Select Board Meeting Minutes 8.7.23



August 7, 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, Nicole Morse, Jason Morse, Emma Corey, Jackie Slade, Dylan Durham, Robyn Champine-Arlington Animal Control Officer, Pat Pickering, Melody Rogers, Breanna Hurley, and Janet Barry (via Zoom)

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

Public Comments:  None

Minutes of the Meeting of July 24, 2023: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of July 24, 2023, as presented. Mr. Paustian seconded the motion. Motion passed, with one abstention.

Dog Bite Hearing: A formal hearing was held for a dog bite victim, with both the victim’s relatives and the dog owners speaking before the Board. Mr. Harvey started the hearing by saying the Board would hear from both sides and come to a conclusion based on what was presented at the meeting. The complainant, the victim’s mother, Nicole Morse said on July 22, 2023,  she and her five year old daughter were visiting friends at the same time Breanna Hurley, daughter of the dog owner, and the dog were also visiting. Ms. Hurley had the dog on a leash. The little girl was able to pet the dog at first, then it lunged at her, viciously, requiring an Emergency Room visit and stitches, and she may also need plastic surgery in the future. She said she has never been contacted by Ms. Hurley or the dog owner, Melody Rogers, and they did not offer to help with medical costs. Ms. Morse and her mother both said the child is afraid to leave the house now, as the dog lives across the street from her residence, and has a substantial fear of dogs, even her grandma’s dogs that she has grown up with.  Ms. Morse believes the dog should be euthanized, due to the threat she feels it poses for the public, and because the dog has no fence in which to be contained. The dog owner, Melody Rogers, said she was not there during the attack, but heard the story through her daughter, Ms. Hurley. They feel the dog was trying to grab a stick the victim was holding and did not mean to attack the child. She said they cannot have a fence because they are renters, but the dog has a lead, or it runs to the back field, but is never out alone. She admits the dog does not get along with other dogs and has bitten someone before. There are two children that live at the residence, but the dog has never hurt them, and protects the family. She said she would be more than happy to help pay for medical costs. A citizen said he thought the dog should have to be quarantined after the incident, but Mr. Wilkins said that is not required in Vermont law. The dog had been overdue for it’s license but was up to date on it’s rabies vaccine. Arlington Animal Control Officer, Robyn Champine, spoke about the incident. She said she had been notified by a State Trooper, and a complete report had been sent to the Town. She said she has had other complaints about this dog, a German Shepard/Pit Bull mix.  It had attacked an elderly woman’s dog and has been seen running loose at the Shires Housing residence. She said it was a bad bite, in her opinion, and she worries about the children that live in the house. The owner agreed the dog is very protective of the family and said the dog should not be around children under eighteen, except for the two children that live with the dog, who are over eight years old. The victim’s grandmother said she has concerns because the attack happened while the dog was even on a leash, so there was a lack of controlling the dog. After hearing from both parties, and Ms. Champine, Ms. Browning made a motion to enter into Deliberative Session. Mr. Sherman seconded. The Board entered into Deliberative Session at 7:26PM, and came out at 8:00PM. Ms. Browning said that after considerable deliberating, she is making a motion to order that the dog be disposed of in a humane way to prevent any danger to the public. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously.  The owner can choose her own veterinarian and will receive a certified letter stating the decision and the steps needed to be taken after Mr. Zaiac consults with the Town’s legal counsel.

 Executive Session: Ms. Browning made a motion that premature discussion of a personnel issue would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Wilkins. Ms. Browning made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of a personnel  issue, and to allow Town Administrator, Nick Zaiac, and Pat Pickering,  to remain in the room. Seconded by Mr. Paustian. The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:03PM. The Board exited Executive Session at 8:32PM. No decisions were reached as a result of the Session

New Business:  Line Striping:  Mr. Wilkins made a motion to award the line stripping proposal to TopKote  Applicators for $5,489.00. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously. TopKote was the only company to bid on the project this year.

Fuel Oil Award:  The Board reviewed the two fuel oil quotes, and options,  for the upcoming heating season. Miles Fuels for a variable rate of  $.50 over the average cost of oil from their supplier, and Mirabito at $.55 over the cost of oil from their supplier. Mr. Zaiac said after checking oil futures, he feels the variable rate option is best. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to award the Town  heating oil award to Miles Fuels, at the price supplied in the quote,  and  at a cost not to exceed 6000 gallons. Mr. Paustian seconded. Motion carried unanimously.  Mr. Zaiac is in hopes of using less oil this winter with the installation of heat pumps at the firehouse.

Tax Rate: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to table the Tax Rate approval until a special meeting on Thursday, August 10, 2023, at 7PM. Mr. Paustian seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

All Other Business:  Mr. Zaiac said the Woodchuck Hill water line was followed up on and Mr. Zaiac noted getting an easement done in this season is unlikely due to the Town lawyer’s excessive workload.

He said Highway Foreman, Mark Robinson, suggested hiring Blake Pike for tree trimming, for a trial, full day of work at a flat rate, with the Highway crew following behind for chipping. The Town has had a great experience with Mr. Pike at a recent tree job. Mr. Zaiac said he is getting bids for the “tool room” project at the garage. Mr. Paustian said he would like to have the bids at the next meeting to be able to move forward with the project. Mr. Wilkins said he would like it to fit into the budget. The idea of creating a sinking fund for buildings was discussed, as well as having a budget review at the next meeting. Mr. Zaiac said there will be an energy contractor, paid for by the State, reviewing the building soon.

Ms. Browning said the center part of the fields at the Yellow Barn need to be mowed, and Mr. Zaiac said that with the sense of the Board, he could seek an independent contractor for the job. Ms. Browning said she would like to do more carpentry and painting at the Yellow Barn next year, paid for from the Yellow Barn Fund. She said she had also received a complaint about the greens and fairways not being in good condition at the park. It was discussed that after the recent flooding it has been too wet to properly mow. Mr. Wilkins said Mr. Knight did a good job clearing the green’s flooding. He also asked if there was a plan for park maintenance when Mr. Knight is on vacation, and Mr. Zaiac said a Highway a crew member will be doing the work.  Mr. Wikins asked if a thank you letter had been sent to the Ekwanok Country Club for their guidance at the park. Mr. Zaiac said he will have the letter ready for Thursday’s meeting. He also asked about any progress being made to repair a fence post that was damaged by the Highway crew. Mr. Zaiac said a company has been hired and it will be repaired soon.

WD Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Water Department Warrant #15, dated 8/3/23, in the amount of $100.99,  with  Miles Lumber being the biggest payment.   Mr. Paustian seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Warrants and Orders:   Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #15, from the General account, dated 8/3/23,   in the amount of $10,286.09, with major components being $1,383.98 for truck maintenance, $2,490.97 for Miles Fuels and $2,285.00 to Sycamore Landscaping for the cemetery contract.   Mr. Paustian seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

All Other Business:  None

Mr. Paustian made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 9:07PM.