SPECIAL ARLINGTON SELECT BOARD MEETING
January 18, 2022
Members Present: Matt Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Todd Wilkins, and Glenn Sherman
Members Absent: Dan Harvey
Also Present or via Zoom : Nick Zaiac – Town Administrator, Tiffany Mays-Town Treasurer, and Janet Barry
The meeting was called to order at 6:00PM by Mr. Bykowski
Public Comments: None
Old Business: Budget Discussion, Compensation Discussion: Town Treasurer, Tiffany Mays spoke at the meeting to request raising the Treasurer’s salary line to $25,000, as had been in the 2021 budget, but had not been paid to Ms. Mays. She said she had researched salaries being paid to other treasurers in other towns, and that this position is currently being severely underpaid. She said there are additional duties that fall to her office, that are not completed by the treasurer in other towns. She explained all the work she has done to fix fund line balances in NEMRC, and to take the town from pencil and paper to utilizing the NEMRC reporting system, so reports can easily be generated and tracked, as well as working on an increasing amount of audit work. She also created needed liability lines, and fringe benefit lines, so all this information can be easily tracked, and employees can see what benefits they are receiving. She said NEMRC employees have been very helpful, and they have said that fully utilizing the NEMRC system is a multi-year process. She said she is a quick learner, and has the ability to make the necessary changes. It was discussed that the Board would like the Treasurer to have definite goals in place for the year, and would be useful for the Board to understand what she is working on in the office. When questioned on the number of hours she works, Ms. Mays said she does approximately 20-30 hours per week, depending on the tasks that need to be done, and that she often brings work home and uses a laptop she purchased herself, for Town work only. She is also planning to add an extra day she will be working from Town Hall, to increase her days in-house to four.
It was discussed that with ARPA money being given to the Town, it will be one of the biggest and most complicated grants to oversee, with the Treasurers office having to successfully navigate the grant recording for 7-10 years.
Mr. Zaiac provided the Board with three variable options for wage increases, and how each would affect the property tax rate. Mr. Zaiac said he would prefer to take an additional week of paid vacation, in lieu of a pay raise for his position. It was discussed that the current inflation rate in the United States is 6.8%.
Ms. Browning said she feels to go from $18,000, the amount the Treasurer has been paid, to $25,000, is a huge jump, and she would be willing to do $22,000. Mr. Bykowski agreed to the $22,000, along with the Town purchasing a laptop for the Treasurer, and adjusting the technology line in the budget to reflect the estimated $2000 expense for a laptop. Mr. Sherman agreed to the $22,000, along with definite goals being set and reviewed. Mr. Wilkins said State employees are getting a 5% raise this year.
Ms. Browning made a motion to approve an increase in the Treasurer’s compensation to $22,000, and 5% for other administrative compensation, and the Town Administrator will get an extra week of paid vacation time instead of a salary increase. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Harvey being absent from the meeting.
Town Meeting Panels and Warned Articles: Mr. Zaiac said there are three articles successfully petitioned by the voters that will be voted on at Town Meeting, to create an Arlington Climate Mitigation sinking fund for the purpose of reducing or offsetting CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, with $50,000 to go into this fund. Mr. Wilkins said he is never opposed to anything that would protect the environment or the climate, but is always concerned with the costs associated with the endeavor. After discussion, it was decided that there would be a panel at Town Meeting, with a discussion to be limited by time. The sense of the Board was that there are reservations, with questions as to what it means to be carbon neutral, with the numbers being very unclear at this time, and the wish that this had come before the Board for discussions, instead of being last minute.
Town Report Approval: The Board reviewed the reports Mr. Zaiac created for Town Report, the Town Administrator Report, and the Select Board Report. He said Town Report will be simplified this year, and an amazing volunteer has come forwarded to help create the Report. Ms. Browning asked that the Select Board section of the report should mention the Red Mountain project, and discuss looking towards the future with the wastewater study. Mr. Wilkins said he would like to see something in the report that states that the Board sees Benedict Crossing Bridge as a priority, and that they will have a solid plan in place for its replacement.
Mr. Wilkins made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 6:54PM.
Minutes taken by Janet Barry