Select Board Meeting Minutes 2.22.22

MINUTES

ARLINGTON SECECTBOARD

February 22, 2022

Members Present:  Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, and Glenn Sherman

Members Absent:  Todd Wilkins

Also Present:  (In person, or via Zoom) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Michael LaCroix and Ben Tietze-VTrans, Mark Anders, Chelsea Thompson,  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 not related to an agenda item. There were none.

Minutes of the Meeting of February 7, 2022 Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the previous meeting of February 7, 2022. Ms. Browning seconded.  Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins absent.

Highways:  Presentation RT313/Warm Brook Road Draft Scoping Report:  Michael LaCroix and Ben Tietze from VTrans were virtually at the meeting with a presentation on the culmination of the months long work on the Arlington Draft Scoping Report for the RT313/Warm Brook Road intersection, after their initial meeting with the Board in August. They were asking for feedback or consensus from the Board. Mr. Tietze did a Power Point presentation with four alternatives for the intersection, to enhance the safety of the intersection, reduce vehicular collisions and reduce speed and enhance approach visibility.  Using 2018’s data, there are an average of 2,700 vehicles on RT313 per day, 1,200 on Warm Brook, and 85% of vehicles traveling 55MPH, with the posted speed limit being 50 MPH. There have been fourteen crashes in ten years, with 71% of those injurious, and 93% of crashes being angle crashes. In the August meeting, the local feedback stated that bike traffic on Warm Brook Road is high because it is mostly flat, and there is also heightened pedestrian usage on Warm Brook Road. Sun is a major factor in morning and afternoons.  Alternative #1 is a “no build” scenario, which Mr. Tietze said does not address the safety concerns, and the intersection needs correction. Alternative #2 is a single lane roundabout, which would have a center island with a mountable apron to allow for large truck movements that are commonly seen at the intersection. Alternative #3 is an Intersection Conflict Warning System (ICWS), with flashing beacons to signal as cars approach the intersection.  This system has not been shown to have significant reduction in accidents. Alternative #4 is shoulder narrowing. The right turning lane would be removed on the westbound approach to RT313, and reduce the shoulder width of the roads when approaching the intersection, which may curb excessive speed as the road would not feel so wide open, and stop bars would be moved forward, for clearer sight down RT313. He supplied the Board with a Benefit-Cost analysis for each alternative, with Alternative #2, the roundabout, being the most expensive, but has a 20-year life span.   Ms. Browning asked about the use of roundabouts where drivers are used to going 50 MPH. Mr. Tietze said roundabouts are used around the country with great success, and they force drivers to reduce speed on approach. Mr. LaCroix said it is almost impossible to navigate a roundabout going more than 25-30 MPH. The possibility of combing alternatives was discussed. Mr. Tietze said the roundabout would stand on its own, but there could be the possibility of combining narrowing of shoulders with ICWS, which Ms. Browning said she felt would be a lower cost way to reduce speed and aid visibility. Mr. LaCroix said the roundabout is 100% federally funded, with no state tax money, or state match required. It was discussed that the roundabout would address visibility issues, and slow vehicle speeds, and that the beacon system doesn’t enhance visibility but gives warning of vehicles stopped at the intersection. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to designate Alternative #2, in the VTrans Draft VT RT 313 and Warm Brook Road Intersection Scoping Report as the Arlington Select Board preferred solution. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed with 3 “yes” votes, from Mr. Harvey, Mr. Bykowski, and Mr. Sherman, and 1 “no” vote from Ms. Browning, with Mr. Wilkins absent. Ms. Browning said she feels Alternative #2 is too much money at over one million dollars, and Alternatives 3&4 would be better. Mr. Sherman said he doesn’t want to deal with these issues years from now, and just as the flashing lights currently at the intersection were helpful for a time, people got used to them and they have become ineffective, and the effectiveness of the beacon system could also change with time. Mr. Bykowski said there is a future in bicycles as a viable mode of transportation and the roundabout is the only alternative that benefits bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Mr. Zaiac said the Regional Bicycle Plan from the 1990’s reflected that Warm Brook Road is a preferred bike path, and the roundabout has a higher cost now, but is the forward-thinking alternative. Mr. Harvey thanked Mr. LaCroix and Mr. Tietze for all their work on the report. The minutes from the meeting will be sent to them.

Highway Budget Certification Vote:  The Board reviewed the Annual Financial Plan for Town Highways, certifying that funds raised by municipal taxes are equivalent to, or greater than, the sum of at least $300 per mile for each mile of Class 1,2, and 3 Town highway roads. Mr. Bykowski made amotion to approve the TA-60, Annual Financial Plan for Town Highways for fiscal year 2023. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins being absent.

