Jan 042021

Selectboard Meeting
Held by Zoom
28 December 2020 at 6:30 PM

Those present: John Benson, Chair (by telephone); Dennis LaRocque, Board Member; and Jeff Kimmel, Board Member; Kasey Peterson, Assistant Town Clerk; Tim Higgins, Road Crew Foreman, Betty Lord, Secretary; Jim Merriam (all by Zoom) and Lew Stowell (by telephone).

A. Call to Order: the meeting was called to order by the Chair, Mr. Benson, at 6:30 pm.

B. Adjustments to Agenda – None

C. Public Comments – None

D. Highway

1. Internet Access at Town Garage

Ms. Peterson reported that she had looked into the internet problem at the Town garage and felt it was not a problem of speed but rather of distance. She felt the problem could be corrected by buying a small booster box which would make the service available around the garage property. Mr. Benson made a motion to allow Ms. Peterson to purchase a booster box for the Town Garage up to the amount of $50. Mr. LaRocque seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. 3-0-0.

Mr Higgins reported that he had talked with a couple of companies regarding the purchase of a new truck and was expecting to have pricing by the end of the week. Mr. Higgins was asked to provide the figures to the members the Board as soon as they are available.

Mr Higgins also related to the Board that Larry Hebert may not have enough sand for the Town’s use and if he found that he did have enough, the price would be increased by 25 cents per yard. Mr. Higgins was asked to check other sources and get their pricing for 5,000 to 6,000 yards of sand for the coming winter. He was also asked to contact Mr. Doug Haggett and see what he is charging for sand by the yard although Mr. Haggett’s sand pit is approved under Act 250 which limits the amount of sand that he can remove at any one time.

Mr Higgins reported that he had been getting pricing for stripping top soil on the Sprague property relating to the proposed sand pit project.

Mr. Kimmel asked about a nearby cherry tree that Mr. Bill Grady wishes to have removed that is across from his property. Mr. Higgins said he had talked with the landowner of the property on which the tree is located, who agreed with the Town taking whatever action is needed. Mr Higgins reported that the tree is in a precarious position and would require a professional tree company to remove it rather than having the Town Road Crew remove it. Mr. Benson said there is a line item in the budget for professional tree removal and there is a history of having done so before.

E. New Business

1. Public Safety Advisory Committee

a. FY 2022 Contract with Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD)

Mr. Lew Stowell met with the Board (by telephone) and spoke for the Public Safety Advisory Committee. Mr. Stowell presented a proposal from Orange County Sheriff Bohnyak regarding the contract with OCSD for patrolling in the Town of Brookfield. The Board reviewed the report and asked Mr. Stowell to contact OCSD and ask them to prepare a contract to be signed by the Board as follows:
Contract $15,000 annual: $49.00 per hour, 306 hours per year.
January, February, March, October, November, December: 17 hours per month.
April, May, June, July, August, September: 34 hours per month.
b. Town Over-Weight and Over-Sized Vehicles Signage/Permitting Project
Mr. Stowell was asked to prepare a draft outline of the proposal for changes of speed limit signs and Over-Weight and Over-Sized vehicle signage to be placed on Northfield Road. The information would be included in the next meeting agenda; anyone who wishes may join the Board Meeting by telephone conferencing or Zoom. There are five signs that will need to be installed by mud season of 2021. The Town will order the signs to have them ready for installation in the spring. The Board gave Mr. Higgins the authority to buy the equipment needed to install the signs.
c. Inter-Departmental and Committee Protocol Request
Mr. Stowell asked for clarification on whom PSAC members should contact when questions arise regarding the various areas of the Town’s business. The Board instructed the Committee to contact the person who would be most capable of answering the questions, i.e.: if questions occur regarding the roads, Mr. Higgins should be contacted. If Committee members are unsure as to whom they should direct their questions, Mr. Kimmel can be contacted to either answer their questions or direct them to the proper source.
d. Traffic Ordinance Final Review
Mr. Stowell reported that a final draft of the proposed traffic ordinance amendments will be presented to the Selectboard at the meeting of January 25, 2021. Mr. Benson stated that all changes to the ordinance must be warned and a public hearing held before any changes can be approved. A summary of the proposed changes will be posted in three places in Town as well in the Randolph Herald and on Front Porch Forum. The draft ordinance will include the highlighted changes in the document. It was requested that the proposed changes be sent to the members of the Selectboard at least two days before the meeting to allow time for the Selectmen to become familiar with the material. Mr. Higgins agreed to send any comments he may have to Mr. Stowell.
Mr. Kimmel, Mr. LaRocque, and Mr. Higgins will attend the next PSAC meeting on January 20, 2021. Ms. Peterson will set up Zoom training for anyone on the committee who needs help, and she will post the meeting on Zoom.
2. Solar Project on Ridge Road
Mr. Jim Merriam of Norwich Technologies came before the Board (by Zoom) to present information regarding a solar project being proposed by Sprague Farms on the old Smith property on Ridge Road. He asked that a letter be signed by the Chair of the Selectboard and the Chair of the Planning Commission to the Public Service Board of Vermont in which the site is “deemed preferred.” Mr. Benson said that the members of the Selectboard will review the proposal by the January 11, 2021 meeting and if finding the proposal in keeping with all Town rules and regulations, it will be signed and if not further information will be requested.
3. Mapping Contract with Cartographic Associates
This new contract was proposed by Mr. Stuart Edson at the Board Meeting on December 14. The proposal was reviewed by the Board and Mr. Benson signed the contract on behalf of the Town.
F. Old Business
1. Budget
Mr. Benson asked Mr. Higgins to get him the pricing on the proposed new Town Highway Department truck as soon as possible for the new budget. The on-going reappraisal costs will be split into two years. As the Town financial audit was limited this year, $9,500 will be paid at the end of the fiscal year and $18,000 will be budgeted for next year with an in-depth audit.
2. Town Meeting
The Board did not take any action as the Legislature will not be meeting until early January when they will vote on whether to allow towns to move Town Meeting Day due to COVID-19 precautions, along with the procedures for doing so.
G. Approval of Minutes from 14 December 2020 Board Meeting
In reviewing the minutes, Mr. LaRocque said he did not remember being asked by Mr. Benson to check the Traffic Ordinance to ascertain which roads need to be warned. There being no objection, the line was struck from the minutes. Mr. Kimmel made a motion to accept the minutes as presented with one correction. Mr. Benson seconded the motion which carried unanimously. 3-0-0.
H. Mr. LaRocque made a motion to accept the Accounts Payable report with a total of $10,075.88 and the highest payment being made to White River Valley Ambulance Service of $3,425.00 as presented. Mr. Kimmel seconded the motion which carried unanimously. 3-0-0.
I. Other Proper Business
Mr. Benson advised that several requests for zoning permit variances should be considered for “deemed approval” based on extensive delays in processing the requests. Mr. Kimmel will follow up with the applicants (Krisch, Schmeckel, and Brock).
J. Adjournment: there being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Betty T. Lord