Select Board Meeting Minutes 6.3.24



June 3, 2024 

Members Present: Dan Harvey, Todd Wilkins, Cynthia Browning, Glenn Sherman, and Jamie Paustian 

Members Absent:   None 

Also Present:     Vince Thompson, Nick Nahodil, Ali Elwell-Zaiac, Darrin Jennings, Kendall Jennings, Steve McClafferty, Matthew Bykowski, Tony Onorato, GNAT-TV Videographer, Chelsea Thompson, “Sue”, and Janet Barry- via Zoom  

The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM, by Mr. Harvey. 

Public Comments:  Matt Bykowski spoke of discrepancies in the condition of  FD truck #710. At   the April 22nd meeting the fire chief said  it didn’t pass inspection and would require a lot of work to repair, but at the May 6th meeting Mr. Harvey and Mr. Paustian said they had spoken to the inspector and that it is not rusted through and could be inspected with some minor repairs. The Fire Department requested, and was approved for the purchase of a new utility pickup truck. Mr. Bykowski said he was disconcerted that the Fire Department information led to the replacement of the vehicle, but thanked the Select Board and Mr. Zaiac for performing their due diligence and creating an RFP for the purchase, and for keeping truck #710 for an Emergency Management vehicle. He said he feels this highlights the need for scrutiny by the Select Board for Fire Department purchases.  

Steve McClafferty said he feels the Benedict Crossing Bridge project has been going on too long.  He also said he feels that after the May 30th Wastewater meeting was cancelled, having the rescheduled date being July 11th was too long between meetings and they should get back on track and hold the State contractor accountable.  He also commented that from what he has read, spending $15,000 on sprinklers for the Park from the ARPA funds does not follow ARPA expense regulations.  He also commented that the Town website still has the past Delinquent Tax Collector’s name listed. Mr. Zaiac said the website will be updated, and that the State also wants the bridge project done, and the Town will not be paying any more Benedict Crossing contractor bills until the subcontractor comes through with their portion of the project.  

Tony Onorato was at the meeting to ask if Red Mountain Road could have center lines painted, to keep people from driving in the middle of the road. He has had vehicle damage from an incident on the road. Mr. Zaiac said there is a shortage of line paint and it could be a two-year wait. It was discussed that the State lines all Class 2 roads. Mr. Wilkins said State law states drivers stay to the right, and perhaps a winding road sign could be posted.  

Minutes of the Meetings of May 20, 2024: Mr. Paustian made a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of May 20, 2024 as presented. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried unanimously, with Mr. Harvey abstaining because he was not at that meeting.    

New Business:    Fire Department Discussion:  Darrin Jennings, President of the Fire Protection Company, was at the meeting to say he’d like to see having the firehouses turned over to the Town move forward. He said fundraising is increasingly difficult and funds are low. Mr. Zaiac said the process would be talked about in Executive Session later in the meeting, but that he has the financials and it is approximately $10,000-$15,000 per year to keep buildings running. It was discussed that the Town would own both buildings and they can be put into a long term capital plan fund at Town Meeting. It could also open up more State grant possibilities. It was discussed that the Board needs to have clarification from the lawyers about deed restrictions and that they know exactly where the operating funds would come from. Mr. Zaiac said for the remainder of the year the funds could be moved from the Town Hall Building Maintenance line.  

Park Fee Policy:  Mr. Zaiac shared his screen with the proposed Park fee schedule for events, to help defray cost of expenses, such as electricity, for these events. The fee schedule is comparable to Bennington’s park fees. Fees range from $50 for a one-day sports tournament to a softball season with lights for $500. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve the Park Fee Policy with amendments. Ms. Browning seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.   

Borrowed Money Approval: The Board reviewed the Borrowed Money letter for $150,000, that is standard procedure until property taxes are paid in November, to cover Town expenses. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the request from the Treasurer to borrow $150,000 from the Town Truck Fund, to be repaid with interest, from property tax revenue in the fall. Mr. Wilkins seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. It was mentioned that there needs to be clarity on how much interest is being repaid.  

Hazard Mitigation Plan RFP:  The Board had been supplied with an RFP for an update to the local hazard mitigation plan. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the Hazard Mitigation Update Plan RFP. Mr. Wilkins seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.  

All Other Business:  Ms. Browning asked for any information about the Sheriff’s Department contract. Mr. Zaiac said it will be warned for the next meeting.  

Mr. Paustian asked that condolences be sent to the Sears family. Mr. Zaiac said a memorial resolution is traditional, and he can write it. 

Town Administrator Report:  Mr. Zaiac supplied the Board with his report. He said he wrapped up paperwork for the lead line study. He said there was a good turnout for the Memorial Day Parade and the highway crew had done a good job making the Town look good. He said the people that attended the Energy Committee function on the weekend got a lot out of the event. 

WD Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Water Department Warrant #11, in the amount of $1,574.54, with the major item being BC/BS health insurance.  Mr. Paustian seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. 

Warrants and Orders:   Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #11, from the General account, in the amount of $51,532.30, with key components being BC/BS payment, chloride for the roads, hazardous waste disposal, Capital Tractor for loader repair and rental, and Fire Department physicals and equipment. Mr. Wilkins seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. 

Executive Session:  Ms. Browning made a motion that premature discussion of property, personnel, and legal issues would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Sherman. Ms. Browning made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of property, personnel, and legal issues, and to allow Town Administrator, Nick Zaiac, to remain in the room.  Seconded by Mr. Paustian. The Board entered Executive Session at 7:55PM. The Board exited Executive Session at 8:29PM.  Mr. Wilkins made a motion to move forward with acquisition of fire stations baring any deed restrictions. Mr. Paustian seconded the motion. The properties in question are located at 184 E. Arlington Road and 41 Berwal Road. Ms. Browning voiced concern with the motion, being uncomfortable with moving forward until hearing from the lawyers. It was discussed that this motion authorizes Mr. Zaiac to work with attorneys, and Mr. Zaiac said the authorization is valuable to justify legal expense incurred from this process. Mr. Paustian said having the motion is moving forward, so the project is not stagnant. Motion passed unanimously. 

It was also discussed that the legal research has been done and it has been confirmed that State statutes authorize the Select Board to appoint, suspend, or terminate fire chiefs or officers. Decisions will be made at a future meeting.    

All Other Business:  None  

Mr. Paustian made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:39PM. 

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