New Business:  Liquor License Votes: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the 2022 1st and 3rd Class Hotel License to sell malt and vinous beverages for West Mountain Inn. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously with Mr. Wilkins absent. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the 2022 Liquor License Renewal Application for outside consumption permit for West Mountain Inn. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins absent. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the 2nd Class license to sell malt and vinous beverages for Stewarts. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins absent.

Borrowed Money Letter: The Board reviewed the letter from the Treasurer requesting to borrow $225,000 from the Town’s Capital Reserve Fund – Fire Truck Fund, to cover Town expenses through April 2022, which will be paid back with tax money. Ms. Browning made a motion accept the recommendation of Mr. Zaiac and Ms. Mays, to borrow $225,000 from the Fire Truck CRF Fund, which will be repaid from this year’s taxes. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously with Mr. Wilkins absent.

Old Business: Park Staffing Job Posting: The Board reviewed the job posting written by Mr. Zaiac for the new Park Maintenance Lead position. It incudes the rate of pay, benefit package, job description and requirements for the position. The possible need for a pesticide license was discussed, but not added at this point. It was discussed that there may be a highway crew member that currently has a pesticide license, or the new hire could receive training and licensing if it is needed. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the job description for Arlington Park Maintenance Lead as presented. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins absent.

Letter of Gratitude for Service of Chris Heins, and Acceptance of his Wastewater Subcommittee Position Resignation:  The Board reviewed a memo from Mr. Heins, asking that his appointment to the Planning Commission not be renewed this March, after 40 years of service, the longest-serving member of the Planning Commission in the Town’s history. Mr. Harvey personally thanked Mr. Heins, and read the Letter of Gratitude for Service. He asked for all those in favor of accepting his request to not renew Mr. Heins’ appointment, which was unanimously accepted, with Mr. Wilkins absent. The Board signed a Letter of Gratitude for Service for Mr. Heins. It was discussed that Mr. Heins wishes to resign from the Wastewater Subcommittee. Mr. Harvey asked for all those in favor of accepting Mr. Heins’ resignation from the Wastewater Subcommittee, which was unanimously accepted, with Mr. Wilkins being absent.  It was discussed that Mr. Bykowski will be leaving the Select Board, but would agree to continue on the Wastewater Subcommittee, in a citizen role. Ms. Browning made a motion to appoint Matt Bykowski as a citizen member of the Wastewater Subcommittee as of March 2, 2022. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins absent.

Town Meeting Final Thoughts:  The Board discussed and agreed with Town Clerk, Robin Wilcox’s suggestion to have resolutions for memorials read by the Moderator at Town Meeting for Benjamin Brumaghim, who had served on the ZBA, and John Thompson, for his volunteer hours at the Park & Rec. They also discussed Ms. Wilcox’s reminder to request that elected officials have time available to count write-in votes. They also discussed Ms. Wilcox’s request to offer Karen Krulikowski a $500 stipend for all the hours of work she put into creating the Town Report. Ms. Browning made a motion to authorize payment of a thank you stipend to Karen Krulikowski for $500, for the tremendous amount of work she did on the Town Report. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously with Mr. Wilkins absent. Ms. Browning said she feels it is important to explain at Town Meeting that the Climate Articles were not vetted before the Board and will increase property taxes. It was discussed that Mr. Zaiac will address the issue in a budget presentation at Town Meeting, and also will address budget increases and explain the necessity of increased compensation for Town staff.

Town Administrator’s Report:  Mr. Zaiac presented the Board with his report. One highlight from the report was that an energy expert had come to Town Hall and gave great recommendations and leads on subsidies that may be available. It was discussed that the aging Town Hall furnace is not actively failing but has had need of serval repairs this winter, and the possible need to replace it is rising in importance. Mr. Zaiac will look into heat pumps and also look into any Efficiency VT subsidy options that could be available.

Water Department Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant WD#4 dated 2/18/22, in the amount of $2,401.59, for basic operating expenses of the Water Department.  Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins being absent. 

Warrants and Orders:   Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #4, from the General Operating Account, dated 2/18/22, in the amount of $34,434.39, with the biggest expenses being salt and stone.   Mr. Bykowski seconded.  Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Wilkins being absent.

All Other Business:  None.

Ms. Browning made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:28 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Barry, Recording Secretary

Cc: files, Town Clerk

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