Regular Meeting Monday, December 18th, 2023
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BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Angela Litchfield, Katy Johnson-Aplin, Jeffrey Chevalier, Mike Fitzpatrick (phone), and Ann Golob (Zoom).
PRESENT: Nancy Rysz, Marie Tattersall, Ryan Kelly, Kate Gehring (Moore Free Library), Merle Tessier (Zoning), Gordon Bristol, John Walker, Michael Mayer (Natural Burial Ground), Richard Marek, Doris Knetchel (Phone/Lister), Austin Rice (BCTV), and Wannetta Powling (Administrative Assistant).
Zoom: Jay Wilson (Road Foreman), Ryan Silvestri (New England Municipal Consultants, Ltd), Jane Douglas (Planning Commission), Deborah Luskin, Christine Howe, Libby Bennett, Beckley Gaudette, Gloria Cristelli, and Jean B.
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:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
- December 4th, 2023, Regular Minutes
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to accept the December 4th, 2023, Regular Minutes, and Golob seconded. Motion passed.
- December 11th, 2023, Budget Minutes
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to accept the December 11th, 2023, Budget Minutes, and Golob seconded. Chevalier abstained. Motion passed.
ROAD FOREMAN’S & ROAD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT:
No report – due to the flooding.
Adams Hill Bridge –Litchfield mentioned that the bridge work was completed. Wilson is still attempting to get insurance information from the tractor-trailer company for the damages to the bridge.
The Box Culvert on Loop Rd, Litchfield, read the report from Engineer Everett Hammond from Springfield, VT. Following his recommendation and that information from Wilson regarding doing the soil testing of the stream bank, this will allow blocks to be used, effectively saving the Town $38,000.
- Daniels Construction, Ascutney VT $439,921
- Renaud Brothers, Vernon VT $366,951
- Blue Mountain Trucking S. Ryegate VT $803,850
- Bazin Brothers Westminster VT $567,143
- Clayton Davenport Trucking Greenfield MA $750,256
- Fitzpatrick Excavating Wardsboro VT $339,892
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to go with the low bid submitted by Fitzpatrick Excavating and to do the soil testing. Chevalier seconded. Motion passed 4/0/1 Fitzpatrick abstained.
Emergency Watershed Protection / The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
An email letter from Michael Lapointe was shared with the property owners who were part of a site inspection on October 4th, 2023. Of the nine sites that were visited, it was determined that only one would be eligible for EWP assistance. Nancy Rysz, a resident of Baker Brook Road, disagreed with the assessment and would like the Town to advocate for her situation and protect the foundation of her home. It was unclear to her why it didn’t meet funding. Wilson will be speaking with EWP later this week on another project and will try to get further information on what may be available to help those residents who were not eligible.
Golob wanted clarification on the project that was eligible for EWP. Wilson explained that the funds would come from the state sometime in 2024, but there would be a percentage of a match that the Town and the property owner would need to figure out.
Natural Burial Ground Site Plan Update:
Zoning Administrator Merle Tessier started the discussion by asking Wilson if he had approved a revised site plan.
Wilson said that he had met with the engineer at the site and explained what the town required of the access permit. Wilson stated “20’ level of the Town road and the size of the culvert set along the access to Sunset Lake Road; that is all the access permit requires. Anything else is beyond our scope.”
Tessier gave a status update on the current project, stating that he has not been given the final approved documents from ACT 250 on the revised site plan. Z.A. considers this project to be on HOLD.
Tessier mentioned that situations have occurred during this application process and that there are certain situations that he is not qualified to handle (he has no engineering background). As a result, it would be prudent to review the Town’s current BYLAW and amend for any additional cost of reviewing an application, such as retaining an independent engineer that would evaluate specific projects for the Town.
Golob asked for clarification on what the issue is before the Selectboard tonight.
Michael Mayer sent an email in the early hours of Monday, December 18th, with an update on what he felt addressed the town’s concerns.
John Walker mentioned that the stamped engineer plans submitted by Bell Engineer were the approved plans that were approved by ACT 250. The revised plans are not stamped by the engineer or approved as the revised site plan by the ACT 250 office.
