Minutes of the
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD
by Zoom and Telephone Conferencing
February 8, 2021
THOSE PRESENT: John Benson, Chair; Jeff Kimmel and Dennis LaRocque, Selectmen; Tim Higgins, Road Foreman; Kasey Peterson, Assistant Town Clerk; Betty Lord, Secretary; and Da-vid Pattison, Elizabeth Templeton, Chelsea and Keith Sprague, Alexis McLean, Kevin and Marie Dunwoody, Matt Denzen, Jon Binhammer, Jim Merriam, Pamela Krausz, Dan O’Brien, Curtis Koren, Gary Lord, and Kym Anderson, Town Residents.
A. CALL TO ORDER: The Chair, John Benson called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m.
B. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA: As many Town residents were present to discuss the solar array proposed for the Sprague property off of the Ridge Road, Item F1 Solar Project was moved forward on the agenda.
Mr. Benson stated that at the last Selectboard meeting of January 25, 2021, Mr. Merriam of Nor-wich Solar Technologies had been asked to report back to the Board how the placement of the solar array complied with the Town Plan and how the site was selected.
Mr. Merriam reported that he was meeting with the Town Planning Commission the following evening (February 9, 2021) and he would report back to the Selectboard following that meeting. Mr. Benson then asked the community members if they had anything to say regarding the issue.
There was much discussion by the attending members of the community (most being residents whose land abuts the said solar array site). One of the concerns raised was the number of panels that would be in the array. Some of the residents wanted to know why the land had been deemed a “preferred” site by the applicant. Other topics at issue were the aesthetics, and putting the array in an area that had primarily been used for residential and agricultural use.
Mrs. Dunwoody asked if the neighbors were so opposed to the project, why was it was still on the table? Could the array be placed in a better location? Mrs. Krausz asked to whom the residents’ concerns should be addressed and she said they must be done right in order to benefit the com-munity interests.
Mr. Benson said the Selectboard does not have the authority to approved or disapprove a Section 248 process before the Public Service Board and the only issue for the Selectboard is whether the land is a “preferred” site. The Selectboard is only asked to sign a letter stating that site is in keeping with the Town Plan. He says he has no intention of signing the letter until he receives a report from the Planning Commission stating the site is in compliance with the Town Plan.
Mr. Dunwoody stated he had information regarding the site and will email to anyone who requests it before the Planning Commission Board meeting the following evening at 7:00 p.m.
C: PUBLIC COMMENTS: None
l. Excess Weight – Mr. Higgins and Mrs. Peterson reported they had reviewed the suggestions from the Public Safety Committee but found that the process Brookfield is using to grant permits is already in compliance with state law. An inventory will be taken of bridges and culverts in Town, but to-date all are in compliance.
2. Bear Hill Culvert Grant Amendment – Mr. Benson will sign the amendment for the Board and Mrs. Peterson will contact VTrans and remind them that the timing for completion is dependent on them submitting a design of the culvert so it can be constructed this summer.
Mr. Higgins related to Mr. Keith Sprague that the Board is still in the process of going over pricing and a meeting will be set up soon to talk about the Sprague sand pit.
Mr. Higgins reported that W. B. Rogers will sell the Town sand at $12.50 per yard with the Town screening, loading, and hauling it. Mr. Rogers could provide samples in the spring.
Mr. Higgins also reported that a new AWD Freightliner truck with a belly scraper, back-up grader, radio, heater, and plow wing would be $188,242 (with a trade-in).
The Road Crew will have every road completely plowed throughout the Town by the end of the week.
A letter has been sent to Mr. Larry Brassard notifying him that his mailbox protrudes into the road.
All speed and excess weight signs to be installed on Northfield Road in the Spring have been or-dered.
E; NEW BUSINESS
Audit Contract – The Board reviewed the Audit Contract and will request a clarification regard-ing the Town paying for the audit in installments. Mr. Benson made a motion to authorize Mr. Kimmel to confer with Mrs. Godfrey, Town Clerk, to confirm terms, and allowing Mr. Kimmel to able to sign on behalf of the Board and to have the audit contract revised. Mr. LaRocque seconded the motion which was unanimously approved: 3-0-0.
F. OLD BUSINESS
1. Solar Project – See Above
2. Town Meeting Date and Location – Mr. Benson reported the Brookfield Elementary School Principal had agreed to allow the Town Meeting to be held on the school ballfields on Saturday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m. Mr. LaRocque stated he would contact Mr. Perry Armstrong of Rain or Shine Tent Company to discuss the costs of tents. The best scenario would be a large tent to cover all those attending the meeting, but if the cost is prohibitive, then the tent should at least cover the voting booth area.
The printed draft of the Town Report should be ready in March and the warning printed and post-ed by April 10, 2021.
G. APPROVAL OF MINUTES of JANUARY 25, 2021 MEETING – Mr. LaRocque said that he was not included in the group who would be going to talk with Mr. Sprague about the sand pit and asked that the minutes be adjusted. Mr. LaRocque made a motion to accept the minutes as amended in Item 3, paragraph 2. Mr. Kimmel seconded, and the minutes were unanimously ap-proved.
H. PAYROLL AND WARRANTS – Mr. LaRocque moved to accept the warrants in the total amount of $50,009.63 with the highest payment being $38,220.89 payable to Orange County Treasurer. Mr. Kimmel seconded the motion which was unanimously approved: 3-0-0.
BUDGET – Mr. Benson said the budget would be for seven months instead of six months and as soon as he had the figures for the price of sand and the pricing from Northfield Savings Bank for financing the loan of the truck, he would have a final draft and would send it out to the other Se-lectboard members to peruse.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn. Mr. LaRocque seconded the motion and the meeting was adjourned at 8:03 p.m.: 3-0-0.
Betty Lord, Secretary