Brandon Select Board Meeting
June 11, 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, Phyllis Reed, Bernie Carr, Jeff Stewart, Richard Kirby, Bob Thomas, Maria Ammatuna, Liza Myers, Warren Kimball, Janet Mondlak
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Devon Fuller, Chair.
a) Agenda Adoption – Motion by Ethan Swift/Richard Baker to adopt the agenda as presented. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
2. Consent Agenda
a) Approval of Minutes – May 21, 2012 – Select Board
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Ethan Swift to approve the Select Board minutes of May 21, 2012 with corrections to the initials VHB, the Option 8 water line and the spelling of Jeff Guevin’s name. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
. Fire Warden – Linwood Bovey
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to recommend Linwood Bovey as the Fire Warden for a three-year term. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
The recommendation will be made to the state through the Forest and Parks Service and once the state has appointed Mr. Bovey, the town will sign off on the appointment.
. Rutland Regional Planning Commission – Jeff Guevin
Motion by Ethan Swift/Richard Baker to appoint Jeff Guevin as a member of the Brandon Planning Commission and the local representative to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Ethan Swift noted Mr. Guevin expressed interest in both the Regional and Brandon Planning Commission appointments.
a) Warrant – June 11, 2012 – $55,086.17
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to approve the warrants of June 11, 2012 in the amount of $55,086.17. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
b) Consider P. O. 51513 to Shearer Chevrolet – 2012 Chevrolet Silverado ¾ Ton Pick-up with 4WD & 8’ Bed – $23,308.00
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to approve P. O. #51513 to Shearer Chevrolet for a 2012 ¾-Ton Silverado Pick-up in the amount of $23,264.00. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to authorize issuance of a check in the amount of $23,264.00 to Shearer Chevrolet for the payment of the invoice for a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado ¾ ton pick-up. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
5. Scheduled Reports from Committees and Officials
a) Police Chief Brickell
Chief Brickell stated if there are any questions about the information provided this evening, additional details will be given during an executive session. During March and April, there had been multiple daytime burglaries on the High Pond, Hack and Sawmill Roads. There had been a couple of suspects and a search warrant was issued. Arrests were made for other issues, but no evidence was found. Chief Brickell provided the state with a carload of evidence, however, was advised that it may take up to two years to evaluate. He retrieved the evidence and it is now being processed in Middlebury. As recent as June 5th, there were five downtown burglaries, which were apparently drug related. There are two suspects and one suspect has been arrested. The Department has been switched up, with one of the officers now on foot. Chief Brickell had previously applied for a grant for fingerprinting equipment in the amount of $40,000.00 that had been denied last year, however, there should be another upcoming round of grant applications. Chief Brickell feels it would be advantageous to have this equipment to enable the immediate identification of suspects, as well as providing the opportunity for this service to be offered to outside groups, such as schools or other entities, for a fee. This grant would have also covered cell phone coverage. The Department is also participating in the Highway Safety program with DUI stops in other areas of the state. Last year the Department was granted $8,000.00 for equipment purchases as a result of participating in this program as there is reimbursement received for the officers’ time and a car allowance. This program also provides exposure with other law enforcement agencies in the state. Chief Brickell advised the Police Department makes every effort to keep the web site up to date, with some assistance from Janet Mondlak. A fair amount of information is received through the anonymous tip line, as well as information provided by citizens who have given their contact information for follow-up. With regard to Department personnel, Officer Gaylord is doing very well and has handled a lot of financial crimes. Officer Winkler just graduated this past May and is currently going back to the Police Academy for certifications until the end of June, after which he will receive department training and will be ready to go on his own by mid-August. Adam Murick has just been sent to the part-time school for law enforcement, which is part one of a three-phase training. The Department will then be able to use him to supplement the officers. All officers are mandated to have a minimum of 25 hours training and as of this year the CFR federal requirement and ICS training has been done, which are requirements that affect Homeland Security grants. One of the officers has been sent to training for evidence management and all are certified in the Client Intel Information Sharing network that is web based, with Brandon’s Department being one of three departments statewide that has the entire department trained in. Three of the officers are also trained as forensic interviewers. There has been a recent update of the Department’s Operations manual that included