April 5, 2021
Members Present: ( Via phone or Zoom) Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Todd Wilkins, and Glenn Sherman
Members Absent: None
Also Present: (Via phone or Zoom) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Mark Towslee-Highway Department Foreman, Denise Monte, Bill Bullock, Olavvi Wirkki, Mike King-Fire Chief, Bryan Dalton, Vince Thompson-FD, Jay Coonradt-FD, Darren Marcy-Manchester Journal, Erin Lyons-Trout Unlimited, Ron Weber, Tom Williams, Jim Henderson, Nancy Boardman, Denise Koller, Eric Marko, June Onorato, Karen Lee, Larry Poletti, Michael Wood, Nick Nahodil, Sharon Rosenthal, David Naaktgeboren, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Anne Torre, James Frankel, Bob Lynch, and Janet Barry
The meeting was called to order at 6:59PM, by Mr. Harvey
Minutes of the Meeting of March 22, 2021. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the previous meeting, March 22, 2021. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Red Mountain Submission for the Record: Mr. Harvey said there are dozens of pages of links, and emails regarding the Red Mountain Trail Project, and asked for a motion for submission of the pages into the record. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept comments of record, pages 3-15 in the document titled Red Mountain Comments for Record. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Old Business: Fire Department Discussion: At this point in the meeting, Mr. Harvey changed the agenda order to allow the Fire Department to speak to the Board. Fire Chief, Mike King, spoke to the Board about many items. It was discussed that the Article to establish a reserve fund, the Extraction Tools Fund passed, but voters can approve allocations to the fund over the next couple of years, and only donations would go into the fund the first year. Mr. King said the Fire Department will be cutting up three cars next week, and trying out Manchester’s tools. He said Fire Department physicals will be done the end of May. He also asked for alternatives to Fire Department members using their own money to buy gas and supplies, and waiting to be reimbursed, such as pre-paid gas cards for Stewarts or pre-paid Visa cards. It was discussed that this could make for difficult record keeping. Mr. Zaiac said he will work on coming up with a short-term solution, with the possibility of switching to a card-based system, from the current Warrant system, for paying the Town’s bills in the future. Assistant Chief, Vince Thompson asked about possibly getting signs to let people know they can park in the back of the East Arlington Fire Station for Wi-Fi, and Mr. Zaiac said he would do that. Regarding the need to purchase a new fire truck, it was discussed that the Board needs to have three – five proposals, and options for different trucks before any decisions can be made. It was discussed that trucks are aging and turning into money pits to maintain. It was discussed that the Board can’t rush into such a large purchase without the having all the information needed to make a decision. Mr. Harvey said if the officers can put numbers for different options into a spread sheet, the numbers can be easily changed to find the best plan. Mr. Bykowski said if they can put the data into a spread sheet, he can build a PowerPoint presentation for the Board to review. Mr. Harvey said the Fire Department can plan on attending the next meeting to do the presentation. It was also discussed that in future budgets there could be separate lines for hose, ladder and pump testing other than lumped into maintenance line, and that the Board has not been asked for money to cover testing before, and the needed amounts have to be given to Mr. Zaiac before budget time next year. The need for the Fire Department to have a new computer was discussed, and Mr. Bykowski asked Mr. Zaiac to get them set up with Microsoft licensing to be able to store documents in the Cloud and not just in one computer. Mr. King said he’d like to form a committee to move forward with transferring the fire houses to the Town of Arlington, that has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. It was discussed that there are some old generators at the firehouse that could be sold in a sealed bid, and a FD trailer needs to be registered.
Public Comments: Mr. Harvey asked for any public comments not related to Red Mountain. Denise Monte inquired about barricades in the parking lot across from the Village Peddler. Mr. Harvey said they are usually taken down in winter for plowing purposes and then put back to protect cars from rolling into the river, and they do not impede parking.
Public Comments, Red Mountain: Mr. Harvey said the Board would do an Executive Session later in the meeting to discuss the Red Mountain project, and that anyone can email their comments about the project to Mr. Zaiac or the Select Board, and email addresses are on the Town’s website, and then took some comments at the meeting. Ron Weber said he wanted it to be recognized that there is support from the business community for the project, with donations coming from businesses and also private donations from business owners that make up part of the $83,000 in donations received for the project. Erin Lyons from Trout Unlimited said that there has recently been a resubmitted email from Trout Unlimited in support of the project, and she said she wished to publicly state her support for the project as well. Bill Bullock said he wanted to make sure public record has noted that Jacob Fetterman from Trout Unlimited sent the revised email of support for the project, and Mr. Zaiac said it had been noted in the public records. Tom Williams said with the Fire Department in need of money for updated equipment, and trucks, the Town should not be spending money on this project. Jim Henderson said there are letters of support from the Bennington County Conservation District and BKWSA (Battenkill Watershed Alliance), Mr. Zaiac said they will be noted, and approved at the next meeting.
Old Business: LEDs for Town Hall: Bryan Dalton from the Arlington Energy Committee spoke about the energy audit that was done at Town Hall in early 2019. He said one item that was noted was that switching lights in Town Hall to LEDs can help the carbon footprint and save money in two years. It was discussed that there are different options, LEDs can be put into existing fixtures, or new fixtures can be used and Mr. Dalton said the Energy Committee would assist with the process. He said 50% of annual cost of electricity can be saved with the switch, and there is roughly 50,000 hours use on the proposed bulbs, and Town Hall has 99 bulbs. Mr. Towslee asked if the bulbs at the Town Garage could also be switched. Mr. Harvey asked Mr. Zaiac to have more information on the costs at the next meeting.
Executive Session: Mr. Bykowski made a motion that premature discussion of a legal issue would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Seconded by Mr. Wilkins. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of a legal issue and to allow Mr. Zaiac and Town Attorney Joe O’Dea to remain in the room. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion carried.
The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:12PM.
The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:45PM. Mr. Harvey asked for a motion towards what had been discussed. Ms. Browning made a motion that the Select Board ask the Conservation Fund and Conservation Trust for a six- month extension for additional work on the Red Mountain Parcel. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Ms. Browning said she feels the Town needs to work with landowners for more certainty about access and the project. Mr. Zaiac said he will contact the appropriate people about the extension.
Old Business, con’t: Audit RFP: Mr. Zaiac said he created an audit RFP based on Pownal contracts with a couple of additional items added that are specific to Arlington’s needs, that he can send to NEMRC and other accountants in Vermont. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve Audit RFP as written, dated 4/5/2021. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Highways: Loader Purchase: Highway Foreman, Mark Towslee, said he had gotten four quotes for replacement of the Town loader that is at the end of its life. He said instead of buying new, with prices as high as $185,000, it makes more sense to buy a used, low hours model. He said he strongly recommends a loader from Robert Finke and Sons in Selkirk NY, a 2015 Doosan DL220 with 35,085 miles on it, for $75,472.50. He said it is a clean machine and will last a long time. He said he saw a similar machine that had 700 more miles on it and was only $500 less. Mr. Zaiac said there is approximately $220,000 in the Loader Fund. Mr. Sherman asked how the machine had been used and Mr. Towslee said it was used in summer by an asphalt company and rented out in winter for snowplowing. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve the purchase of a 2015 Doosan DL220 loader from Robert H. Finke and Sons from Selkirk NY, for $75, 472.50. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Equipment Auction: Mr. Zaiac said Mr. Towslee set up an auction to sell the old F550, previous loader and excavator that netted a big return of $66,000, which is $59,310 after the seller’s commission. It was agreed that was a good profit because the equipment was all old and needing repairs. Mr. Harvey thanked Mr. Towslee for the idea to sell at auction and the for administering to the process. Ms. Browning thanked Mr. Towslee for the Highway Department’s work to repair River Road, which she said made a tremendous difference. Mr. Towslee said the crew would continue to grade over the next few days.
New Business: Planning Commission Appointment: Mr. Zaiac said Garret Siegel is a force for good governance, and one of the most competent, thoughtful, forward thinking planners he has worked with, who has been on the Planning Commission for three years and has agreed to continue for three more years. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to appoint Garret Siegel to the Arlington Planning Commission. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Sewer Update and Federal Water/Sewer Aid: Mr. Zaiac spoke to the Board about money from the 1.9 trillion-dollar Covid Relief Package being allocated to counties that will be between $250,000-$600,000, and can be used for four major items, including water/sewer work, which he said is a generational opportunity for possible water/sewer projects. Mr. Zaiac asked for the Board’s approval to meet with an engineering firm to be able to get more information on having sewer lines in Arlington. Any money received can be used for planning purposes, and would have to be used by 2024. Mr. Harvey suggested speaking with Dufresne Group first, because they did a water/sewer study for the Town about ten years ago, and Mr. Zaiac said he could meet with them the next day. Mr. Wilkins said he feels this is a good opportunity to explore the project and Mr. Bykowski agreed it is the way of the future to have sewer available in Arlington. The Town can use the school sewer system as a base, and Ms. Browning said she would need to see the school’s financial information regarding the system. Mr. Wilkins said he would be able to provide that information. It was agreed that this is just the beginning of the conversation.
Liquor License: LL Herr, Inc. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve a renewal of an existing Class 2 Liquor License for LL Herr, Inc. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed.
WD Warrants and Orders: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve WD#7 in the amount of $2,434.55. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Warrants and Orders: Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve Reappraisal Warrant # R21-4, in the amount of $5,200 for NEMRC for assessment fees. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Mr. Wilkins made a motion to approve Warrant #7, from the General Fund, in the amount of $40,050.59, with $2,158 being rentals from Browns,$1736 in stone purchases from Chaves, $1,783 for FD hoses, a new trailer from JC Tractor Trailer for $6,691, and VLCT quarterly insurance and unemployment premiums. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Town Administrator Report: Mr. Zaiac entered into record his Town Administrator Report. He said he has been working on Highway grants and they are ready to be sent to the State, that will help with culvert work and re-decking of the covered bridge. He said the park is being used, and the net will go up in the next couple of weeks, and that it is now spring build season.
Mr. Wilkins made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:29PM
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Cc: files, Town Clerk