Mar 142019


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 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to transact the following business:

Call to Order at 10:00 a.m.

Moderator, Gregory Wight, opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Lunch will be served supporting the Brookfield School Club with donations.

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 that Charlie Keeler and Dee Montie have both stepped down from their respective town offices and thanked them both for their years of service. He also thanked the current town officers for the work they are doing. J. Benson remarked that because Stuart Edson, Zoning Administrator, was stepping down that the office is open if anyone is interested in filling the position.

J.Benson commended the Road Crew for their work this winter keeping the roads clear and that it hasn’t been an easy winter. They have had to “dip” into the new budget for sand. He also commended Ray Peck, Road Foreman, for looking after the Town with a quick response to the Witts Bridge dam repair. 90% of the repair will be refunded through emergency grants.

J.Benson informed the Town that new town trucks will need to be ordered a year in advance so they can be built to the Town specifications. Currently, Brookfield replaces a truck every 3 years so the age of each truck at trade-in is 9 years.

J.Benson stated that the Town will be starting a town wide reappraisal July 1, 2020. With the money the Town receives from the State, we have 100% of the financing so it won’t add to our tax burden.

Lew Stowell, Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), showed an example of the e-911 signs available for purchase at $5.02 each. Forms are available in the back room. They are looking for volunteers who might be interested in joining the committee.


Dan Childs spoke about ECFiber being strung along the Brookfield roads. He wasn’t able to specify when it would be turned on.  ECFiber is aware of mud season coming up and will work around it.  The Hub has a stand-by generator that has a 6-hour battery.

G. Wight brought to everyone’s attention the dedication in the Town Report recognizing Elinor Gray for her love of Brookfield and her knowledge of the history of the Town.

Article 3:  To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.

Motion by Linda Runnion, seconded by L. Stowell.

J. Benson stated that since collecting twice a year, we haven’t had to borrow in anticipation of taxes.

Call to vote. 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 L. Stowell, seconded by Marylou Maeder that the first payment of 2019/2020 property taxes to be due November 2, 2019; the second payment due May 2, 2020. Motion carried.

Article 5:   To see if the Town will vote to allocate $5000 for ash tree removal from Town Highway rights-of-way.

Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by Mike Stoddard.

Kate Forrer, UVM Community Forester Specialist, presented a map showing at least 5 counties in VT have an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the infestation is moving through-out VT. There are 3 choices in dealing with the EAB. (1) Proactive by removing ash trees is cheaper. After the trees become infested, it becomes a safety issue and the utility companies won’t send employees out for tree removal.  (2) Treatment with insecticides for home owners becomes expensive.  (3) Or we can do nothing but it will be more expensive.  K. Forrer, R. Peck, and the PSAC members have identified over 700, larger than 10” in diameter, ash trees in the public right-of-way. The logging community is interested in harvesting trees but they would also want to harvest other species of trees at the same time.

Eric Nielson stated the Town has the right to cut but the land owner owns the tree. It the tree is felled and not cleaned up, the pest will remain.

The discussion then included the State being in a quarantine, a possible replanting plan, huge loss of canopy over the roads, hanging traps, not cutting around homes, and not knowing where the insects will show up next. The $5000 will not cover the cost.  The general concession is to be proactive and there will need to be additional public hearings concerning the cutting of trees.  The Road Crew is not a logging crew and not trained to be.  The trees along some of the roads prevent the roads from sliding down embankments. A snapshot of roads show it will cost between $100-$350/tree.

The discussion turned to possibly amending the motion to vote on the 3 options of proactive, treatment, or do nothing and after much more discussion, it was decided that the current motion shows proactive with the dollar amount. The $5000 is just an amount for resources.

Perry Kacik requested a call to question. Motion carried.

Call to vote. Motion carried.

Article 6: To see if the Town will vote to allocate $5000 for a survey of a portion of Stone Road to establish the road center-line and Town right-of-way.

Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by Billie Gosh.

J. Benson reviewed the history of the area in question. A number of individuals came to the Selectboard concerning vehicles encroaching the Town right-of-way (ROW) and the Board had the Orange County Sheriff check into it. They said the 4 tires are out of the travel lane and according to the property owners, they did not have any vehicles in the road way. The survey is to show if the travel lane has shifted and where the center line is actually located.  Al Wilder remembered, that before the garage was built, a meeting was held for the permit and the agreement was that there would be no parking between the garage and Town ROW.  The Sheriff cannot take any action until a survey is done which will establish a travel lane and the width of the road.

Call to vote. Motion carried with a few nays.

Article 7: To see if the Town will vote to establish a Conservation Committee, as an advisory committee to the Selectboard.

Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by Kym Anderson.

Jon Binhammer made a motion to amend the article to state “establish a Conservation Commission.”. This was seconded by Susan Shay.

S. Shay stated that with a Commission vs. a Committee, they would be able to apply for grants. Over 100 towns have a Conservation Commission. Call to vote on the amendment. Motion carried as amended.

Article 8: To see if the Town will vote to contribute $100 to the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts-Rural Fire Protection Program.

Motion by Charlie Keeler, seconded by L. Runnion.

J. Kimmel reported that these are dedicated technicians for management of rural dry hydrants etc. for municipalities. They award grants up to $5000. Brookfield received grants for an Old Post Road project and the dry hydrant at the Floating Bridge.

With no more discussion, there was a call to vote. Motion carried.

Article 9: To see if the Town will vote to stabilize the Municipal tax rate at 50% of normal for the Mystic Star Lodge No. 97 for a period of five (5) years.

