January 13, 2020
Members Present: Keith Squires, Daniel Harvey, Tim Williams, Matthew Bykowski
Members Absent: Cynthia Browning
Also Present: Jack McDonough-GNAT-TV, Travis Hess, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Jean Freebern, Don Keelan
The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm by Chairman, Keith Squires
Public Comments: Butternut Gutter: Travis Hess was at the meeting to discuss his dissatisfaction with road conditions on Butternut Gutter. He felt they were impassable on Sunday due to mud and ruts and was concerned no emergency vehicles would have been able to get through, and that even after Town road crews were there, he felt that they did not do enough to make it passable. He also wanted to know if the Town has an after-hours phone number for situations like this, and what the procedure is to contact the road crew on nights and weekends. He said he has complained for five years about the culvert and feels that if the culvert was repaired it might keep the water from going under the road and causing damage. Mr. Squires said that Highway Foremen Gary Weller, and them himself, usually get the calls from State Dispatch about road conditions on nights and weekends. He said he was aware of the situation Sunday, and that because of Mother Nature, the road crew could only do so much to help the situation without making it worse with ruts. He also said he is confident in “shurpack”, the limestone product the Town uses on the roads. He said it appears slimy on the top, but hardens and knits together underneath. He also said the culvert is scheduled to be repaired. It was decided the Board will discuss the options for having an after-hours emergency number system in place at a future meeting.
Energy Audit: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds and Jean Freebern were at the meeting to see where the Town Hall energy audit, that was discussed at a previous meeting, stands at this point. Mr. Squires said he has spoken with Efficient VT and is waiting for a date for them to come to Arlington. He said he’d like to see what they have to offer before spending tax payer dollars. He said the Park light situation is already being addressed and will have bids on that project soon. Mr. Keelan said he has been in touch with someone from Efficiency VT who will come to a Renewal Committee meeting and there were hopes that this visit might coordinate with a Town Hall walk through.
Minutes of the Meeting of December 30, 2019: Mr. Harvey made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the meeting of December 30, 2019. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed.
Mr. Squires said he had heard from Mr. Wirkki , who had been at the December 30th meeting to discuss the Dietrich trailer park property being used by Habitat for Humanity for possible housing units in the future, and that a site visit with Habitat for Humanity is being planned.
New Business: Arlington Fire Protection Proposal: Mr. Squires talked to the Board about a proposal he was given from Arlington Fire Protection, formerly Arlington Fire Company, to have the Town take over all expenses for their properties, which had been donated to the Fire Company years ago. He said this is the first draft and just the start of the discussion. The estimated monthly expenses would be $1300-$1500. The Town currently provides insurance and fuel oil, as well as paying $2000 in yearly rent of the East Arlington and West Arlington fire houses. Mr. Squires asked and received the Board’s permission to invite someone from Arlington Fire Protection to speak about the proposal at the next meeting.
Old Business: Cannabis Resolution: Mr. Squires said a signed version of the Commercial Cannabis Legislation Resolution, with the changes discussed by the Board at the previous meeting, had been sent to VLCT.
Town Administrator: Mr. Bykowski updated the Board on the Town Administrator search. He said the Search Committee conducted an interview last Thursday, but that they did not feel the candidate was the best option. He said the Board needs to rethink the “part time” versus “full time” status of the proposed position. He said he firmly believes there is enough work to be done to warrant a full-time position, and both he and Mr. Harvey, also a Search Committee member, feel that we lost extremely qualified candidates because of this issue. Mr. Harvey said he feels at this point it could be spoken about at Town Meeting, and Mr. Williams said he feels it’s very important to get feedback from the townspeople about the change. Mr. Bykowski said there could be other ways to fund the increased salary a change to full time would necessitate, such as a possible Local 1% Option Tax on meals, and rooms that could raise the extra $25,000 not in the budget, with low impact on year-round residents. Mr. Squires continues to feel there is not enough work to warrant a full-time position. It was decided that the situation will be discussed at future meetings.
Certificate of Mileage: Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the Certificate of Highway Mileage for 2020. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed. The certificate must be completed each year in order to determine the Town’s share of the State Aid for highways.
Highways: Fire Protection for South Arlington: Due to the fact that it would take Cambridge first responders only five minutes to reach South Arlington, there has been a Fire Protection agreement with Cambridge for at least ten years. The fee is $1377 per year, payable in advance, with a $893.00 fee for each non mutual aide call. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve the Village of Cambridge Fire Protection Services agreement. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.
Mr. Squires said the road crew has been hard at work fixing and maintaining the roads after the sudden warmer temperatures this past week.
Water Department: Mr. Squires informed the Board that the State mandated water test results are in and there is no PFOA, and that the Town has a good source of water. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant WD#1, from the Operating Account, in the amount of $2,574.06. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.
Warrants and Orders: Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve R-1, from the Reappraisal Account, in the amount of $5,200, for NEMRC Assessment Services. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant #1, from the Operating Account, in the amount of $30,831.30. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed.
All Other Business: Budget 2020: The rest of the meeting was left for Budget 2020 discussion. There will also be budget meetings on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7PM at Town Hall. Mr. Squires had a form for the Board to review with preliminary figures of expected expenses for the 2020 Budget.
3% Raises: Mr. Harvey made a motion to authorize a 3% raise across the board for all Town salaries. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed.
It was discussed that Mr. Squires had figured a part time salary for a Town Administrator position at $50,000, estimating 25 hours per week at $30 per hour, plus additional money left for Mr. Squires to train the new hire. It was discussed that other comparable Vermont towns that have administrators offer an average salary of $70,000-$80,000. It was discussed that they could leave the salary at $50,000 in the budget and have an Article on the ballot to increase the position to full time and a higher salary and benefits. It was also discussed that there is a need to have money in the budget to have an outside, independent audit every three years, as well as the three local auditors. It was also discussed that the Town is still waiting to be reimbursed from the Park Committee for trail work in 2019. As it stands now, the budget will increase $116,810 over 2019, without additional money for a full time Town Administrator, but that most years the Town comes in under budget at the end of the year. Budget talks continue this Wednesday and Thursday, and the Board will meet with the Fire Department to talk about their proposed budget at the Thursday meeting.
Mr. Harvey made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:10PM
Executive Session: None
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Cc: files, Town Clerk