Monday, July 18th, 2022, Selectboard Minutes

Please Note: Newfane will now require Zoom participants to remain muted and will need to raise their hand, the Chair will recognize them before being allowed to unmute due to recent “Zoom Booming.”
https://zoom.us/joinameeting              Meeting ID: 972 2791 1757        Passcode: 352680
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Chair Angela Sanborn, Vice Chair Ann Golob, Jeffrey Chevalier, Katy Johnson-Aplin (by Zoom), and Mike Fitzpatrick (by phone).

OTHERS PRESENT:
Planning Commission Chair Ken Estey, Town Moderator Deborah Luskin, Wendy Harrison, Planning Commissioner Katy Gehring, BCTV Producer Austin Rice, and Administrative Assistant Wannetta Powling.

By Zoom: Jay Wilson, Planning Commissioner Jane Douglas, Assistant Judge Lamont Barnett, Laura Wallingford-Bacon, Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) Executive Director Ted Brady.

CALL TO ORDER:
Selectboard Chair Angela Sanborn called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M.

MEETING WARNED:
Wannetta Powling confirmed that she warned about tonight’s Selectboard meeting.

ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA:
Chair Sanborn made a motion to move Judge Lamont Barnett and VLCT Executive Director Ted Brady to the top of the agenda.  Vice Chair Golob seconded.  Motion passed 5/0.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
Windham County Assistant Judge Lamont Barnett asked if the Town of Newfane would have any interest in leasing the current Sheriff’s building when the Sheriff moves to Brattleboro.  The existing covenant for the property requires that the building must be open for public use. The county is not looking for rent but would want someone to take over the operation and maintenance of the structure including upkeep, oil, and electric bills. The county does not have a firm idea of the length of the lease that they would consider. Thirty years felt too long to them; perhaps a ten-year lease would work. The length of the lease is negotiable.

Selectboard member Johnson-Aplin asked if renovations would be allowed.  Barnett replied that because it is a historically designated building, no renovations that would destroy the building’s historical integrity, including removing the bars from the windows or removing the historic jail cell would be allowed. Other renovations could be made including moving walls to create larger interior spaces.

Sanborn asked if a tour of the building was possible, and Barnett said yes and suggested that the board contact Sheriff Anderson to make arrangements. The Administrative Assistant will contact Anderson to get some possible times and she will let the members of the Selectboard, the Planning Commission, and interested staff at the Town Office know the options.

Selectboard Member Mike Fitzpatrick mentioned that he thought that this could make a great community center or senior center.

Sanborn thanked Judge Barnett for attending the meeting and informed him that the Selectboard would be in touch with a decision soon.

The Executive Director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) Ted Brady was introduced by Sanborn.  Brady was there to introduce himself to the Selectboard and provide them with additional knowledge of the services that VLCT provides.

Brady provided a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation, highlighting some of the services included in our membership with VLCT. A copy of the presentation is available from the Administrative Assistant, upon request.

Brady encouraged the town to consider applying for a Loss Control Grant which is made available as part of the Towns’ insurance coverage. These grants cover such options as installing security cameras for loss prevention and backup cameras on-highway trucks. There is no town match required for the grant.

[Note: Road Forman Jay Wilson noted that Newfane is currently applying for the Loss Control Grant, and we are eligible to receive $6,000 for this fiscal year.]

Brady noted that all municipalities that are VLCT members are offered additional insurance coverage at a lower group rate than other agencies can offer.

Town Fair is on October 6th and 7th, this annual event with guest speakers and various pieces of training for all the roles in municipal government.

Legal Assistance is one of VLCT’s most known and utilized resources.  Four attorneys are now available to advise on matters of importance.

Newfane Town Moderator Deborah Luskin wanted to know if they could offer additional assistance on training for Town Meetings, including helping towns offer and manage hybrid meetings.  Brady said he would look into it.

Golob asked Brady to explain VLCT’s recent position on changes to Act 250. Brady described the changes they were advocating to allow towns to increase density in their town center without having to trigger an Act 250 permit.

Sanborn thanked Brady for joining our meeting and for the services provided by VLCT.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
July 6th, 2022, Regular Meeting
Golob made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 6th regular meeting. Fitzpatrick seconded the motion. Motion passed 5/0.

July 6th, 2022, Board of Liquor Control Minutes
Golob made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 6th Board of Liquor Control meeting. Johnson-Aplin seconded the motion.  Motion passed 4/0. Fitzpatrick abstained.

