Select Board Meeting Minutes (draft) 12.4.23



December 4, 2023

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

Members Absent:   Cynthia Browning

Also Present:  Nick Zaiac-Town Administrator, GNAT videographer,  Firefighters- Mike King-Chief, Brian Hawley, Keegan Hawley, James Hawley,  Austin Weller, Lewis Douglas, Josh McKenzie, Don Keelan, Steve McClafferty,  Arlington Energy Committee Members – Stephanie Moffet-Hynds, Mardi Crane-Gadreau,  MaryAnne Holmes, Joan Nash, Mary Ann Carlson, Karen Lee and Jenny Murtaugh via Zoom, and  Garret Siegel, Bob Perry, Mark Robinson, Mark Rondeau John Mendenhol, John Toth and  Janet Barry (via Zoom)

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

Agenda Addition: None

 Minutes of the Meeting of Nov. 20, 2023: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of Nov. 20, 2023, as presented. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. Motion carried, with Ms. Browning absent.

Public Comments:  Steve McClafferty asked if the Board would consider adding an article to appoint a Town Treasurer on the ballot at Town Meeting, which the Select Board can do without the required voter signatures. Mr. Harvey said the Board would be having the article on the ballot. He also inquired about the management letter that was due from the auditor. Mr. Zaiac said there was a delay from the auditors for family health reasons and it would be available by the next meeting. Mr. Keelan asked if he could submit his questions to the auditor so that they may be answered at the next meeting to expedite the help he and Mr. McClafferty are offering to the Town concerning finances. Mr. Zaiac said he could submit any questions and they could be forwarded to the auditor.

Mike King asked if there could be a dollar amount attached to the stipulation that there be two signatures on Fire Department purchases. It was discussed that bigger items were the ones that two signatures are being required, but a dollar amount was not set. It was discussed that Mr. Paustian and Mr. Sherman were going to be meeting with Sunderland to coordinate what ARPA funds will be spent for the Fire Department. Mr. King said he planned on spending the remaining 2023 budget money on needed equipment, including a smoke machine for training. It was discussed that the turn out gear had been sent in brown instead of the desired black, but due to many changes with the order, the company is requesting the Town split the additional costs associated with the changes and pay $4,100 to have the black turn out gear shipped. If they keep the brown gear, the company would take $500 off each of the five turn out gear sets. It was discussed that it is hard to see damage on brown gear, and shows up more readily on the black gear. Mr. Harvey said he wasn’t sure they would have time to discuss the options at this meeting.

New Business:   Arlington Energy Committee Presentation:  Members of the AEC were at the meeting to present their findings on the extensive research that was done on Town carbon emissions, in order to be able to make the Town’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2027. The head of the AEC, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds said the Town’s data had been researched to compile the report that will help with reducing costs through conservation, energy efficiency and conservation to renewable energy sources. Joan Nash put in hundreds of hours creating a spreadsheet, and the unique carbon analysis and forecasting tool  is starting to be copied by other Vermont towns. Slides of the completed report were reviewed and discussed, including carbon uptake, and carbon sequestration from the Town forest and Rec Park/Yellow Barn trees, that was discussed by Karen Lee, Jenny Murtaugh, and Mary Anne Holmes. Ms. Lee said the committee will continue to work to obtain grant funds and donations. Mr. McClafferty asked if the high rates of Green Mountain Power still made electrification beneficial.  Ms. Lee said the initial cost of electric equipment is higher but then fuel does not have to be bought again, and less wear and tear on electric equipment was discussed. Having solar investors willing to invest in solar and share the savings with the Town was discussed as an option to reduce the cost of electrification. It was discussed that the school is not a Town owned facility, but the school is also taking steps to progress to energy efficiency. Ms. Crane-Gadreau thanked the Board for supporting their efforts, and the Board thanked the committee for all their hard work.

Old Business:  Liquor License:  Mr. Sherman made a motion to approve the 1st Class Catering License for National New Media Corporation for one year. Mr. Wilkins seconded the motion. Motion carried, with Ms. Browning absent.

New Business Part Two: Highway 2024 Budget Discussion:  Mr. Zaiac presented Highway budget lines for 2024 on the screen, that he and Highway Foreman Mark Robinson drafted. It includes an increase to the uniform line to allow for boots for the crew to be purchased, adding $4,000 into the garage supplies line, fuel cost increases, culverts and cold patch increases. Truck maintenance increases by $3,000, and guard rail lines are zeroed out. The budget would be less than a 1% budget and tax increase.

Telephone Service Vendor Vote: Mr. Zaiac and the Board discussed changing telephone companies from 8×8, to Granite Government Solutions, which holds many contracts with government agencies. The difficulties with 8×8’s billing and customer service was discussed, and that the 8×8 company has been having negative issues.  8×8 charges $317.95 per month, and Granite will be $325.00 per month. Mr. Zaiac did not believe there would be any costs associated with changing companies, as billing with 8×8 is monthly and not contractual.  Mr. Wilkins made a motion to contract with Granite Government solutions for $325 per month/ $3,896 annually.  Mr. Paustian seconded the motion. Motion carried with Ms. Browning absent.

Town Administrator Report: Mr. Zaiac said there had been productive work, with planning and work on the budget, and audit and accounting work. He had a successful meeting with Mr. Paustian and Mr. Sherman concerning ARPA spending, and he is doing future planning for Better Roads Grant for culvert replacements.

WD Warrants and Orders:  Mr. Sherman made a motion to approve Water Department Warrant #23, in the amount of $2,974.62, with biggest items being $1,000 from EJP for hydrant job, and Hawley grading for $1,175 for the Warm Brook job, and State permit fee for $654.35.  Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed unanimously, with Ms. Browning absent.

Warrants and Orders:  Mr. Sherman made a motion to approve Warrant C23-9 for $1,627.50 to MSK for the bridge study. Mr. Zaiac was asked about the update from MSK that was requested at the last meeting. Mr. Zaiac said the delay had been due to the structural engineer and not MSK. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Ms. Browing absent.  Mr. Sheman made a motion to approve Warrant #24, from the General account, in the amount of $23,970.40, with the biggest items being $4,350 to Tamarack Tree Care, Peckham for $5,943.57, Miles Fuels, and Woodard for sand hauling. Mr. Wilkins seconded the motion. Motion carried, with Ms. Browning be absent.

All Other Business:  None

Executive Session:  Mr. Sherman made a motion that premature discussion of property, legal and personnel issues would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Wilkins. Mr. Sherman made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of property, personnel and legal issues and to allow Mr. Zaiac, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Perry to remain in the room. Seconded by Mr. Paustian. The Board entered Executive Session at 8:32PM. The Board exited Executive Session at 9:37PM. No decisions were made as a result of the Executive Session.

Mr. Paustian made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 9:38PM.

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