Regular Meeting Monday, November 7th, 2022
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BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Ann Golob, Katy Johnson-Aplin, Jeffrey Chevalier, Mike Fitzpatrick (phone). Absent: Angela Sanborn.
OTHERS PRESENT: Richard Marek, Jane Douglas (Planning Commission), Alex Beck (BDCC/SeVEDS), Laura Sibilia (BDCC/SeVEDS), Austin Rice (Producer BCTV), and Wannetta Powling (Administrative Assistant).
Zoom –Jay Wilson (Road Foreman), Deborah Luskin (Moderator), Maggie Lewis (The Gathering Place), Libby Bennett (Ground Works), Breeze Verdant, Patty Johnson.
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by Selectboard Vice-Chair Ann Golob.
CONFIRM PROPERLY WARNED: Powling confirmed the meeting had been properly warned.
ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA: Johnson-Aplin made a motion to add Jane Douglas to the Committee Reports. Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 3/0.
Richard Marek – President of HSWC (Historical Society of Windham County), wanted to inform the Board that the town’s 250th anniversary will be on Town Meeting Day in March 2023.
HSWC is preserving the heritage of our past and present for future generations. The HSWC plans to assume stewardship of the historical Newfane jail, renovate the inside of the building, and install an elevator for access to the second and third floors. Marek is asking for a one-time donation of $25,000 from Newfane. This will allow them to start the renovations of the space needed to provide more display cases and art that is currently not on view at their current location. The current building will be transformed into the Archival, Genealogy, and Research Center.
They will research other grants through the State Historical Preservation group and the Windham County Preservation, but these amounts are small, and they are looking at a renovation budget of $250,000 – $300,00 so most of the funds will need to come from community fundraising.
Selectboard: “If Newfane is being asked for $25,000, what amount are other towns being asked to provide?”
Marek: “There will be a need to temper the ask of the other Towns to what we realistically feel we could get. Part of the problem is that over the years, individual towns tend to focus on their local historical society rather than the county society.”
Selectboard: “What is the time frame to start construction? Does all the money need to be in hand before renovations begin?”
Marek explained that they had an endowment of $260,000 they could draw on so they could get started immediately on the renovations and then replenish the endowment over time. They did this with the rail depot station project a few years ago and it worked well.
Selectboard expressed concerns that it was a “big ask” and what if we split it up over several years?
Marek replied that it would be acceptable to split the $25,000 into two separate fiscal years.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
- October 17, 2022, Regular Meeting.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the October 17thregular minutes. Johnson-Aplin seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
- November 1st, 2022, Budget Meeting
Chevalier made a motion to approve the November 1st budget minutes. Fitzpatrick seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
ROAD FOREMAN’S & ROAD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT:
- Nothing new on 254 Depot Road box culvert.
- The Arch Bridge is awaiting the guardrails, which are expected next week.
- The sand/salt shed has nothing new.
- The repairs to Bridge #41 off Baker Brook Road started today, the lead removal permit was received, and they have begun removing the paint in the area the repair is needed.
- We got the crosswalks and speed limits painted last weekend.
- We have an access permit for Hunter Brook.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the access permit, following the recommendations of the Road Foreman and the Road Commissioner’s recommendations. Johnson-Aplin seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
- The Monroe Bridge project is getting close to being completed
- The Roy Brooks bridge is scheduled for the week of November 20th
- The excavator was swapped this past week, and the board needs to authorize a signer for the paperwork.
Golob read a portion of the new lease agreement from Caterpillar into the record.
Wilson was asked to explain the purpose of the agreement.
Wilson explained that the previous agreement was for a much larger machine and was a ten-year lease. By trading it in for the smaller machine, Newfane got a new machine for $3,500 a year less than if we had continued with the previous agreement.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to authorize Ann Golob to sign the new Lease agreement. Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
Wilson clarified that the Excavator agreement would continue to be an article for the voters to approve at Town Meeting.
- I got the pictures of the FEMA land and am submitting them to the state with the paperwork.
On October 31, 2022, Newfane was notified that the 2019 Fiscal Year grant was awarded to Newfane in the amount of $ 7,612.50 to make updates to the Town’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to authorize Ann Golob to sign for the Vermont Emergency Management award. Johnson-Aplin seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
Luskin – Myra Fessler asked if there was going to be a celebration to mark the opening of the Arch Bridge. Golob asked if Luskin would be willing to be the lead to plan a celebration event, and Johnson-Aplin volunteered to help with whatever was needed, such as:
- Ribbon Cutting
- Music / Entertainment
- Display Historical photo
The plan is to have the bridge open before Thanksgiving. It was mentioned that there is yet to be a definite date for the bridge’s opening because it is dependent on the arrival of the new guardrails for the bridge. The preparations will need to be flexible as there will be little notice.
Golob made a motion that Deborah Luskin and Katy Johnson-Aplin plan the Events for the Grand Opening. Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept the Road Foreman’s Report. Chevalier seconded the motion.
Motion passed 4/0.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT:
- Steve Levine and I met last week to review the procedures for renting Williamsville Hall; we will follow the same guidelines in the future. When booking the rentals for the Hall It was discovered that there were unaccountable keys that had not been returned after the rental of the Hall. Then there are people that we were not aware of having keys. Steve and I agree that we need to change the locks on the front of the building; we will have a set number of keys made with “Do Not Duplicate” on the key. There will be a list of those given a key, like the one I have for the Town Office.
- Melissa and I have worked on the figures for the employee’s health insurance; this will need to be decided at the November 14th budget meeting – the new deduction will start coming out in December.
I have attached the scope of work for the cleaning that the Selectboard requested at the meeting on October 17th. Would you like to proceed with putting this cleaning out to bid in the reformer? The scope of work was read to the entire Board. The Selectboard agreed to authorize Powling to proceed with sending out to bid.
