Selectboard Meeting Minutes 4.6.2020




April 6, 2020



Meeting link on Town’s Website

Board Members present: Dan Harvey, Matt Bykowski, Cynthia Browning, Todd Wilkins, Tim Williams.

Minutes taken by Board Member Cynthia Browning

Members of the public present: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Karen Lee, Garret Siegel, Jean Freebern, Rich Lederer, Ron Weber, Luke Nathan from the Bennington Banner

  1. Call to Order  Mr. Harvey called the meeting to order at 7:14pm
  1. Public Comments 
  1. Minutes of Meetings of March 23, 2020 & March 30, 2020.   

 Correction to the appointment of Josh Williams as interim Town Emergency Director not coordinator. Mr. Bykowski to made a motion to approve of the minutes as corrected. Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed.

              Mr. Williams made a motion to approve of the minutes of the March 30

              meeting as presented. Mr. Bykowski seconded. The motion passed.

             V.     Old Business (we skipped to this item first)

  1. Energy Report 

Mr. Harvey noted that the contractor had been in the Town Hall for several hours. The report from Weatherization was discussed by the Board and by members of the energy committee.

Ms. Moffett-Hynds and Ms. Lee offered feedback and advice based on the report. It is important to determine which items are the priorities. It is important to note that if any work was financed with borrowed money the Town’s savings would likely be more than the interest costs. It was decided that the energy committee will come up with estimates about costs and savings and the ROI (return on investment), and make recommendations to the Board as to priorities and approach.

Mr. Bykowski noted that we should not jump the gun on replacing the furnace boiler since it might turn out that we want to do something with heat pumps that would also provide air conditioning. Mr. Williams noted that Lincoln Codere is on board as our new handyman, and that he might be able to get started on some of the weatherization tasks.

  1.  New Business
  2. Town Spending in light of COVID 19

Mr. Harvey called the Board’s attention to a memo from Mr. Squires about our current situation. The economic downturn will likely lead to a significant increase in property tax delinquencies. They could be around $200,000 instead of $100,000. We collect property taxes in November, and borrow from our own capital reserves in anticipation. Mr. Squires and Mr. Harvey recommend that the Board be cautious about making unnecessary expenses until we know more about how things will work out. It is important to note that that, school gets funds first, off the top, and Town absorbs the delinquencies. Mr. Harvey recommends that we plan to defer the Town Truck purchase for about $100,000. We could also defer the planned Fire Truck purchase. We could therefore borrow from those sinking funds and pay them back later. Mr. Squires also suggested that the outside town audit could be deferred.

Mr. Bykowski suggested that we look for cost savings in the budget, perhaps by reducing big ticket items by 25%. However, he thinks we need an outside audit because of having a new treasurer.

Mr. Williams and Ms. Browning support the suggestion from Mr. Harvey. Mr. Wilkins would like to do the outside audit, and wonders when we would have to decide about that. Mr. Harvey noted that we could defer the outside audit by 1 year, doing it in 2021. He said that no decision on that is needed tonight.

  • Highways (we skipped to this item)
  1. Signing Annual Highway Financial Plan

Mr. Harvey noted that the Board needs to sign the Annual Highway Financial Plan that Mr. Squires has prepared. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve of the Annual Highway Financial Plan that shows income of $699,910.00 and Expenditures of $699,910.00.  Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed.

Mr. Harvey noted that this and any other documents will be left on the table in the office for members to come in and sign during the next few days.

           IV. New Business (again)

  • Appointments to Boards and Offices

Mr. Harvey reviewed various positions and appointments. Mr. Harvey needs to check with members of the Arlington Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment to be sure that they wish to be re-appointed. There is a question about who will be deputy health officer. We will need another representative to BCRC.

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to appoint Jamie Paustian as the Forest Fire Warden. Mr. Williams seconded. The motion passed.

Mr. Harvey described the current slate of appointments as Josh Williams as interim emergency director, Matt Bykowski as weigher of coal and lumber, Matt Bykowski as energy coordinator, Bill Henry as Land Use Administrator, Cynthia Browning as representative to BCRC, Keith Squires as tree warden. Mr. Bykowski moved the slate. Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed.

  • Fire Department Officer Appointments

This discussion refers to listings of positions and personnel submitted to the Board.

Mr. Williams made a motion to appoint all the AFD officers as on the sheet. Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed.

Chief – Jamie Paustian

1st Asst. – Vince Thompson

2nd Asst. – Michael King

1st Capt. – Michael Wood

2nd Capt. – Josh Mckensie

Safety Off. – Daniel Zimmer

Mr. Wilkins made a motion to elect the truck lieutenants list. Mr. Bykowski seconded. The motion passed.

