Brookfield Town Office will be closed September 27th through October 4th for vacation. The office will reopen on October 5th with normal hours. Researchers please plan accordingly.
Town of Brookfield
Board of Civil Authority
Voter Checklist Review
August 29, 2021 9:00 a.m.
The Brookfield Board of Civil Authority (BCA) met on Sunday, August 29, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. at the Brookfield Town Office. The meeting was called to order. In attendance was Beth DeForge-JP, C. Curtis Koren-JP, Brenda Flint-Selectboard Member, Kate Threlkeld- Selectboard Member, Jeff Kimmel-Selectboard Member, Bonnie Fallon-JP, and Teresa Godfrey-Town Clerk.
The Board was given the Active Voter checklist, New Voter List from 9/1/2019-current, and the currently challenged list. It was broken up into packets so everyone was able to review each of the 10 packet lists. The lists included voter name, address, birth date, the date each voter registered and last voted. This was an effective way to question if the person should be challenged.
After everyone was done with all of the lists, we reviewed the ones that were questioned as a whole. In the end there were 22 registered voters that everyone agreed should have a letter sent to them. Mrs. Godfrey will send the challenge letters out in the next week.
Discussion also included up-coming elections and where we might be able to have them and whether the Town will be required to purchase a vote tabulator in the future with over 1000 registered voters. No decisions were made.
The meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
Submitted by Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
Considering the time frame for this election, middle of the Summer, we had a great turn-out!! 174 registered Brookfield voters cast their ballot for this Special Election on Saturday. (67 absentee + 107 in person votes).
Dennis Boggs 40
Katheryn Threlkeld 111
G. Jack Zebora 19
Brenda Flint (write-in) 1
Brenda Flint 126
Robert Godfrey 48
Teresa Godfrey, Brookfield Town Clerk
The Brookfield Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing on June 30, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. at 3286 VT Route 65, Brookfield, VT to review the following request submitted under the Brookfield Development Bylaws:
Stephen Reid requested a potential variance under Section 3.10 of the Development Bylaws. The proposed variance would be for construction of a 860 Square foot addition on the property owned by Josey Hastings and Gabriel Archdeacon located at 3286 VT Route 65, Brookfield, VT with less than the required setback established under Section 2.1(E)(4) of the Bylaws. The Board of Adjustment will need to review the proposed site plans, with a site visit scheduled for June 30, 2021 at 6:00p.m.
Copies of the application are available for review at the Brookfield Town Clerk’s Office. Hours are Tuesday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Brookfield Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing on June 23, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Brookfield Town Clerk’s Office on Ralph Road to review Rules of Procedure and Ethics.
Town of Brookfield 2021 Annual Meeting (Approved as amended)
The legal voters of the Town of Brookfield met for the annual Town Meeting, behind the Brookfield Elementary School at 1725 Ridge Road, Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. to transact the following business:
Call to Order at 10:15 a.m.
Moderator, Gregory Wight, opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
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, spoke in remembrance of 2 Brookfield residents who passed in the last year and were a large part of the community. Sam Dilcer was a Town Auditor for several years and worked diligently to have the Town Report completed for Town Meeting. Ray Peck, born and raised in Brookfield, was the Road Foreman for a number of years.
J. Benson welcomed the new Road Foreman, Tim Higgins. He thanked Rob Wheatley for stepping into the interim Road Foreman position until a new replacement was hired. He recognized Bonnie Fallon for her work as the “Green-Up Lady”, and acknowledged her stepping down. The Conservation Commission has stepped up as the point of contact for Green-up Day. Dan Childs and Stuart Edson were also thanked for their work in helping to get fast speed internet, ECFiber, into Brookfield.
J. Benson continued to thank all the Town Officials for keeping the Town running and Kasey Peterson, Administration Assistant, keeping people informed and setting up Zoom for Selectboard meetings during the pandemic. He acknowledged the great job the Road Crew is doing and that they completed major work on East Hill. The Town is having a town-wide reappraisal done. The Selectboard is working on setting the weight limits on the roads, and posting them. The only agency who enforces the weight limits is the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Dennis LaRocque discussed the progress on the upgrading/rebuilding of the Town Garage. The Committee was able to meet a few times to identify the garage concerns. They found a 4 ½ bay would be the best fit. This would be 4 bays with ½ for an office and conference room. If the Fire Department is included, it would be another 2 ½ bays. They know the Town is not ready to move forward and is looking into more options. He said if anyone is interested in joining the committee, to please contact the Selectboard.
