October 26, 2020
Members Present: Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Tim Williams, and Todd Wilkins
Members Absent: None
Also Present: Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Jack McDonough-GNAT-TV, in person, and Lt. Thomas Mozzer-VSP, Dottie Sundquist and Janet Barry, via telephone.
The meeting was called to order at 6:59 by Mr. Harvey
Public Comments: None
Minutes of the Meeting of October 12, 2020: Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the minutes of the Select Board meeting of Oct. 12, 2020. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.
New Business: Vermont State Police Discussion: Lt. Mozzer from the VSP, phoned into the meeting to answer any questions the Board might have about a trial contract between VSP and the Town. It was discussed that the set rate is $75.69 per hour for the 2020-2021 contracts. It was discussed that VSP does not charge travel time, and that the Sheriff’s contract had been for fifteen hours per week, but that was also including travel time, and clerical time, so the actual number of hours of coverage in Town was four to five hours less. Lt. Mozzer said the troopers would stay in Town for their scheduled hours. Lt. Mozzer recommended a twelve-week trial contract, for five to eight hours per week, which was agreed would fit into the current budget. At the end of that time, there can be an open conversation between VSP and the Board, where the data can be reviewed, and the Board can get feedback from the officers. Lt. Mozzer said troopers have to adhere to strict work rules, as to the number of hours that can be worked, and times that would be most beneficial to have the troopers present was discussed. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve a trial contract for patrols, with Vermont State Police for 12 weeks, for 5-8 hours. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed with four votes. Mr. Wilkins, a VT State Trooper, recused himself from the conversation and abstained from the vote. Lt. Mozzer will work out details with Mr. Zaiac, with November 1st as an approximate start date.
Yellow Barn Garden: Dottie Sundquist, UVM Master Gardener and co-project leader of the Yellow Barn Garden, phoned into the meeting. She thanked the Select Board, and Ms. Browning, for her help and support. Ms. Sundquist said that Roger Hansen is the Project Manager for the garden at the Yellow Barn, which they had originally wanted to be a Community Garden, but ended up doing a VT Victory Garden, due to COVID restrictions. She said they had sixteen volunteers, for 324 volunteer hours, and grew 300 pounds of vegetables. They worked with East Arlington Federated Church to distribute food, and also collected $225.00 in donations to the local food shelf from the Farmer’s Market. They would like to have a Community Garden next year, for people who do not have the space for a garden at their residence. It was discussed that the 1500 square foot space will be divided into plots, for which they hope to receive $35.00 for smaller plots and $50.00 for larger ones. The Board discussed how they did not want the ability to pay to prevent someone from having space in the garden, and suggested that perhaps the fees could be obtained voluntarily, and some people might pay more than the suggested amount that would them offset the cost for those that could not afford to pay. Ms. Sundquist spoke of the need for a water line to be installed before a community garden could be offered. There were hopes that it may have been installed this year, but due to a sparse highway crew this summer, it was not able to be accomplished. Mr. Zaiac said that while it could not be fit in this year, when the ground thaws next spring it can be done. Ms. Browning praised the garden project and said she is very impressed with what they were able to accomplish. It was discussed that the next step is to have a written agreement, and it was also suggested that the group could write a page for the Town Report, so more people could be aware of the garden.
White Creek Western Hollows Winter Maintenance Agreement: Mr. Zaiac presented the Board with an agreement from the Town of White Creek, for plowing and sanding in the Black Hole Hollow and Murray Hollow area. It was discussed that this is the same agreement that has been done in the past, and that the cost was the same as last year’s agreement. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the White Creek Plowing Agreement as presented, dated Nov. 1, 2020. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed. It was discussed that perhaps there could be an agreement with White Creek to grade that area, to avoid paying to take the Town’s equipment that far, but that the Highway Department would evaluate the conditions of the roads and culverts before any agreement would be made.
