Jun 082021
 

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.

May 272021
 

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.
Motion carried.
     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 carried.
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.
Motion carried.
     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.
Motion carried.
Respectfully submitted:  Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
 
 
 
 

May 062021
 

 
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:
Article:

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.

Apr 152021
 

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.
 

Oct 212020
 

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.
Motion carried.
 
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.
Motion carried.
On motion by C. Curtis Koren, seconded by Linda Runnion, the Board of Abatement adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted
Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk

Sep 232020
 

Quick BCA Meeting
September 17, 2020 @ 1:30 p.m. at the Brookfield Town Office
Attendees:  Jeff Kimmel, Phyllis Humez, Robert “Jake” Stewart, C. Curtis Koren, Bonnie Fallon, Linda Runnion, Teresa Godfrey
The meeting was called to order at 1:30 p.m.
The Board of Civil Authority met at the Brookfield Town Office to move the voting location for the November 3, 2020 General Election due to the Brookfield Elementary School not being available because of COVID 19.
On motion by Curtis, seconded by Jeff, the BCA voted to move the voting location to the Old Town Hall at 93 Stone Road for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Motion carried.
On motion by Jeff, seconded by Linda, the meeting adjourned at 1:35.
 
Recorded by Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
 

Mar 172020
 

March 19th – The Brookfield Town Office will be open T-Th, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.  HOWEVER, if you can conduct your business with the Town Office via the phone, online or through the mail (including dog renewals), please do so.
PLEASE continue to follow the recommended guidelines of the CDC and the VT Department of Health: wash your hands, practice “social distancing”; avoid large gatherings; and if feeling unwell with symptoms of the virus, stay home and call your primary care physician.   YOUR continued good health is the primary concern.  Stay healthy!