ER-74 – John Harrington

EA-75 – Nick Nahodil

ETA-76 – Erik Marko

ETA-77 – Tim Snyder

Brush-78 – Jeremy Fisher

Command 710 – Doug Hyde

  • Fire Department Bills

Mr. Harvey reported that an issue concerning the payment of AFD bills has arisen. An invoice covering the radios or pagers was never received by Ms. Barry and therefore not paid, and service was cut off. So going forward the billing address for all AFD bills will be changed to the Town PO Box, with the AFD getting copies of the bills to be sure that this does not happen again. Mr. Bykowski made a motion that all AFD bills be sent to the Town PO Box for processing. Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed.

             V.     Old Business   (again)

                         2.   Technology Upgrade Discussion

Mr. Bykowski reported that we have the new platform and are using it for this teleconference meeting. The hardware is coming. We need the Microsoft Office in the cloud, we need the town email addresses at, we will have the storage and the backups. The licensing and professional services costs will be less than expected: $2,067.43. We will use the $2,500 in the appropriate line item. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve of purchase of the Microsoft licensing through CDW licensing for $2,067.43. Mr. Williams seconded. The motion passed.

Mr. Bykowski reported that he thought we should defer discussion or adoption of the Board meeting management software to a future meeting, although the problem of all members receiving all documents for the meeting is brought home to us now in our current way of operating. He suggested he might be able to set up a demo with a few Board members and Ms. Berry.

3.   Communications Union District.

It is necessary for the Board to adopt a formal resolution committing to the multi- Town Communications District to improve internet coverage passed by the Townspeople in March. The resolution will appoint Ms. Browning as the representative and Mr. Bykowski as the alternate. Mr. Williams made a motion to approve of the CUD resolution and Mr. Bykowski seconded. The motion passed.

                         4. Licenses.

                             Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve of an application for renewal of a second class                          license to sell malt and vinous beverages for Wayside Country Store.  Mr. Williams seconded. The motion passed. The form needs to be signed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve of an application for tobacco license renewal for the Wayside Country Store. Mr. Wilkins seconded. The motion passed. It need not be signed. .

                         5. Grant Application Report.

Mr. Harvey reported that Mr. Squires has finished applying for five basic grants – the list has been supplied to the Board. The total value is $505,000. May not get them.

                         6. Working Remotely.

Mr. Harvey reported on the issue of whether the Listers or the Treasurer can do their work remotely from home. He said that the Listers have said that it is not necessary for Ms. Cross to do work from Florida at this time. The work load is lower since the re-appraisal process has been delayed.  

Mr. Bykowski commented that there are security issues associated with working from elsewhere or taking devices out of Town Hall. We should think about a cybersecurity rider on our insurance policy. Although the new technology platforms and programs may eventually facilitate secure remote working, we are not yet at that point. Other Board Members expressed serious security concerns echoing Mr. Bykowski. We can get to mobility later.

Mr. Harvey noted that the Treasurer has also raised the issue of working from home.  He said that some of this discussion centers around the issue of the hours of elected officials. Elected officials are salaried and autonomous and independent. ASB  the past has actually insisted on set hours for public access for Robin, Linda, etc. Current Treasurer wants to set hours differently than Linda’s. Board discussion. The Board determined that we need regular public access building office hours when coronavirus crisis is over and we can return to the issue.  Mr. Williams wants some of these positions appointed rather than elected. Such a change can only be done by the Town voters.

                             7. Town Handyman.

As indicated above, Mr. Codere has agreed to the Town’s proposal and will be the handyman. After Board discussion Mr. Williams and Ms. Browning will come up with a list of possible projects that would be away from Town Hall staff and away from the public. Probably the Recreation Park and the Yellow Barn, and the exterior of the Town Hall.  

                           8. Town Administrator.

Mr. Bykowski reported that the committee had pre-screening interviews with 2 candidates that went well. The committee will be meeting to discuss matters and formulate a recommendation for the Selectboard.

                           9. Arlington Recreation Park.

Mr. Williams reported that he had a discussion with Jerry Woodard and they decided to keep the park open. It is a good place to exercise. But they have locked the tennis and basketball courts and roped off playground. The golf course is open with no pins or cups, so nothing that people would be handling..

                              10. Highway Department.

Mr. Harvey reported on the rumor about the State shutting down highway work. This is not true. Mr. Harvey told Mr. Ennis to carry on unless he hears from us directly.

  • Water Department

1.WD Warrants and Orders

Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve WD 7 $811.93 Ms. Browning seconded. The motion passed.

  •  Warrants and Orders

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve of R 4 from the Re-appraisal fund for NEMRC for $5,200. Mr. Wilkins seconded.

Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant # 7  for $10,999.08. Mr. Wilkins seconded. A major component is gear for the AFD. The motion passed.

  1. All Other Business

Mr. Wilkins reported on Coronavirus emergency issues. Board discussion

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Williams seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9pm.

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