Jeff Kimmel said the delay in the Town Reports were due to illness and the electronic version became available about a week before Town Meeting and the printed version became available Thursday. He plans on sending the remaining copies by mail next week. The Selectboard is looking at improving the process. The Town Report isn’t normally a Selectboard function, but a function of the town auditors. Since S. Dilcer stepped down a few years ago, the Selectboard had to step up. If there is anyone with publishing skills, they would like him/her to step forward to help. An option is to hire someone to create the Town Report. One way to pay for it is to amend the line item in the Town Report adding money to the budget.
Lew Stowell discussed the current situation with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and said the Selectboard should appoint a committee to continue to monitor the EAB situation. He recommended the Town Forester should be the ad hoc point of contact. Kate Forrer, current Town Forester, stated Jon Jickling is on the ballot to replace her and wanted to confirm that everyone knew about EAB. Currently there is no sign of them in Brookfield but they are showing up in 10 Vermont counties. J. Jickling, a member of the Conservation Commission, stated they are spread by the transport of firewood. They plan on having a monitoring system by setting up 16 traps strategically around town. It is a slow-moving infestation. J. Benson said if you are interested in being a part of the ad hoc committee to contact J. Jickling.
Chris LaMonda, Barre Town EMS, stopped by to say hi and that is was nice to see everyone outside. Some of the issues the EMS faced this year included the ambulance transporting service and the adjustment to income. They have been helping with the Covid-19 testing and vaccines. He stated that they are having a clinic today and Sunday for the vaccines. They had 200 shots available each day. He encouraged anyone with questions to stop by the Barre Town EMS office or call them.
Phyllis Humez, Lister, spoke about reappraisal and their progress. She supports Sean Boyce, Vermont Appraisal Company, in scheduling site visits. It is a 2-year process that started in October. He has visited 350 properties and is focusing on structures. He currently has a few left on the east side of town. He should finish in that area by the end of summer. She sends a letter out to property owners 2 weeks in advance. Please contact her if you have a time restriction or any other concerns.
Tina O’Donnell requested the candidates on the ballot, who were present, be identified for voters’ purposes.
Article 3: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
Motion by Erik Nielsen, seconded by Ray Mayer.
J. Benson said this is a safe-guard that was needed before changing tax collection to twice yearly, and adjusting to a fiscal year date. This is kept as an article in case we have an emergency and it allows us to request money if needed.
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 Mike Stoddard, seconded by Dave Sanville that the first payment of 2021/2022 property taxes be due November 6th, 2021; the second payment due May 7th, 2022.
Discussion included sending out a tax bill for each installment, 2 copies, and emailing copies. No decision was made to change the current method of mailing tax bills.
Call to vote. Motion carried.
Article 5: To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 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 Rachel Rose, seconded by M. Stoddard.
Aaron Adler questioned the several large balances in the budget. J. Benson confirmed there was money from the State being used for the current town-wide reappraisal with no increase in taxes. There was money received from a FEMA grant for a West Street road reconstruction that is set aside. The Town covers the initial cost, and grants go back into the budget as revenue. We started the equipment fund which we tapped into for the grader.
Teresa Godfrey, Treasurer, stated any balances left at the end of the fiscal year for the general and highway funds are credited towards taxes in the following year. Last year the credit was $95,000.
Charlie Keeler made the motion to amend the budget by $2000 for the Town Report to be contracted out and D. Childs seconded.
Called to vote on amendment. Motion carried.
After no more discussion, original article with amendment was voted on. Motion carried.
Article 6: To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to purchase a new Town dump truck, the cost not to exceed $198,000, and to be financed over a three-year period of 2021-2024.
J. Benson said he needed to amend the amount needed by $2500 due to pricing increase from vendors since the quote in December. The Town owns 3 dump trucks and trades one every three years (so the truck is 9 years old at trade-in). This maintains the reliability of the fleet. The new amount needed would then become $200,500.
Motion by Holly Dustin, seconded by Linda Runnion, to amend the amount by $2500.
R. Rose asked if the equipment fund could be used but J. Benson said that fund is usually used when other issues come into play. They have 3 quotes and they vary slightly. The quote includes finance fees and all the truck needs to be ready to run, i.e., plow and salt spreader hook-ups and radio installation.
Motion by Kelly Smith, seconded by R. Rose to amend that $2500 be taken from the equipment fund.
Called the question. Motion failed.
Called to vote as amended, adding $2500 to purchase price. Motion carried.
When asked about a 10-wheeler, J. Benson said it is a straight dump truck, trading in the 6-wheeler, for $205,000. To delay a year would push the schedule out, causing a ripple effect. The cost could increase in the year.
Called the question. Motion carried.
