Town of Brookfield
May 11, 2020 at 6:20 P.M.
Town Clerk’s Office & Remote Locations
Attending: John Benson (Chair), Jeff Kimmel, Dennis LaRocque, Kasey Peterson (Administrative Assistant), Ray Peck (Road Crew Foreman); Lew Stowell and Michael Rutkovsky (Public Safety Advisory Committee)
A. Call to Order – 6:22 p.m.: Mr. Benson offered initial comments about the change in Board meeting format, based on introduction of teleconferencing technology.
B. Adjustments to Agenda – Personnel review is moved to the end of the meeting.
C. Public Comment: Mr. Stowell offered several reports produced by the PSAC addressing on-going review of potential standards for Town road and bridge weight limits, highway speed limits, highway sign updating and costs, and emerald ash borer impacts and response.
In a follow-up to the April 27 Board discussion of activities at the Floating Bridge, Ms. Peterson reported that the portable toilet had been ordered and set up on the West side of the bridge. Mr. Benson reported that he had contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and they had increased patrols at the bridge and park area. Mr. Stowell suggested that the Board should inquire with the VT State Police about monitoring activities. Concerns were also raised about increased traffic as Summer activities escalate. One perennial issue is that, technically, diving/jumping off the bridge violates State restrictions: this is commonly ignored. Mr. Rutkovsky noted that the Town has been through this discussion before, such as when the new bridge opened in May 2015.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for May 25, which is Memorial Day. After a verbal poll, the Board agreed to move the meeting date to Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. Depending on State guidance, the meeting will hopefully be held at the Town Clerk’s Office.
D. Highway Report:
1) Loader: Mr. Peck reported that Milton Cat submitted a revised price for a new loader, which was $15,000 lower than the prior quote. Ms. Peterson noted that property tax receipts seemed to be in good shape; Town Treasurer Teresa Godfrey submitted budget status reports indicating that Town finances are doing well.
On motion of Mr. LaRocque, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve the lease/purchase of a Caterpillar Model 930M Loader, payable over a 7-year period with annual payments of $19,953. Mr. Benson will sign the agreement on behalf of the Town, and Mr. Peck will deliver the signed contract to Milton Cat.
2) Grading: Mr. Peck reported that the Road Crew is trying to catch up with grading Town-wide, particularly after the previous week of rain and snow conditions. The Crew proceeded from West Brookfield eastward, and is planning to be on East Hill later this week.
3) Other Highway Business: Chris Bump (VT Agency of Transportation) is planning a site visit this week to review conditions on the Ridge Road; he expects additional AoT personnel will also attend. Mr. Peck indicated that there were several problems with the paving work performed by Pike Industries last Fall, so the Town will need help assessing what remedies are available and associated costs. Mr. Kimmel will contact the Town Attorney about the situation.
Mr. Peck also reported the following activities:
Bear Hill Road needs more surfacing material, and there is a culvert on Cemetery Street that is undermined and needs to be repaired. Mr. LaRocque inquired about gravel and sand supplies, along with budget status. Current amounts are: Gravel – $3,340.62; Sand – $60,000.00; Road Reconstruction – $34,880.31. The Crew is currently hauling sand from a local supplier. Ms. Peterson noted that the Town will be eligible for further grant reimbursements in the next fiscal year.
There is also a long-term issue with a degrading culvert on Bear Hill Road; when Mr. Bump is visiting, he will review the culvert and offer suggestions for replacement. That issue is part of a State grant, as is reconstruction work along Taylor Hill Road. Ms. Peterson would like to get confirmation on plans for the projects from AoT.
Mr. Peck has been discussing a potential plan with Keith Sprague to obtain sand; Mr. Sprague may have a site that could be opened up as a sand pit. That would be subject to cost analysis for opening and operating the site. Mr. Benson said that the site would be subject to VT Agency of Natural Resources regulation, and that Mr. Sprague (and possibly the Town) would have to develop site plans and project descriptions. Ms. Peterson suggested that Mr. Peck and Mr. Sprague consult with the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission about the proposal. The location would be near the second branch of the White River in the East Brookfield valley. Mr. LaRocque noted that the site could offer relatively easy materials transport.
All Road Crew members have completed State-mandated COVID-19 training. Due to high demand, Mr. Peck is having some problems getting cleaning supplies. He will continue checking local sources. In the meantime: he has some masks, and the Crew is practicing social distancing.
E. New Business
1. Gillespie Fuels Contract: Gillespie submitted 3 sets of proposed agreements for providing propane and heating fuel for Brookfield Town buildings. After review and discussion, the consensus was that the Fixed Plan (Option 2) offered in each contract appeared to be the best deal for the Town’s purposes. On motion of Mr. Kimmel, Mr. LaRocque second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approved signing the contracts, using Option 2. Ms. Peterson observed that fuel usage at the Town Offices seemed to be high; the main culprit appears to be the dated insulation used in the aging building.
2. Town Garage Committee: the Board discussed potential candidates for the committee. Several people have expressed interest, and Board members will follow up. In addition, it would probably be wise to include a member from the Road Crew and one of the Town’s financial personnel.
Mr. Benson said that he had contacted several banks about potential financing scenarios. As an example, he requested rates on approximate financing of $1 million over a 30 year period. The Town would need to consider several factors including initial costs, subsequent fees, and interest rates (including adjustable rates). This information will also be essential for the committee’s review.
Mr. Benson mentioned that he had contacted Connor Construction, which had prepared several versions of plans for the garage project. Connor has not requested payment for the work they’ve already done; Mr. Benson indicated that they are interested in the construction phase of the project, which would be paid.
F. Old Business
1. Cemetery Mowing: On motion of Mr. Kimmel, Mr. LaRocque second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve the hiring of Joseph Magnan (Kirkyard Service) for the annual contract for mowing at the Town Cemeteries.
2. Cemetery Sexton: On motion of Mr. LaRocque, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve the hiring of Joseph Magnan (Kirkyard Service) for the annual contract for Town Cemeteries Sexton services.
G. Approve Selecboard Meeting Minutes: Mr. Benson made a motion to approve the Meeting Minutes of April 27, 2020; Mr. LaRocque second. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
H. Payroll/AP Warrants: Mr. Kimmel made a motion to pay the warrants totaling $12,759.36 with large bills that include: BCBS VT (Health Insurance): $4,500.65; White River Valley Ambulance (May Ambulance): $3,425.00; Orange County Sheriff Department (Sheriff): $1,551.00. Mr. Benson second. Mr. Benson asked for discussion (none): 3-0-0.
I. Other Proper Business: Employee Performance Review. On motion of Mr. Benson, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to go into Executive Session at 7:43 p.m., for a personnel discussion. The Board exited the session at 8:25 p.m.
J. Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn at 8:28 p.m., Mr. LaRocque second: 3-0-0.