Due to power outage, the Brookfield Town Office is closed for the day.
Due to power outage, the Brookfield Town Office is closed for the day.
Brookfield Town Office
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Subject property: 932 East Hill Road, Brookfield, VT
BCA members: Robert “Jake” Stewart, Beth DeForge, Cory Haggett, Jeff Kimmel, Bonnie Fallon
Listers: Phyllis Humez, Stuart Edson
Appellants: Allison Belisle, David VonHolden
Town Clerk: Teresa Godfrey
The meeting opened with the Town Clerk swearing in the BCA members, Listers, and Appellants.
The Board appointed Jeff Kimmel as Chair of the Board.
Teresa Godfrey recused herself from presenting testimony due to also being a Lister.
Mr. Kimmel explained the process of the BCA hearing.
He then asked the Listers to present their documents and testimony.
The following documents were presented by Stuart Edson and numbered as Lister 1, 2, etc.:
Mr. Edson explained the process the Listers had taken since the property was purchased on October 25, 2017. He explained the above documents and the result of the grievance. The final result being the property value went from $955,900 down to $578,000. The Appellants were not satisfied with the result and requested a BCA hearing.
Mr. Kimmel asked the Appellants to present their documents and testimony.
The following documents were presented by Allison Belisle and numbered as App. I, II, etc
Ms. Belisle stated they maintain the value of their home at $415,000 and the auction was properly advertised and warned. They consider this an “arms-length transaction” and this was not a bankruptcy auction. She presented an email from Terry Owen with the final listings and auction. The property was on the market to sell for 2 years at $675,000 and there was no sale. Only one offer of $400,000 was not accepted. Ms. Belisle said the former Mayor of Barre stopped bidding at $410,000. There were no banks involved. All liens were from family. There was no transfer of ownership.
Mr. Kimmel requested the full Attorneys report to be submitted to the Board via email the following day. (This was done through the Town Clerk’s email and sent to all involved. Numbered as App. III-B above).
Ms. DeForge asked what the definition of “arms-length transaction”.
Ms. Belisle answered with it being an agreement between 2 parties making it a “fair market value” transaction.
Mr. Edson wanted to inform all that when the annual sales study is done by the State, they do not consider an auction a valid sale. The State will not consider this sale as valid per our District Advisor.
Mr. Kimmel said that without documentation for this, we won’t consider this for this hearing.
Mr. Edson conceded that the sales study has not been done for this property. The Listers presented a listing numbered #6 as a document supporting his statement of non-valid sales.
Ms. DeForge asked the Listers if the items on Listers #4 and not checked were addressed in the revaluation. Mr. Edson said yes.
Ms. DeForge asked the Appellants if during the 2 hour open house, if they attended. They said yes and twice before. They made their own determination of what they would pay as a high end.
Ms. Fallon asked why they bought the home when they had all these concerns. Ms. Belisle said it was worth what they paid.
Mr. Haggett asked what they meant about “creative selling”. Mr. VonHolden said that Mr. Lacerte put the property into a LLC to declare bankruptcy with it protecting his other properties.
When asked who the attorney was for the sale, Ms. Belisle replied with Ray O’Buchowski.
Mr. Haggett asked if they had an appraisal done and Ms. Belisle replied that they didn’t see a reason to at this point.
Mr. Kimmel asked if either side had any comparables for recent sales. The Listers presented 3 different ones. The Appellants did not have any.
Mr. Haggett asked if there were mortgages totaling $540,000 why they didn’t consider this a distressed sale. Mr. VonHolden said the mortgages were with Mr. Lacerte’s family members and so the Appellants did not feel this would make is a distressed sale.
Mr. Haggett said the Board of Abatement did abate some of his taxes for financial trouble and it is now public record. Mr. VonHolden felt it was an assumption.
Mr. Haggett questioned the difference between housesite and homestead. At the Town Clerks suggestion, Mr. Edson explained the breakdown of the cost sheet and what the different depreciations meant.
Mr. Kimmel asked if there was any rebuttals from the Listers.
Mr. VonHolden stated they would like to reach common ground and Mr. Edson asked if they felt the Listers were not looking for a common ground. Ms. Belisle said the first pass, not really but the 2nd pass it was closer.
Mr. Kimmel asked for at least 3 volunteers for the house inspection. Ms. Fallon, Ms. DeForge, and Mr. Haggett volunteered.
July 21st at 9:00 a.m. is the set date and time for them to see the house.
Mr. Kimmel set the follow-up hearing with a report back from the inspection for August 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the Brookfield Town Office.