Article 7: To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 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 M.Stoddard, seconded by Marylou Maeder.
The cost of the new truck is already included in the budget. It is not an addition to the budget.
Jack Zebora asked about Eagle Peak Road needing to be wider and J. Benson explained the cost of rebuilding sections of road, Mother Nature, and planning which roads need most attention. We have a three person road crew with one part-time person to fill in when there is illness or vacation time taken. Northfield paved all their roads, and maintaining them is more costly than dirt roads. The Road Crew tries to repair a couple of “mud bog” areas in the roads a year unless we are hit by a major storm.
Dennis Boggs asked if there is a 5 year plan identifying these spots.
J. Benson said the Road Crew knows which spots need more attention, and they let the Board know.
Called the question. Motion carried.
Article 8 A: To see if the Town of Brookfield will vote to have 5 members on the Selectboard by floor vote at Town Meeting on May 22, 2021 (17 V.S.A. 2650(b)(1)).
Patty Kennedy stated this question was proposed last year, and that more members could spread the workload.
A. Adler, retired lawyer, looked up the Statute and found a technical concern. The warning is supposed to state the term as one, or two years.
J. Benson said no one in the group supporting 5 members came and talked to them or the Admin. Asst. about what the Board objectives are. One statement in the flier states that two could work outside the Board, which is technically correct but Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) doesn’t feel that is good practice. It should be in an open forum. As far as the possibility of too many unanimous votes isn’t a bad tribute. The philosophy is that an item comes to the Board, they discuss it, and for the good of the Community show cohesiveness. They take a kitchen table approach.
Amy Ingrassia questioned their communication skills. As a Representative for the White River Valley Ambulance (WRVA), she has asked the Board several times for the written agreement between the Board and WRVA but never received it. There was an issue on Eagle Peak Road that took four years to fix it.
D. Boggs felt some ideas were often dismissed, and that there is a lack of openness. More members means more diversity and a wider group of people to pull from. The trend in Vermont is to go to 5-member boards. Brookfield and Tunbridge, in the local area, are 3-member, but Randolph, Chelsea, and Braintree all have 5 members. A quorum is 2 with a 3 member Board and 3 with a 5 member Board. More minds solve more problems.
Call the vote. Motion carried.
A request was made to “divide the house”. The ayes stood; Perry Kacik and A. Ingrassia counted and compared the count. 68 ayes. The nays stood, were also counted, and the counts compared. 27 nays.
B: If the above passed, per Brookfield Town Meeting standards, set the date of a Special Election by Australian ballot, not less than 60 days from this vote for adding 2 new Selectboard Members. Anyone interested in being elected will need to submit a “Candidate Consent” form to the Town Clerk 30 days from the date of this vote (17 V.S.A. 2650(b)(2)(A)). Special Election date will be determined by the actual Town Meeting 2021 adjusted date.
Motion by Alishia Drury, seconded by Jon Binhammer.
It was stated that there needs to be clarification of 1 or 2-year terms. The method of voting will be the same, as absentee or in person.
T. O’Donnell would like the results of this current election posted on Front Porch Forum and have those running for office put something on FPF so we know for whom we are voting.
Motion by D. Boggs, seconded by William White, to amend the motion to be for 2-year terms.
The stipulation is to be confirmed with the Secretary of State’s office and VLCT for the proper method of voting.
Motion by K. Smith, seconded by A. Drury, to have the vote on Saturday, July 24th, with the Consent of Candidate forms due to the Town Clerk by June 21st.
C: To see if the voters of Brookfield will increase the budget by $1,200 for the 2 additional Selectboard Member stipend, if section A of this article is approved.
Motion by Linda Garrett, seconded by R. Mayer.
With no discussion, motion carried.
Senator Mark McDonald stopped by to share in the gathering, and appreciated the fact that we were not all in Hollywood Squares TV screens.
Article 9: To transact any other proper business.
S. Edson wanted to comment that as an elected official, a Lister, he has dealt with ire of unhappy citizens and he voted to go to 5 members, but wanted to give the Selectboard a thank you for all the work they do.
A. Drury said that while visiting the Floating Bridge, her family realized that the 5-sided bench in the park is in need of repairs. If someone would find the wood, they would be willing to do the repairs and paint. (Notation by recorder: Al Wilker, original builder of the bench, presented A. Drury with some money as a contribution to help purchase wood.)
Amy Borgman, Library Trustee with a lot of other wonderful members, wanted to let everyone know about the 2 little Libraries in Town. One is across from the Old Town Hall and the other is in West Brookfield.
