Brandon Select Board Meeting
May 21, 2012
NOTE: These are unapproved minutes, subject to amendment and/or approval at the subsequent board meeting.
In Attendance: Devon Fuller, Richard Baker, Mitch Pearl, Dave Atherton, Ethan Swift
Also in Attendance: Keith Arlund, Chris Brickell, Wayne Rausenberger, Kathy Rausenberger, Norm Milot, Francis Farnsworth, Bette Moffett, Jim Leary, Judy Bunde, Blaine Cliver, Linda Healy, Sheila Dickerman, Doris Farnsworth, Phyllis Reed, Bernie Carr, Steve Beck, Helyn Anderson, Jeff Stewart, Richard Kirby, Bob Thomas, Joan Thomas, Mary Shields, Tim Shields, Bob Gearwar, Glenna Gearwar
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:02PM by Devon Fuller, Chair.
a) Agenda Adoption – Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to adopt the agenda with an amendment to Fiscal to add approval of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank payments. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
2. Consent Agenda
a) Approval of Minutes – May 7, 2012 – Brandon Land Use Ordinance Hearing
Motion by Ethan Swift/Richard Baker to approve the Brandon Land Use Ordinance Hearing minutes of May 7, 2012. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
b) Approval of Minutes – May 7, 2012 – Select Board
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Ethan Swift to approve the Select Board minutes of May 7, 2012 with the changes noted below. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Remove Edi Poland’s name from attendees. On Page 2, the ratification of work was for the town hall, not the town office.
a) Warrant – May 21, 2012 – $1,079,687.16
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to approve the warrants of May 21, 2012 in the amount of $1,079,687.16. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Mitch Pearl noted the increased amount for warrants is due to the mandated quarterly education payments.
b) Vermont Municipal Bond Bank Payment Approval
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the payment in the amount of $45, 404.25 for the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
c) The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., N.A.
It was noted this is a Sewer Department invoice that is actually an action of the Brandon Board of Sewer Commissioners.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the payment in the amount of $474.98 to the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., N.A. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
5. Scheduled Reports from Committees and Officials
There was no discussion held.
6. Town Manager’s Report
Keith Arlund stated CLD is the ranking consultant based on their qualifications for Bridge 114 and will be working with VHP to complete a contract. There will be a meeting tomorrow at 1PM at the HFCU Conference Room with VHP, VTrans and CLD. VHB and CLD are working on the Option A waterline and Segment 6, as the state has granted approval for the water line to be built first. VTrans has no issues with the four deeds through which the water line will pass. The next step will be to determine the value and present this information to the land owners. Mr. Arlund is working with Glenna Pound, CPA and the audit firm regarding the next audit. The Recreation Director’s position has been offered to Bill Moore, who will begin work on July 1st. Mitch Pearl noted he is pleased to hear about the Option A waterline and questioned when construction will begin. Mr. Arlund stated the town is pushing for it to be done this year, however, there are issues with the stream crossing and that should be done first to be within the stream alteration dates. Devon Fuller questioned whether Mr. Arlund has been in contact with the property owners and Mr. Arlund advised they will be in touch with them shortly, however, he wanted to be certain all documents were in order. Devon Fuller questioned the status of the town office. Keith Arlund reported he had received copies of a second story floor plan, but has not received the revised copies of the first story floor plan from Mr. Ferro. Once they are received, he will get them out for bid. Mr. Fuller questioned whether the upcoming work will be covered by either federal highway or FEMA funds and whether there have been any funds received. Mr. Arlund reported the town has received $30,000.00 and noted as the work sheets are complete they are filed and the money is then received. The parks and Briggs Lane have been reviewed, with the project work sheets to be submitted for those areas. Tom Roberts will be in town in the near future to go over the federal highway claim and to review Route 7 and the Bridge 114. A date has not been set for this visit. Richard Baker requested clarification of the project in the front of the Safer Society and Mr. Fuller