January 25, 2021
Members Present: ( Via phone or Zoom) Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Tim Williams, and Todd Wilkins
Members Absent: None
Also Present: (Via phone or Zoom) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Vince Thompson-AFD, “Eric”, “Chelsea”, Darren Marcy-Manchester Journal, Denise Monte, and Janet Barry
The meeting was called to order at 7:00, by Mr. Harvey
Public Comments: None
Minutes of the Meeting of Jan 4, 2021. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the Jan. 4, 2021 meeting. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Old Business: Red Mountain Land Acquisition Discussion: The presenter requested that the discussion be tabled until the Feb. 8, 2021 meeting. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to table the Red Mountain Discussion until Feb. 8, 2021. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.
New Business: Affirm Interest in VSP Law Enforcement Contract: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed the Vermont State Police contract. It was discussed that it has been a mutually beneficial relationship since starting the trial contract 90 days ago. Mr. Zaiac said he has not received any negative community feedback, and Mr. Wilkins said with using VSP for six hours each week, it would reduce the Public Safety line in the budget. Mr. Bykowski said he feels there has been more professionalism, higher standards, and better communication using VSP. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to extend the VSP contract through June 30, 2021. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Wilkins abstained due to the possible appearance of a conflict of interest because he is a VT State Trooper.
Budget and Town Meeting: Budget: Final Approval: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed the changes made to this draft of the Budget and how to best use the 2020 Surplus. Mr. Zaiac said an employee has decided to come off the Town insurance which would save
$15,000 which could be put into increasing the Treasurer’s salary and auditors line if the positions are adjusted by voters. It was discussed that the 2020 Highway surplus is $187,622, and by Vermont law all highway funds must only spent on Highway matters in the following budget year. It was discussed that the higher than usual surplus this year has been due in part to having a smaller highway crew for part of the year, and that some of the surplus could be could be used to lower the tax rate but some should be used for Highway needs and deferred maintenance. Mr. Williams said the Appropriations line could be lowered because Burdett Commons, who has received an $1250 Appropriation from the Town, is disbanding. Ms. Browning made a motion to drop Article 42 from the Warning and the Appropriation Budget. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed.
The Board discussed how much the Public Safety line, formally the Bennington County Sheriff’s line, could be reduced, to reflect the savings with the new VSP contract. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to reduce the Public Safety line from $44,000 to $29,000. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion carried unanimously. After much discussion the Board asked Mr. Zaiac to rework the figures with different summaries and be able to live share the figures at an emergency meeting to finalize the Budget on Tuesday, 1/26/21 at 7PM, at which time the Warning and Surplus distribution will also be finalized. Mr. Zaiac will make and post the new Agenda and meeting notice.
Discussion of Town Meeting: The Board discussed different options for Town Meeting Day and voting during the pandemic, such as mailing ballots to all voters, and moving the date. The Board decided to follow the Town Clerk, and Mr. Zaiac’s suggestions to not change the date, but to still have an informational Town Meeting Day, via Zoom, on March 1, 2021 at 6:30pm, and have in-person voting again take place at the American Legion on March 2, 2021, and to not require the Town Clerk to mail ballots to every voter, but to send post cards explaining absentee ballot options to the voters.
Town Meeting 2021 Panels: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed Panels for Town Meeting 2021. The Board agreed with Mr. Zaiac’s suggestions to have himself and 2 Board members, possibly Mr. Bykowski and Ms. Browning, on the “Proposed Budget Panel”, Mr. Zaiac, Town Auditor Jenna Peeler, and possibly Mr. Harvey or another Board member on the “Governance Change Articles Panel”, and the full 2020 Board plus anyone running for the Board on the “Listening to Arlingtonians Panel”
Moderator’s Tech Help: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed that Moderator, John Whalen, may need some tech help for the Zoom Town Meeting, and that he will be able to get whatever help he needs.
Highways: Highway Bonus: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed a $2000 bonus being given to Highway crew member, Mike Finnegan, as compensation for his higher workload training the two new crew members, and to thank him for his six months of this additional work. Ms. Browning made a motion to authorize $2000 be given to Mike Finnegan for going above and beyond his workload for training new crew members. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Certifying Town Road and Bridge Standards: Mr. Bykowski made a motion to certify compliance with the 2019 Road and Bridge Standards. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried unanimously. The Board will stop at Town Hall to sign the form.
Arlington Bike Path: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed the possibility of applying for a $10,000 State Grant for signage to direct cyclists to alternative routes from busy 7A and RT 313. It was discussed that the Town’s match of the grant amount could be supplied from Town labor to install the signs. The Board asked Mr. Zaiac to get more information about this for the next meeting.
WD Warrants and Orders: Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve Warrant #WD 2, in the amount of $2795.32. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Warrants and Orders: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve Warrant # 2, in the amount of $35,634.45. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Highlights include highway equipment maintenance and repairs and $4,040 for the spreader approved at a past meeting.
All Other Business: Docu-sign: Mr. Bykowski asked Mr. Zaiac to check into getting a Docu-sign Account that would allow signatures electronically, and to have prices available for the next meeting.
River Road Traffic: Ms. Browning brought a concern before the Board about traffic having recently been re-routed to River Road when a tree was down on RT 313. She heard from residents about large trucks being on the road and making it very unsafe. Mr. Wilkins said State Troopers would know not to let tractor trailers onto River Road, they would need to help up until the road was cleared, but he would email the barracks with the concern. Mr. Thompson, from the Arlington Fire Department, said the Fire Department does know that large trucks are not allowed on River Road but that a log truck snuck by them and onto River Road on the day in question.
Executive Session: Ms. Browning made a motion that premature discussion of a legal matter would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of a legal issue and to invite Town Administrator, Mr. Zaiac, to remain in the virtual room. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:49PM.
The Board exited Executive Session at 8:55PM with no decisions resulting from the Executive Session, and the meeting was adjourned.
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Cc: files, Town Clerk