Selectboard Meeting Minutes 12.21.20

MINUTES

ARLINGTON SECECTBOARD

December 21, 2020

VIRTUAL MEETING

Members Present: ( Via phone or Zoom) Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning,  Tim Williams, and Todd Wilkins

Members Absent:  None

Also Present:   (Via phone or Zoom) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Park & Rec Supervisor-Gerry Woodard,  Denise Monte, and Janet Barry

The meeting was called to order at 7:02, by Mr. Harvey

Additions/Deletions from the Agenda: Mr. Harvey said he would like to add an Executive Session after the regular meeting.

Public Comments:  Ms. Monte said having the Zoom platform was much easier than the previous 8×8 platform.

Minutes of the Meeting of Dec. 4, 2020. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the Dec. 4, 2020 meeting. Ms. Browning seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:  Signatures for Town Meeting Articles:   The Board discussed changing the vote for the first seven Articles on the Ballot for Town Meeting from floor vote to Australian Ballot. Ms. Browning made a motion to change the first seven Articles from floor vote to Australian ballot instead of voting at Town Meeting. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.

Set Pay Rate for Back – Up Plow Drivers: Mr. Zaiac spoke to the Board about his efforts to create a pool of Back-Up plow drivers, as was discussed at the last meeting. He said he researched what surrounding towns pay, and it is typically $1-$2 over average employee rate, with $21.60 being the current, regular highway pay rate in Arlington.  He said he has 4-5 applicants, from just a Facebook post and a sign in front of Town Hall.  The applicants will have to pass a drug test, hold a CDL, and interview with Mr. Zaiac and Highway Supervisor, Todd Siclari.  Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve $22 per hour for training, and $24 per hour during work, on a per diem basis, for Back-Up Plow Drivers. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Lederlee Power Purchase Agreement:  Karen Lee had spoke to the Board a few weeks ago about the possibility of the Town receiving solar credits on the Green Mountain Power Street Light bills from the installation of solar panels at Ed Pike’s garage. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to authorize Nick Zaiac to enter into a Lederlee Power Agreement from the Ed Pike project. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

New Business:  Appointment of Heidi Sherman to Trustee of Public Funds: Mr. Bykowski made a motion to appoint Heidi Sherman to Trustee of Public Funds, replacing Dan Harvey who had been a temporary Trustee. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.

Wastewater Discussion:  Mr. Wilkins had asked for this topic to be included on the agenda to start a conversation about the possibility of the Town taking over the school’s wastewater system in the future. He said the Town, as a municipality, would qualify for grants that the school would not be able to receive. He explained the idea is in the preliminary stages, and more research needs to be done to work out legalities, and costs. Mr. Zaiac said he is meeting with BCRC in January 2021 to start a conversation for wastewater in Arlington.

Park Staffing Discussion:  Park Supervisor, Gerry Woodard, the Board, and Mr. Zaiac had a lengthy discussion about issues at the park, and staffing going forward.  Mr. Williams had asked to have this on the agenda to discuss the issues. The benches that were part of the Park Committee grant money had not been installed in a timely manner and Mr. Zaiac ended up doing most of the work of installation himself to fulfill the commitment, and said he doesn’t feel it should have taken two years to have the job completed. It was discussed that having part time, seasonal, hours to offer will usually result in retirees applying.  It was also discussed that it is too close to the 2021 budget to make any major changes, and things will continue status quo for 2021, but Mr. Wilkins, Mr. Bykowski, Mr. Zaiac and Mr. Woodard will look into having more shared staff services to maximize the Town’s resources and utilize the Highway crew in their down time. Mr. Bykowski said all things considered, he wanted to publicly thank Mr. Woodard and the park crew.

Budget – Preliminary Discussion: Mr. Zaiac said it his recommendation that there should not be raises for Town employees and that the existing pay schedule should remain. He said he sees that is the trend this year in near by towns as well. Mr. Harvey spoke of the Select Board taking a ten percent pay cut, and making the Chair’s salary the same as each Board member in 2008, and it had continued since then. He said that while no one sits on the Board to make money, and he will not continue on as Chair in the future, the amount paid needs to be realistic and could possibly be returned to the pre-2008 amounts in the future. Mr. Zaiac asked if there were any items that needed to be written into the new budget. It was discussed that the sinking fund for technology needs to be looked at, and the Board would like a Power Point presentation from the Fire Department about different options for purchasing a new truck, and Mr. Zaiac said they will be put on the agenda when they have their complete information. Mr. Zaiac said he would like to have the long talked about trailer for the Highway Department in the budget.

Highways: Mr. Zaiac and the Board agreed the Highway crew did an excellent job with the first, major snowstorm of the year, in spite of two trucks and a snowblower breaking at points within the storm, and two of the crew being new to the team, and they publicly thanked the crew for the phenomenal job they did, and for  staying calm in stressful times. Mr. Zaiac said most of the feedback he received was positive. Mr. Wilkins suggested that when equipment goes down in future snowstorms, the Town’s social media platforms could be updated with status reports so residents would know the situation.

Sidewalk Salt Spreader Acquisition Decision:  Mr. Zaiac and the Board reviewed three options for purchase of a sidewalk salt spreader. Option 1: Snowex Tailgate Spreader for $1929.79 from Grainger. Option 2: 10.79 Cubic Foot Tailgate Spreader for $1665.22 from Amazon, and Option 3: BOSS TGS 800 from TARCO for $4040.00. The options were discussed and it was felt the third option was the best and would offer ease of replacement parts when needed in the future.

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the purchase of the TGS 800 salt spreader from TARCO in Greenwich NY for $4040.00. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously. 

Town Administrator’s Report:  Mr. Zaiac said his time has been dominated by grant applications and work at the park and shoveling snow at Town Hall and shoveling out fire hydrants. He said he just completed the Better Roads Grant that would offer money for a portion of Crow Hill Road and add 250 tons of gravel for better drainage. He said HR Smith Auditors have been at Town Hall 12/21 & 12/22 to help with cleaning up the books and he expects it to be a successful experience. Mr. Bykowski said he appreciates Mr. Zaiac shoveling hydrants, but it is not good use of payroll dollars. Ms. Browning said they can discuss the issue with Water Department Supervisor, Burr Snow, at the January Water Board meeting, and Mr. Harvey said perhaps the Highway crew can help out with hydrant shoveling if needed and it would be a better use of resources.

Other Business:  Mr. Williams thanked Ms. Browning for the letter she crafted and sent the Board for review, concerning communication and other Town issues.  It was discussed that this is something that could be posted quarterly in local publications or on Facebook. Mr. Harvey thanked Ms. Browning for her efforts and asked that the Board review and send any edits to Ms. Browning within the next few days so she can make a final draft.

Water Department:    Warrants and Orders:   Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve WD Warrant #25, in the amount of $5,768.65.   Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.

Warrants and Orders:        Mr. Williams made a motion to approve Warrant # R20-12, Reappraisal Account, for December Assessment Fees, in the amount of $5,200.00.  Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed.  Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve General Warrant #27, in the amount of $49,335.67, which includes approximately $11,000 each for Blue Cross Blue Shield premiums, and VLCT PACIF 1st Quarter insurance premiums.  Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.  

Executive Session:  Mr. Bykowski made a motion that premature discussion of a legal and contractual issue would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of a legal and contractual issue and to invite Mr. Zaiac to remain in the virtual room. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. The Board entered into Executive Session at 9:20PM.

The Board exited Executive Session at 9:51PM with no decisions resulting from the Executive Session, and the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Barry, Recording Secretary

Cc: files, Town Clerk

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