Selectboard Meeting Minutes 9.27.21



September 27, 2021

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

Members Absent:  Todd Wilkins

Also Present:   (In person, or via Zoom or phone) Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, Steve McClafferty, Larry Poletti, Brian Suslak, Sharon Rosenthal, Olavi Wirkki, Christine Nitchman, Scott Seidel, Jessica Roberts,  Darren Marcy-Manchester Journal,   and Janet Barry

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

Public Comments:  Mr. McClafferty asked for clarification on the American Recovery Act Plan government funding. He wanted to know if a portion of the money would go towards wastewater issues. Mr. Zaiac said there may be money for wastewater studies, but the bulk of the money would go towards drinking water projects. He said there is a wastewater sub-committee formed, of Mr. Harvey and Mr. Bykowski. Mr. Harvey said there was a wastewater survey completed about ten years ago, that needs to be updated. Mr. Zaiac said the Water Department will be able to use all the allotted funds, and Chief Operator, Burr Snow, met with the Sunderland Select Boards to ask for them to contribute some of their funds for projects of regional interest.

Minutes of the Meeting of Sept. 13, 2021. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the previous meeting of Sept. 13, 2021. Mr. Sherman seconded.  Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Highways:  Sand Sifter Box Decision:   Mr. Harvey read the three bids for sand sifter/grizz box purchase, that had been discussed at a previous meeting.  Bear Iron Works from Grand Junction, CO for $5,475, York-Seaway/Pitbull from Lake City, PA for $13,583, and Rock Tough Inc. from Bend, OR, for $18,182. Mr. Zaiac said all three prices included shipping and there is no substantial difference in the devices. The equipment would be paid for from a reduced sand purchase of about 500 tons, due to the substantial remaining stockpile from the previous plow season. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the purchase of a grizz box from Bear Iron Works for $5,475. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Covered Bridge Labor RFP Decision: Mr. Zaiac said only one bid came in for this project from Robert Galbreath/RSG Home Services, for $9,720, plus $500 for hauling away waste materials. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the bid from Robert Galbreath/RSG Home Services from Manchester Center VT for $10,220, for replacing the covered bridge decking. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Grants in Aid: Erosion Control Equipment Resolution: Jim Henderson from BCRC, sent a memo inviting the Town to participate in a special round of Grants In Aid program that pays for 80% of one piece of erosion control equipment for towns in certain watersheds in 2022. It had been suggested by Highway Foreman, Mark Towslee, that a hydroseeder would be beneficial for the major ditch work that will be done on River Road in 2022. Mr. Bykowski made a motion that the municipality will participate in the FY22 Grants in Aid equipment purchase of a hydroseeder, subject to the terms outlined in the associated resolution. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Old Business:  Red Mountain Cost Letter and Finance Agreement:  It was decided that these agenda items would be discussed later, in Executive Session.

Accounting and Cash Receipts Policies Update: Mr. Zaiac said an auditor had brought to his attention that some recent accounting changes should not have been done. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve changing from cash-based accounting to modified accrual accounting practices. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.  Mr. Zaiac provided the Board with a Cash Receipts/Petty Cash policy that details which employees may accept payments on the Town’s behalf and the proper procedures regarding cash receipts and petty cash.  Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the Cash Receipt/Petty Cash Policy, dated 9/27/2021. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Cell Phone Policy: Mr. Bykowski said the Board had received a letter from the Treasurer regarding cell phone stipends that had been adopted at a previous meeting. She wanted Mr. Zaiac to have the option be included in the stipend. Mr. Zaiac declined to accept a stipend for his cell phone use.

New Business:  Park Staffing Presentation: Mr. Zaiac presented the Board with a presentation for future staffing of the Arlington Rec Park. He thanked Mr. Wilkins for asking him to look into this long overdue matter. In his presentation, he suggested a shift from the current three part-time, seasonal Park employees, which costs $38,000 a year in wages, plus Workmen’s Comp and wage taxes, to having one full-time, year-round staff member, that would also be eligible for Town health insurance and pension. This person would also help the Highway crew by plowing the Town sidewalks in the winter. Mr. Zaiac said he feels with the new, highly efficient lawn mowers the Town has purchased, one person should be able to complete mowing tasks on their own. The need to have additional help for yearly vacation or sick time was discussed. It was decided that a local contractor could be hired to cover any busy times, as well as vacation or sick days.  The timing of hiring the new person was discussed, and it was decided that the position’s salary would be put into the new budget, with a potential start date of March 15, 2022.

Town Administrator Report:  The Board reviewed the Town Administrator’s Report. They briefly discussed cannabis regulation. Ms. Browning said she is not currently in favor of having a cannabis retailer in Town. Mr. Zaiac said the cannabis regulation issue can be put on the Town Meeting Ballot in March. Mr. Bykowski said he had concerns brought to him by a resident after the recent Fire Department training that took place at the Town owned Dietrich property. Mr. Zaiac said the Fire Department is being held to the same standards as all residents for the Town’s Junk Ordinance. Ms. Browning mentioned the need to put money in the budget for Town Hall maintenance and repairs, like fixing the ceiling tiles upstairs and in the Town Clerk’s office, and cleaning and repairing the curtains upstairs.

Executive Session: Mr. Bykowski made a motion that premature discussion of personnel, legal and property issues would cause the municipality to suffer substantial disadvantage. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion carried. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to enter into Executive Session for discussion of personnel, legal and property issues, and to allow Mr. Zaiac to remain in the room. Seconded by Ms. Browning. Motion carried. The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:02PM. The Board came out of Executive Session at 8:32PM. As a result of the Executive Session, Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the letter to Bly Hollow, LLC., dated 9/27/2021, with the price reduction edited to read $40,000. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with one member absent. The price reduction request is being made due to the significant damage on the trails that will need to be repaired. Ms. Browning stressed the need to not burden the property tax payers with this expense.   Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve the Arlington Recreation and Park Committee Memorandum as written, with “be it resolved” corrected for misspelling. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed unanimously, with one member absent.  The memorandum has to do with the Recreation and Park Committee turning over funds raised for the Red Mountain trails project to the Town for continued maintenance of the trails, if the purchase is completed. Ms. Browning said the Recreation and Park committee did an unbelievable job raising funds for this project.

Other Business:  Wind Turbines: The Board briefly discussed a notification received from the Carthusian Order in Sandgate that informs the Town of the wind turbines they will be installing.

Errors and Omissions: There were three Errors and Omission letters from the Listers for review.

 Mask Requirement at Town Hall: The Board discussed an email from an elected official concerning masking and Covid 19 protocol at Town Hall.  With property tax season, there will be more visitors to Town Hall. Mr. Bykowski asked Mr. Zaiac to post signs and inform the staff that masks are now required in the presence of others, at Town Hall.

Dietrich Property: The Board and Mr. Zaiac discussed Habitat for Humanity and the Dietrich property. Mr. Zaiac said he has sent repeated inquires to Habitat’s lawyer concerning their intentions for the property, and will follow up with them soon. It was discussed that the property could also be offered to other nonprofit organizations or housing developers. With a zoning adjustment, it could potentially offer space for 10-15 units.

Sidewalk Repair: Mr. Harvey said he has noticed that the sidewalk east of the Hale Bridge has shifted and needs to be stabilized. Erosion on the Church Street sidewalk was also mentioned. Mr. Zaiac said these could be projects for future grant money.

Water Department:  Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #WD18, in the amount of $4,177.55, notable items being VLCT insurance and Blue Cross payments. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously; one member absent.

Warrants and Orders:  Ms. Browning made a motion to approve Warrant #18, from the General Fund, in the amount of $27,602.76, notable items being Blue Cross premium, VLCT and Unemployment payments, and BCRC Recycling payment. Mr. Sherman seconded. Motion passed unanimously, one member absent.

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Barry, Recording Secretary

Cc: files, Town Clerk

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