Gordon Bristol said it was premature for the Selectboard to act based on the information sent to the Board at 1:28 am this morning and based on the information in the warning posted for tonight’s meeting, “Natural Burial Ground Site Plan Update.”
Bristol explained that this is covered in the Vermont Right to Know Law.
Fitzpatrick mentioned that Wilson should bring his recommendation to the Selectboard, and the Selectboard should hold a hearing. Fitzpatrick feels that it is important for the neighbors to agree to the changes made to the revised site plan.
Golob summarized that Wilson would need to make a recommendation to the Board. And if there were any other conditions, it would be up to ACT 250.
Tessier confirmed that a Violation of conditions was sent, and in the notice was a stop work if conditions were not met.
Litchfield asked to end the discussion and bring it back to the Board for a decision.
Golob recommended that,
- Wilson will provide the Selectboard with a recommendation on the Town access permit.
- Letter from the Zoning Administrator regarding the status of outstanding issues that were sent in the notice of Violations.
- Litchfield will check with the town attorney if the neighbor has issues that the town needs to address regarding the ACT 250 permit or if the ACT 250 office would address.
- Johnson-Aplin would like to hear directly from ACT 250 on what they agree to regarding this application. Attorney Fisher may need to contact them on the Town’s behalf.
Natural Burial Ground: Tabled until the meeting on January 2nd, 2024.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT:
- Town Report Update: I have started collating the items that I have; I still need to have the remaining Committee Reports to me by Christmas. I plan to send out weekly reminders. My first draft goes to the printers by January 19th.
- Deborah Luskin is reviewing the Draft of the Warning and may have additional recommendations for you.
- I have completed my self-evaluation, and I am looking forward to my review. Do you have a date for us to meet?
- I have an updated vendor and subcontractors list of those who received payments over $600 this year; I mailed out thirteen forms on Friday in anticipation of the Treasures workers comp audit in the spring.
- The New Hazard Mitigation Plan that came from Windham Regional Commission needs to be adopted, the Village of Newfane Trustees have already signed.
Chevalier made a motion to accept the Administrative Assistant’s report and Johnson-Aplin seconded.
A review of the Articles will be concluded at the next budget meeting.
Administrative and Zoning Administrator reviews will be done on Tuesday, December 19th at 1 pm.
The New Hazard Mitigation Plan will be tabled until January 2nd, 2024.
The vote was called. Motion passed.
Lister Office– Doris Knetchel with Ryan Silvestri (New England Municipal Consultants, Ltd).
Presented information regarding the Lister’s budget of $48,110, which is less than last year.
There will be three open Lister positions on the voter’s ballot at the Town Meeting in March. Listers are required to have additional training to comply with the new State regulations. The Town-wide reappraisal fund comes from the State of Vermont at $8.25 per parcel, and it is recommended that the Town budget an additional $8,000 for this year and next year to cover the expense of reappraisal.
SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
The following agencies and organizations gave a three to five-minute explanation of the program and services they provide to the residents of Newfane, Williamsville, S. Newfane, and Brookside and how the funds they are requesting are going to be used.
- E VT Transit (The Moover) –Christine Howe
- Groundworks – Libby Bennett
- Moore Free Library – Beckley Gaudette
- Senior Solutions –Gloria Cristelli
- Historical Society Windham County- Richard Marek
Golob recommended that Christine Howe amend her report and include the efforts for funding for improved travel on the RT 30 corridor.
UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC:
Historical Society Windham County -Richard Marek
Requested ARPA funding consideration: local funding is tight. A formal letter of request for ARPA funds will be submitted. A decision will be made at a future meeting. A petition is available to be submitted to have an ARTICLE on the warning for funding from the Town’s budget if no ARPA funds are available.
- Town Beautification suggestions (Chevalier)
Press release to be sent out at the beginning of the New Year.
- FEMA buyout of South Newfane General Store (Golob)
- ARPA Funds Updates (Golob)
Contact efforts have been made, Golob will do a follow-up in the New Year.
- Personnel Policy Recommendations (Johnson-Aplin).
Golob and Fitzpatrick attended remotely and left the meeting at 8:21 p.m.
- Payroll # 11656 $5,346.85
- Payroll # 11657 $100.00
- Payroll # 11658 $5,593.01
- AP # 24013 $102,255.34
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 P.M.