Selectboard Minutes July 6, 2020 (Unapproved)

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Marion Dowling, Shelly Huber, Angela Sanborn, Michael Fitzpatrick and Christopher Williams

OTHERS PRESENT: Jay Wilson, Melissa Brown, Carol Hesselbach, Gloria Cristelli, BCTV, and Wannetta Powling.

CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Chair Marion Dowling.



A motion was made by Angela Sanborn to approve the May 18, 2020 minutes. Mr. Williams seconded.   Motion Passed.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzpatrick to approve the June 15, 2020 minutes. Ms. Sanborn seconded.  Mr. Williams abstained.  Motion Passed.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzpatrick to approve the June 22, 2020 minutes. Ms. Sanborn seconded. Motion Passed.


  1. I met with Scott Jensen, the River Engineer at Monroe Bridge, to discuss the work to remove the gravel bar and the protection of the abutment footings. We are developing a scope of work for this project. The following day we met again on Upper River Rd for bank stabilization, Wiswall Hill for a possible flood mitigation, and So. Wardsboro Rd. to look at the site where the trees toppled into the brook, it looks like that site can be left unless we develop further problems.
  2. We have poured more cement culvert headers and are continuing with culvert replacement.
  3. The Depot Rd Culvert easements have been drawn up by Bob Fisher and are being reviewed by the state right of way people.
  4. The Sand/ Salt Shed engineer is up to date and the plans are back in the state’s hands for review.
  5. The Safety and Hazardous Material plan for the garage is almost complete. Once completed we will be having trainings on our plan.
  6. Daniels Construction’s bid for Monroe Bridge was approved by Marc from VTRANS and work should be starting in about a month.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzpatrick to approve the Road Foreman’s report Ms. Sanborn seconded. Motion Passed.


My monthly reporting for VMER’s (Vermont Members Employees Retirement) and State of Vermont has been completed. My Quarterly Reporting for quarter 2 has been completed to Vermont Dept of Taxes, VMER’s, Dept of Labor and the IRS. I have completed the change on July 1st in payroll for the new VMER’s rates. The rates changed for both employee and employer. Employee rates went from 5.125% to 5.375%. Employer portion went from 5.75% to 6.00%.

I have completed my end of the year closing of the books and have been preparing for Monday’s audit.

The bank reconciliations have all been completed up to May. I will reconcile June’s once it is received.

Discussion ensued regarding a search for a Reconciler of Bank Statements.  Suggestions were made to post the position on the web site.

A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn to contact Sierra Pratt to meet with her Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded.

Motion passed.  4-1 Ms. Huber opposed.

An Internal Control Check List was reviewed by the Selectboard; Ms. Huber had questions regard use of wire transfers. The Town of Newfane currently does not have a wire transfer policy. It is not recommend due to the federal regulations, Bank Secrecy Act and OFAC (Office Foreign Assets Control.)

A motion was made by Ms. Huber to review the financial policy for updates and changes to meet the requirements. Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded.

A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn to table the Internal Control Check List until July 20, meeting Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded.  Motion Passed.

A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn to approve the Treasurer’s report Mr. Williams seconded.

Motion Passed


Nancy Burke did the water testing for Town Office.  The results have been completed. There are currently no bacteria present, the lead and copper levels are below allowable limits. To remove the Sulfur smell might be more expensive to install and maintain than just continuing to buy bottled water.

Vermont League of Cities of Town -Weekly Legislative Report # 25 shows that they will be focusing on Law Enforcement Reform in August.  This is caused from protests that followed George Floyd’s murder.  It is something that will affect all of us for some time. For those who wish to follow this bill this fall reference # S.219.

Ms. Huber questioned the shortness of my report and inquired about the resolve of the computer issues of June 22nd.   Southern VT replaced the router and 2 Wired Guys added the Administrative computer to a monthly maintenance schedule.  There has been minimal change noticed.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzpatrick to approve the Administrative Assistant report Mr. Williams seconded. Motion Passed.


Gloria Cristelli – Japanese Knotweed is a damaging invasive weed that will grow 23′ horizontally and 10′ deep. It will become a financial burden for the Town of Newfane.  This is growing at the Town Office, on the septic area.  Union Hall has it along the building foundation.  It has also been noticed growing along the bridge abutments and will come up through cracks and crevices of pavements, undermining of the stabilization of the buildings and roads. Best practice of terminating the regeneration is removed Japanese Knotweed from the ground it can be dried and burned.




Joint Authority  of Selectboard According to 1 VSA 172

Ms. Huber had expressed concerns regarding the appearance of the dog BO being at Town Office. A letter was sent to the Selectboard in support from the other members of Town Office. They consider BO a calming, nurturing, friendly and necessary to help alleviate the stress from the current conditions of the world, country and community.  After reviewing certification documents the Board agreed that BO has all rights granted under ADA (American Disability Act) of 1973 to continue to come with Ms. Powling to work as her Service Dog.


It was asked of the Selectboard to consider making a town policy for all business operating in Newfane, to require that all patrons are required to wear a mask, and to follow safe distances.

Discussion:  The Selectboard feels that while it should is recommended, it will be left as each individuals personal choice.

Town of Newfane employees will continue to follow the Safety Policy that was newly adopted in May 2020.


The Newfane Listers provided the Selectboard with the new Town Tax Rate

2021 Grand List                       $2,486,752                              New Municipal Tax Rate.       0.6496%

A motion was made by Mr. Williams to accept and sign the Town Tax Rate Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded. Motion Passed.

Interim Zoning Measure for Pandemic Emergency

Ms. Huber requested the information provided from VLCT (Vermont League of Cities and Towns) regarding Interim Zoning Measure for Pandemic Emergency is available to residents of Newfane; a request was made to have this information placed on the town website.


Law Enforcement Contract: 

June 22, 2020 Special Meeting was held to vote on the 2020-2021 Law Enforcement Contract. It was voted to renew the contract with VST in the best interest of the residents of Newfane. A request of the Vermont State Troopers and Lt. French was that he provides patrol area information, traffic stop, and additional relevant information with his reports.

Zoning Administrator is a 3 year appointment. After reviewing the evaluation that was done by Ms. Dowling and Ms. Powling, information was given regarding the of employment status. It was clarified that although it is an appointment, Mr. Tessier is considered a part time employee of the Town of Newfane.

A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn for appointment of a three year term of Merle Tessier Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded.  Motion Passed


The Selectboard will consider the information in the recent VLCT (Vermont League of Cities and Towns) magazine regarding “Unsafe Buildings” and the authority to have buildings removed, that are vacant, vandalized, or with other health concerns.


Used the letter sent to Selectboard in NEW BUSINESS Re: BO


  • Accounts Payable 20026 in the amount of $84,146.22
  • Accounts Payroll 11457 in the amount of $ 4,648.27
  • Accounts Payroll 11458 in the amount of $ 4,703.32

A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn and seconded by Mr. Fitzpatrick to approve the pay orders.

The motion carried.


A motion was made by Ms. Sanborn to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Wannetta Powling

**We are committed to the mandate issued by the Government regarding COVID 19 -Please Stay Safe.