NEWFANE SELECTBOARD MINUTES

Special Meeting Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

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BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Angela Litchfield, Katy Johnson-Aplin, and Mike Fitzpatrick.
Zoom: Ann Golob and Jeffrey Chevalier.

PRESENT:  Merle Tessier (Zoning Administrator), Steve Levine (Williamsville Hall Committee), Jon Julian (Williamsville Hall Committee), David Cotton (DRB), Jeff Bodge, Marion Dowling, Cristine White, Priscilla Cotton, Greg Lopiccolo, David Hull, (Newfane Anew) Austin Rice (BCTV) and Wannetta Powling (Administrative Assistant).

Zoom:  Jay Wilson (Road Foreman), Melissa Brown (Treasurer), Jane Douglas (Planning Commission), Dot Maggio (Brookline Selectboard), Stanley Noga Jr. (Brookline Selectboard), Deb Luskin (Town Moderator).

CALL TO ORDER: 
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Selectboard Chair Angela Litchfield.

CONFIRM PROPERLY WARNED:
Powling confirmed the meeting had been properly warned.


ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS
TO AGENDA:  
Fitzpatrick requested that the Executive Session be moved until after the scheduled members of the public.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:                                                                     

                      1 VSA ~313 (a) (3) Employment matter of public officer or employee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

  1. February 5th, 2024, Regular Minutes
    Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept the February 5th regular minutes, and Golob seconded. Chevalier and Johnson-Aplin abstained.
    Motion passed.

 

ROAD FOREMAN’S & ROAD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT:

  • I sent an email to the insurance adjuster on February 13 about Adam’s Hill Bridge, and I have not heard anything from them yet.
  • We have the cost for the boring tests for the Loop Rd box culvert, and I have attached it.
  • I was in contact with Fitzgerald Environmental about the project near the Green Iron Bridge; they will get back to us if they can send us a proposal for the NRCS work.
  • I have someone (Cody Towner) who will help us on nights and weekends when he is not working his regular job. He already has his CDL and medical card.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept Road Forman’s Report, and Golob seconded.

 Discussion:
In regards to looking for someone to help on nights and weekends, Litchfield asked Wilson if he had submitted any employment paperwork and if the CDL driving record had been verified. Wilson stated that the paperwork still needs to be filled out and will report back to the Board if there are any issues.

Litchfield will also follow up with Attorney Fisher on the agreement between Triebert and Ross with the Town of Newfane for the Watershed protection work in the Rock River at the Green Iron Bridge on Parish Hill Road.

Golob asked if Ron Bell had been available to complete the work for the Gravel Pit. Wilson said he had not heard anything from Bell. Fitzpatrick offered to follow up with Bell to confirm that work is nearly completed for the Newfane projects.

Deborah Luskin- For Town Meeting, he town moderator asked Wilson to check that the steps and ramp of Union Hall will be cleared, and to mark at least one space as a designated accessible parking area. Wilson confirmed that he would do so.

Wilson shared that the Norwich University students who have studied the Rock River area will hold a public presentation at the Williamsville Hall on Thursday, February 29th at 6 pm.

The vote was called; motion passed.

TREASURERS REPORT:

Discussion: Resolution regarding the ARPA Allocation; Brown and Golob have spoken with Katy Buckley at VLCT for additional information on the assignment of the ARPA funds before the December 2024 deadline. The resolution was discussed explained the difference between approving expenses and how it is accounted for in our general ledger. The goal of the resolution is to account for the expenses in the general ledger. The Selectboard can proceed with approving expenses as it has in the past and the Treasurer will account for them in the general ledger as town expenses. Moving the funds into the general ledger and out of the ARPA allocation fund will create a surplus. The town auditors will advise on how to address the surplus if it has not been spent at the end of the fiscal year.

It was agreed that the resolution would be held off to the next meeting so Selectboard members could review the resolution.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT: 

  1. To follow up on Deborah’s [Luskin] question, I spoke with Marc Gray a month ago and notified him that the Town Meeting will be held at the Union Hall this year. The steps and ramps would need to be given attention.
  2. Town Reports arrived this afternoon. I will begin labeling them tomorrow and send them out when Jay and the road crew can help take them to the Post Office.
  3. I have been gathering information and prices for the new website design. I want to schedule a presentation for the Selectboard after the Town Meeting.
  4. I made copies of the package received on February 7th for you to review. Please let me know how you would like to proceed.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept the Administrative Assistant Report, and Johnson-Aplin seconded.

 Discussion:
Nancy Rysz has a package of information she feels needs to be presented to the NRCS and USDA Water Protection agencies and reviewed again. Wilson commented that he believes the NRCS does a one-time fix of flood damages. Rysz was offered a buyout previously but rejected it. Fitzpatrick said he would be willing to go and look at the site with Wilson.

The vote was called; motion passed.

COMMITTEE REPORT:
Williamsville Hall – Steve Levine and Jon Julian came to ask the Selectboard for  ARPA funds to install an emergency generator. The hall has increased usage including hosting community breakfasts, movie nights, the twice-a-week Tai Chi classes, and the Rock River performances.

