Select Board Agenda and Minutes

Date:  Monday March 20, 2017 (03/20/17)

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Select Board
Martin Memorial Hall
5259 Route 5, Ascutney VT
Monday, March 20th, 2017
7:00 PM

APPROVED 4/3/2017

Select Board Members Present: Daniel Boyer
C. Peter Cole
Lynn Esty
Amy Beth Main

Select Board Members Absent: Kelly Murphy

Ed Morris, Town Manager

Others Present:
Kirk Shields, GMP Diane Hodgdon Katie Cooper Michael Barrup
David Fuller Dusty Hodgdon Mychael Spaulding Nancy Heatley
Edith Stillson Colby Hodgdon Hal Wilkins Paul Tillman
Julie Schmitz Julia Lloyd Wright Lincoln Larde? Rod Viens
John Arrison Josh Dauphin Tracy Dauphin Darrin Spaulding
Michael Todd Annmarie Christenson

1. Call to Order
Mrs. Esty called the meeting to order at 7:00PM.

2. Comments from Select Board and Town Manager
Mrs. Esty asked if there will be a Select Board team for the upcoming Town Challenge. Mr. Boyer said he believed he will be available.

3. Comments from Citizens on topics not on the agenda
Energy Coordinator, Julia Lloyd Wright, announced that there will be a public informational meeting about a weatherization program currently underway. The meeting will be on Wednesday, March 22nd at 6:00 PM at the Library. People can meet the contractors, learn about rebates, and more.

Dave Fuller said there was nothing in the March 9th draft minutes to explain why he wasn't re-appointed as the Town's Emergency Management Coordinator. He felt he had been treated unfairly because no one had spoken to him about anything regarding his performance as the EMC. He said he assumed his not being re-appointed was related to an incident involving a school bus, which he detailed for the Board. Mrs. Esty said that matter never came up in the Board's discussion.

Mr. Fuller said he felt that appointments were made too hastily after Town Meeting and that customarily the Board waits until its next regular meeting to make them.

Mr. Fuller asked for reconsideration of the appointment
Mr. Fuller then turned to the Town Report. He claimed that there was a difference between the amount to be raised by taxes in the General fund that was shown in the slide presentation and the amount specified in the warning. Mrs. Esty said the amount specified in the warning is the correct amount and that there may have been an error in the slides. Mr. Morris will look into it.

John Arrison agreed with Mr. Fuller that it was too soon after the Town Meeting to be making appointments and felt it shut people out by having them so quickly. Mr. Arrison also expressed displeasure that there was no money in the budget for paving. He said it will be two more years before the Town will be able to do any paving and that this will make road repairs even more costly.

Josh Dauphin, Chief of the West Weathersfield Volunteer Fire Department (WWVFD), spoke at length about the minimal amount of money that the Town has allocated to the department over the years and the large amount of money the department has raised on its own with which to purchase needed equipment. He said the stipend the department gets from the Town is used solely for station operational expenses. He made an offer to all townspeople to stop in at the department to examine their financial records and view their equipment to see that none of the funds are squandered or frivolously spent.

Planning Commissioner, Mike Todd, said the Planning Commission will be hosting a public meeting on proposed zoning changes that are needed to comply with the Town Plan. The meeting will be at the WWVFD in Downers.

Mr. Fuller asked the Board if they will be voting on the zoning changes or if the Board will pass them to the voters. The Board did not know.

Mr. Todd said that hopefully there will be enough input from the public that it won't be necessary to send them to the voters. He said the Commission is planning to host several more public meetings on the changes.

Planning Commission Vice-Chairperson, Nancy Heatley, said the Commission is working with SAPA TV to get these public meetings televised. The Commission would like to have their regular meetings televised as well, but there is a shortage of volunteers.

Representative Annmarie Christenson said she has received a number of calls from residents regarding the proposed zoning changes, particularly those that pertain to the Village. She suggested that the Commission present the changes to the annual Trustees meeting in June. Unfortunately the zoning changes must be completed by the end of May to comply with the terms of the grant that is funding the process.

4. Review minutes from previous meetings – 3/6/2017 & 3/9/2017
Motion: To approve the minutes of March 6, 2017
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To accept the minutes of March 9, 2017
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Mr. Fuller repeated that he wanted the discussion regarding the EMC appointment included in the minutes. The Board asked deForest to add it. Mr. Boyer withdrew his motion; Mr. Cole withdrew his second.

5. Green Mountain Power Presentation
Kirk Shields gave a presentation on a proposed microgrid project to be constructed on 20 - 25 acres of land owned by the Hodgdons on Route 5 south of Ascutney. The project will combine a large solar array (16,000 panels) with battery storage. He said the project is designed to increase reliability and to provide energy during peak demand times or when the grid is impacted during severe storms. This presentation is part of the 45-day notice required for such Public Service Board (PSB)-regulated projects. They are hoping to file their application with the PSB in mid-late April after expiration of the 45-day notice period. Mr. Shields said it takes about nine months to obtain a permit. At this stage they are seeking comments from the public to help fine-tune the project.

The project location will not be highly visible from Route 5. They will be using an existing gravel road off of Route 5 to access the site. Existing vegetation will be maintained to provide additional screening.

Snow-loading is taken into account when designing these types of solar projects.

The local fire departments will receive training on how to address any battery fires in the event that such a fire occurs. The battery containers do, however, have built-in fire suppression systems.

The solar array will be owned by a subsidiary of GMP. The land will continue to be owned by the Hodgdons.

Once the project is constructed, traffic to/from the site will be limited to one pickup truck a month. The site is monitored remotely and will have its own weather station and cameras.

Power output will connect with the facilities on Route 131. It will be completely independent of the Velco power transmission facilities.

There is a 25-year warranty on the panels. They have a 35-year lifespan. When the panels are no longer viable, the site will be restored to its original state.

This project is part of a goal to generate more power locally.

Because this is a “microgrid” project, it will be possible to direct power to the lights at the Rt 131/Rt 5 intersection in the event of a power outage. Mr. Shields said he would be happy to discuss this idea further with the Town Office.

The site will be completely fenced. Access will be assured for the fire department.

Mr. Todd said that this project complies with the Town Plan, particularly sections 7.7, 7.8 and 7.8.2. He said the Planning Commission considers this a great project at a great location.

The Board thanked Mr. Shields for the presentation.

6. Town Plan Public Hearing (2nd of two hearings)
It is noted for the record that a quorum of the Planning Commission was present at this meeting. Mr. Morris said the Commission was included in the Select Board's notice for this meeting.

Land Use Administrator Hal Wilkins said that changes are continually being made to the Plan to incorporate comments made by the Board.

Mr. Spaulding said he wanted a hydrant behind the Ascutney Store and a re-working of the pond near Heisers' house. Mr. Morris said this might best be addressed in the village revitalization plans that are upcoming.

Ms. Christenson said she has received calls from concerned residents who want to be sure that Ascutney and Perkinsville are not considered the same, because each village is distinctly different. She also said there are a number of older people living on their own in Perkinsville and asked about aging in place assistance. Mrs. Esty directed her to the upcoming meeting on that topic on March 30th at the Town Office and suggested she get in touch with Peggy Kehew.

Ms. Heatley said the Commission has gone to great lengths to publicize the zoning meetings. She said there are five more meetings planned.

Mr. Morris suggested that the Board continue the public hearing to the April 17th meeting so as to have time to review updates to the Plan before it is finally adopted.

Motion: To continue the hearing to April 17th
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

7. HCRS River House – Brenda Richardson (Cont. from 3/6/2017)
Ms. Richardson was not present. Mr. Morris said the Town Attorney is continuing to work with the HCRS attorney and no new information was available.