Motion by Julie Benedict, seconded by Sam Dilcer.

Brian Locke, former Master of the Free Masons, said there are only 50 members and the number is declining. He explained it is a men’s group and there is the Eastern Star for women. The Masons recently supported the Girl Scouts with 2 dozen scouts camping in the building.  They support local ball teams but are struggling with dues to keep the taxes paid.  J. Benson reminded the voters that prior to the addition to the school, Town Meeting was held at the Masonic Temple.

Call to vote. Motion carried with a few nays.

Article 10: To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 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 Dan Childs, seconded by E. Nielson.

(The budget will include an additional $10,100 from articles 5, 6, & 8 being approved)

With no discussion, call to vote. Motion carried.

Article 11(a): To see if the Town will vote to establish a new line item in the Highway Department budget to allocate the remainder Highway Department funds from the FY2018/2019 budget to provide a continuing capital fund for major structural repairs and/or replacement at the Town Garage.

Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by M. Stoddard.

J. Benson discussed the garage has issues with fitting all the equipment in it and there is no room for making repairs. The grader, one-ton truck, and bucket loader are stored in the shed but are not completely covered.

With no more discussion, motion carried.

Article 11(b): To see if the Town will vote to set aside $25,000 in the FY2019/2020 budget to provide a continuing capital fund for major structural repairs and/or replacement at the Town Garage.

Motion by M. Stoddard, seconded by E. Koren

With no discussion, motion carried.

Article 12:   To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 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 E. Nielson, seconded by Dennis LaRocque.

(The budget will have $25,000 added due to article 11(b) being approved)

With no discussion, motion carried.

G. Wight turned the meeting over to Representatives Ben Jickling and Jay Hooper.

Rep. Jickling is part of the House Health Care Committee. He reported the Committee is following market stability and how the insurance markets are affecting the cost share limits until age 26 and also the State mandate of insurance/penalty where reform is needed.  They are being proactive in supporting the struggling rural hospitals.

Rep. Hooper is part of the Education Committee. He reported that Act 46 consolidation final year is approaching in July and there are 40 Towns suing the State concerning the requirement of consolidation. They are hoping to see the expected savings in the next few years.  There are 17 members representing minority groups for diversity in education streamlining standards for ethnic studies.  Also, they are following up on lead testing in school drinking water.

Reps. Jickling and Hooper are co-chairing the Youth Caucus this year.

Article 13:  To see if the Town will vote to expand the term of office for Town Clerk from the existing 1 year to a proposed 3 years (17V.S.A §2646(2)), effective as of Town Meeting/Election 2020.

Motion by S. Edson, seconded by M. Maeder.

E. Nielson questioned why the Town would do this.

Teresa Godfrey, current Town Clerk and Treasurer, explained that it takes longer than 1 year to learn the job, continuity of the work being done, and some requirements are only an annual job, i.e. elections, Town Meeting, so it takes multiple years to be successful in the position.

Paul Flint questioned what if the person in office doesn’t work out. T. Godfrey replied you can vote them out or if it is something egregious, then through attorney’s you can have them removed from office.

Motion carried.

Article 14:   To see if the Town will vote to expand the term of office for the Town Treasurer from the existing 1 year to a proposed 3 years (17 V.S.A §2646(3)), effective as of Town Meeting/Election 2020.

Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by M. Maeder.

With no discussion, motion carried.

Article 15:  To transact any other proper business.

J. Benson said the Town of Braintree is looking for a Committee of the 3 Towns to work on locating a shelter in the event of a disaster. Currently VTC is the designated shelter but the need might not rise to what the Red Cross sees as a need during a disaster.

 With S. Edson stepping down as the Zoning Administrator, the Town is looking for someone to step up.

Gail from the Clara Martin Center wanted to thank the Town for their continued support.

L. Runnion as a representative for Safeline thanked the voters for their continued support.

P. Kacik, Brookfield Historical Society, stated the lake is frozen and they are selling a chance to win part of the money from tickets for guessing when Dunkin will sink into the lake.

Laura Rochat is now the coordinator for a Mentoring program. They are looking for volunteers to commit to spending time with kids ranging from 5th – 7th grade.  They would like a year long commitment of investing in a young person with common interests.

J. Binhammer asked for volunteers to serve on the new Conservation Commission.

Ed Koren asked for volunteers for the Fire Department as they are looking for new members.

Kristina Emmons, 4 Winds Program at the school, is also looking for volunteers wanting to share their knowledge of the outdoors.

Kym Anderson thanked the voters for contributing to the diversion program.

M. Maeder, Orange County Parent/Child Center, thanked the voters for support and commented that a lot of parents use the playgroup.

Betsy Hale, Old Town Hall, said they are working on events to consider for this year.

D. Childs, Old Town Hall, wanted to let everyone know that the South and North sides of the hall will be painted this summer thanks to a donation from Dee Montie and Murray Evans which will complete the painting of the whole building. There will be a celebration when they come up.

Bonnie Fallon, Green-Up Day representative, said when we get through mud season, she would like to get more people to participate. Richard Hayward, History teacher at Brookfield Elementary School, is encouraging the kids to get out for Green-Up and he and Bonnie are working on an incentive for the kids.

J.Benedict, representative for Brookfield for White River Valley Ambulance (WRVA), stated that at a recent meeting Randolph was requesting they pay a lower rate per capita than the other towns covered by WRVA.

Motion by M. Maeder, seconded by M. Stoddard to adjourn at 1:00 p.m.

Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted:

Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk