• Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

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Select Board

Martin Memorial Hall

5259 Route 5, Ascutney VT

Monday, October 1, 2018

7:00 PM

Regular Meeting

 

MINUTES



Select Board Members Present:       N. John Arrison

                                                            Daniel Boyer

  1. Peter Cole

                                                                        Tom Leach

                                                                       

            Select Board Members Absent:        Kelly Murphy

            Ed Morris, Town Manager                                      

                                   

            Others Present:                     

Edith Stillson

Mychael Spaulding

Josh Dauphin

Ray Stapleton

J. Compo

Tracy Dauphin

Levi Parker

Lucas Anderson

David Picknell

NaToshya Spaulding

Darlene Kelly

Fran Renaud

  1. Call to Order

Mr. Cole called the meeting to order at 7:00PM.

 

  1. Comments from Select Board and Town Manager
    1. Decision on the Mount Ascutney/Kaskadenak name change proposal

Mr. Cole read an email from the US Board of Geographic names which stated that the Board did not approve changing the name of Mount Ascutney to Kaskadenak. They cited objections from local governments and “a reluctance to change a longstanding name”.

  1. Village Center Designation for Ascutney and Perkinsville (Ed Morris)

Mr. Morris announced that village center designation had been confirmed for both Ascutney and Perkinsville. Tax credits and grant awards will be available to people wanting to improve their properties within the villages.

  1. Town Events

Mr. Morris announced the following upcoming events:

  • Saturday, Oct. 6th is the town festival. There are activities going on all over town.
  • 9th - Author Micky Smith will be at the library
  • 27th - Trunk or Treat at Hoisington Field (4:30 – 6:30)
  • 4th – Author Tom Fontaine at the library
  • 10th – Architect and historian Jane Griswold (library?)

 

  1. Comments from Citizens on topics not on the agenda

There were no comments from citizens.

 

  1. Review minutes from previous meetings – 09/17/2018

Motion: Accept the minutes of Monday, September 17th

Made by:  Mr. Boyer         Second: Mr. Arrison

Additions/corrections/deletions:

  1. Item #7 should say “Reword” not “Reward”

Vote: Unanimous in favor

 

  1. Fireworks Permit Fran Renaud 10/6/2018

Lucas Anderson, licensed pyrotech, presented an application for a fireworks permit on behalf of Fran Renaud at 1267 Route 131, property of Bob & Betsy Stoughton. The display is in honor of Mr. Renaud's daughter's wedding. Mr. Anderson described his plans for meeting safety guidelines.

AVFA Chief Darrin Spaulding stated that he and (Police) Chief Daniels had viewed the proposed location and asked that it be moved to the southwest corner of the field to maximize separation distance between the fireworks and all the other properties. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Renaud had agreed with the request.

Mr. Arrison pointed out that the application had not been received with the required 21-day lead time and asked if the board planned to waive it.

Motion: To grant the fireworks permit with the location changes

Made by: Mr. Boyer    Second: Mr. Leach

Vote: Unanimous in favor

 

  1. Municipal Fire Service Discussion

The board had received Mr. Morris's comprehensive fire study on creating a single municipal fire department at its last meeting. Anyone with questions was directed to send them to the town manager, who was directed to collect the questions and bring them for discussion at this meeting where they could be answered in public session. Mr. Morris addressed the questions that he had received.

Mr. Cole recognized Mr. Spaulding, who raised/stated the following:

  1. It was stated that the AVFA grant is not complete. Mr. Spaulding disagreed, stating that he had confirmation that the grant is complete, but the government doesn't have the close out module. Mr. Morris said he had stated that in his presentation – that the close-out was not completed.
  2. He would like a copy of the ISO report. Mr. Morris said he would get copy to him.
  3. Spaulding stated that Mr. Morris had said (in his presentation) that he (Mr. Morris) had met with both chiefs and the fire commission. Mr. Spaulding said Mr. Morris never called nor met with him, which he felt was disrespectful after 38 years of service to the town, that Mr. Morris needed input from both chiefs – not just one. Mr. Morris said he purposely did not call either chief to ask questions for this study. He spoke briefly to Mr. Dauphin about finances, but otherwise sought to keep opinions from both chiefs out of the report until it was complete. Then there could be discussions.
  4. Spaulding cited Mr. Morris's statement that the new chief would do “auto aide”. Mr. Spaulding claimed that AVFA has had auto aide for the last ten years. Mr. Morris said the auto aide to which he referred in his report is a signed, formal agreement between the towns – more formal than the current mutual aide agreement. ISO will use it as part of the town's ISO rating.
  5. Spaulding disputed Mr. Morris's claim that the highway department tests the dry hydrants. Mr. Morris said he meant test and maintain and with a full time fire chief, the highway department would not be involved in any part of caring for the hydrants.

Mr. Morris had received two other questions:

  1. Why wasn't a vehicle for the fire chief included in the study? Mr. Morris said he plans on the chief being first out in a response, so for the first little while the chief could use the forestry vehicle.
  2. Reducing code 3 (?) response? Mr. Morris said primary response protocols will be set up more formally with the new system such that everyone will know what to expect.

These were the only questions that Mr. Morris had received.

Mr. Arrison asked when the fire commission would be part of this process. Mr. Morris said this is something the select board needs to decide on first. He said once the decision is made then it would be more up to the fire departments to determine how it will happen.

Mr. Arrison said that WWVFD has given their opinion on he matter. He felt that something formal must also come form AVFD. Mr. Morris disagreed, stating that it needs to be official from the select board whether they are going forward with it or not. If the select board wants to seek out AVFA's opinion before voting on the decision, they could. But state statute gives the board the authority to make the decision on its own.

Mychael Spaulding said the WWVFD members are still committed to moving forward with the change.

Darrin Spaulding said the AVFA monthly meeting would be next Tuesday.

Mr. Cole asked what would be needed to get this on the ballot. Mr. Morris said that VLCT had informed him that the decision (to change) rests with the select board. The money part of it could be done in several ways – as part of the budget or as a separate article for a municipal fire chief. Mr. Morris said he preferred to see it in the budget so as to assess the tax impact. He believes much of the expense can be absorbed into the budget with little residual increase.

It was agreed that the board would make a formal vote on this at the meeting on October 15th. A straw poll showed the four members present as being in favor of moving to a municipal department.

Any questions that arise should be directed to Mr. Morris.

Mr. Dauphin said the WWVFD membership will start discussing property ownership at their next meeting and will have an answer for the board at the October 15th meeting.

 

  1. Noise Ordinance

Mr. Morris said there have been numerous complaints about people shooting on their own property and the noise that it generates. Most of the complaints have been resolved using various ideas, not including enforcing the noise ordinance. Mr. Morris said that under the current ordinance, most gunfire would be a violation and he doubted that this was the intention when the ordinance was written. He asked the board to recall the history of the ordinance. He also said the ordinance is difficult to enforce because someone has to be present when the sound is being generated to measure it with the appropriate equipment.

Mr. Morris said that noise ordinances are complicated and difficult to compose and that he did not intend to rewrite the ordinance at this meeting, but rather to discuss it with the board.

Mr. Boyer said the ordinance was written to address noise from the night club in Ascutney and noise from dirt bikes and motorcycles.

Everyone acknowledged the difficulty of writing a reasonable ordinance that addressed the numerous attributes of noise.

The consensus of the board was to move ahead with amending the ordinance.

 

  1. Cady Hill Road Discussion

Mr. Morris said that the select board has the authority to close the road for the winter so long as they give ample advance notice of the closure. However, if the board were to move forward with the hearing to reclassify the road to a trail, then closing it for the winter may not be necessary. Thirty-days notice is required for the reclassification hearing. The board agreed to move forward with the hearing.

Motion: To set the hearing date for reclassification of a portion of Cady Hill Road to a trail for the evening of November 19th, 2018.

Made by: Mr. Boyer    Second: Mr. Leach

Vote: Unanimous in favor

 

  1. Update FEMA Buyout of Amsden Store Building

Mr. Morris said that the owner is in favor of moving forward with the buyout. He is working with Otis at RPC, who in turn is working with people all across the state to finalize the numbers. There won't be time to complete a full asbestos/lead inspection, but the grant may be written to cover that cost.

Mr. Morris he is looking into applying for a second grant to mitigate washout damage on Little Ascutney Road (from storm last July). It would be about $24,000. Some of the work will have to be done for Act 64 anyway.

 

  1. Budget Discussion

Inspired by a talk he heard at the recent ICMA conference, Mr. Morris decided to momentarily shift the focus away from things that need to be done in town or problems that need solving, and focus for a bit on what has gone well, is going well, or things that have been accomplished in the recent past. He asked the board members to do the same.

Mr. Leach complimented the great job done by the highway department and the new ideas for solving old problems.

Mr. Boyer said he was proud of paving Amsden Schoolhouse Road.

Mr. Arrison said he likes that the board members work well together and respect each other. He's happy that there are no big controversies in town right now.

Mr. Cole was pleased with the transition to zerosort at the transfer station.

Mr. Morris then gave his lengthy list of successes and efficiencies that had been accomplished in each of the town departments, from how waste is picked up at the transfer station to the new check scanner that saves on trips to the bank and many, many more. Each item saved time, tax dollars, or improved a process – all to the benefit of the taxpayers.

Mr. Cole thanked Mr. Morris for the exercise. He said people don't always hear about these things. Put them all together and the dollars add up.

Returning to the budget, Mr. Morris presented some large projects he would like to be considered in the FY20 budget, including Center Road; Town solar project; and heating/cooling system for Martin Memorial Hall.

Other projects to consider included town forest trails; a boat launch on the Connecticut River; a park in Ascutney; and implementing the interchange master plan.

We have run out of shovel-ready projects, so we may be looking to get some engineering done for a few projects.

Mr. Stapleton said we will be needing a new salt shed soon.

Also for consideration are the Lavigne bridge; sidewalks in Ascutney; and a sewer system in Perkinsville.

Mr. Morris introduced Cynthia Porter, the lone budget committee member. Ms. Porter is the finance director for the RPC.

 

  1. Appointments

No appointments were requested.

 

  1. Approve Warrants

Motion: To approve the warrants for October 1, 2018 as follow:

General Funds       Operating Expenses     $75,999.14

                              Payroll                         $11,125.82

Highway Fund       Operating Expenses     $48,151.30

                              Payroll                         $11,358.61

Solid Waste Management Fund

                              Operating Expenses     $14,860.27

                              Payroll                         $1,436.89

Library                   Operating Expenses     $4,126.72

                              Payroll                         $1,771.60

Grants                   Operating Expenses     $2,910.15

Agency Monies      Operating Expenses     $0.00

Reserves                                                     $0.00

Long Term Debt                                        $0.00

Grand Totals          Operating Expenses     $146,047.58

                              Payroll                         $25,692.92

Made by:  Mr. Arrison     Second: Mr. Boyer     

Vote: Unanimous in favor

 

  1. Future Meeting Agenda Items

 

  1. Adjourn

Motion: To adjourn the meeting

Made by: Mr. Arrison Second: Mr. Boyer

Vote: Unanimous in favor

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:28 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

deForest Bearse