Town of Brookfield
September 9, 2019 at 6:30 P.M.
Town Clerk’s Office
Present: Cory Haggett, Jeff Kimmel, Lew Stowell (Public Safety Advisory Committee), Robert Godfrey, Al Wilder, Carl Bushey, Richard Pecor, Ray Peck (Road Crew Foreman)
1. Call to Order – 6:35 p.m.; Mr. Haggett agreed to act as Chair for the meeting, Mr. Kimmel agreed to take minutes.
2. Adjustments to Agenda – None.
3. Public Comment: incorporated in the general discussion regarding Highway – Excess Weight.
4. New Business:
- Excess Weight
Mr. Stowell made an initial presentation regarding the PSAC and his own review of the State and Town attempts to regulate excess weight vehicles and their travel on local roads. He commented that he doesn’t have all the answers, but he contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles to start understanding the system. Areas covered included:
The current common vehicle weight limit identified in the Town Ordinance is 24,000 lbs. on Town roads. However, DMV and other authorities won’t enforce the limits unless/until the Town registers with the DMV system and lists weight limits for each affected road. Mr. Stowell commented that the Town will need further instruction on how to work with the system.
The Town has issued excess weight permits for years and collects administrative fees, which appears to be adequate for insurance purposes.
Mr. Stowell noted an issue with the Town attempting to actually catch vehicles (and drivers/owners) who have allegedly caused damage to the roads and right-of-ways, before any potential damages can be assessed and follow-up compensation is sought.
Public comments included concerns that vehicles over 24,000 lbs. (and continuing up to 80,000+ lbs.) were currently transiting the Town. The combination of excess weight and sheer vehicle size is a bad combination. The Town would need to widen many of the Class 3 roads to accommodate such vehicles. In addition, if speed limits aren’t clearly posted, many drivers simply assume that they can drive at the base State speed limit of 50 mph. These issues have been ongoing for many years.
Additional comments were made about the highway wear and tear created by large vehicles. This includes excess dust and damage caused by material leeching into local brooks and waterways. These problems are also affecting property values.
Mr. Peck reported that more speed limit signs will be posted around Town in the next couple of weeks.
Mr. Haggett confirmed that the signs are a priority. He also contacted the Department of Agriculture, which referred to and provided copies of several State statutes (23 VSA 1400, 23 VSA 1400a, 23 VSA 370), to indicate Town authority and limits regarding agricultural and excess weight vehicles. Mr. Haggett observed that the Town could also remove some trees in the ROW to help improve travel lanes and line-of-sight conditions.
Other questions arose over whether limiting Town roads to 24,000 lbs. would pose interstate commerce issues; whether the Town could require lead vehicles for oversize vehicles; whether the Town could restrict larger vehicles on specific portions of dirt roads (such as Pond Village).
Northfield Road will be the subject of a traffic study within a week or so.
2. Other Highway Issues
- Mr. Wilder asked if the Town could replace the sign missing at the end of his drive. Mr. Peck said he would follow up.
- Mr. Stowell inquired whether the survey of a portion of Stone Road had been finished. The Board hadn’t heard yet.
- Mr. Peck reported on various Highway Department projects:
- Taylor Hill repairs: it will take 4 days with Town trucks to get about 300 yards of material moved for the project. A local landowner at the west end is amenable to the Town also shifting some berm material for the work.
- Mr. Peck is getting quotes for a new loader, including arranging for a “test run” of equipment.
- The Department is stockpiling material for the upcoming Winter and mud season conditions. In addition, he is assessing the need for new tires and chains. The fueld supply is in good condition.
- Pike Co. will be starting paving on Ridge Road in early October.
B. Errors and Omissions – Listers: on motion of Mr. Haggett, Mr. Kimmel second, the Board voted 2-0-0 to approve the request to correct errors in the 2019 Grand List (Tassie property).
5. Old Business
A. Approve Minutes of 26 August 2019 meeting: deferred
B. Personnel Policy Changes: deferred.
6. Payroll/ AP Warrants: Mr. Kimmel made a motion to pay the warrants totaling $750.83, with large bills that include Freightliner of NH (Truck 4): $274.17; TENCO New England Inc. (Stock Parts): $114.73; Lowell McLeods Inc. (Truck 3): $102.04; Mr. Haggett second: 2-0-0.
7. Other Proper Business: none
8. Mr. Kimmel made a motion to adjourn at 7:55 p.m., Mr. Haggett second: 2-0-0.