On motion by Mr. Kimmel, seconded by Mr. Haggett the meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.
The Town of Brookfield
25 June 2018
Town Clerk’s Office
1. Call to Order
2 Adjustments to the Agenda
3. Public Comment
4. New Business
A. Highway Report
B. Public Assemblage Permit – Brookfield Community Partnership
C.Orange County Sheriff’s Contract
5. Old Business
A. Approve Minutes of 11 June 2018 Meeting
6. Payroll/AP Warrant
A. AP and Payroll Warrants
7. Other Proper Business
The 2nd installment of taxes is due Saturday, May 5th. I will be open Friday, May 4th from 4:30-7:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 5th from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Postmarks do count if you mail it in and I will send you a receipt.
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD 2018 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 6, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to transact the following business:
Call to Order at 10:00 a.m. The pledge was recited.
Moderator Charlie Keeler stated the Orange Southwest School District met Monday, March 5, 2018.
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, thanked the voters for the purchase of the new grader last year. The week of Town Meeting 2017, the motor went in the old grader and CAT provided the new grader early less the trade-in value.
J. Benson thanked C. Keeler for his years as Moderator. C. Keeler did not run for office this year. He has done a great job.
Aaron Adler questioned the Auditors report stating an “adverse opinion” from the auditing firm Fothergill Segale & Valley. He stated it is the worst opinion you can receive and asked if one of the Town Auditors can address this concern.
Ginny Brees, Town Auditor, said this has been for a number of years and it is primarily about the Pension Plan and we would have to revise the report adding about 4 pages. We are in compliance and always contribute the amount needed. This would increase the audit cost and we are not exposed to any loss. The office has improved a number of the procedures. We will be having full audits every 2 or 3 years with minimal audits in the off years.
Dan Childs, ECFiber representative for Brookfield, stated a lot of residents signed up for ECFiber after last year’s Town Meeting and Brookfield will be receiving fiber in October or November. The process takes time to get the lines on poles and hooking up each home. His cost for TV, telephone, and internet is roughly $100/month. There is a $90 installation fee if you are 400’ from the pole or you pay by the foot if you are greater than 400’. The cost for underground is different. West Brookfield will have fiber installed during the same time period. If you are “off grid”, that is a different issue.
Article 3: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.Motion by Marylou Maeder, seconded by Lew Stowell to approve authorization.
A Adler questioned if the adverse opinion from the audit will affect borrowing.
J. Benson said this is in case we need to borrow but haven’t had to since we went to collecting taxes twice a year. We put this in, because a few years ago, we didn’t have the money to pay the vendors.
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 Linda Runnion, seconded by Eric Nielson that the first payment of 2018/2019 property taxes to be due November 3, 2018; the second payment due May 4, 2019. Motion carried.
Article 5: To see if the Town will vote to contribute five hundred ($500) to Central Vermont Adult Basic Education (CVABE).
Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by C. Curtis Koren to contribute $500 to CVABE.
Joanne Fitzgerald, representative for CVABE, said they cover Washington, Orange, and Lamoille Counties. There are at least 4 Brookfield residents per year ages 16 and up using this service. It is used for high school completion, receiving a diploma or GED, English as a second language, literacy education, changing jobs, financial and computer training. The classes are free of charge and confidential. It costs about $3100/year/student which is paid through contributions, grants, Rotary Clubs, and individuals. There are paid educators who train and manage volunteers. Classes held are individualized depending on what is needed.
Call to vote. Motion carried with one “no” vote.
Article 6: To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 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 Billie Gosh, seconded by L. Stowell.
C. Keeler opened for discussion. There was none so the motion was called.
C. Keeler turned the discussion over to Senator Mark MacDonald.
Sen. MacDonald discussed the energy issues that are being discussed within the Energy Committee in Montpelier. He discussed that Vermont has one of the highest electric rates in the country. Efficiency Vermont is helping to improve energy efficiency for Vermonters. Because of this, Vermont has the lowest bills in New England. The Energy Committee plans on copying the Efficiency Vermont model keeping the money in Vermont by employing Vermonters to do the work. There is a surcharge on electric bills that goes to support Efficiency Vermont.
Article 7: To see if the Town will vote to approve purchase of a new Highway Department truck for up to $198,000, to be financed and paid for over a term of up to three (3) years.
Motion by L. Runnion, seconded by M. Maeder.
