August 12, 2019
Members Present: Keith Squires, Cynthia Browning, Daniel Harvey, Tim Williams, and Matthew Bykowski, via tele- conference
Also Present: Jack McDonough-GNAT-TV, Charles Moore, Mardi Crane-Godreau, Steve Kruger, Christian King, Linda McDonnell, Luke Nathan-Manchester Journal
The meeting was called to order at 7:07pm by Chairman, Keith Squires
Minutes of Meeting of July 29, 2019
Mr. Harvey made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of July 29, 2019. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Public Comments: None
Old Business: Energy Plan: Charles Moore from the Arlington Planning Commission was at the meeting to discuss the Energy Plan he and other members have been working on, and to present a letter, concerning possible solar sites, he wished to have approved, to be sent to select property owners. He said they have been working on the Energy Plan for ten months, which will be incorporated into the Town Plan. The State published a Comprehensive Energy Plan in 2016 that states it is the goal to meet 90% of statewide energy demand with renewable energy by the year 2050. The group is in the process of going through regulatory steps, and working with BCRC and hopes to have a public hearing in November or December 2019. He brought a sample letter to show the Selectboard, which was sent to Dorset property owners, and had a map of the parcels of land in Arlington that are preferred locations for renewable energy siting for possible future solar development. The letter will not commit the property owners to anything. The letter was reviewed and discussed. Ms. Browning made a motion to approve the solar site letter on condition that “prime wind” be eliminated from the letter. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed. The letter will be typed onto Arlington Letterhead and mailed with a fact sheet.
Berwal Road: Several residents from Berwal Road were at the meeting to discuss the road conditions this past winter, and the proposed work to be done on the road. Mardi Crane-Godreau said she heard work was beginning and wanted to know what work the Town is contemplating. She said last winter was very, very difficult and a significant public safety hazard. She wishes for transparency in the work process. She explained how she knows Valley View Road is a private road, but feels most of the water issues on Berwal Road originate from that road. She suggested the Town taking legal action to take control of Valley View Road, as she wants to find a permanent solution to the problems. Mr. Squires explained that last year was totally abnormal, the worst in 40 years, and the road in general is in fairly good shape for a gravel road. He said the plan at this time is to work on two areas that are the worst, and ditch both sides of the road in that area, and that the Town has no authority to go onto a private road. He said if more work needs to be done, it will then be considered. After much discussion, between residents and the Selectboard, it was decided that the plan that Mr. Squires and the Highway Foreman have is the best place to start. Mr. Squires said he’ll mark a map with the areas that will be worked on and possible future sites and the maps will be emailed to the residents that requested it, so they will have knowledge of the areas to be worked on.
Cowee Property: Mr. Squires spoke to the Board about the Cowee property that had been discussed at other meetings. The Arlington Renewal group has been interested in the property for trails, and they have been working with the VT Housing and Conservation Board in hopes of purchasing the property. Mr. Squires read the current agreement and was not happy with the way it is currently written. He also sent it to the Town’s attorney, Joe O’Dea, who has experience dealing with the Housing and Conservation Board in the past. He suggested to proceed with due diligence, and there is still much work to be done, such as easement agreements, and a required survey and that the town needs to make sure that the Town’s interests are being met. Mr. Squires asked, and was granted, the Board’s permission to schedule a meeting with Hooper Pickering, one of the main people involved with pursuing the purchase, to discuss his concerns. He will report back to the Board after the meeting.
New Business: Arlington Rec Park: Mr. Squires spoke of the Arlington Park Committee having applied for a grant to do work at the Park. He met with the president of the Committee and discussed what was done and what still needs to be done. The trail is 95% done. They worked through State requirements for locations for purchasing and installing four new benches, and that also the four benches that had been at Town Hall in the past will be relocated to the Park. He said through the Committee’s grant money, they will reimburse the Town for work the Town has done at the Park, which is approximately $6000. He told the Board that the Ice Skating Rink work was completed, resealed with over 600 gallons of sealer, and repair work had to be done at the basketball area due to winter damages.
Notification System: The Board discussed a letter from the Treasurer about her suggestion to start compiling residents email addresses as a way of distributing information. She had suggested putting a flyer in the property tax bills that will be sent to residents in the near future. After much discussion it was decided that the Board feels it is premature and more research into regulatory and legal issues with public records needs to be done. They all feel that the best way for all area residents to be able to obtain Town information is on the Town’s Website, that everyone can have access to, so as to keep the distribution of information equitable. It was also discussed that Mr. Bykowski will work with Town Clerk Robin Wilcox, to discuss ways to put an end to the old Town Website, that is still available on the internet but is not maintained by the Town.
Highways: Sunrise Lane: Mr. Squires stated he completed an inspection in great detail, on Sunrise Lane to further address the residents’ request that the Town take over the road. He compiled a report, nothing each area that seemed to be significant, and the Board reviewed the completed report. He also asked, and was granted, permission to send this report to Reg Trayah, who he has been working with for this request. The new State standards recommend two twelve-foot lanes, and most of Sunrise Lane width is twenty feet. There is also a critical area in the extension road area because of drainage, and there are underground utilities and fences in the right of way in some areas. Mr. Squires asked the Board to survey the area and his report and at the next meeting they will compare his findings with the new State standards and continue the discussion.
Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant # C 19-4, in the amount of $96,750.00, from the Special Highway Fund, for payment of the Ball Mountain Road Culvert project. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Warm Brook Road: Mr. Williams said he is concerned with the railroad crossing on the South end of Warm Brook Road, where the paving is not aligned with the road making it very uneven. Mr. Squires said the railroad company is aware of the issue, but that it might be quicker if the Town took care of the problem when paving is being done.
Mr. Squires also said there have been some complaints of a resident on Warm Brook Road having a lot of stuff beside the road. He said when plowing starts, it usually takes care of the problem.
Water Department: Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve WD Payroll # 8, in the amount of $5003.21. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant WD#17, from the Operating Account in the amount of $163.31. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Warrants and Orders: Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Warrant # 2019-3, from the Reappraisal Account, in the amount of $33.99. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve Payroll # 33B, in the amount of $964.08, to Keith Squires for his duties as Interim Town Administrator. Mr. Williams seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Squires abstained from the vote. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve General Warrant #17, in the amount of $37,321.31. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to approve temporarily overspending the budgeted line amount for the Ice Skating Rink resurfacing, with budgeted amount being $5400.00 and amount spent $8918.00. The Mason’s will be reimbursing the Town the portion of the bill agreed upon at past meetings, with that reimbursed amount to be credited to the Park and Rec General Fund. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Mr. Harvey made a motion to authorize overspending the B.C.R.C. Fund line for the annual appropriation fee, from the budgeted $3966.00, to the newly increased fee of $6000.00. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed.
Mr. Harvey made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:35pm.
Janet Barry, Recording Secretary
Meeting video taped
Cc: files, Town Clerk