ROAD FOREMAN’S REPORT:

  1. I spoke with the town lawyer today about 254 Depot Rd. He will have a clear easement statement in the next couple of days.  The State of Vermont requires a letter as proof the property is clear of any other easements.
  2. The painting of the crosswalks and stop bars won’t be done until late summer, and we had to go to the company that does our white lines after the new company backed out.
  3. The Arch Bridge has a small modification because the ledge on the south side is not really solid; they have come up with a new plan for that end. Construction is currently waiting for State and VTrans final approval before proceeding.
  4. Nothing for updates on the Sand/Salt shed project.
  5. The gravel pit is making slow progress; we have a preliminary design for the dry stream. The pond is dry, and we need to remove the remaining washed-out culvert while it’s empty.   We are working on plans for the stabilization of the bank.  The sound study will be approximately $1200 cheaper than quoted, and I am waiting to hear back from the archeological consultant with a price for the Level 1 Testing.  Installation of a gate will help keep the cars out of the gravel pit and avoid additional trespassing.

  6. I met with Kirk from Vermont Protective Coating on Friday at Monroe Bridge, and they expect to start the work on the steel very soon. There will be no distribution in traffic; this work will take place under the bridge.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the Road Foreman’s report; Chevalier seconded the motion.

Discussion:
Golob asked for clarification on the email from Windham Regional Commission regarding the new dam safety regulations and whether they applied to Newfane. Wilson explained that the town has one dam on Kenny Pond, but it doesn’t hold back a lot of water. There is a plan to replace the dam by creating a spillway.  The estimated replacement cost is $30,000-40,000, and our current Dam Replacement account is roughly $20,000.  Since the State now requires that there must be an engineer on-site during the entire project the cost may vary.

Fitzpatrick recommended putting it out to bid now and see if anyone would bid on the job. Golob agreed that putting the Kenny Pond Dam replacement out to bid would be a good idea. Wilson agreed to get this project moving again.

Sanborn called a vote; the motion passed 5/0.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT REPORT:

  1. I attended the VLCT training on July 13th for “Transgender Inclusive Workplace – Legal Update.” This class helped me understand the workplace’s responsibilities and the state and federal legal developments.  They will consider doing additional training on this in the future.  I found this training to be helpful.

On Thursday, July 28thth, from 9A.M -Noon, VLCT has training for “GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL OVERVIEW for SELECTBOARDS.” Will there be Selectboard members able to attend this training?

Golob confirmed that she would attend the Zoom training.  The Administrative Assistant will complete the registration for Golob.

  1. The Treasurer has brought to my attention today that there is an oversight with Windam Disaster Animal Response Team’s (WinDart) special appropriation for a $250 request.  Joanne Bourbeau presented at the November 15th Selectboard meeting and made the request for the funding; I accidentally omitted WinDart in the lists of articles for the Town Meeting.  How would you like to proceed?

Selectboard requested the Administrative Assistant contact VLCT for their recommendation on this matter.

  1. I want to give you a month’s notice and request vacation time for August 25th thru September 2nd; this will be one of the last opportunities when there are 5 Mondays.

Selectboard agreed to the vacation request, provided the employee had vacation time available.

  1. I want to remind you that there is a social event this Thursday from 8 –10 A.M. at Williamsville Hall.  They will serve coffee, tea, juice, and assorted baked goods.  You can eat in or take out.  Donations are welcomed.
  2. Williamsville Hall Committee sent an email recommending Maureen Strickland’s appointment to the Hall Committee.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the appointment of Maureen Strickland. Johnson-Aplin seconded. Motion passed 5/0. 

Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the Administrative Assistant’s Report. Johnson-Aplin seconded the motion. Motion passed 5/0.

COMMITTEE REPORT:
Planning Commission (P.C.) Chair Ken Estey stated that the commissioners were putting a procedure in place for prioritizing items to review this fall.  This includes finalizing the revisions for the tiny house Bylaw and setting up the necessary hearings.

Estey stated that Commissioner Lynn Forrest had submitted a letter of resignation from the Planning Commission.  After serving on the Planning Commission in various capacities since 2016, Estey praised Forrest by saying she was exceptionally genuinely dedicated and faithful; Estey said she would be missed.  Forrest stated in her letter that “she wanted to focus more on personal and family life” but will continue to serve the Town of Newfane as a member of the Development Review Board and Justice of the Peace.