8. Fire Commission Report from 3/1/2017 – Request for Reserves
At the February Fire Commission meeting, the Fire Chiefs asked for funds from the non-motorized reserve fund to purchase turnout gear. The Commission made and passed a motion to authorize the purchase of 7 sets of gear – including boots and gloves as needed – at a cost not to exceed $15,000.

Mr. Spaulding said the cost of the gear had increased to $1825 per set and he and Josh Dauphin had agreed to reduce the number of sets to four – two for each department.

Mr. Morris said he opposed the use of these reserve funds for the purchase of turnout gear. He said the reserves should be used to save up for larger purchases. He wants the departments to use their operational funds and establish a regular schedule for purchasing gear and hoses. Mr. Dauphin said it isn't possible with the funds they receive each year.

Purchasing 7 sets of gear at $1825 per set comes to $12,775, well below the $15,000 limit authorized by the Fire Commission. There is currently $16,000 in that reserve. The reserve will not receive any funding in the next fiscal year as all the reserve articles were voted down by the voters.

After much debate back and forth, the Board decided in favor of authorizing the purchase of six sets of gear.

Motion: To purchase six sets of turnout gear at $1,825 per set to be paid for out of the non-motorized reserve fund.
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

9. Approve and sign Certification of Compliance for Town Road and Bridge Standards and Network Inventory
Motion: To approve and sign the Certification for Town Road and Bridge Standards and Network Inventory.
Made by: Mr. Cole Second: Mr. Boyer
Vote: Unanimous in favor

10. Approve and sign VTrans Annual Town Highway Financial Plan
Motion: To approve and sign the VTrans Annual Town Highway Financial Plan.
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

11. Request to remove transfer station fee from Parcel #705-224-10560
Motion: To waive the transfer station fee for parcel #705-224-10560 while under the ownership of Fuller Farms Inc in accordance with the Town's Solid Waste Assessment Policy.
Made by: Mr. Cole Second: Mr. Boyer
Vote: Unanimous in favor

12. Appointments
Motion: To appoint Nancy Heatley to the Budget Committee
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To appoint Nancy Heatley to the CT River Joint Commission/Mt. Ascutney Subcommittee
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To appoint Amy Beth Main and Dan Boyer as Fence Viewers
Made by: Mr. Cole Second: Mrs. Esty
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To appoint Dan Boyer as Surveyor of Wood and Lumber
Made by: Mr. Cole Second: Ms. Main
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To appoint Dan Boyer as Weigher of Coal
Made by: Mr. Cole Second: Ms. Main
Vote: Unanimous in favor

Motion: To appoint Carl Wyman and Dave Gulbrandsen to the Zoning Board of Adjustment
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

13. Approve Warrants

Motion: To approve the warrants for March 20, 2017 as follow:

General Funds Operating Expenses $39,826.98
Payroll $12,570.78

Highway Fund Operating Expenses $40,441.64
Payroll $8,421.86

Solid Waste Management Fund
Operating Expenses $7,289.17
Payroll $1,053.20

Library Operating Expenses $4,201.41
Payroll $1,205.60

Grants Operating Expenses $0.00

Agency Monies Operating Expenses $3,580.00

Reserves $0.00

Grand Totals Operating Expenses $95,339.20
Payroll $23,251.44

Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

14. Future Meeting Agenda Items
a. April 3rd, 2017
14.a.i. Act 148 Universal Recycling (Mary O'Brien and Ham Gillett)
14.a.ii. Transfer Station – Single Sort RFP and Decision
14.a.iii. Swap Shop
14.a.iv. Conflict of Interest Discussion (Cont. from 2/21/2017)
14.a.v. Approve 2017 Local Emergency Operations Plan

15. Adjourn
Motion: To adjourn the meeting
Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Cole
Vote: Unanimous in favor

The meeting adjourned at 8:49 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
deForest Bearse