Old Business: Town-School Billing Agreement: Mr. Bykowski and Mr. Wilkins are also on the School Board and said this agreement had yet to be discussed at the School Board meeting. The Select Board agreed to table the discussion until after it is reviewed at the next School Board meeting. This agreement would not take effect until January 1, 2021.
Cambridge Fire Agreement: The Board discussed that Town attorney, Joe O’Dea, had reviewed and approved, the Cambridge Fire Agreement. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the Cambridge Fire Agreement as presented. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey signed and returned the agreement.
Highways: Leaf Blower Bids: Mr. Zaiac presented the Board with three bids for purchase of a leaf blower. He said the Town had been borrowing one from Sandgate. The blower would be able to keep ditches clean and can be used by the Park staff to blow off the gold course. The blower would need to be stored at the Park, thereby paying for the Park Department’s use of the machine. The first bid is from John Deere, Unite Ag & Turf for a 2020 Weaverline 118 for $3,860.00. The second bid is from HP Fairfield Buffalo Turbine Blower for $5,299.00. The third bid is from Pinnacleview Equipment for an AgriMetal Blower for $5,035.00. The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed that the HP Fairfield blower can be moved from inside the cab, making it much more efficient to use, and is more powerful and has a ten-year warranty. Mr. Zaiac said the Highway Department has been careful with spending, and this is a very useful piece of equipment. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to award the Buffalo Cyclone Turbine Blower bid to HP Fairfield. Mr. Wilkins amended his motion to read Buffalo Cyclone Turbine Blower for $5,299.00, bid dated 10/20/20. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Trailer Purchase: The Board and Mr. Zaiac briefly discussed tracking how much is being spent on moving Town equipment to job sites from a private company and compare the cost with how much it would be for the Town to buy their own used trailer to do the moves.
Town Administrator’s Report: Mr. Zaiac gave some highlights from his Town Administrator Report. He said Highway Supervisor, Mr. Siclari, completed his first week on the job and spent his first day on the job in a ditch on RT 7A. Mr. Zaiac said he met with the school about plow routes and the new Highway crew will be learning the plow routes, and that the Highway Department is ready for winter. He said the East Arlington Fire Hydrant project will be worked on Friday 10/30 and Monday 11/2/20, and that should be the last digging of the year. He said the budget is in a good place and is lower across the board and currently shows a $200,000 surplus. Mr. Harvey said the Town will know more about any delinquencies in property tax collection by mid-November. Mr. Zaiac said he is waiting for a letter from the Tree Warden to be able to apply for a grant to help with the Ash Borer issue. He said there are a lot of Ash trees in Town, and he is particularly concerned about the Sycamore Lane, Wilcox Road area. He said the Rec Park also has a lot of Ash trees. These trees would need to be taken down within the next two years. He also said that Green Mountain Power is currently prioritizing the Ash trees that they will need to remove.
Other Business: Softball Light Installation: Mr. Harvey said he had the Select Board Assistant draft thank you letters for Randy Novotny, who donated his time and skills for the softball light installation, GMP for the use of their bucket trucks, and Miles Lumber for their donation of hardware for the project. The Board members signed the letters. They discussed having Mr. Zaiac get quotes for installing the netting at the softball field before the ground thaws in the spring.
Water Department: Warrants and Orders: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve WD Warrant #21, in the amount of $1,153.41. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Warrants and Orders: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve Grant Warrant # 20-4, in the amount of $27.55, for check reorder from Bank of Bennington, for the Grants accounts. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve General Warrant #22, in the amount of $60,485.44. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Highlights include a bill from TopKote for line striping, final payment for 2020 Bennington County taxes, and Bulldog and Bergeron bills for Fire Department equipment. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve CRF Warrant # 20-10, for $4,008.58, from the Special Highway fund, to Donnelly Construction, for flaggers on the Sandgate Road project. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Mr. Wilkins made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:32PM
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Meeting video taped
Cc: files, Town Clerk