Douglas wanted to see if the Selectboard had a procedure and application process for the ARPA funds; she is wondering if some funds could be available to help cover the installation cost for individuals who cannot otherwise afford high-speed internet access.  Golob asked if there was a date when the funds would be needed. Douglas responded to the question that money wouldn’t be needed until sometime next year. Golob said that we were working to clarify a process for handling ARPA funds that VLCT is developing and that we should know more in the fall, well before the DV Fiber project would need them.

Estey indicated that the Planning Commission is willing to assist the Town in efforts to move forward with spending the ARPA funds and would like to invite the Selectboard to attend the Planning Commission meetings.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
Deborah Luskin attended the Selectboard meeting to express her concern about the increased traffic coming through Grimes Hill and the village. Luskin assumed the cars were avoiding the construction on Route 9 and stated that a large number of vehicles also have a significant disregard for the posted speed limit.

Sanborn commented that the Selectboard is aware of the resident’s concerns about speeding in the area and have addressed these concerns several times with Sheriff Mark Anderson.  Sanborn suggested inviting Sheriff Anderson and Sargent Norton back and encouraging citizens to join in a discussion and share and express their concerns directly with the Sheriff’s Department.

Discussion ensued including the viability of using removable speed bumps and installing flashing speed limit signs.

Sanborn will send an email to the Windham Sheriff’s Department.

Golob asked if the Administrative Assistant would ask the road foreman to address the issue of removable speed bumps at the next meeting.

Since it was mentioned that the increase in traffic may be a result of people taking detours to avoid the work on Route 9. Wendy Harrison suggested contacting VTrans to see if they can do anything else to manage the traffic.

UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
Wendy Harrison who is a candidate for the Vermont State Senate representing Windham County was present to introduce herself to the Selectboard and to listen to concerns that Newfane may have.

OLD BUSINESS:
ARPA funding opportunities Golob explained that VLCT is putting together an option where ARPA funds can be “swapped” with other town funds so we can avoid going through the arduous federal approval process for each item we want to purchase or each contract we want to sign. The timeline to complete the guidelines is approximately three months.  I recommend that we maintain a list of ideas and projects that we want to use the ARPA funds for and wait until the guidelines are completed before making any expenditures.

At our last meeting, we discussed the request to replace the emergency generators.  Let’s keep this on our list of proposed expenditures and make a final decision once we have the bookkeeping guidelines finalized and the Selectboard has a chance to vote on them.

Golob made a motion to have the Administrative Assistant check with our web developer about having a page added to the Town website for ARPA information where we can list the various proposed expenditures, decisions, etc. Fitzpatrick seconded.

Discussion ensued. The question was raised about how we would decide what goes on the page and the agreement was made that it would be discussed and agreed upon at each Selectboard meeting.  Motion passed 5/0.

Cannabis Law– Katy Johnson–Aplin discussed what she has been learning about the rollout of the new Cannabis law. In particular given that as of October 1st, retail sales will become legal and possible in Vermont it was agreed that Newfane needs to make a decision about whether or not to allow sales in case there are businesses that want to open here. The alternative is to wait until the annual town meeting in March.

Discussion ensued on holding a Special Town Meeting.

After much reviewing of calendars and possible dates, Golob made a motion to hold an Information Meeting on August 23rd at 6 P.M. from the Town Office and via Zoom and a Special Town Meeting to be held on Tuesday, September 20th at 6 P.M. at a location to be determined; this is an in-person floor vote only. Sanborn added that she would check the Firehouse for their availability.   Chevalier seconded. Motion passed 5/0.

NEW BUSINESS:
None

CORRESPONDENCE;
None

After correspondence, Mike Fitzpatrick, who attended via phone, left the meeting at 8:07 P.M. Katy Johnson-Aplin, attended by zoom left the meeting at 8:12 P.M.

PAY ORDERS:

  1.  Payroll Warrant No# 11577                         Amount $   8,433.36
  2. Payroll Warrant No# 11578                          Amount $   5,354.51
  3. Accounts Payable No# 23001                       Amount $   4,561.25
  4.  Accounts Payable No# 23002                       Amount $   62,450.21

    G
    olob made a motion to approve pay orders. Chevalier seconded the motion.

Motion Passed. 3/0

ADJOURN: 
Ann Golob made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:26 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,
Administrative Assistant
Wannetta Powling