August 21, 2023
Members Present: Dan Harvey, Todd Wilkins, Cynthia Browning, Glenn Sherman, and Jamie Paustian
Members Absent: None
Also Present: Nick Zaiac-Town Administrator, Carmen Ligato-GNAT videographer, Steve McClafferty, Mark Robinson-Highway Foreman, Mike King-FD Chief, and Janet Barry (via Zoom)
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM, by Mr. Harvey.
Minutes of the Meetings of August 7, 2023, and August 10, 2023: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of August 7, 2023, and August 10, 2023, as presented. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. Motion passed, with Mr. Paustian and Mr. Wilkins abstaining from the August 10, 2023 meeting because they were not present on that day
Public Comments: Steve McClafferty spoke of the minutes of the August 10, 2023 meeting not being on the website. He also said he has not been able to access the Town Administrator’s Report online. Mr. Zaiac explained the Board voted against keeping the $5000 per year software that was previously used, and a new system to add the Town Administrator’s Report will need to be addressed. The minutes will be added this week. Mr. McClafferty asked for an update on the Benedict Crossing Bridge project. Mr. Zaiac explained the project was with the engineers and a defining feature that will determine cost will be if the abutments are still viable, which is yet to be determined. The study will be completed this calendar year.
New Business: FD Update/End of Year Spending Priorities: Chief King was at the meeting to get a sense of the Board for prioritizing purchases in the remainder of 2023. It was discussed that between Fire Department New Equipment and Maintenance lines there is $45,000-$50,000 left in the budget. It was discussed that turn out gear is needed, which costs $5,000 per firefighter to be completely outfitted, and that air pack bottles need to be replaced, that cost $1,000 each. There can be an eight month wait for the turn out gear once it is ordered. It was agreed these are high priority needs, that will be addressed this year and in 2024, to get the equipment where it needs to be for the future. Chief King also said the air compressor is going to need to be replaced in the near future, as it is at least 16 years old, and replacement parts may be hard to find when it needs repairs again. Estimates are $45,000 for a new model. It was a sense of the Board to move forward with turn out gear and air pack bottle purchases, with a specific list and quotes for review at the next meeting. Mr. McClafferty noted that MES has the State contract for these products. Four dry hydrants were discussed. With two that service Sunderland, Mr. Harvey asked if Mr. Zaiac might ask Sunderland for some shared funding for the project. Chief King said there is a mold issue at the E. Arlington Firehouse because of lack of ventilation. Mr. Zaiac said he will order two dehumidifiers.
General Budget Check-In: The Board and Mr. Zaiac reviewed the budget lines. Mr. Zaiac said cash on hand is good, and auditor labor, and Town Hall repairs line are under by $20,000. Flags are going to be ordered to utilize the Flag line in the budget. Health Care line in Highway is under budget and there is plenty of money left in the gravel budget, with Cemetery and Park departments also on budget.
Award; Tool Room: The Board and Mr. Zaiac reviewed the two bids for the Tool Room addition at the garage that was talked about at a previous meeting. The room would allow space for storing tools and would be built with a toilet flange in the floor in hopes of having a toilet and septic tank installed in the future. One bid was from Nick Albert for $14,577.59, and one from Clyde Baker for $12,500. It was discussed that there is enough money in the budget from various lines to complete the tool room project and the Black Hole Hollow repair project, that would repair the road that the Town of White Creek plows before winter. $6,000 will come from the Highway Health Insurance line, and $6,500 from the Highway Overtime line. Ms. Browning made a motion to award the Tool Room project to Clyde Baker Construction for a price not to exceed $12,500. Mr. Paustian seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Award; Black Hole Hollow Repair: It was discussed that the Town of White Creek was a sole source bid, for $10,890, and they are bidding at a sub-market rate because they are requesting the repairs, as they are responsible for plowing the road. It was discussed that the money will come from the Black Topping Line and Line Striping Line in the budget. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the award for the Black Hole Hollow Road Maintenance Project as a sole source contract to the Town of White Creek Highway Dept., for $10,890. Mr. Sherman seconded. Moton passed unanimously.
Award; Energy Committee RFP: It was discussed that there were two people interested in the spreadsheet/data work for the Energy Committee’s carbon footprint project for the Town that was discussed at a previous meeting. Mike Cole for $1,500, and Town Land Use Administrator, Joan Nash for $200. It was discussed that Mr. Zaiac has seen Ms. Nash’s spreadsheet work and it’s exceptional. It was discussed that the money to pay for this help is coming from the VT Commission of Rural Development. Ms. Browning made a motion to award the analysis position for the Energy Committee project to Joan Nash, for $200, to be funded by the VT Commission on Rural Development. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Drug and Alcohol Policy Revision: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed a revision to the Town’s Drug and Alcohol Policy that would make reporting suspected impaired individuals easier and quicker to complete. Previously there was a need to notify all five Board members, now a text to the Chair, and the Town Administrator and one call to the State Police is all that is required. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the updated Drug and Alcohol Policy Revision, as presented, dated 8/21/23, with the highlighted changes. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Rec Park Sign: Mr. Zaiac said the Park Committee is ready to buy a new sign for the front of the Park. It was decided it should now read “dawn-dusk”, instead of “8AM-dusk”. It must also read “no trespassing when closed”, “no overnight parking”, and “dogs must be leashed”, when not in dog park. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the new Rec Park sign, with an appearance substantially the same as the old sign, and with the “dawn-dusk” revision. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously. The Board thanked the Committee on the community’s behalf. Mr. Wilkins suggested the Town replace the signposts as well.
Town Administrator Report: Mr. Zaiac said the new printer has been installed and works well. A switch had to be replaced by E-Enable, and Town Hall technology is out of the dark ages now. The Lead Line project is rolling out and launching soon. Mr. Zaiac said he spoke to the person that complained about the golf course grounds not being as good as in the past. Mr. Wilkins said he spends a significant amount of time at the Park, and has for the past 25 years, and he feels it is being maintained well, and is the best it has looked, and benefitted from the expert advice from the Ekwanok Golf Course staff. Mr. Paustian asked about the status of a Town credit card, and Mr. Zaiac said he will make a renewed push to achieve the goal after having difficulties with several credit card companies. Mr. Zaiac offered updates on the firehouse purchase. He said the lawyers are working on title work, and the fence company will be there in the next month or two. The dangerous exit at the Shires Housing was discussed and Mr. Zaiac said he will contact the Executive Director for Shires Housing when she returns from vacation. Mr. Paustian said there have been several people needing to be rescued after flipping over in the river lately, after having been supplied by Battenkill Valley Outfitters. The need for the company to be cautious of who they put in the river was discussed. Sending the company a letter about these concerns, and the possible use of social media for warnings, was discussed, due to the significant amount of rain this summer.
Highways: Highway Foreman, Mark Robinson told the Board that ditching had been done on River Road, and Sandgate’s over the rail mower was borrowed and being utilized every day. Auctions International was scheduled to come on Tuesday, and he also spoke with dealers to get a better idea of what the excavator that is being sold is worth. He said the Covered Bridge will need a complete paint job next year.
WD Warrants and Orders: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Water Department Warrant #16, dated 8/18/23, in the amount of $4906.49, for general expenses. Mr. Paustian seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Warrants and Orders: Ms. Browning said the CRF Warrant for mowing at the Yellow Barn should not be paid for by this fund, because the fund is designated for barn building maintenance. It was decided the bill would be paid for in the next Warrant from the Park Grounds line. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #16, from the General account, dated 8/18/23, in the amount of $36,022.77, with key components being $11,000 for Blue Cross Blue Sheild Health Insurance, property tax money from the tax sale, and over $2,000 for stone. Mr. Paustian seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
All Other Business: Mr. Robinson asked about Woodchuck Hill water line progress. Mr. Zaiac will follow up with the relevant parties and it will be discussed at a future Water Board meeting.
Mr. Paustian made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:44PM.