Minutes of the
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD SELECTBOARD
Virtual by Zoom
April 26, 2021
THOSE PRESENT: John Benson, Chair; Jeff Kimmel and Dennis LaRocque, Board Members;
Tim Higgins, Road Crew Foreman; Kasey Peterson, Administrative Assistant; Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling (Conservation Committee); Lew Stowell (Public Safety Advisory Committee).
A. CALL TO ORDER: Chair John Benson called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
B. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Binhammer, Mr. Jickling, and Mr. Stowell will make initial presentations. Topics will include the Conservation Commission and the status of Emerald Ash Borer infestation.
C. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Mr. Jickling reported that there are signs of EAB spread south of Williamstown. Traps have been set and will be collected In September. At this point, there is not much that can be done until the extent of EAB in Brookfield can be assessed. An EAB subcommittee (within the Conservation Commission) is being set up; the Town Highway Department should be included in this group. Mr. Jickling estimated that it will be a couple years until EAB issues are likely to arise in Town. Mr. Benson asked that the CC and EAB provide updates on the evolving situation, such as the findings from recovered traps this Fall. Mr. Jickling commented that, for now, Ash trees still have market value. Mr. Benson suggested notifying Brookfield landowners about the looming EAB issue, and suggesting that they monitor tree health and consider harvesting trees sooner rather than later. Mr. Stowell observed that as Ash trees decay, the value will drop and potential Town Highway hazard (and insurance) issues will arise. Mr. Jickling said that this is still early, although the level of infestation in Orange County may already be at 14% to 22%. The County Forester will be consulted on EAB status and response measures. The issue will be discussed at Town Meeting 2021.
Mr. Binhammer noted that Green-Up Day is May 1. Bonnie Fallon has retired from the Green-Up coordinator position; Starr Strong has offered to coordinate this year, with volunteer helpers. The Town Garage will remain the site for dropping off Green-Up bags, tires, etc.
D. HIGHWAYS: Mr. Higgins reported that the Road Crew has been busy clearing downed trees, branches, and brush, when the weather cooperates. He will be meeting with AoT representative Chris Bump on plans to address a damaged culvert on Bear Hill Road. Mr. Benson noted that Brookfield has been shifted out of the AoT District 6 region; which may have minimal effects on AoT operations in Brookfield. The Road Crew is also trying to arrange for a sweeper/broom implement to clear detritus (sand/gravel) from various Town roads.
Mr. Jeff Baker has requested an access permit for property on Twin Pond Road: on motion of Mr. Benson, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve the permit request. Permit conditions have been addressed in prior Board proceedings.
Highway Department Credit Card: On motion of Mr. Kimmel, Mr. LaRocque second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to approve procuring a credit card for sole use by the Highway Department with a $5,000 limit.
The Board will be reviewing the status of Stone Road location, with the assistance of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Mr LaRocque and Mr. Higgins will participate in the site visit. The property owners will be notified about the time and date of the visit.
E. NEW BUSINESS:
Mrs. Peterson has verified that Brookfield’s plans for Town Meeting 2021 conform to State of Vermont COVID-19 guidance and restrictions regarding public gatherings. In addition, signs will be posted reminding residents about the time, place, and location of the meeting.
The Selectboard will be providing an update on Town Garage structure proposals at Town Meeting.
The Town bulletin board at the Brookfield Post Office is in disrepair; repair/replacement plans should include a larger space for posting notices, particularly those addressing official events.
F. OLD BUSINESS:
Mr. Benson made a motion to accept the proposal of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission for updating Brookfield’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. Mr. Kimmel seconded and the motion carried unanimously (3-0-0). On motion of Mr. Benson, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 3-0-0 to authorize Mr. Benson to sign the contract. Mrs. Peterson will contact TRORC and let them know the proposal has been signed.
Cemetery: Mrs. Peterson provided examples of more recent and comprehensive cemetery policies from nearby towns. The Board work with VLCT and the Town Attorney to draft a new policy for Brookfield.
G. APPROVE MINUTES – April 12, 2021 SB Meeting: Mr. LaRocque made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 12 Selectboard meeting as presented. Mr. Kimmel seconded and the motion unanimously carried (3-0-0).
H. PAYROLL/AP WARRANTS: Mr. LaRocque made a motion to accept the accounts payable in the total amount of $17,784.35, with the highest payment being made to MVP Health Care in the amount of $4,637.72. Mr. Benson seconded the motion which carried unanimously (3-0-0).
I. OTHER PROPER BUSINESS: Mr. Benson and Mr. Higgins met to lay out stakes for potential improvements for the public parking lot at the Town Clerk’s Office.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m. Mr. LaRocque seconded the motion which carried unanimously (3-0-0).