Town of Brookfield
January 27, 2020 at 6:30 P.M.
Town Clerk’s Office
Present: John Benson (Chair), Cory Haggett, Jeff Kimmel, Ray Peck (Road Foreman), Lew Stowell (Public Safety Advisory Committee), Dawn Conant. Public Present: Dennis Larocque, Eric Nielson, Mike McShane, Jon Binhammer, Justin Poulin
1. Call to Order – 6:31 p.m.
2. Adjustments to Agenda:
• Mr. McShane sought permission from the Town Selectboard to put up a survey at Town Meeting. He has been approached by the State Chapter of the Lions International about starting a Lions Club in the Randolph, Braintree, Brookfield area. He wants to set up a box at Town Meeting to have people fill out and leave the survey. Mr. Haggett will talk with Theresa and find out what is required to do this. The Board recommends that the Lions have a representative there when people check in so they will see them and take a survey.
• Mr. Binhammer – Mr. Kimmel asked him to come, regarding a question on the warning he is proposing. He is asking for $200 from the Town Recreation/Conservation Fund for a Broomball Set to be used at the the annual Ice Harvest event. Does the Selectboard have the authority to use/donate the funds without going to the voters’ approval at Town Meeting? The money in that account was obtained from logging at the Town Forest.
The Board opined that it could not could not obligate money without going to voters first due to the nature of funding activities. The Board could put a warning for Town Meeting have the voters vote to approve spending/raising $200 via taxes. Since the event is over for this year, Mr. Binhammer does not need it to be on the warning this time. He will plan to get something together before next year and go from there. He also mentioned the event went well, there were quite a few people, and there was over 15 inches of ice (and no one fell through).
3. Public Comment –
• Justin Poulin is here regarding the Bear Hill issues regarding a pipe installation on the road. He is asking what the Town found out about what can be done.
• The Town consulted the Town Attorney, who recommend that the property owner remove the pipes. The Town does not have legal authority to remove the pipe, unless it takes the next step and goes to court. If the property owner places a potential obstruction by the road, the owner takes on the inherent responsibility if a person hits it or if it damages the Town’s equipment. The property owner is aware of the issues and responsibilities.
• Mr. Poulin has observed other road issues, like piles of material near the road, a driveway that is paved onto the Town portion of road, and a safety issued posed by a 6 foot culvert road hole. Mr. Poulin wants to make sure that all in the Town of Brookfield are treated fairly no matter who they are.
• Mr. Benson understands this, but the issue of the pipe/posts near the road was brought to the Board by other concerned community members. The Board does not pick certain property owners to give a hard time to.
• Mr. Benson will have Ray look into the issues of the rocks and pavement and culvert hole and report back to the Board. If we don’t know about things we cannot as a Board make a plan to take care of them.
• Mr. Poulin asked about the travel way issue with Stone Road. Mr. Benson reported that the Public Safety Committee, property owners, Sheriff’s Dept. and the Board met. Nothing is to be protruding into the travel way. Mr. Eric Nielson lives and travels that way and says the sight distance northbound is better than is heading south. The Board could establish more Sheriff patrols in that area to deter encroachment in the road. The property owner has agreed to move some of the items back from the road and has been informed by the Sheriff’s Dept. what the cost is if they are in violation. The Town had a survey done and at this time the Owner is content with the survey and not going to challenge.
• Regarding the Bear Hill Property Owner road issue: the Board is not going to move forward with litigation, but at a previous meeting it was discussed as an option. The Board does not need Town voter approval to litigate matters. The Board would report the proceedings, but have the legal authority to initiate litigation if necessary.
4. New Business:
A. Kate Forrer – Emerald Ash Borer Research: tabled for this meeting as she is not here.
B. Town Meeting Warning: Mr. Kimmel has compiled it for posting and inclusion in Town Report.
1. Highway & Bridge Weight Restriction Filings: Mr. Peck to look and work on tomorrow.
2. Certificate of Highway Mileage: Mr. Kimmel has the material, will review its accuracy, and submit it to the Town Clerk to send to the State Agency of Transportation.
3. Other Highway
Town Garage building – the most recent cost estimate is approximately $1,000,000 for a structure to house everything. Mr. Peck would like to have a pit in the new building as well.
An article will be in the Town Warning for the voters to approve construction of a new Town Garage Building up to $1,000,000, to be financed over a 25-30 year period.
The Board will present the options: a) do nothing; b) 2 buildings; c) completely replace the existing building.
Mr. Peck will contact Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission about the list of hazardous materials and chemicals stored in the garage and get help filling out the requisite form.
Also will ask Administrative Assistant Kasey Peterson to contact VTrans and get an answer regarding cost issues of paving on Ridge Road.
D. Reappraisal Contract Amendment: the contract will be the same amount as before, but will extend to a two-year period. Mr. Kimmel made a motion to approve the Reappraisal Contract Amendment, Mr. Haggett second; Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
E. Tatro Pubic Assemblage Permit: the event will be May 30 and feature the unveiling of a Morgan Horse history marker on Snow Road near Eaton Snow’s house. They plan to have a race, log rolling, food for sale etc. Approximately 100+/- people expected and they would like to close the road from 10-5 p.m.
Mr. Haggett indicated that he doesn’t think that will be a good idea. If for a couple of hours that is one thing. The permit request is not complete as to why for so long, and how the applicants would deal with property/home owners on the road.
The Board chose to table approval of the permit, until it is resubmitted with more information and clearer objectives. Ms. Peterson will notify Mr. Tatro and seek additional information about the permit conditions.
F. Town E911 Coordinator: the Board acknowledges the note received by Chuck Barnum indicating he is retiring from the 911 Coordinator position. The Board wants to recognize all his hard work and thank him for all the years he has done this position.
We have a community member who is willing to step in – Mr. George (Jack) Zebora. Mr. Haggett made a motion to accept the name of Mr. Zebora as the new 911 Coordinator for the Town of Brookfield, Mr. Haggett second; Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
Jack Zebora will reach out to Chuck Barnum and go over the information for the position and where things stand.
G. Census Bureau request for Brookfield Boundary Information: the Board will ask Ms. Peterson to check with the TRORC mapping site to confirm the boundaries of the Town, along with referring to the census CD for comparison and get back to the Board.
H. Town Meeting Warning:
• Randolph Area Mentoring Program request for new funding: Mr. Kimmel has their request and explanatory letter.
• There is a petition circulating to increase the Selectboard from 3 to 5 members and Australian ballot was requested as the way to vote for it. Brookfield does not vote such issues by Australian ballot. So It should be amended to include it on the Town Meeting Warning, to be voted from the floor. Mr. Benson will discuss with VLCT to confirm the method(s) to vote to potentially change Board structure and add 2 more Board members.
• Mr. Haggett’s seat is up this year and he is not running again. It is the only open Board seat for the upcoming election.
5. Old Business:
A. Personnel Policy Changes: Mr. Kimmel will return to this after completion of ongoing work on the Town Report and Warning.
B. Approve Minutes of January 13, 2020 meeting: Mr. Haggett made a motion to approve the Meeting Minutes of January 13, 2020 with an amendment to the Cargill item; Mr. Benson second. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
6. Payroll/AP Warrants: Mr. Haggett made a motion to pay the warrants totaling $13,138.17 with large bills that include $4,500.65; BCBSVT (healthcare): $3,425.00; White River Valley Ambulance (ambulance): $1,733.16; Cargill, Inc. (salt). Mr. Kimmel seconded. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
7. Other Proper Business: the Board noted various Town Meeting items:
• Loader – need to indicate what the total cost is, including interest and period of loan.
• Town Garage – Dennis Laroque suggested that there be photos at the meeting of the trucks in the garage and what the addition would look like with trucks so the voters could see what the Board is trying to do.
• New Request – Randolph Mentoring Program.
• Remove Mr. Binhammer’s Broomball funding request.
• Amy Ingrassia went to the White River Valley Ambulance Board meeting. The Board is grateful to have an experienced volunteer working with the WRVA Board. Hard to get anyone to volunteer for the position. She hopes to see about getting some other Town members if possible.
8. Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn at 8:23 p.m., Mr. Haggett seconded. 3-0-0.