questioned whether the Town Manager has been in contact with them. Keith Arlund noted he has been in contact with the Safer Society and this is part of the repair that will be covered by the claim. Devon Fuller asked when the sidewalk will be repaired in front of the Safer Society, as it is his understanding the sidewalk is the town’s responsibility. Mr. Arlund advised the town can proceed with the planning of this repair, but the Select Board needs to decide the future of Briggs Lane. There had been discussion whether it should come to a perpendicular T or in front of the Safer Society. There was discussion with CLD in assessing the damage to shore up Route 7 for the winter, but that would be a design change and will be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting. There are provisions for the sidewalk, but it is uncertain whether it will be the Naylor/Breen plan. Currently, the approved plan is to rebuild the road as it was before the storm, which would be bringing it in front of the building. Mr. Baker asked if Mr. Arlund has heard from Mr. Pourier and Mr. Arlund reported he has not. It was noted Mr. Weeks will be in town tomorrow and will be grieving his assessment. Mr. Pearl stated the Select Board would want a recommendation from Mr. Arlund and Mr. Sanderson that would include drawings and plans prior to making a decision on which direction to go. Mr. Arlund advised they have begun looking at the feasibility of this project. Richard Baker stated the Sanborn’s map that is prior to 1938 shows the road as a T-intersection. He has only researched back to the 1820’s and found reference to the sewer main and granting access, but there is no document that any Select Board laid out this area as a road. Blane Cliver has seen a map that gives Briggs Lane a 25-foot right of way, but as far as the road coming in as a T; it was in an engineering report and it was predicated on the demolition of the two buildings. Mr. Pearl stated since the Board does not have a recommendation at this point, it would be premature to speculate. As far as the Safer Society, the town needs to start figuring out how it is going to get the sidewalk back in front of this area.
a) Consider Request of Franklin Street Residents
Norm Milot thanked the Select Board for scheduling the Franklin Street resident’s discussion for this evening’s meeting. He noted there were several residents present; however, some were unable to attend due to conflicting schedules. He noted a letter was written and signed by the residents, which was read by Linda Healy:
“May 21, 2012
To the Brandon Select Board,
Several homeowners living along Franklin Street, aka Highway 7, have been gathering over the past few weeks to discuss neighborhood concerns and we all agree that the excessive traffic speed and traffic noise have become an issue for all of us. We care about our neighborhood and our community and we ask the Brandon Select Board to review and address these issues.
Excessive speed of cars and trucks:
- Places all Brandon pedestrians and children playing near the highway at risk for injury
- Causes unnecessary vibration to our historic homes
- Increases residual highway dust that exacerbates respiratory issues
- Causes motor breaking of big rigs and dump trucks that disturb all residents living along the roadway
We have compiled a number of possible solutions to these problems that we feel will alleviate many of our concerns and reinstate a safer environment for the entire village.
- Enforce the village speed regulations with “no tolerance”
- Contact trucking companies and the school district that routinely have trucks and buses traveling through the village and remind them to drive the speed limit, stop engine shifting and yield to the pedestrians and children that play along the highway. (Carter, Dido, Markowski, Brandon School District)
- Reinstall the “no engine breaking” sign on the north end of the village that was removed during the road construction
- Install “speed dummies” along with the “yield to pedestrian” signs at all village crosswalks
- Reduce the village speed limit to….35 MPH beginning at Teddy Tires,…25 MPH beginning at the Brandon Fire Station,…15 MPH in the downtown area from the library to the Episcopal Church,…25 MPH from the church to the Brandon Medical Center
- Write and implement a noise ordinance for the village proper that can be enforced
We feel that the above suggestions are doable, will cost the taxpayers little monies to implement, and will provide a safer environment for all Brandon citizens.
Other small Vermont communities such as Woodstock, Pittsford and Wallingford have a reputation for issuing citations for speeding. In the past, Brandon was known as one of these communities. We ask that this be implemented and maintained in Brandon again.
Thank you for your time and assistance.
Signed by: Norm Milot, Genette Milot, Doris Farnsworth, Francis Farnsworth, Janice Gearwar, Linda Healy, Jim Schamber, Sheila Dickerman, Roberi Kurt, Robert Bell, Cindy Bell, Jim Barner, Ronald O’Neill, George Reilly, Dorothy Rodda“
Norm Milot stated Brandon has a good town manager and police chief; and it is felt if we could get them all together, he feels the problem could be solved. Mr. Pearl felt the electronic speeding signs do appear to work in other towns he has driven through and there has been discussion about these items. Mr. Pearl felt some of the items cannot be done until the Route 7 Project comes through. It was noted the automated speed sign would not be something that will be installed until after the road is redone. Ethan Swift advised that a change in the speed limit would require approval from other departments as this is a state road. Mr. Baker advised the Department of Motor Vehicles, VTrans and the Department of Public Safety would need to be involved. He noted it took years to get the flasher installed near OV. Mr. Swift questioned whether the sign prohibiting engine breaks lessened the occurrences and Linda Healy felt she did see somewhat of a change. Ethan Swift questioned what the cost would be for the electronic speed systems and Chief Brickell indicated he could borrow one for a while. To purchase them would be around $3,500.00 and there are no grant opportunities available for this equipment. Devon Fuller asked if one could be added to the Segment 6 Project going forward. Norm Milot stated whatever assistance the residents can obtain would be helpful. Sheila Dickerman feels the additional presence of the police officers has made a big difference and she appreciates all that they do. Bob Gearwar asked if the Jake brake sign had been reinstalled and it was noted that this sign has not been reinstalled. Devon Fuller felt that some of the other solutions suggested would work better than a sign. Chief Brickell stated the police force does contact the trucking companies on a regular basis. Mr. Fuller liked the idea of the reduced speed signs. Mitch Pearl encouraged funding for one of the electronic speed signs. Judy Bunde noticed that the 35 mph sign from the South is obscured and suggested the shrubs be cut back. She also suggested that a flashing light on the sign might perhaps be helpful. Devon Fuller stated it took several years to get the light on the sign near OV due to committee requirements and felt this may take some time. Mr. Fuller liked the idea of the Franklin Street Committee working with Mr. Arlund in resolving this issue. Mitch Pearl stated for the interim, some of the signs may need to be replaced. Keith Arlund will have Brian Sanderson review the signs to determine if there are any that need replacing. Jim Leary suggested clearly defining the pedestrian crosswalks on the road, as he does feel that people do slow down when driving through those areas. Doris Farnsworth, 38 Franklin Street resident, advised that when turning into their driveway it is difficult to see, as the branches that are in the public right of way are too low. Bernie Carr asked if there is a noise ordinance and Devon Fuller advised this is something the Select Board can look into. Police Chief Brickell stated the Police Department tries to enforce as much of the traffic ordinance as they can and the complaints do not fall on deaf ears. He reported there were 6 violations in 6 days. Chief Brickell feels there is a high number who comply to the speed limit and the Department is enforcing the law in line with what is realistic. He stated that if a motorcycle is within legal limits, there is nothing that can be done about the noise. He also noted a Jake brake ordinance would have to be developed. Chief Brickell reiterated the majority of the traffic is law abiding. He does feel that traffic dummies are good eye-catchers, but are expensive and there are some people who will try to drive over them, which will require the Department of Public Works to replace them. Bernie Carr suggested a more permanent type of solution and Chief Brickell noted there are tubes that can be installed, however, they have to be removed in the winter and are also costly to purchase. Keith Arlund will check with Brian Sanderson when the crosswalks will be painted and will have Mr. Sanderson research the other options. Norm Milot stated the crosswalk that was temporarily put up from the post office is difficult to see until one is almost on top of it. Devon Fuller stated there was not enough room for people to walk along this area and were walking in the road, which is the reason the temporary walk was place there. Mr. Fuller advised the Select Board will continue to work with the Franklin Street Committee on some of the suggested solutions and he thanked the Committee for being involved.
7. Public Works Report
Keith Arlund reported the Department continues with the gravel road maintenance. Ethan Swift questioned the status of Maple Street and Mr. Arlund advised there will be one more storm drain structure added and they will then prepare the road for paving. He noted the utility pole has not been removed yet. Richard Baker stated Mr. Sanderson suggested doing the paving on the Park Street sidewalk tomorrow. A deal has been worked out to finish the sidewalk in front of the Watershed and will be completed. With regard to the NOP’s gravel pile, Mr. Fuller questioned whether half of the proposal received could be done that would involve crushing the stone with the town using half of the material and the remainder of the material would be the property of the vendor doing the project. Ethan Swift reported he spoke to Warren Nop and he understands what the issues are. Mr. Swift thanked Mr. Nop for his patience. Mr. Nop has moved forward with using the land that is available. Bernie Carr questioned what entity is responsible for the repair of the pot hole near St. Mary’s Cemetery and it was noted that is the state’s responsibility. Mr. Arlund reported he has been in contact with them and he will follow up on this issue. Mr. Carr asked if the parking spaces can be repainted by the Lake Sunapee Bank because there is a parking space painted in front of the alleyway and when someone is parked there, traffic cannot exit the alley.
8. Citizen’s Public Forum
Wayne Rausenberger suggested getting the contractor back to do the sidewalk on Champlain Street now that the construction season has begun. Ms. Rausenberger questioned if the sidewalks on Maple Street will be done and Mr. Arlund advised the sidewalk work will be complete for the areas where there had been sidewalks in the past. Phyllis Reed thanked Mr. Arlund for sending her the final draft of the audit. She also wished to commend Mr. Arlund and the Select Board for doing such a great job. Ms. Reed questioned the status of the architectural drawing of Segment 6 that was discussed at the last meeting. Mr. Arlund stated Robert Black printed new drawings of the design around Central Park and the War Memorial, which will be posted in the library for viewing. Blane Cliver felt the town should reimburse Mr. Black for reprinting the drawings. Dick Kirby requested an update on the problem near the golf course, noting one car has been removed. Mr. Kirby stated there were several four-wheelers in the area that were driving on the road. Mr. Kirby stated if the cars near the pool area could be removed, it would be helpful. He advised the complaints are not only from him, but also from other people in the area. Devon Fuller reported Tina Wiles has sent a letter and Mr. Arlund will check with her on the status of the situation and will request that Ms. Wiles contact Mr. Kirby. Jim Leary stated there was a clean-up of Kennedy Park the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Mr. Leary stated it will be a great asset for the town to have a nice park, since up to this point it was thought the park was abandoned. Mr. Leary questioned why no one from the town made any effort to reopen the park. Ethan Swift advised he was in the park with Mr. Sanderson and noted there is a lot of behind the scenes work being done and the Department has been working with the McKernon Group to do the stairs and the retaining walls are being reviewed. There are also issues with the storm water infrastructure and the waterline. Mr. Swift stated there are a lot of moving parts to fully restore the park to what it used to be for full accessibility. The town will get some reimbursement from the flooding and they want to make sure that the park is properly repaired. Mr. Leary stated he does not understand why the town did not do something to improve this area. Mr. Swift stated the Select Board appreciates the volunteers’ efforts and noted there are many elements of infrastructure repair that are required. Mr. Leary feels there is something that can be done in the interim to make the parks usable, as some of these items may take years. Devon Fuller stated this is the idea of the Downtown Business Alliance, as they will assist in helping to solve some of these problems. Mr. Fuller felt that moving forward, there will be more good efforts done and the Select Board does hear from the citizens that they need more. Bette Moffett questioned if the park bench can be replaced and when the fountain will be repaired. Keith Arlund stated the fountain is being worked on and he will check the status of the repair. Bernie Carr questioned who is responsible for the tree in the river and it was noted the tree is on Robert Reed’s property and Mr. Reed is aware of the situation and is reviewing the possibility of some bank stabilization. Judy Bunde asked if the scrap metal and junk can also be addressed. Mr. Fuller stated it was commendable that the building was removed. Ms. Bunde suggested that one of the town’s committees could perhaps assist with this effort. Richard Baker stated it is hoped the tree will be removed and could be coordinated with the Option A Water Project and bank armoring effort. Mitch Pearl stated sometimes things do take time and Mr. Reed cannot begin his armoring until June 1st. Mr. Pearl noted there is a lot of work to be done, with much of it behind the scenes. He does agree there will have to be some temporary efforts. Tim Shields advised there is a problem with dogs in the Seminary Street area. The Sheriff’s Department has been called on numerous occasions, but it is not solving the problem. The residents have been advised by the Sheriff that the Select Board is the place to raise the issue. He stated the dogs are aggressive, especially towards people and small dogs; and they are getting into people’s garbage. Bob Gearwar asked how many tickets can be issued before the dogs are taken away. Mr. Gearwar stated the dog catcher only gives tickets to the owner of the dogs. Richard Baker stated the dog catcher could secure the animals and he stated it sounds like this issue is at that point. Police Chief Brickell suggested the Seminary Hill residents contact him regarding the issue and he will address it with the Sheriff’s Department. Chief Brickell stated the Sheriff’s Department is contracted for animal complaints for leash law issues and they can confiscate the dogs, however, for safety issues the Brandon Police Department can be called. Joan Thomas advised she called the Sheriff’s Department today and was advised there was no animal control officer available to address the call. Mary Shields stated the dogs come at people viciously and it is terrifying. Devon Fuller suggested the group contact the Police Chief to provide details. Bernie Carr asked who should be contacted if the restaurants want to serve alcohol on the sidewalks. Keith Arlund advised the wine shop received a special approval to do this from the Liquor Commission and each restaurant would have to submit a separate request for an outside consumption permit and have a designated area set.
9. Old/Other Business (If Needed)
Dave Atherton questioned whether Jim Carroll has responded regarding the delinquent sewer taxes. Mr. Arlund advised the right of way deeds have been provide to Mr. Carroll and he will follow-up on this matter.
Ethan Swift stated the Select Board would like to accept Ms. Rausenberger’s offer to have their next meeting at the town hall. Mr. Swift attended the Brandon Planning Commission meeting and reported they are initiating a process of reviewing the Town Plan. If anyone has issues or concerns regarding the Town Plan, they are encouraged to contact the Planning Commission. The Regional Planning person was at the meeting tonight and she felt Brandon has a good Town Plan. She provided some suggestions for improvements. The Planning Commission received an email from Jeff Gavin who has expressed interest in serving on the Planning Commission, as well as filling the Planning Commission’s seat on the Regional Board. Mr. Arlund suggested discussing this position, as well as the DRB open positions at the June meeting. Mr. Baker suggested placing an advertisement for the four DRB vacancies. The town needs to fill the positions with people who are supportive of business in all parts of town, regardless of where their business is. Mr. Pearl noted this is a quasi judicial board that is appointed by the Select Board. Judy Bunde stated it had been previously discussed that all committees and boards would be provided a description of the duties that are required. Ms. Bunde questioned if those detailed descriptions have been developed and available for viewing. Mr. Baker stated there has been information developed relative to the responsibilities of the DRB. Mr. Swift also noted Committee members have been encouraged to attend seminars that will assist in their required duties.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to enter into executive session at 8:31PM for the purpose of discussing a personnel issue. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
10. Possible Executive Session (If Needed)
The Select Board came out of executive session at 9:30PM. There were no actions required.
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to adjourn the Select Board meeting at 9:32PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.