks are required by those attending in-person / if unable to do so; please use the Zoom Link provided. Zoom Meeting  https//zoom.us/join Meeting ID:  972 2791 1757   Passcode:  352680

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:  Angela Sanborn, Ann Golob, Jeffrey Chevalier, Katy Johnson- Aplin (Zoom), and Mike Fitzpatrick (phone)

OTHERS PRESENT:  (In-Person) Jon Julian, Steve Levine, Jeannie Rose, Norbert Benaiche, Austin Rice, – B.C.T.V.  and Wannetta Powling.(Zoom) Jay Wilson and Jane Douglas.

CALL TO ORDER:   The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by Selectboard Chair Angela Sanborn.

ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA:   

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

  • February 22, 2022, Regular Meeting
  • March 3, 2022, Organizational Meeting.

Ann Golob made a motion to approve the February 22 regular meeting minutes.

Katy Johnson- Aplin seconded the motion.  – Motion passed 4/0/1 Jeffrey Chevalier abstained.

Ann Golob made a motion to approve the March 3 Organizational meeting minutes. Jeffrey Chevalier seconded the motion.  – Motion passed 4/0 (Mike lost phone connection at 6:02 pm)

ROAD FOREMAN’S & ROAD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT:

  1. We had our first meeting for the Newfane Village Scoping Study group this past week, and we are currently scoring the three engineering firms. We will meet again this week to go over the scoring; once the engineer has been selected, there will be a public meeting for the Selectboard and the Newfane Village residents to gather information.
  2. We have the annual VTRANS spring meeting tomorrow morning to find out our threshold for emergency grants for the upcoming year.
  3. We have posted weight limits on South Wardsboro Rd and Sunset Lake Rd for mud season. We will continue to monitor and post roads as necessary.
  4. I have attached information from the town attorney for the property at 254 Depot Road for you to start the condemnation process.

Jay provided the new Selectboard member with a summary of the four-year process to replace the culvert on Depot road.

Ann Golob made a motion to sign the “Notice of Hearing to Replace and Improve a Culvert along Highway and to Condemn Property Needed, Therefore.” Jeffrey Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0   (Mike’s phone connection reestablished 6:07p.m after this vote was taken.)

Ann Golob made a motion to set 5:00 pm on April 15, 2022, for a site visit and condemnation hearing for the property known as 254 Depot Road, Newfane. Mike Fitzpatrick seconded the motion.     Motion passed 5/0.

Ann Golob made a motion to notify the abutters to the property at 254 Depot Road of the Site Visit and Hearing at least 30 days in advance by first class mail, return receipt requested. Jeffrey Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 5/0.

Mike Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept the Road Forman’s Report. Ann Golob seconded.   Motion passed 5/0

 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT: 

  1. I have created a green binder for each of you to review, with the Newfane Ordinances & Policies to re-adopt annually. If you have changes or recommendations, please email them to me. Otherwise, I will organize these for the Board to re-adopt at the March 14 meeting.
  2. I want to remind the Selectboard that if you use your personal email for Selectboard business, this will be considered public record and thus subject to disclosure and public review.
  3. We at the Town Office no longer have a person who cleans. We had someone come in every other week for approximately 2 ½ hours (@25.00= 62.50.) I would like the Selectboard’s approval to advertise for a cleaning and building maintenance person as well as someone to power wash the outside of the building and clean the windows a couple of times a year.
  4. At the Thursday meeting, you asked me to contact Windham Regional Commission (WRC) regarding the representatives from Newfane. I spoke with Chris Campany on Friday. The additional obligation to the Boards and Committees that Commissioners are expected to be involved with does not work to have alternates’ representatives. Typically, two representatives with time for this committee should be appointed.

Ann Golob made a motion to approve the Administrative Assistant’s Report. Mike Fitzpatrick seconded. Motion passed 5/0.

 Ann Golob made a motion to place an ad for a cleaning and building maintenance person. If not able to find one person for both cleaning indoors and outdoors, look for separate people for each position. Mike Fitzpatrick seconded. Motion passed 5/0.

Discussion ensued regarding the Windham Regional Commission appointments. Ann Golob made a motion to re-appoint Shelly Huber as Newfane representative to WRC. Mike Fitzpatrick seconded. Motion passed 5/0.

 Angela Sanborn made a motion to re-appoint Ann Golob as Newfane’s second representative to WRC. Mike Fitzpatrick seconded. Motion passed 5/0.

COMMITTEE REPORT 

Williamsville Hall- Steve Levine and committee members

·         Steve Levine, Chair of the Williamsville Hall, congratulated the new and re-appointed Selectboard members and introduced the Hall committee members attending the meeting.

·         Health Officer Dr. Tim Schaffer did a recent inspection of the hall for suspected mold. There is no evidence of any mold at this time. Steve Levine said that “Dr. Schaffer gave the Hall a clean bill of health.”

·         This Friday, March 11, we will start the building assessment with the help of a drone operated by Trevor Kemp. This will allow us to examine the slate on the roof safely.

Discussion ensued regarding the mask requirement and under what circumstances a request for proof of vaccination can be made.

Under the advice from VLCT, Ann Golob replied that if the hall is rented for a private event, requirements for those attending would be up to the event planner and not the Hall or the Town of Newfane. But for any event presented by Williamsville Hall, which is owned by the Town, no requirement can be made for proof of vaccination and a mask mandate can only be enforced as long as the town has such a mandate in force.

To give the committee more flexibility in considering requests to use the space for classes, Ann Golob recommended that the Hall committee review their current rental agreements and consider an hourly rate that could be requested for those who want to teach a class. The Hall committee will review the policy at their next meeting and send any changes to the Selectboard for review. The Selectboard will ask our lawyer to review any revisions.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:  None

UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:     None

OLD BUSINESS

Ann Golob read a proposed press release to be sent to the Reformer, the Commons, and posted on our website and on Front Porch. The press release informs the public about our upcoming guest speakers at the next three Selectboard meetings and encourages them to attend.

              The Newfane Selectboard is beginning a series of conversations with planners and others regarding the use of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. These conversations will be a part of the town’s regular Selectboard meetings, and all Newfane residents are encouraged to attend via Zoom or in person. (Please note: all those attending in person are required to be masked.)

The Newfane Planning Commission conducted a town-wide survey in the fall of 2021, asking residents to select their top priorities for development. The Commission then worked through the survey findings to summarize six recommendations that reflected the town’s key requests and presented those to the Selectboard. In response to those recommendations, the Selectboard is scheduling a series of conversations with a variety of experts to understand what the next steps would be if we were to implement them.

The schedule is as follows:

On March 21 at 6:00 pm, we have invited JB Hinds from Birchline Planning and Chris Campany from the Windham Regional Commission (WRC) to discuss how to implement a water/sewer project in the town. These speakers will be responding to two recommendations from the Planning Commission:

  • Provide funding for renovating or upgrading septic systems for homeowners who want to create long-term housing units in their homes or as accessory dwelling units.
  • Implement a water/septic study to assess opportunities or obstacles to economic, business, and housing opportunities.

Juli Beth Hinds is the President of Birchline Planning and is originally from Vermont; her expertise is on water resource management, wastewater, and storm-water utility and program development. She has successfully overseen multiple water/sewer projects across the State of Vermont. Chris Campany is Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission and a former Newfane resident. He will explore how a water/sewer project for Newfane could increase economic opportunities for the town.

On April 4 at 6:00 pm, we have invited Chris Campany from WRC to return to talk to three Planning Commission recommendations:

  • Purchase and/or renovate a building or buildings in Newfane to develop a multi-use center for housing and to, promote businesses & provide multi-generational community space.
  • Partner with neighboring towns to create a multi-use center providing multi-generational community space and create a shuttle service between Newfane and neighboring towns. This space could include food service, entertainment, and recreation such as a skate park, swimming pool, or skating rink.
  • Support residents’ health by establishing bicycle and walking infrastructure.

Campany will discuss why he suggests that Newfane apply for a Municipal Planning Grant from the State as a way to address these recommendations.

Additionally, the Selectboard has invited planner Maxwell Vandervliet, Associate Principal of Main Street Group and a recently arrived resident of Newfane, to join us. In his professional capacity as a town planner, he has completed a housing analysis for Waterbury, VT. While Waterbury is a very different town from Newfane, the issues they are facing are similar in many ways to ours. The Selectboard thought it would be helpful to understand the research process, how the data is gathered and how the conclusions are drawn. A housing study similar to the one completed for Waterbury is something that can be included in a Municipal Planning Grant if the town chooses to do so.

On April 18 at 6:00 pm, we have invited Steven John, Vice Chairman of the Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVCUD) governing Board, and Jane Douglas, Newfane representative to the Board. They will talk about the broadband rollout. This is in response to the Planning Commission recommendation:

  • Allocate funding for broadband drop costs and possible underground connection costs to residents when not affordable.

The presentations and discussions at each meeting are anticipated to last one hour, and there will be time for questions and comments from town residents.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

CORRESPONDENCE:  None

 PAY ORDERS

  1.  Payroll Warrant No #11554                Amount $    4,969.54
  2.  Payroll Warrant No #11555                Amount $    5,088.67
  3.   Account Payable No # 2217                Amount $    69,775.01
  4.  Account Payable No # 2217A              Amount $    881.19

 Ann Golob made a motion to approve Pay Orders. Jeffrey Chevalier seconded.   Motion passed 3/0  (Attending remotely, Katy Johnson- Aplin and Mike Fitzpatrick withdrew and left the meeting.)

ADJOURN:     Ann Golob made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 6:50 pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Wannetta Powling, Administrative Assistant