I had to close early due to the loss of power. The roads are very icy. Stay home safe if you are able.
I had to close early due to the loss of power. The roads are very icy. Stay home safe if you are able.
The following positions will be on the ballot for election this year:
For a one year term: Town Moderator, Town Clerk, Treasurer, Del. Tax Collector, 1st Constable, 2nd Constable, Grand Juror, Agent to Deed Land and Town Forester.
For a three year term: Selectboard Member, Union School District Officer, Lister, Auditor, and Library Trustee (2 positions).
If you are interested in running for any of these positions, please come by the Town Office and pick up a petition for nomination. You will need 10 signatures from Brookfield registered voters and the form must be returned to the office no later than January 29th at 5:00 p.m. V.S.A. 17:2681 (a)
Town of Brookfield
Board of Abatement Hearing
November 15, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Board Members: Stuart Edson, Bonnie Fallon, Curtis Koren, Robert “Jake” Stewart, Elizabeth DeForge, Phyllis Humez, Teresa Godfrey (Recorder)
Appellants: Mark Council & Bill Council for the Estate of Margaret Council, not present Paul Council
Mrs. Godfrey called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and swore in the Board and Appellants. Mrs. Godfrey presented to the Board a copy of the current year’s tax bill. She reported to the Board that the Lister’s have gone to the property for a site visit but explained that the only way to affect the current taxes was through a Board of Abatement. The Council brothers requested the BOA because of their Mother dying insolvent. The entire year for taxes is in the amount of $2,877.72. There are no delinquencies for this property.
Mr. Mark Council presented to the Board copies of the Bank of America home equity account balances, checking account balances at the time of his mother’s stroke, and at the time of her death on April 3, 2015. Mr. Bill Council stated that since their mother’s death, they have emptied the house of 4 dumpsters of accumulated stuff, with at least 2 more to go, and it is becoming a financial burden. Mark Council said that their Mom liked her stuff. She owned a used book store in Pennsylvania and moved the books with her. The house needed work before she passed and at this time it is in no condition for renting. They are requesting an abatement to keep the property in their names and finding the right buyer isn’t easy.
Mr. Edson asked what the plan was down the road.
Mark Council said their Mom left the 3 brothers with no disposable income. There needs to be a lot of work done to either sell or rent. The shed needs emptying. The only source of heat is 2 propane space heaters. There used to be a wood stove in the main living area. The water froze the first winter so the holding tank is ruined. There are broken windows.
Mrs. Godfrey asked if there was a mortgage. Bill Council said yes, with a $37,000 balance and he has been only able to pay the interest which is upwards of $125 per month.
Mark Council and Bill Council stated they are not looking for full abatement but some type of consideration for the current taxes.
The Board discussed the above and voted without any further discussion.
On motion by Mrs. Koren, seconded by Mr. Edson, the Board voted to abate the whole tax amount for the entire tax year of 2017-2018. Vote 7-yes, 0-no, 0-abstain.
Teresa Godfrey, Brookfield Town Clerk
2017 Lister’s Grievance Hearings
June 15, 2017
The Board of Listers met at 4:30 p. m. on June 15, 2017 to begin the process for 2017 grievances. In attendance were Stuart Edson, Teresa Godfrey and Phyllis Humez. There were no property owners scheduled for a grievance hearing for today and there were no walk-in requests.
The Listers discussed a phone call received by the Town Clerk, Teresa Godfrey, concerning the combining of 2 parcels owned by Karl Weller which are contiguous. He was concerned with the property maintaining the 2 deeds in case he chose to sell one of the parcels. He wanted to be sure there wouldn’t be an issue in dividing the tax bill. Mrs. Godfrey was able to assure him that the combining was for tax purposes only and that the 2 parcels remained as 2 separate deeds.
The Board of Listers adjourned at 7:00 p. m. to meet again on June 17, 2017 at 9:00 a. m. until noon.
June 17, 2017
The Board of Listers met at 9:00 a. m. to hear grievances. In attendance were Stuart Edson, Phyllis Humez, and Teresa Godfrey. There were no walk-ins or scheduled grievance hearings.
The Listers discussed the scheduling of a town-wide reappraisal. No decision was made on timing or funding. This will be discussed at a future scheduled date and time.
The Board of Listers adjourned at noon with no future dates set for grievance hearings.
Special Town Meeting April 17, 2017
Attendees: Charles Keeler (Moderator), John Benson (Selectboard Chair), Jeff Kimmel (Selectboard member), Teresa Godfrey (Town Clerk, Recorder), Dale Benson, Clare Kimmel, Perry Kacik, Joy Kacik, Brenda Flint, Amy Ingrassia, George Zebora (observer)
C. Keeler called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
C. Keeler read the warning and notice of the Special Town Meeting as written and posted in the March 16, 2017 Herald of Randolph.
“The legal voters of Brookfield are hereby warned: the Town of Brookfield Selectboard will hold a joint special Selectboard Meeting and special Town Meeting on Monday April 17, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, 40 Ralph Road, to allow public comment and a public vote on the following question:
Shall the actions taken at the Annual Meeting of this Town held on March 7, 2017, in spite of the fact that the Warning for that meeting was not published in the local paper of record, and any act or action of the municipal officers or agents pursuant thereto be readopted, ratified, and confirmed? (pursuant to 17 VSA 2662).”
Motion by J. Kacik, seconded by P. Kacik.
C. Keeler opened for debate or questions.
B. Flint, Town Auditor, asked if she could present an auditor’s report because the Auditors didn’t present one at Town Meeting on March 7, 2017 and they would like to have it included in the minutes.
C. Keeler agreed.
B. Flint said the Town had an outside audit covering FY15 that showed recommendations for making improvements. The Town Auditors are working with the Treasurer, Selectboard, and Administration Assistant to improve the records to meet these recommendations.
C. Keeler called the motion. Motion carried.
Motion by P. Kacik, seconded by C. Kimmel to adjourn at 6:45 p.m. Motion carried.
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
Warning and Notice of Special Town Meeting
The legal voters of Brookfield are hereby warned: the Town of Brookfield Selectboard will hold a joint special Selectboard Meeting and special Town Meeting on Monday, April 17, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, 40 Ralph Road, to allow public comment and a public vote on the following question:
Shall the actions taken at the Annual Meeting of this Town held on March 7, 2017, in spite of the fact that the Warning for that meeting was not published in the local paper of record, and any act or action of the municipal officers or agents pursuant thereto be readopted, ratified, and confirmed? (pursuant to 17 VSA 2662)
Town Meeting 2017
Call to Order at 10:00 a.m. The pledge was recited.
Moderator Charlie Keeler stated that due to the Town reports not being available at least 10 days prior to Town Meeting and the warning not being published in the newspaper 5 days prior to Town meeting, per 17 V.S.A. §2662, there will be a special Town Meeting in April, warned 30 days prior, with an article validating the actions taken at this Town Meeting of March 7, 2017.
Article 1: To elect all officers as required by law for the ensuing year by Australian ballot. For this purpose, the polls will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Article 2: To hear and act on reports of the Town Officers.
John Benson, Selectboard Chair, recognized Aaron Adler for serving on the Planning Commission for 16 years.
J. Benson recognized Melanie LaRocque, Bonnie Fallon, and Mike Herold for all of their hard work on the Cemetery Commission. They did a great job restoring the cemeteries. There will be additional conversation concerning the Cemeteries later in the meeting.
J. Benson updated the EMS plan for the Town. We have gone to Barre Town with an agreement beginning on July 1st.
The Ridge Road paving was completed and the super elevation just south of the Pond Village Church was corrected. The grant from AOT for signage on the Ridge Road has not been completed.
The Selectboard and State are aware of the concerns about the quality and materials used for VT Route 65 reconstruction. In the Fall, there was a field inspection done and the whole road will be re-evaluated in the Spring on how to move forward.
The fire truck and the new plow truck were paid off.
The Town Office attic has new insulation and the front door and windows have all been replaced. The vault door needs either to be repaired or replaced. The tumblers are wearing out. In summer 2016 the water well almost ran dry, but recovered.
The Town Garage has had a room added for recordkeeping. The State is requiring more records and Kasey Peterson, Administrative Assistant, will be spending part of her day doing the recordkeeping. The addition was constructed mainly by the Road Crew during their down times.
We have been working on updating the classification of several Town roads. Old Stage Road has been updated to retain a portion as Class 3, and a small western segment was downgraded to Class 4.
We expect to do a reappraisal in the next few years. We receive money from the state and currently have $68,000 saved up. There will be little impact to the Town budget for the cost of the reappraisal.
J. Binhammer, referring to the balance sheet on page 5, commented that the line for recreation/conservation was a negative and he wondered where the money went. T. Godfrey confirmed the money is there and that it’s an accounting error.
J. Benson said every year there is a list of projects put together to do with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and VT Routes 12 and 14 was not mentioned on the transportation plan for this year. There was a surface course overlay on route 14.
D. Montie said the Town should file a letter with the RPC to keep them on the plan. The resurfacing did not address the underlying issue.
Article 3: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
Motion by D. Childs, seconded by L. Stowell to approve authorization. Motion carried.
Article 4: To see if the Town will vote to have all taxes paid into the Treasury as provided by law in two installments, and if so, to set the dates.
Motion by K. Anderson, seconded by D. Montie that the first payment of 2017/2018 property taxes due November 4, 2017; second payment due May 5, 2018. Motion carried.
Article 5: To see if the Town will authorize support of Big Heavy World for the sum of $250.00.
Motion by K. Anderson, seconded by L. Stowell, to authorize the support.
J. Kimmel said the Selectboard received a request in November for authorization to benefit the music community of Vermont. After adding the request to the warning, he tried to contact them several times to suggest that the group send a representative to speak at Town Meeting. The number was disconnected. He recommended forgoing the opportunity to donate.
E. Nielsen said it is a reputable organization and it is a group of volunteers. He understood a decision to not fund them because of no representation at Town Meeting. Call to vote. Motion denied.
Article 6: To see if the Town will vote to approve the discontinuance and disbanding of the Brookfield Cemetery Commission, with authority over the Town cemeteries to revert to the Selectboard (per 18 VSA 5381.
Motion by E. Nielsen, seconded by M. Herold.
J. Kimmel said Melanie LaRocque, Mike Herold, and Bonnie Fallon have done an enormous amount of work while serving on the Commission. Since they are not running again it makes sense to revert the cemetery maintenance back to the Selectboard. They would then look for a warden or sexton to maintain the cemeteries and sell plots, arrange for burials, and maintain the paperwork. The sexton fees would be paid through plot purchases and burial fees.
Martina Rutkovsky acknowledged all who stepped up to the plate. It takes a lot of attention to do the work. She recommended not to put it on the Selectboard but to ask there to be a group to manage the 5 cemeteries. Call to vote. Motion carried.
Article 7: To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 to meet the expenses and liabilities of the Town General Fund and to authorize the Selectboard to set a tax rate sufficient to provide the same.
Motion by D. Montie, seconded by L. Stowell.
C. Keeler opened for discussion. There was none so the motion was called. Motion carried.
Article 8: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to complete a property line adjustment with the property owners adjacent to the Town Garage property, consisting of the following:
Motion by E. Nielsen, seconded by L. Stowell.
J. Benson explained, with the aid of a sketch, the plan for purchasing approximately 0.8 acres of land from parcel 90.1 and approximately 0.15 acres from parcel 89, which would create a 35’ right-of-way. He estimates it might be around $3,000 using an abatement of taxes or an actual payment for the purchases. The larger gets steep as you go back further.
A. Adler questioned why Bullet 3 refers to “owners.”
J. Benson stated if we can’t close a deal with the owner for parcel 89 then we would have to do something else with 90.1.
Discussion centered mainly around erosion control and a drainage plan.
J. Benson suggested that those concerns might be addressed by creating a slight retaining wall. The shed needs to be moved back for additional space for expanding the garage.
J. Binhammer made a motion as part of the purchase to direct the Selectboard to put together a plan to fix the drainage first. This was seconded by T. Anderson.
J. Benson said the Selectboard would develop a stormwater run-off plan.
G. Brees was concerned about project “creep”: should the Town buy the land, before it has a plan for the garage? Is that all the Town needs for land?
J. Benson commented that we don’t yet know what the needs are for 20 years. There is absolutely no room for material storage and garage expansion right now. Rebuilding the shed by moving it back is planning ahead for additional space. At this point, the grader sticks out of the shed. If the property owners request an excessive price, the Board would come back to the Town for a vote.
The amendment was withdrawn by J. Binhammer and T. Anderson.
Motion to call the question with no amendments. Motion carried.
C. Keeler turned the discussion to Senator Mark MacDonald, Representative Jay Hooper, and Representative Ben Jickling.
Sen. MacDonald complimented Jay Hooper and Ben Jickling on being elected as the new State Representatives and showing how to finish a campaign.
Sen. MacDonald said there are few surprises for this legislation. There is a $30 million budget gap. The new Governor has taken a pause on creating new revenue.
Rep. Jickling is working on the Health Care Committee. A big concern is changes by the federal government with health care, and how it will affect health care for Vermonters. There isn’t enough money for mental health and there is a backlog in the ER’s. Prescription drugs are a major driver of health care costs.
Rep. Hooper is working on the House Agriculture & Forestry Committee. They have been dealing with how to pay for cleanup of waterways (i.e. Lake Champlain), the new immigration laws affecting the dairy workers, and a stagnant milk market. The Representatives are working on the cross-over of bills going from Senate to House and vice versa.
J. Benson asked to have the Senator and Representatives raise two issues with Montpelier.
L. Churchill would like to see the State repair VT Routes 12 and 14 instead of just surface coating them.
A. Borgman, Guardian Ad litem for children’s services, would like to see someone take a broader view on social services. B. Gassner agreed that there should be more information on services available. There should be a better understanding on the impact on early childhood trauma (i.e. PTSD).
Rep. Jickling stated he would bring the concerns back to Montpelier.
Rep. Hooper said a bill was passed to expunge felon status inquiries if a job applicant was a felon after 3 years instead of 8-10 years. This goes into effect July 1st. They have already banned questioning on an initial application if you were a felon.
Article 9: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to purchase a new grader for up to $290,000, and to determine whether the terms for such purchase shall be payment in full in the first year, installments over a term of years, or leasing the equipment.
Motion by E. Nielsen, seconded by S. Dilcer.
J. Benson said they have been researching with Ray Peck, Road Foreman, the cost of a new grader comparing one from CAT and John Deere. CAT has a new 2016, never used, at a cost of $357,000. To purchase it, the cost would be $305,000.
There are 3 options to purchase: 1. Outright 2. Lease/purchase; 3. Loan for 5 or 8 years.
The outright option is to be paid for through $90,000 (budget), $85,000 (equipment savings fund), and $130,000 (delinquent tax collections from prior years).
The Selectboard recommends option 1.
Benson said a backhoe is planned on being purchased next in 2022. Every three years we replace one of the plow trucks. He stated bank interest is at 3% which is a better rate than the equipment loan fund through the State would be.
A. Adler asked if option 1 meant there would be no change to the budget and that Article 9 states $290,000.
J. Benson said it would need to be amended. Purchasing the 2016 grader from CAT is a step-up because of the placement of the blade being in front of the driver vs behind. There would be no change to the proposed budget.
Motion to amend from $290,000 to $305,000 by A. Adler, seconded by M. Maeder
Call to vote to see if the town will approve the amendment of Article 9 to read $305,000.
New Motion by M. Stoddard, seconded by S. Dilcer to authorize the Selectboard to purchase a new grader for up to $305,000 with making the payment in full (Option 1) using the funds listed above.
J. Benson said we will make a payment with the equipment fund as a deposit to hold the grader until the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2017.
Article 10: To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 to meet the expenses and liabilities of the Town Highway Fund and to authorize the Selectboard to set a tax rate sufficient to provide the same.
Motion made by E. Nielsen, seconded by L. Stowell.
C. Keeler opened for discussion. There wasn’t any so the motion was called. Motion carried.
Article 11: To transact any other proper business.
D. Childs spoke about EC Fiber. There have been 2 incursions in Brookfield: on Kibbee Road and in West Brookfield. They’re working on covering 24 towns. He encouraged everyone to sign up so Brookfield will move up on the list.
L. Stowell wanted to let everyone know there would be a Public Safety Community event open to individuals and families on March 11th at the Brookfield Elementary School.
B. Fallon encouraged everyone to take part in Green Up Day the 1st Saturday in May.
P. Kacik said there are Ice Out tickets available in the Teachers’ work room for $2/guess or 3 for $5. 25% goes to the winner and 75% is for the Historical Society.
Motion by A. Haggett, seconded by L. Stowell to adjourn the meeting at 12:30 p.m.
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
The Brookfield Town Report has been delayed at the printers and will not be delivered to the Town until Friday, March 3rd. The electronic version is available on this website. The Town Office will be open Saturday, March 4th from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. for anyone who would like to pick up their copy. (one per household please).