Johnson – Aplin made a motion to approve the Administrative Assistants Report. Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
Deborah Luskin (Town Moderator) Town Meeting Day, What other changes could be made to encourage more attendance and to make it easier to promote attendance?
Golob mentioned that at the last discussion regarding the Town Meeting, ideas that were provided included,
- Could we offer childcare,
- Serve food, or have a potluck?
- Can we provide rides to people who need them?
- Are we going to offer remote access?
The new Roberts Rules of Order 12th Edition contains information regarding holding Hybrid meetings. Austin Rice would be willing to share Technologic Assistance.
Powling was asked to report back at the November 21st meeting who would be willing to organize the food arrangements.
Luskin discussed whether Selectboard is interested in pursuing the hybrid meeting option. If they are, she will research it more thoroughly. The Selectboard agreed that the first two questions that need to be answered are:
- Is adequate internet and technology available at the Williamsville Hall location to hold a hybrid meeting?
- What do we need to approve holding a hybrid meeting to move forward? Does this take a vote of the town or just the Selectboard?
Golob asked for someone to make a motion for Deborah Luskin to work with BCTV producer Austin Rice to work on the capabilities for holding a hybrid Town Meeting.
Chevalier made the motion. Fitzpatrick seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0.
Jane Douglas: The Planning Commission (PC) has been reviewing the bylaw update recommendations for the Floodplain and River Corridor. The PC would like the entire Selectboard to be in attendance for the presentation (which will be led by Alyssa Sabetto from the Windham Regional Commission) and will be ready to present its recommendations on January 17th at 6:00pm. This is the time for the regular Selectboard meeting but in this situation the time will be dedicated to the Planning Commission to have their hearing. After the presentation, at approximately 7:30pm, the Selectboard will hold their regular meeting.
These updates are essential not only because once they are adopted, the town can receive a greater reimbursement from FEMA should there be another event like Tropical Storm Irene, but more importantly it will allow the town to better prepare and insure against greater damage by adopting zoning changes now about what can and cannot be built in the river corridors and floodplains.
Douglas mentioned that at the October 17th meeting, she saw that ARPA funds were used as a matching grant for the Bylaw Modernization Grant. “Can you confirm there is a process to request funds from ARPA?”
Golob confirmed, “that the Selectboard was receiving requests.”
Douglas mentioned that she had resubmitted an amended DV Fiber letter today for $15,000 and would have Steven John available to answer any questions or concerns.
Douglas said she would be submitting an ARPA funds request for the Newfane Anew project, NewBrook News for an appropriation of $3,000 to cover the cost of publication for the January edition because the appropriation request for the next fiscal year would not be available to print the newsletter in January.
SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
To qualify for Social Appropriations funds, the following groups presented a brief explanation of how their organization has helped to benefit and enrich the residents of the town of Newfane. (This information is available at the Town Office).
- Libby Bennett – Groundworks
- Alex Beck – BDCC/ Southern Vermont Economy Development Service
- Maggie Lewis- The Gathering Place
- Hal Moore- Health Care and Rehabilitation Services – NO SHOW – Reschedule
UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
ARPA Updates – No updates.
Cannabis Updates – Katie Aplin-Johnson had no recent updates; discussion ensued about the importance of setting up a Cannabis Control Commission for the town as soon as feasible and that we could use what other towns have been doing as a model. Aplin-Johnson will have materials to present to the Board at the next meeting.
Flood Hazard By-law Update – No updates.
Traffic Calming –
Five Newfane residents have signed up to join the Traffic Calming Committee. In addition, the Road Foreman, Johnson-Aplin, and Chevalier will join. The question was raised whether anything formal needs to be done to set up the committee. Powling will follow up with information from VLCT. She will also send out another Front Porch Forum post to see if anyone else wants to volunteer.
Golob recommended the following agenda items for the committee:
- Review the list of recommendations from VTrans and work with Jay Wilson toward requesting a pedestrian safety report for Dover Road.
- Review the proposed sign for the village of Williamsville and make recommendations for the final design to the Selectboard.
- Review the reports that are generated from the radar signs and work with Wilson on any changes to the report formats that would make them more helpful to the committee.
- Work with Jay Wilson on the location of the radar signs. Since they can be moved around, are there other locations that would be useful to place them to address speeding concerns?
- Look at the online form that Brattleboro uses to allow residents to report traffic concerns to their Traffic Calming committee. Would something similar be useful for Newfane?
Aplin-Johnson suggested that the first order of business for the committee should be defining their mission statement.
Chevalier requested information on the history of accidents over time.
Golob suggested that one other effort that should be researched is how we might address beautification plans for both their own sake and to encourage drivers to be more careful and drive slower.
Chevalier agreed to take the initiative in getting the program started. Ideas were discussed regarding using some of the saved steel from the takedown of the Arch Bridge and shaping it into flower containers. This will become a new item to be added to the agenda.
Fitzpatrick made a motion to suspend the Regular Selectboard meeting; Chevalier seconded the motion. Motion passed 4/0
The Selectboard meeting was suspended at 8:11 pm.
The Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:14pm.
Mike Fitzpatrick, who attended remotely, left the meeting at 8:14 p.m.
1. Payroll Warrant No #11592 Amount $ 4,691.33
2. Payroll Warrant No #11593 Amount $ 4,836.16
3. Payroll Warrant No #11594 Amount $ 6,164.82
4. Account Payable No # 23010 Amount $ 1,026,726.17
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to approve Pay Orders. Chevalier seconded the motion.
Motion passed 3/0.
Johnson-Aplin made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:24 p.m.
W. Powling, Administrative Assistant