Selectboard Meeting Minutes 12.20.21



December 20, 2021

Members Present:  Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Todd Wilkins, Glenn Sherman

Members Absent:  None

Also Present:   (In person, or via Zoom or phone) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Jessica Roberts, and Janet Barry

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

Public Comments:  Mr. Harvey opened the meeting asking for any public comments that were not agenda items. Jessica Roberts suggested that the “Public Comments” portion of the meeting could be moved to after “New Business” so people could comment on what has been discussed by the Board. It was discussed that anyone that wishes to comment can do so at any point in the meetings, and that perhaps Mr. Harvey can ask if anyone has comments at various points of the meeting.

Minutes of the Meeting of December 6, 2021 Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the previous meeting of December 6, 2021. Ms. Browning seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

New Business:   The Board discussed two items that were added after the agenda had been printed. Tax Delinquency Update: The Board had received an updated list of property tax delinquencies from Linda Crosby, the Delinquent Tax Collector. It was discussed that this year is within normal range.  Ms. Browning said it is important to note that residents can make partial payments, even if they cannot pay the entire amount, which would cut down on the interest they would be charged.

2022 Select Board Meeting Schedule:  The Board reviewed the proposed Select Board meeting schedule for 2022, noting two meetings on the Tuesdays after legal Monday holidays. It was agreed the schedule is acceptable, but can also be adapted if the need arises in the year. The Board also approved the 2022 Water Department quarterly meetings schedule.

Old Business:  Criteria for Wastewater Committee Selection: Mr. Zaiac had prepared a slide show with possible criteria for selecting people interested in being on the upcoming Wastewater Committee, as was discussed at the previous meeting. Some of the suggestions were for individuals with experience with wastewater issues as a professional, local knowledge and community expertise, diversity in backgrounds, and length of residency. Mr. Zaiac said there were already five people interested in joining the committee, and the deadline for submitting request and qualifications will be to have the information to Town Hall by Friday 12/31/21 by 2PM. Mr. Harvey asked for any other criteria ideas from the Board. Ms. Browning said it will be important for people to be willing to analyze the information with open-mindedness, and exert a good faith effort in the deliberative process. The Board agreed the criteria presented was acceptable.

New Business con’t:  Adjustments to Town Clerk/Treasurer Assistant Wage: The Board and Mr. Zaiac addressed a request by the Treasurer to increase wage flexibility of the Treasurer and Town Clerk Assistant positions, which currently pay $12.02 per hour, to improve retention of skilled employees. It was discussed that the Treasurer and Town Clerk choose their assistants. The increased pay would not change the budget line, and neither department spent the full amount in their budget lines this year. It was suggested that the pay be set as a “not to exceed” amount, and not be more than the Select Board Assistant and Land Use Administrator are paid, currently $18.04 per hour.  Mr. Bykowski said that wages across the board may have to be looked at to be able to retain employees. Ms. Browning said she did not feel the pay should be increased to the same amount as the employees essentially running departments, but would agree to $1.00 less per hour. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to set the wage for the Treasurer’s and Town Clerk’s Assistants not to exceed $17.04 per hour and not to exceed the total line item as is currently budgeted. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Highways and Town Administrator’s Updates:  Mr. Zaiac said the highway crew was able to do excavation and Water Department work, seeing the roads are late to freeze this year. He said the Town received a Municipal Planning Grant, and thanked Cat Bryars from BCRC for her efforts. Mr. Zaiac said he completed budget meetings with department heads and things are looking good beyond the fixed expenses that are expected in the new budget. He said there will be a Fly Fishing and Film Festival in Town in April and food trucks are being sought for the event, and that it is exciting that this will be held in Town. Ms. Browning spoke about a culvert issue at the top of Crow Hill Road. Mr. Zaiac said he has been to the site and the rockiness of the soil shows evidence of rock ledge, making repairs tricky, which will be addressed in the future. It was discussed that there will be cost increases in the budget, such as health insurance costs rising with the new Park position, with the Board looking at tax increases. Ms. Browning said the Board had not wanted to raise taxes last year in the pandemic, and there was the possibility that could affect this year’s taxes. Mr. Wilkins said the State Board of Education is expected to return a portion of their surplus to the taxpayers, so education taxes are expected to be lowered next year.

Executive Session:  Mr. Bykowski made a motion that premature discussion of legal, property, and personnel issues would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Wilkins. Motion carried. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of legal, property, and personnel issues and to allow Mr. Zaiac to remain in the room.  Ms. Browning seconded. Motion carried. The Board entered into Executive Session at 7:39PM. The Board exited Executive Session at 8:22PM. No action was taken as a result of the Executive Session.

Water Department Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Bykowski made a motion to approve Warrant WD#24, in the amount of $3,138.94. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with the biggest amounts being VLCT payments, and GMP payments.

 Warrants and Orders:  Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve Warrant #25, in the amount of $43,252.69, with the biggest items being fire equipment for $9,335, GMP payments of $2,299, and VLCT payments of $10,597. Ms. Browning seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

Other Business:  None

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:25 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Barry, Recording Secretary

Cc: files, Town Clerk

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