J. Benson said every 3 years we replace one of the trucks. We run it for 9 years then retire them. This is the last of the Internationals. It has been a problem since we bought it. They are too light for the work needed in Town. The tandems hold a lot of material and covers the route with 1 load vs 2 saving time and retains its value. L. Stowell asked if there was difficulty on the narrow roads and J. Benson replied that has not been a problem.
Some of the West Brookfield residents were concerned with the size of the trucks and the weight of them. They have hit the signs and mailboxes. The roads are narrow and so they have trouble when they meet the trucks. There are no pull over areas when they do meet them. The ditches are deep.
J. Benson said the tandem trucks are the same plow width as the single axle trucks. There is no demand for single axle per truck companies.
Ben Hickin asked if the $15,000 trade-in was a set amount or if the Town had checked into the State vehicle auctions.
J. Benson said with trading in the vehicle, we are never down a truck. The first payment is included in the budget presented on page 22.
Call to vote. Motion carried.
Article 8: To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 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 Beth Urie.
Brenda Flint questioned the $25,000 budget for paving and if we had any paving left.
J. Benson said we own a small section (9/10ths mile) on Chelsea Mountain Road and we have an aggressive crack sealing process on the paved roads.
Dennis LaRocque wondered if there is a benefit to pave when Randolph or Chelsea pave their sections but both have paved recently. Northfield tore up one of their roads and non-paved roads are cheaper to maintain. You can’t salt unpaved roads.
Authorization for posting the roads for mud season was approved in February at a Selectboard meeting.
Discussion turned to road sign theft and how to prevent it. The road through town needs grading. We are one truck down. It was suggested the Town look into putting crushed ledge rock down to help with draining and the sun heats it so it melts ice off quicker. The Road Crew is working on segments of road throughout the year.
Call to vote. Motion carried.
C. Keeler turned the meeting over to Chris LaMonda, Barre Town EMS Director.
C. LaMonda confirmed that Barre Town is now covering most of VT RT 65 North due to reduced response times. They have paramedics on staff Monday-Friday 95% of the time. There are 18 new personnel due to the additional towns using their services. There are 2 providers on the truck per response. You have choice of hospital depending on the emergency.
C. Keeler turned the meeting over to Representatives Ben Jickling and Jay Hooper.
Rep. Jickling is part of the House Health Care Committee. He reported they have several measures to pass to keep up with the Federal actions on health care. Concerns included mental health care, inpatient beds, health care insurance, and rate increases. There was a discussion about treatment options for Vermont children and Medicaid such as the Brattleboro Retreat.
Rep. Hooper is part of the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee. He reported milk prices are in a decline. There are pilot programs to help farmers with regenerative or organic programs. Discussions included protecting the pollinators, untreated seeds being available, inspections for amusement rides at State Fairs, Emerald Ash Borer, and other Vermont invasive species (both plant & insect) and how to eliminate them.
Article 9: To transact any other proper business.
Bonnie Fallon promoted Green-Up Day. She stated we are losing volunteers and to bring the kids. Don’t touch the needles.
L. Stowell, member of PSAC, said they are losing one member. They hold one meeting a month and advise the Selectboard in public safety. They are working on less expensive ways for law enforcement. They meet with Orange County Sheriff. They are working on the missing highway signs because if there are no signs, we can’t enforce speeds. We have helped rewrite the traffic ordinance.
D. LaRocque was concerned about parking in the town right-of-way.
J. Benson said this has been brought attention to the Sheriff’s department. We had to be sure the Town ordinances are the same as requirements that the State has.
Perry Kacik informed the voters that the Brookfield Historical Society is selling “ice-out” tickets and Floating Bridge pamphlets.
Martina O’Donnell said the West Brookfield Village Trust is putting together programing. They are selling tickets for a quilt Alice Wakefield made to help off-set costs of building maintenance.
Jon Binhammer is looking into forming a conservation commission. He is looking for volunteers interested in being a part of the commission.
Motion by L. Stowell, seconded by Julie Benedict to adjourn at 12:15.
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD ANNUAL MEETING
The legal voters of Brookfield are hereby warned to meet for the annual Town Meeting at the Brookfield Elementary School auditorium at 1725 Ridge Road, Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. to transact the following business:
Dated at Brookfield, Vermont, this 29th day of January 2018.
There will be an informational meeting about the Town Budget on Monday evening, February 26, 2018 at 6:30 P.M. at the Town Clerk’s Office
In accord with 24 V S A p 1681, the Brookfield Town Auditors will hold their formal meeting in advance of Town Meeting on Sunday, February 4, at 1:00 pm, at the Town Clerks Office. The public is welcomed.
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