It served as a meeting place during Tropical Storm Irene. Offering a place for people to get a hot meal, use the restrooms, fill their water bottles, list postings for lost and found items, and get information, the Hall committee noted that the Hall may need to offer emergency shelter in the future, and a generator would help meet their needs.

Doug Clevland – Clevland Electric gave an estimate for a generator of $9,000.00 and an additional $500.00 for installing the propane line.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve $9,500.00 of ARPA funds for Williamsville Hall. Chevalier seconded.
Motion passed 5/0.

Golob asked Levine to submit his request for ARPA funds in writing; this would be used to update the ARPA information on the town website.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:

Town Moderator Deborah Luskin recommended that the Selectboard review the articles and choose who would be called upon to respond to questions raised by the voters at the town meeting. Litchfield suggested that the Board could do this at their next meeting.

Newfane’s three legislative representatives will appear at the Town meeting to report on issues concerning Newfane.

Luskin asked for contact information for the NewBrook PTO in order to inquire if they would provide food at the Town meeting, Litchfield said would get Luskin that information.

Luskin was invited to return for a follow-up to a pre-Town meeting on Monday, March 4th.

 

UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
Newfane Anew  Music Committee – Greg LoPiccolo and David Hull spoke with the Selectboard about the plans for a monthly local music night at the Union Hall and on the Town Green. The musicians will help by bringing their equipment and lighting for a pro-quality sound and lighting experience. This proposal requests $ 22,000.00 from the ARPA funds to help install equipment in Union Hall in order to bring it up to the same quality as Williamsville Hall. A PA system and lighting system would allow musical events, plays, meetings, and get-togethers to happen at the hall more easily.

Discussion:
Members of the Selectboard asked for a more detailed proposal to be submitted. The Selectboard invited the Newfane Anew Music Committee to return for the March 4th meeting.

NEW BUSINESS
None

EXECUTIVE SESSION:
Litchfield asked for a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss.                                                                       
                      1 VSA ~313 (a) (3) Employment matter of public officer or employee.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to go into Executive Session, and Johnson-Aplin seconded.

Merle Tessier, David Cotton, and Wannetta Powling were invited to attend.

Entered Executive Session at 6:55 pm.

Fitzpatrick made a motion to leave Executive Session, and Johnson-Aplin seconded.

Left Executive Session at 7:19 pm.

No determination was made.

OLD BUSINESS:

  1. Town Beautification (Chevalier)
    One Bench design has been submitted; it was agreed to extend the deadline and spread the word to woodworking crafters and organizations like the NBFD, and PTA, and suggest family memorial tributes. More applications are being requested.

Golob made a motion to extend the deadline for Bench Design until March 15th. Fitzpatrick seconded.
Motion passed 5/0.

  1. FEMA buyout of South Newfane General Store (Golob)

The Town has been approved for the buyout and is awaiting the subgrant agreement letter from the Vermont Emergency Management office. The next step is to hire a property appraiser. Brown gave a list of six appraisers that have been recommended by neighboring towns and Golob has begun to contact them to request a price and timeframe. Per our purchasing policy, if the work can be done for less than $2,000 or requires specialized knowledge, we do not need to put it out to bid.

  1. ARPA Funds Updates (Golob) Resolution for ARPA Allocation

Discussion ensued:
This was discussed as part of the Treasurer’s report.

  1. Personnel Policy changes/ recommendation (Johnson-Aplin/Chevalier)
    None

Follow-up:
Marion Dowling and Cristine White shared concerns at the meeting on February 5 regarding the Article on Gaza.

Golob researched the voter-backed petition with VLCT and confirmed what Dowling and White had reported that the Selectboard has the right to reject a petition if it is not related to town business. At this point in time since the deadline for the warning has passed, VLCT suggested that if there was a preference not to discuss the article, someone could make a motion to effectively “passover” the article at the floor meeting when it comes up. The motion would be to move or postpone the motion indefinitely. VLCT’s recommendation to ask the Moderator for the proper wording. Golob offered to contact Deb Luskin (who had left the meeting at this point) to ask her to report back to the Selectboard at the next meeting.

CORRESPONDENCE:
Email from Brookline Selectboard Chair Dot Maggio– Shared Services with Brookline.
Litchfield read the email. Discussion ensued.
Further discussion is necessary; a follow-up will be held after the town meeting in March.

Email request from Laura Wallingford-Bacon requesting if the Board would agree that the large antique wagon wheel currently located in the Williamsville Hall be donated to the Windham Historical Society.

The Selectboard agreed but would like to confirm with the Hall Committee that they are okay with the donation. Wannetta is to contact the Williamsville Hall Committee.

Chevalier and Golob, who were attending the meeting remotely, left at 8:03 p.m.

PAY ORDERS:
Payroll # 11666               $ 5,976.38
Payroll # 11667               $ 6,51.20
AP # 24018                     $ 102,119.91

Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the pay orders. Johnson-Aplin Seconded.
Motion passed.

 ADJOURN:
Fitzpatrick made a motion to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 8:11 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,
Wannetta Powling,
Administrative Assistant
AG /AEL