Mar 072020
 

Town of Brookfield 2020 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 3, 2020 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, thanked Cory Haggett for his service on the Selectboard.  He also recognized Chuck Barnum for the several offices he has held over the many years he served the Town. Ruth Goodale was also thanked for helping to beautify the different areas in the Village with the flowers she had planted.  She had written a letter to the Board stating she will not be able to continue this and would like to see someone take on the task.
J. Benson asked for those currently or previously holding a position in Town to stand and be recognized. He then asked for those who had served or are serving in the Armed Services to stand and be recognized. He thanked all for their Town and Country services.
J. Benson then discussed the survey that was done for a portion of Stone Road. At Town Meeting 2019, it was approved to hire a survey company to establish the right-of-way and travel portion of a section of Stone Road. American Survey Company was then hired and at a warned Selectboard meeting and at a warned site meeting, the results were presented to the Property owners, the Selectboard, the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept., and the public.  All parties involved are now aware of where the travel lane and ROW are located.
The Board was recently presented a request for a public assemblage permit by Dennis Tatro.  He has done extensive research of the location of the Justin Morgan homestead.  He found it to be at the Brookfield & Randolph Town line near Snow Road.  There will be a dedication of a Historical Marker in May 2020.
The Board was also presented with a request from VT Transportation Board to dedicate a portion of VT Route 14, at the Williamstown side coming into Brookfield, to Major Ira Day. The VT Transportation Board will be holding a public meeting in June and it will be posted on the Town website for those interested in attending.
Braintree no longer has a Zoning Administrator and is interested in having one that would cover Braintree, Randolph, and Brookfield.  Dee Monte stepped down for Brookfield and Mike Fiorillo is now the ZA for Brookfield.
Ray Peck, Road Foreman, has informed the Board that the sand we are purchasing from Larry Hebert in Williamstown will only be available for a few more years before he runs out.  The Board and R. Peck are looking for a reasonable source for sand along with other towns he supplies.
J. Benson mentioned there are several positions available in Town and we never turn down volunteers.
Dan Childs, ECFiber Town Representative, wanted to thank all who have signed up in Brookfield.  There is a raffle for getting the fast speed at a low price if anyone is interested in purchasing tickets.  ECFiber is town owned.
J.Benson thanked D. Childs and Stuart Edson for getting the Town moved up on the list for us to receive it quicker.
Article 3:  To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
Motion by Erik Nielson, seconded by Marylou Maeder.
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 D. Childs, seconded by Billie Gosh that the first payment of 2020/2021 property taxes to be due November 7, 2020; the second payment due May 1, 2021.  Motion carried.
Article 5:  To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to engage the firm of Vermont Appraisal Company to complete a Town-wide reappraisal of all properties within the Town.  The cost for which shall not exceed $81,000; the funds for which are already in place.
Motion by Linda Runnion, seconded by S. Edson.
Patty Kennedy questioned if this was put out to bid.  S. Edson, with help from Teresa Godfrey, both Listers, said it was put out to all appraisal companies that the Vermont Property Valuation and Review Board approves as appraisers.  Only VT Appraisal Company put in a bid.
Call to vote.  Motion carried.
J. Benson also let the voters know this will be a 2-year process.
Article 6:  To see if the Town will vote to contribute $300.00 to the Randolph Area Mentoring Program (RAMP), a community-based mentoring program serving the communities of Brookfield, Braintree, and Randolph.
Motion by Laura Rochat, seconded by Kym Anderson.
L. Rochat reported this program has been underway for a year. It is a program for grades 4-7. An adult is paired up with a student for the student to have the opportunity to experience new things and to have meaningful relationship with another adult. Currently there are 6 students utilizing the program. If you are interested in participating in RAMP, student or adult, to let her know.  They have received a grant from Mentoring Vermont and need to match the amount.  This money covers background checks and as the Leader, her salary for the program.  When asked about the amount of time required to be a mentor, L. Rochat said it is once a week and about 6-8 hours per month commitment of at least 1 year.
Richard Hayward, Brookfield Elementary School teacher, said they have seen an enormous impact for the students involved. They are in need of mentors.
Call to vote.  Motion carried.
Article 7:  To see if the Town will vote to contribute $250.00 to the Vermont Family Network, to provide services for families of children with special needs.
Motion by K. Anderson, seconded by Ray Mayer.
Jeff Kimmel, Selectboard member, stated information concerning VFN is located on page 52 of the Town Report.  No representative was available to answer questions concerning this request.  It was noted by a voter that this appears to primarily serve Chittenden County per the information.
Call to vote.  Motion failed.
G. Wight turned the meeting over to VT House Representatives Jay Hooper and Peter Reed.
Rep. Reed stated he was from Braintree and was appointed in January by Governor Scott due to the resignation of Rep. Ben Jickling.  He reported the major bills he is involved with are Act 250, the minimum wage increase, to tax & regulate cannabis, Health care improvement and prescription drug prices.  He was previously working as a banker before being appointed.
