TOWN OF BROOKFIELD 2015 ANNUAL MEETING
The legal voters of the Town of Brookfield met for the annual Town Meeting, at the Brookfield Elementary School auditorium at 1725 Ridge Road, Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. to transact the following business:
Article 1: To elect all officers as required by law for the ensuing year by Australian ballot.
Polls were declared open at 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Article 2: To hear and act on reports of the Town Officers.
John Benson, Selectboard Chair, addressed the meeting reporting on the storm damage from 2013. There is one project remaining for repair, the culvert on Old Cross Road. The Planning Commission, the Selectboard, and Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission are working together on a new Hazzard Mitigation plan. There was a change in the Road Crew. The Floating Bridge is scheduled to reopen this spring. Brookfield has a new website (brookfieldvt.org). Brookfield, Randolph, and Braintree are working together with Solarize Upper Valley. An ATV group has requested the use of some of the roads in West Brookfield; there will be public forums concerning this in the near future.
Mr. Benson also recognized Mike LeFebvre for his service as 1st and 2nd Constable for close to 20 years. Mr. Benson spoke of the dedication to G. G. LaRocque and his work for the Town. Mr. Benson recognized Teresa Godfrey for the work she has been doing for the Town.
Kevin Wheatley, the new Brookfield Fire Department Chief, spoke about John Benson’s expertise at accident scenes and that he commanded with ease. Mr. Benson will be missed as Fire Chief. The Brookfield Fire Department presented Mr. Benson with a plaque and his hat signed by all the Fire Department volunteers to thank him for his 28 years of service as Chief.
Patsy French, State Representative, spoke to the crowd about the current State budget. She said the Legislators will pass a balanced budget when they are done. She apologized for Rep. Marjorie Ryerson not being able to stop in due to being on the Selectboard in Randolph. Rep. French spoke about the Water Quality, the Child Protection, and Education Reform bills. Rep. French also spoke about tax exemptions and possible new taxes.
Article 3: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by D. Montie, to approve authorization.
C. Keeler indicated that on page 12 of the Town Report, that by splitting the tax receipts, the Town has not had to borrow money for the last couple of years. 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 D. Montie, seconded by L. Runnion that first payment of 2015/2016 property taxes due November 7, 2015; second payment due May 9, 2016. Motion carried.
Article 5: To see if the Town will vote to increase the oversight of our roads by authorizing and funding a Patrol Officer, part time, already trained, who will respond to our needs.
Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by S. Edson.
Skip Smith, Article petitioner, discussed the need of a Patrol Officer. Some of his reasons included the speed through Town, trash being dropped along the roadsides, the increase in drug use, and breaking and entering.
C. Keeler stated we can vote on a concept but not a dollar amount because this was not warned as a major expenditure.
Benson said there are problems throughout the whole Town. The process to train a Constable would take a year and if an individual has been retired for longer than 2 years, they would have to be retrained and the requirements are increasing. The Town would have to consider the cost of training, radar training, uniforms, vehicle purchase, insurance, and where to retain anyone arrested.
E. Godin praised Orange County Sheriff’s Department and K. Joyal, 2nd Constable in their investigating a theft at their property.
D.Bohnyak, OCSD Investigations Officer, said the Town could be hit hard with liabilities and only paying for roughly 2 hours a week for patrol does not afford much time for investigating any incidences.
Motion called by P. Kacik, seconded by D. Montie. Motion carried.
Vote on main motion (Article 5). Motion denied.
Article 6: To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 in the amount of $441,426.00 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 L. Runnion, seconded by A. Adler.
L. Stowell questioned if the Town would double the coverage of Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Amendment made by L. Stowell, seconded by S. Dilcer to amend the line item for OCSD from $6,000 to $12,000. Amendment carried.
Motion called by L. Stowell, seconded by D. Montie to amend the line item increase to $12,000.
G. Brees questioned how the contribution line items are increased, i.e. Arts Bus. J. Kimmel stated it is by written request.
C. Sandusky, Executive Director for the Arts Bus, said they provide services to 13 towns now and small non-profit groups have a harder time receiving grants after they are established and have to turn to the towns for support.
Vote on main motion (Article 6). Motion carried.
Article 7: To see if the Town will approve the purchase of a Highway Department truck(s) for up to $175,000.00, to be financed and paid for over a term of up to three (3) years.
Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by Billie Gosh.
J. Benson said one of the trucks is due to be traded in this year. The first payment would be out of the current budget and we would finance 2 payments. The Highway Department is also looking at a used diesel pick-up truck for running errands and for small jobs. M. Sanchez noted that the Town will need to address potential personal use of the smaller vehicle. Motion carried.
Article 8: To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 in the amount of $687,491.00 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 by D. Montie, seconded by M. Maeder.
There was discussion concerning if the amount of calcium chloride purchased is adequate, the paving of Northfield Road under I-89, and if the State would give us funding for paving.
J. Benson said the Town gets some funds for maintaining class 2 and 3 roads. Motion carried.
Mark MacDonald, State Senator, spoke on the budget, loss of sales tax from on line purchases, and a payroll tax.
Article 9: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to pursue, and if appropriate, enter into contract(s) with Emergency Medical Service Provider(s) to provide EMS services to the Town of Brookfield.
Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by P. Kacik.
J. Benson stated the Selectboard had met with Pat Edwards, WRVA director and Dave Jennings, Barre Town EMS director to work together on where a division of service should be. Pat Edwards recently resigned and WRVA has not appointed a new director. WRVA has appointed someone to work with D. Jennings to establish the line. The cost of coverage will be similar. Currently the whole Town is covered by WRVA.
J. Benson stated Brookfield needs a representative to volunteer to attend the meetings at WRVA.
Vote on Article 9. Motion carried.
Article 10: To transact any other proper business.
P. Kacik, Floating Bridge Celebration Planning Committee, reported the last day the bridge should be worked on is May 22, 2015 per the contract. He is recruiting for help with the celebration and has a sign-up sheet.
S. Edson, President of the Randolph Area Food Shelf, wanted to thank the Town for the money donated and for all who have volunteered for the RAFS.
S. Edson, representative for ECFiber, said the fiber will be coming into Kibbee Road and into West Brookfield. They are going to be coming up the Ridge Road and hopefully into Town.
B. Hale asked the Selectboard, concerning Article 5, that “We the Town, resolve to ask the Selectboard to present recommendations for appropriate Law Enforcement strategies for the Town at the next Town Meeting”.
M. Merriam said the Energy Committee meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 p. m. at the Brookfield Library if anyone is interested in joining them. She said there is a “Button-up” presentation DVD in the Library.
B. Fallon reminded everyone Green-Up day is on May 2nd and to be sure to read the report on the Cemetery Commission.
Motion by E. Keeler, seconded by M. Evans to adjourn the meeting at 12:40 p.m.
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
A signed copy is located in the Town vault.