Town of Brookfield
Town Clerk’s Office
23 November 2020 at 6:30 PM
Those present: John Benson, Chair – by telephone conferencing, and Jeff Kimmel, Board Member; Dennis LaRocque, Board Member; Kasey Peterson, Administrative Assistant; Tim Higgins, Road Crew Foreman; Betty Lord, Secretary; and Shawn Krisch; all attending by Zoom.
A. Call To Order -The meeting was called to order by the Chair, Mr Benson, at 6:37 pm.
B. Adjustments to Agenda – None
C. Public Comments – Mr. Krisch appeared before the Board with a request that someone from the Board of Adjustment respond to his request for a variance pertaining to his property. He requested a Zoning permit in September which was rejected due to the fact that his property, on which he wishes to build a camp, is only three acres instead of the required five acres. He said the property was under contract and he only had a limited amount of time to work things out with the seller. Mr. Kimmel stated that he was a member of the Board of Adjustment and would be in touch with Mr. Krisch to go over the steps necessary to finish the process. Mr. Kimmel will also provide information on the steps the seller needs to take.
D. New Business
1. COVID Guidelines – Mr. Benson, Mr. Kimmel, and Mr. LaRocque reported they had read the guidelines and had no questions. Mr. Benson said he would contact the Town Health Officer asking her to forward any updated material relating to the guidelines. In the meantime, he asked Mrs. Peterson to act as a second Health Officer until all the guidelines had been met. All other entities of the Town, i.e. the Library, Fire Department, Town Garage, and all Boards that represent the Town will have to be self-policing. Mr. Benson asked Mrs. Peterson to send a copy of the COVID guidelines to all the various boards and offices along with an acknowledgment form to be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office confirming that everyone included in each organization or board had read and will conform to the guidelines and has had the necessary training conforming to the Town’s policies.
The Board agreed that a plexiglass shield be placed in front of the Town Clerk’s desk. Mrs. Peterson was asked to be responsible for ordering the plexiglass. Also, beginning the next day of business following the Board Meeting, the Town Clerk’s office would be responsible for keeping a record of everyone entering the office for contact tracing. Anyone visiting the Town Clerk’s Office will sign in with their name, address, and phone number.
2. Cloud-based NEMRC – Mr. LaRocque made a motion to move to a “Cloud- based” NEMRC system in the amount of $600 annually. Mr. Kimmel seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously. (3-0-0)
3. MVP Health Care premiums – Mrs. Peterson reviewed the advantages of signing with MVP Health Care to provide health care coverage for employees of the Town. One of the main reasons for the change from BC/BS to MVP is a savings of $10,000 a year. Employees would continue to have basically the same coverage, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
Open enrollment for the MVP plan begins December 1, 2020. Mr. LaRocque made a motion to change the Town’s health care insurance to MVP. Mr. Kimmel seconded and the motion was carried unanimously. (3-0-0)
4. Notice of Heavy Cut – Twombley and Benedict Property – Mr. LaRocque reported to the Board that the property in question is being cut according to Current Use guidelines and is being watched over by a forester.
1. Mr. Higgins, Road Crew Foreman, reported that work continues on clearing out ditches and culverts and preparing for winter. Discussion ensued regarding paid leave for employees who miss work due to COVID. The guidelines indicate that if an employee either has tested positive or is caring for a spouse who has tested positive, that employee will be paid during the time they are away from their job. If an employee is absent from work waiting for testing, that employee can take vacation time or sick time but will not be paid for the time away from the job.
Mr. Higgins said the new time sheet program was up and working and should make payroll operations much easier. Mrs. Peterson was asked to check with ECFiber to verify if the computers at the Town Garage could be connected to the network including computers at the Town Offices.
The Board asked Mr. Higgins to research the costs of purchasing a new Town truck minus the trade-in value on the old truck that is to be sold.
Mr. Higgins was also asked to contact Randolph and ask what they are paying for sand; this would help establish a fair market value for operations at the proposed Sprague Sand Pit. He was also asked to find out the cost of the bulldozer work to clear the site for procuring the sand and also site recovery after the sand has been gathered.
2. Mutual Aid Templates – COVID – Mrs. Peterson stated that Mr. Higgins and she will have a report for the Board by the first meeting in December.
It was suggested that a list needs to be made of people, who with their approval, would be willing to be on call in the event of a number of illnesses or other emergencies to fill in on the road crew. Mr. Higgins will reach out to neighboring towns to see if they would have any interest in a reciprocal agreement in supplying help in times of an emergency.
3. Wage paperwork and Interim Foreman compensation – The Board signed the paperwork and agreed upon compensation for Mr. Rob Wheatley, who served as Interim Foreman after the untimely passing of the Road Crew Foreman.
4. Highway Laptop Replacement – Mr. Higgins also reported that the laptop at the Town Garage needs to be replaced. The Board asked Mrs. Peterson and Mr. Higgins to research the replacement cost(s). Mr. LaRocque made a motion giving Mrs. Peterson and Mr. Higgins approval to purchase a new laptop in an amount up to $800.00. Mr. Kimmel seconded the motion which carried unanimously. (3-0-0)
5. MRGP Amendment Form – the Board approved and Mr. Benson signed off on the Municipal Roads General Permit – Road Erosion Inventory form.
F. Old Business – None
G. Approve the Minutes of the 9 November 2020 Meeting – Mr. LaRocque noted that it was Mr. Kimmel who made the motion to appoint Mr. LaRocque as a temporary member of the Board of Adjustment, and Mr. Benson who seconded the motion (not the other way around). There being no further corrections, the minutes were unanimously approved as corrected. (3-0-0)
H. Payroll and AP Warrants – Mr. LaRocque moved to accept the list of Payroll Accounts in the amount of $77,852.30 with the largest payment being to Western Star (Highway Department truck) in the amount of $65,501.78. Mr. Kimmel seconded the motion which carried unanimously. (3-0-0)
I. Other Proper Business – Mr. Kimmel reported the draft agreement between the Town and Sprague Farms regarding the proposed Sand Pit had been received and he asked the other Board Members to read the agreement and make their recommendations. Mr. Kimmel noted that the technical status of Sprague Farms (and its formal business entities) is incomplete and that the Board also needs to know who has the authority to sign for the sand pit.
Mr. Kimmel reported that a license agreement is still needed from ECFiber for an installation on East Street, along with a license for emergency work done by the Town at the north end of West Street.
Mrs. Peterson was asked provide the Selectboard with a list of grant funds the Town had received, including the grant for East Hill, to be included in the upcoming Town Report (2020).
Mrs. Peterson confirmed that at present the Town has only one auditor: Ginny Brees. Mrs. Peterson was also asked to list the positions open for employment by the Town and to post it in The Herald and on Front Porch Forum.
J. Adjournment – There being no further business to come before the Board, Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn, Mr. LaRocque seconded, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:09 p.m. (3-0-0)
Betty Lord, Secretary