Rep. Hooper said he represents 5 towns and this is his 4th session.  He has found the Education Committee to be fast paced.  There are 3 bills currently being worked on.  Universal Pre-K, Literacy, and school construction.  They are working on disentangling dual oversite rules.  It is noted that 32% of 5th graders are not proficient readers.  School construction has had a deferred maintenance moratorium since 2007.  It is believed it will cost $565 million for impending building needs.  Beth Pearce, State Treasurer, is going to assess the costs and communicate with other States to see what they have done.   They are also starting to look at a universal after school program.
There were no questions from the voters.
J. Benson suggested the 2 Selectboard candidates, on the Town ballot, introduce themselves.
Steve Schaefer introduced himself as Irene Schaefer’s son and he lives in the log house where the sliding took place during the Ice Harvest. He said he is running for Selectboard because he has found some irregularities and that he is in favor of increasing the Board to a 5-member Board.
Dennis LaRocque said he is a life-long resident of Brookfield, has been one of the Town Auditors for 4 or 5 years.  He has 2 boys in the school system and wants to help the Town.
Article 8:  To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 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 L. Runnion, seconded by K. Anderson.
J. Benson stated there was a correction for the property taxes raised. It should by $311,080 (increasing the proposed budget of $310,980 by $100) to balance the projected expenses. Beth Godin questioned if that was what was noted in the SB meeting minutes of February 24, 2020 and J. Benson said yes.
Call to vote.  Motion carried.
Article 9:  To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to approve the construction of a new Town Garage building (or another option as presented and discussed at Town Meeting).  The cost not to exceed $1,075,000 to be financed over a 25 to 30-year period.
Motion by B. Gosh, seconded by Dove Cogen.
J. Benson said that at Town Meeting last year, the voters agreed to have the Board look into garage options and a Request for Quote (RFQ) design. Connor Construction and Black River Design both responded, working together with designs and current construction codes.
The Board attempted to show pictures of the existing garage, the shed, and a sketch of the plans.  Due to the lack of a screen, the slides were not very easy to see presented on the back wall.  The designers measured all the equipment and reviewed any spatial requirements the Town has. Currently the plows have to be removed to fit in the existing garage and diesels are hard to start in the cold.
3 options are:
– Add on existing building-not to exceed 5000 sq. ft. or a sprinkler system would have to be installed due to wood construction.
-2nd bldg. for shed storage and minor renovations to existing garage. Current roof leaks and with VOSHA and VLCT insurance there is no separate room for combustibles among other issues.
– A completely new building.
The amounts range from $600,000-$1 million for the above.  The research includes all metal or wood frames.
Aaron Adler questioned if the cost includes the cost of financing.
J. Benson said no. They looked at the Bond Bank and Northfield Savings which is willing to finance for us at 3-3.5% for 10 years and then see where the market rate is after that.
Additional comments and questions included if there is a ball park figure and with the interest, the cost can double.  The voters would like hand-outs to look at.  The cost of heating, steel vs wood construction and amount of heated space would be tripled, existing building not energy efficient.  The cost didn’t include fixing the existing building that needs better lighting at an estimated cost of $2300-$2500.
J. Benson said as far as we know there are no brown field issues but if they find there are, then we will have to address them then.
Joy Kacik thanked the Board for their information and felt there are too many variables and questions to go forward.
J. Kacik made an amendment to the motion on the floor to request the Selectboard put together 3 options with the pros & cons, cost for financing and to have one or more meeting at least a month prior to next year’s Town Meeting and then amended it to say:
The Selectboard provide the Town with 3 or more options with pros and cons, full cost including financing, and objectives be presented for discussion at a least a month before Town Meeting 2021.
Motion seconded by K. Anderson.
Continued discussion included what the objectives are, the smallest amount approach, renewable energy options, overhead costs, grant opportunities and an energy audit of the current building.  Gabe Freitag would like a committee formed, besides the Selectboard, so they can help with the decision making.
J. Benson said they had discussed with Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) and there are no current grant opportunities but they usually come with strings attached.
The voters would like to be informed the time and place of the garage information meetings.  There is concern on why we need 2 10-wheel trucks.
Call to vote on amendment. There was a lot of confusion on what the amendments were and the 2 motions are now contradictory. After a lot of needed clarification, the following amendment was then called:
To see if the Town will form a Committee with a minimum of 3 building options, energy efficiency, pros and cons with objectives, grant research, meetings and communication to the Town at least through Front Porch Forum, and the cost including financing and renewable energy options.  An initial meeting will take suggestions from Town Residents.  An informational meeting, at least one month before Town Meeting, will be held.
Motion by J. Kacik, seconded by Jackie Smith-Nielson to amend the original motion. Motion carried.
Motion by Justin Poulin, seconded by Angie Poulin to amend the cap in Article 9 to be $500,000.
Discussion by J. Poulin included setting a limit that is realistic with realistic options. Something that fits our town.
J. Benson said we need some expertise to get the info needed and $25k-$30k gives us options to work with developing and pricing. We have to retain services to get answers.  The 2 companies we have used have not charged anything but by not moving forward, we owe them some amount. There is no written contract.
Motion to amend failed.
After more amendment considerations, confusion, and conversation Article 9 was again in question.
A. Adler made a motion to further amend Article 9 to read:
To See if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to investigate another option as presented and discussed at Town Meeting for the Town Garage Building including forming a Committee with a minimum of 3 building options, energy efficiency, pros and cons with objectives, grant research, meetings and communication to the Town at least through Front Porch Forum, and the cost including financing and renewable energy options.  The cost for the research not to exceed $25,000.
Seconded by E. Nielson. This motion to amend Article 9 passed.
Back to the main motion for vote.  As amended several times, motion carried.
Article 10:  To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to enter into a lease/purchase Agreement to replace the Town Highway Department Loader.  The cost, allowing for the trade-in value for the current Loader, not to exceed $140,000 (plus finance charges) to be paid for over a 7-year period.
Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by R. Mayer.
P. Kennedy questioned what was wrong with the current loader.
J. Benson said the loader is a critical piece of equipment. We trade them every so many years and the current one is now paid for and on a 7-year replacement cycle.
R. Hayward questioned if this is a typical time frame and how does it compare to what other Towns do?
Francis Preston asked if we reached out to 3 major manufacturers?
J. Benson replied it is what we have done in the past and it is the same size. Cory Haggett confirmed with R. Peck that we reached out to CAT, J. Deere, and Case for bids.
Call to vote.  Motion carried with a few nays.
Article 11: To approve a 12-month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 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 B. Gosh, seconded by A. Poulin.
J. Benson stated there was a correction for the property taxes raised. It should be $628,332 (increasing the proposed budget of $605,232 by $23,100) to balance the projected expenses.
J. Benson read a letter the Board had received from a UPS driver commending the Brookfield Town Road Crew and the roads are the best maintained roads he has been driving in the 33 years as a UPS driver. They are not a typical road crew.
Call to vote.  Motion carried.
Article 12:  To see if the Town will vote to have 5 members on the Selectboard by floor vote at Town Meeting. (17VSA Sec. 2650(b)(1)).
Motion by E. Nielson, seconded by M. Maeder.
J. Benson stated the Selectboard will do what the voters want. The petitioner never came to the Board. The Board had to step up to take care of the cemeteries when the Commission dissolved.  They have been doing the Town Report that used to be done by the Auditors. When the Board does pick up what others used to do, it is an administrative issue.  We don’t need a Town Manager.  We have increased the Administrative Assistant hours.
James Godfrey, petition originator, said he moved here at 16 and was in the Navy for 30 years.  I have tried to get problems resolved and didn’t get anywhere.  I started the petition because I feel it isn’t an administrative problem but a leadership problem.
John Klar questioned the Board on what reasons they resist 5 members.  There would be more people for a quorum.
J. Benson said they have functioned at 3 since before he was voted on the Board. It is rare there isn’t a quorum.
M. Maeder stated that as a mother of 3, decision making is hard and it’s 2 against 1. The number 5 would make a difference.
Richard Pecor has been to different meetings and several times there were only 2 at the meeting.
Martina Rutkovsky stated as a former Board member, you have to have the integrity of the people managing the tasks.
P. Kennedy pointed out that Selectboard members have other lives and it wouldn’t be as critical to miss a meeting if there were 5 members. It would help with the work load.
Call to vote.  With a hand count 35 yes and 39 no.  Motion failed.
S. Schaefer requested a paper ballot count. Papers were dispersed to write yes for 5, no for remaining at 3 members on the Selectboard.
Article 13:  To transact any other proper business.
Senator Mark MacDonald spoke briefly about the energy issues and heating homes.
Bonnie Fallon spoke about Green Up day being on May 2nd this year.  She would like help and would like someone to take over as the leader.
The results of the paper ballot were 37 yes votes and 48 no votes.  Motion for 5 member Selectboard failed.
Sam Dilcer and Steve Allen discussed the Mason’s Lodge impact on the Community.  They help promote Little League and the Fish Fry, which provides the Girl & Boy Scouts with money and the Scouts did an excellent job helping with the Fish Fry.
J. Benson asked the remaining voters if they would like to still receive a printed copy of the Town Report in the mail because only a few towns still mail them. Most have it electronically on their website and the reports available at different pick-up locations.
J. Benson began discussing setting weight limits on Town roads. The Town needs to hold information meetings for direction. The Selectboard has been approached about truck traffic and agriculture. We have to find out what authority we have for setting the weight limits.  The DMV is the sole State agency for setting weight limits by Statute at 24,000 lbs.  This only covers up to a UPS size truck.  The Town can disburse overweight permits.  We can’t discriminate between vendors.  The DMV is the only agency to enforce the weight limits.  Lew Stowell has done a lot of research and gets different information frequently.  Brookfield has a number of bridges that are below the 24,000 lb. limit and they need to be approved at a Board meeting for a lower weight then posted as such.
When we post the roads during mud season, it needs to be recorded on the DMV website.
(Because this forum was not warned as a decision-making conversation, there could be no decision on whether to continue researching whether to post legal load limits on Brookfield town roads. -Recorder notation)
On motion by E. Nielson, seconded by M. Maeder, the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Motion carried
Respectfully submitted:  Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk