November 22, 2021
Members Present: Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Todd Wilkins, Glenn Sherman, via Zoom
Members Absent: None
Also Present: (In person, or via Zoom or phone) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Don Keelan, Bebe Bullock, Mike King, Vincent Thompson, Jay Coonradt, Steve McClafferty, Jessica Pollack, Olavi Wirkki, Denise Monte, “Brian”, and Janet Barry
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM, by Mr. Harvey.
Public Comments: Mr. Harvey opened the meeting asking for any public comments that were not agenda items. Mr. McClafferty was on Zoom to say there is a need for a town wide wastewater system, and it has been talked about for the thirty years he’s been a resident, and with the Renewal Committee, and there is a desire among residents to have the system extended from the school. The issue was continued to be discussed in the ARPA Hearing section of the meeting.
Minutes of the Meeting of November 8, 2021 Ms. Browning made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the previous meeting of November 8, 2021. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Old Business: ARPA Hearing Part Two: Mr. Keelan was at the meeting to suggest that ARPA money be used towards expanding the sewer system in Town. He said thirty years ago the school was converted to sewer and also tied in the library and the day care to the system, and there is a need to provide it to the other parts of Town. Ms. Browning said she agrees it is a need, but the ARPA funds are not enough to cover the expansion, and there is no set plan at this time, but the Water Department has projects that are ready to begin, and would qualify for ARPA funds. Mr. Harvey read a letter from former Select Board Chair, Keith Squires:
“After reading an article in the paper that referred to discussion by the Board as to where the American Rescue Funding might be used, I feel that much more discussion is needed. My understanding of the purpose of this funding is to “CREATE JOBS” for workers that may not be employed at this time and to REPAIR, REBUILD, and REPLACE aging infrastructure all around the country.
The Arlington water system as it exists will continue to require repairs and improvements. At this time there are two water system projects that are shovel ready. The 313 West and the Sunderland Hill Road Project. Both of these projects are fully engineered. They would need minor updates and new permits from the State of Vermont. Both projects would provide needed water flows and increase pressure to the users. Also, these upgrades would greatly increase the flows at the fire hydrants on 313 West, which are now painted BLACK which means that they are not usable due to low flows.
The Town of Arlington has a bridge, #17, over the Battenkill, that is closed for repair. The residents in the area of the bridge, I am sure, would like to be able to cross the river. The access for emergency vehicles and emergency workers would certainly benefit.
The Arlington Highway Garage and the Fire Company Building are near the end of their useful life and will need replacement in the near future. I could list several of the Town roads and culverts that need repair now and others in the coming years.
Creating a sewer system that will be used by a very small percentage of homes in the Town of Arlington needs to be considered very carefully. The State of Vermont completed a survey in Arlington only a few years ago that sampled areas in the Town Center and found very few problems. The State has control over homeowner systems and will ensure repairs are made if a problem is found.
The Town of Arlington should ensure that the American Rescue Funding is used to repair the town infrastructure, NOT to increase the retirement fund of consulting engineers.”
Mr. Zaiac said he had an email from the Town Clerk, suggesting that some of the money could be used to scan and digitize public records that date back to the 1900’s, to provide better access and to protect the documents. He also said studies would be needed for wastewater treatment, and the project is not ready to go at this time. He said there is a sub-committee formed for the wastewater project, with Mr. Harvey and Mr. Bykowski, that will be working on a grant over the winter. Mr. Bykowski invited Mr. McClafferty to join the sub-committee if he was able to so. Mr. Wilkins said he is strongly in favor of using ARPA funds to have a wastewater plan in place, to be ready for possible grant money. Mr. Bykowski said money could be used to hire a consulting engineer and project manager, to be able to have goals laid out and get a plan together. Ms. Browning said there are many issues involved, that it is not a straight forward process, but she is also in favor of having the sub-committee work, and an engineering plan obtained. Mr. Zaiac said he hopes to have the sub-committee guidelines by June 1, 2022, at the latest. Mr. Bykowski said Mr. Zaiac has done a good job of trying to organize the number of projects that were already here when he started his position. Ms. Monte asked about ARPA fund dates, and Mr. Zaiac said December 2024 was the deadline to have a decision on how to use the funds, and December 2026 to actually spend the money. Ms. Monte said she would love to have a sewer system, but also thinks the funds should be used for the needs of the whole town, such as helping the Fire Department, that take care of every resident, and benefit the most people possible. Mr. Harvey said there was sufficient input for now, and closed this part of the meeting.
Mr. Wirkki was on Zoom to discuss the State having municipalities decide their own mask mandate rules. It was decided that a Town-wide mask mandate rule would have to be warned on the agenda, and would be discussed at the next meeting.
New Business: Liquor Licenses: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the Special Events Catering Liquor License for the Arlington Inn. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the 2nd Class Liquor License and Tobacco License and Tobacco Endorsement for the new Heer owners, Amitkumar Patel, Kalpesh Patel, Mahesh Patel, and Chirag Patel. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Ms. Pollack, representing the owners, was available via Zoom if there were any questions.
Highways: Mr. Zaiac said he was waiting on a second bid for the tank removal so it would not be decided at this meeting.
Executive Session: Mr. Bykowski made a motion that premature discussion of a personnel issue would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Wilkins. Motion carried. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of a personnel issue and to allow Mr. Zaiac, and Fire Department chiefs to remain in the room. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried. The Board entered into Executive Session at 7:42PM. The Board exited Executive Session at 8:20PM. No action was taken as a result of the Executive Session.
New Business con’t: Tax Exempt Status for Arlington Commons: The Board, Mr. Zaiac, and Ms. Bullock discussed the Arlington Commons desire to become a tax-exempt property, and to be on the ballot at Town Meeting without having to submit signatures on a petition. The sense of the Board was that Arlington Commons would have been able to get the required signatures so they will allow the request to be on the ballot without a petition. They discussed that this is only decided upon on a case-by-case request. Voters will still have to approve of the request at Town Meeting.
Letter of Resignation: Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept the resignation of Todd Gamble, chair of the ZBA. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Mr. Harvey asked that a letter of appreciation be sent to Mr. Gamble, who is leaving the area.
Water Department Warrants and Orders: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant WD#22, in the amount of $5,494.60. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Key elements being health insurance premiums, MSK Engineer, and GMP.
Warrants and Orders: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #22, Appropriations voted upon in March, in the amount of $88,904.00. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #20-13, from the CRF fund, in the amount of $839.71, for bridge repair garbage disposal and parts. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #23, in the amount of $48,193.58, dated 11/18/2021, with highlights being health insurance premiums, and winter sand. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Other Business: Mr. Zaiac was asked about possible Covid exposure in the Highway Department. He said there is one positive who is asymptomatic. Mask mandates for Town employees was briefly discussed, and it was decided that it would be discussed at the next meeting.
Mr. Bykowski made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:36 PM
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Cc: files, Town Clerk