Starr Strong, a member of the Conservation Commission, said they have taken up B. Fallon’s position for Green-up Day, and hopes support and enthusiasm for Green-up Day will continue. The members are planning on sorting returnable and recyclables differently in the future.
Tim Schroeder commented that the East Hill, Farnsworth Lane, and Woods Road signs are all missing. By messing up the bolts, the culprits wrap a chain around the signs and pull the post out. The Public Safety Advisory Committee did a complete inventory a few years ago, more signs have been ordered.
J. Benson thanked the school for the use of the tent.
Motion by R. Mayer, seconded by Vance Smith, the meeting adjourned at 12:49 p.m.
Respectfully submitted: Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD ANNUAL MEETING WARNING
The legal voters of Brookfield are hereby warned to meet for the annual Town Meeting at the Brookfield Elementary School (1725 Ridge Road), on May 22, 2021 at 10:00 A.M. to transact the following business:
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.
To hear and act on reports of the Town Officers.
To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
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.
To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 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.
To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to purchase a new Town Dump Truck. The cost not to exceed $198,000 and to be financed over a three-year period of 2021 to 2023.
To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 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.
A. To see if the Town of Brookfield will vote to have 5 members on the Selectboard by floor vote at Town Meeting on May 22, 2021 (17 V.S.A. 2650(b)(1)).
B. If the above is passed, per Brookfield Town Meeting standards, set the date of a Special Election by Australian Ballot, not less than 60 days from this vote for adding 2 new Selectboard Members. Anyone interested in being elected will need to submit a “Candidate Consent” form to the Town Clerk 30 days from the date of this vote (17 V.S.A. 2650(b)(2)(A)). Special Election date will be determined by the actual Town Meeting 2021 adjusted date.
C. To see if the voters of Brookfield will increase the budget by $1,200 for the 2 additional Selectboard Member stipend, if section A of this article is approved.
9. To transact any other proper business.
Dated at Brookfield, Vermont, this 12th day of April 2021.
Attest: Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
Note: the Brookfield Selectboard respectfully requests that Town Meeting attendees please bring their own chairs and wear COVID protection (masks).
There will be an informational meeting about the Town Budget at the regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting (May 10, 2021, 6:30 p.m., Brookfield Town Office) preceding the Town Meeting.
The ballots for Town Officers (only) are available for early or absentee voting. Voting at Town Meeting is also an option. I will not be automatically sending them out to all registered voters. If you would like one before the May 22nd Town Meeting, please let me know.
A reminder Brookfield Town Meeting will be held on May 22nd this year beginning at 10:00 a.m., behind the Brookfield Elementary School. Masks will be required and please bring a chair or a blanket to sit on. If it’s raining, an umbrella. 🙂 A great time to see those you haven’t been able to see over the last year (and to vote on the Town budget.) The Town Reports are not yet available and the warning will be published in a couple of weeks.
Board of Abatement Hearing October 1, 2020
Attendees: Teresa Godfrey (Town Clerk), Linda Runnion, Phyllis Humez, John Benson, Dennis LaRocque, Robert Jake Stewart, C. Curtis Koren
Mrs. Godfrey opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Mrs. Godfrey explained the reason for a request of abatement of a portion of taxes for Richard and Alice Kempe. On February 15, 2020 the Kempe’s house burned to the ground. They requested a portion of their taxes for the balance of the year be abated. Mrs. Godfrey, as a Lister, was able to calculate the portion relating to the house. Replacement cost new less depreciation value: $156,500 X tax rate 1.9689 equals total taxes paid for home and garage at $3,081.33. Per Diem rate $3,081.33/365 = $8.442/day
Balance of year from Feb 15th: February 14 days, March 31 days, April 30 days, May 31 days, June 30 days =136 days. $8.442 X 136 = $1,148.11 requested abatement amount to be applied to the new tax year.
On motion by Linda Runnion, seconded by John Benson, the Board voted to abate $1,148.11 from the 2019-2020 tax year allowing the Kempe’s to apply to the new tax year.
The second Board of Abatement concerned a Lister’s error. While the Lister’s were preparing for a State Appraisal Hearing, they used the property sale value of Ronald Halterman and Jill Irvine as a comparable. They inadvertently left the land acreage at 147 acres vs the 30 the Halterman’s owned. This error was not discovered when the Grand List for 2019-2020 was “frozen”. This caused an over payment of $2,688.76 in taxes for the Halterman’s.
On motion by Linda Runnion, seconded by John Benson, the Board voted to refund the owners $2,688.76. Due to their taxes being paid by escrow, it didn’t make sense to credit them forward.
On motion by C. Curtis Koren, seconded by Linda Runnion, the Board of Abatement adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk