Town of Brookfield
May 26, 2020 at 6:30 P.M.
Town Clerk’s Office
Attending: John Benson (Chair), Jeff Kimmel, Dennis LaRocque; Lew Stowell (Public Safety Advisory Committee), Les Haskell
A. Call to Order – 6:31 p.m.
B. Adjustments to Agenda – (see below)
C. Public Comment: (none)
D. Highway Report:
1) Performance Review (Rich Hamblin): moved towards end of meeting.
2) Gravel Pit: as reported at the last Board meeting, Road Crew Foreman Ray Peck has been discussing a proposed plan with Keith Sprague to obtain sand for the Town; Mr. Sprague may have a site that could be opened up as a sand pit.
Mr. Benson suggested that the concept is worth exploring, including initial test pit borings to begin to assess the quality of the material and potential area it covers. He added that the Town will likely need a new sand supply site within about 2 years. Mr. LaRocque also wondered about another potential site that might be located near the end of Ferris Road.
The site might be subject to somewhat less State regulation if it was opened and operated as a municipal materials site, according to Mr. Benson. We would hope the supply would be adequate to keep the Town’s sand supply stable for a decade or more.
3) Baker Access Permit: Jeff Baker submitted an application for an Access Permit to upgrade a 700 feet portion of TH14 (starting at the junction with Twin Pond Road) along with creating a driveway off of TH14 into a parcel that Mr. Baker intends to develop. Mr. Haskell has a house on the corner of Twin Pond Road and TH14; he expressed concerns about the proposed road work, including appropriate drainage and culvert construction, impact on local water resources, proper continuing maintenance on the improved portion, and the potential for increased traffic on TH14. Mr. Benson noted that Class 4 roads are ineligible for the State funding that is provided for Class 1,2,3 roads.
After discussion, Mr. Benson made a motion to table the permit determination pending further information about the project; Mr. Kimmel second: 3-0-0. The Board would like to have Mr. Baker submit documents, including Subdivision and Development Permit applications that would help describe plans for the site. Mr. Benson also noted that upgrading TH14 would trigger notice of a public hearing along with notice to adjoining landowners as part of the review process.
4) Other Highway: Chris Bump (VT Agency of Transportation) and other AoT personnel visited Brookfield on May 14 to review conditions on the Ridge Road. Road Crew Foreman Ray Peck had identified several issues with the paving work performed by Pike Industries in Fall 2019. Mr. Peck, Mr. Kimmel, and Mr. LaRocque also participated in the review. Mr. Bump will follow up with a written report, which he will send to the Town.
There is also a long-term issue with a degrading culvert on Bear Hill Road; Mr. Bump planned to check that site and offer suggestions for replacement.
E. New Business
1. Emerald Ash Borer: Mr. Stowell reported on the PSAC’s activities and recommendations regarding the looming Ash Borer problem. For now, he recommended that the Town approve purchase of 30 EAB traps, which the PSAC would set up to help monitor the progress of the invasive insects. The cost would be less than $1,500. On motion of Mr. Benson, Mr. LaRocque second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve purchase of the traps.
Mr. Benson commented that, at this point, the Town can’t afford the likely costs of removing all the potentially affected trees along the Town’s roads. He also suggested that loggers might want to take possession of dropped trees, although the landowners would have to be willing to forego their rights of possession. Mr. Stowell added that response costs will be dependent on the speed and extent of the infestation.
2. Parking – Stone Road and at the Floating Bridge: a Stone Road property that was the subject of Board and Orange County Sheriff’s Department review in Fall 2019 has shown signs of increasing the number of vehicles encroaching on the travel-way of the road. There have also been reports of instances where children and dogs have been running into the roadway. Mr. Benson suggested that the Board send a written reminder to the property owners (with a copy to OCSD) about appropriate activities.
Bridge parking: the VT AoT is aware of the problem. Parking within the travel-way of Route 65 on both ends of the bridge seems to be inevitable. However, Mr. Benson observed that vehicles shouldn’t park on the private property and driveways of abutting landowners. The Town should check with AoT about what signage might be allowable to help notify visitors about restrictions on parking. The Town could also consider obtaining an easement for additional parking on the West side of the Bridge.
The Board is also assessing the potential for adding parking spots by the Town Offices. However, that would be primarily designed to accommodate activities at that building. The existing “horseshoe” parking area across from the Old Town Hall might also be able to be expanded by clearing material from the bank in the rear.
3. Road Signs: Mr. Kimmel will check with Mr. Peck about ordering more signs, along with other related Town Highway items such as culverts, gravel, and sand. The Town can also allocate about $20,000 to these items for FY 2020/2021, along with addressing the need for a potable water system at the Town Garage.
Mr. Stowell noted that the only Town highway with proper weight limit signs is Northfield Road. The Town has been trying to work through the State’s system and requirements for establishing and posting weight limits. Questions also remain about how to enforce the limits. The Town will continue to issue weight permits based on vehicle weights and number of axles, with the Town’s Administrative Assistant and Road Crew Foreman involved in the review process.
4. OCSD Contract: Mr. Stowell provided a review of the Sheriff’s Department budget and actual Town expenditures. The FY 2019/2020 budget amount was $12,000, and the FY 2020/2021 budget amount approved at Town Meeting was $12,500.
F. Old Business
1. Performance Review (Ray Peck): Mr. Kimmel will have Mr. Peck sign the review form, and turn it over to Administrative Assistant Kasey Peterson.
2. Town Garage Committee: the Board has several potential candidates for the committee, and anticipates appointing members at the next meeting. Mr. Benson mentioned that there is a great deal of planning and financial information already available for the committee to consider, based on prior work performed by Connor Construction, which prepared several versions of plans for the garage project. Mr. Benson also provided a summary of approaches to the bidding and contract processes.
3. Personnel Policy – deferred.
G. Approve Selecboard Meeting Minutes: Mr. LaRocque made a motion to approve the Meeting Minutes of May 11, 2020; Mr. Benson second. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
H. Payroll/AP Warrants: Mr. LaRocque made a motion to pay the warrants totaling $12,353.29 with large bills that include: Kirk Yard Services (Cemetery): $7,950.00; Gillespie Fuels and Propane (Fire Department Heat): $995.40 and (Office Fuel): $896.40; Mr. Kimmel second. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
I. Other Proper Business: Employee Performance Review. On motion of Mr. Benson, Mr. LaRocque second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to go into Executive Session at 8:38 p.m., for a personnel discussion. The Board exited the session at 8:42 p.m.
J. Mr. LaRocque made a motion to adjourn at 8:54 p.m., Mr. Kimmel second: 3-0-0.