the addition of 40 new chapters that were designed through the VLCT. It was suggested the departments around the state adopt these chapters, which have now been included in Brandon’s Police Department’s manual that now totals 80 chapters. The 40 chapters are based on Vermont law for best practice. Chief Brickell reported he is discussing the budget with the town manager that includes research of a storage container for the Police Department building. With regard to the dog complaints, Chief Brickell reviewed the Sheriff Department’s cases and found they were extremely detailed. There had been two violations issued that have been paid and a third violation that is being contested. There are still five issues outstanding. Brandon’s ordinance does indicate that a loose dog can be picked up. Sheriff Bernard is going to address the one issue that seems to be a problem and he will forward a copy of the letter to Chief Brickell. Devon Fuller questioned the cost of the fingerprinting system. Chief Brickell advised the cost is $35,000.00 and would be paid for by the grant, if approved, however, it does have a $2,800.00 to $3,000.00 annual service charge. It is likely this cost could be offset by outsourcing of the service. Chief Brickell advised the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department has this equipment, however, Addison County does not have one and because Brandon is a bordering town, it is likely that Brandon may be eligible for this grant. Chief Brickell will contact the schools to determine if they would be interested in this service. Richard Baker asked if there is a solution about the constable matter. Chief Brickell advised he has had one discussion and he will continue to work the issue. Devon Fuller noted the town needs to make sure that the constables have a sufficient amount of training. Mr. Fuller thanked Chief Brickell for the good job the Police Department is doing.
6. Town Manager’s Report
Keith Arlund stated the minutes for the meeting with CLD, VHB and the state have been distributed today. Mr. Arlund continues to work on the ASR for Segment 6 and the water line, with VHB having received the information and it now has been sent to CLD for revisions. Max Ferro continues his work on the revisions for the town office plan and it is hoped that he
will have them to Mr. Arlund this week. Mr. Arlund advised the structural piece was sent to Carl Charles for his comments on the second floor.
The FEMA project worksheet for the Green Park has been sent out. Mr. Arlund stated based on the fact the project worksheet has been sent, work is being done on an RFP and bids will be solicited. The water line will need to be moved and hopefully it will get started soon. Liza Myers asked if there is a timeline, as she is in danger of losing her building. Keith Arlund stated now that they have FEMA’s numbers, the bids can get out quickly and he will keep Ms. Myers posted. Ms. Myers stated there is urgency and it would help if it could be filled in with rock to stabilize it. Ms. Myers hired Naylor/Breen to fix the back of her building and it is washing out again. Ethan Swift asked if the building has experienced any structural problem and Ms. Myers advised she is working with Naylor/Breen to build up the back corner, but it is still stable. The building has been cleared by the state, but she is concerned with the back of the building being undermined. Devon Fuller asked if something could be done temporarily to stabilize this area and Mr. Arlund advised he will work with Mr. Sanderson to try to get something done to stabilize the building this week. Ms. Myers stated if the town does not address the canyon in the park, her building is going to be undermined. Mr. Fuller stated the town needs to coordinate with Ms. Myers and the Russells to work together in solving this problem. Warren Kimball stated at the last meeting there had been a discussion about the aesthetics of the park and that he would hear from someone about this issue, but to date he had not received any correspondence. Devon Fuller stated Mr. Sanderson put up a much better fence and the town is now in the process of repairing the park. Keith Arlund will try to have the edge stabilized to avoid any additional erosion and will keep Ms. Myers posted.
Keith Arlund reported the transfer switch on the generator at Neshobe School has been hit by lightning and will be a significant cost to repair. Mr. Arlund is unsure if it will be covered by the school’s insurance and it was never added to the town’s insurance, as there had been an assumption that since it was at the school, it would be covered under their insurance. Richard Baker stated this was a $40,000.00 project that was no cost to the school and it would be nice if the school would maintain the equipment instead of all taxpayers supporting the school. Devon Fuller stated the school offers its building for an emergency shelter and it needs to be determined what the cost of the repair will be. Mr. Arlund stated the repair will be between $10,000.00 and $12,000.00.
Ethan Swift questioned when the letters will be submitted to ASR. Keith Arlund stated the Option 8 waterline is pretty well done except for the resident engineering piece, which will have to go out to bid. Mr. Arlund is working with VHB to develop the town cost for property owner visits and what the easements are expected to be. He does have the final numbers on the ASR segment. With regard to Segment 6, Jim Carroll has the right of ways and he had indicated he would have them done during the month of June.
7. Public Works Report
Brian Sanderson replaced the plastic fencing in the park with a more durable fence. The new utility truck has been delivered. A section of the sidewalk in front of Kennedy Park was shimmed. The Department plans to do pavement line painting and roadside mowing beginning June 18th. The Maple Street sub base has been installed and the sidewalk is being done this week, with the final paving scheduled to commence June 18th. Mr. Sanderson wished to thank all the property owners on Maple Street for their patience with the ongoing process and assured it will be back to normal soon. Mr. Sanderson reported two of the town garages have been cleaned and all hand tools have been organized. There was a large amount of scrap metal brought to Brown’s Salvage. The drinking fountain is operational and the Champlain pumps have been repaired. There are some electrical issues with the fountain in Center Park and an electrician will be looking at this to be sure it is safe before adding water. The Department has begun grading operations. Richard Baker advised the warrant of $1,580.00 for Wilks for the sidewalk repair was coded improperly. Brian Sanderson stated he will be submitting a claim to FHA for this item and he will be meeting with Dave Markowski regarding Champlain Street.
Brian Sanderson provided the Select Board an equipment inventory. Mr. Sanderson stated the 1994 loader is extremely tired and he is recommending replacement this year. He noted the wastewater 550 is also due for replacement. Mr. Sanderson will update the replacement costs each year, which will provide the Select Board a report for budgeting information. Mitch Pearl thanked Mr. Sanderson for the report, noting it is very helpful and is the first time the town has had this type of information. Devon Fuller commended Mr. Sanderson for all of his efforts and felt the town is very fortunate to have him.
8. Citizen’s Public Forum
Bernie Carr wished to thank whoever was responsible for taking care of the road repairs that he had requested at the last meeting. Liza Myers stated Mill Lane between Sully’s and the pizza shop also needs repair, as it is very difficult to drive down and is dangerous.
Maria Ammatuna advised she has been working with Brian Sanderson on a project and wished to thank him for the extensive work he has done, noting he has been very responsive. Ms. Ammatuna also noted there has been a rumor about a new Road Policy. Brian Sanderson stated the town has not adopted a formal Class 4 Road Policy and currently there is no policy indicating the property owners are going to be responsible for the maintenance of those roads. He advised there has been discussion about Class 4 roads; however, no action has been taken at this time. Mitch Pearl stated the town is responsible for Class 3 roads; however, it is not responsible to maintain Class 4 roads. In the past the town has taken on responsibility for some of the Class 4 roads. There has been an inventory of all Class 4 roads developed and the Select Board will determine which roads should be maintained, if any, and to what degree. The landowners on these roads will be notified of any decisions that are made. Mr. Pearl stated any reclassifications would require a public hearing. Richard Baker stated there are some driveways that have been plowed and the town has treated them like a Class 4 road. Devon Fuller stated discussions have started, as the town cannot afford to maintain everything it has in the past, however the work has just started and the property owners will be kept well informed. Richard Baker stated the town needs to consider warning a hearing, possibly on June 25th, on the Leicester Hollow Bridge, as it has been surveyed and discussed with the property owner. Keith Arlund stated the only item not available is the Mylar, which is only for recording purposes. Mr. Baker noted the town has reached mediation with the Gibbuds; there will be a road from Route 73 to the bridge and a parking lot will be made. Keith Arlund stated there was a resurvey of the bridge to accommodate reconstruction and parking as it proceeds to Goshen. The road will be a two-rod road past the dwelling and will then widen to three rods across the bridge to accommodate parking. There is a complete design of the project and will require fundraising to do the project. Wayne Rausenberger stated there is a grant for $155,000.00 in the town report for the Maple/Union Street Project and he heard the town did not get it. Keith Arlund stated it was an LTF grant to extend the sidewalk and is in final design at this point. The Maple Street Project was in coordination with the Fire District’s project to reestablish some of the storm drains and repair of the road and this grant is not related to that project. Norm Milot thanked Chief Brickell, the Town Manager and the town noting the traffic issues along Route 7 appear to be improving. Devon Fuller advised the town will continue to work on these issues. Dick Kirby questioned if the town received the certified letter that he had sent to the town in an effort to document his conversations with the Select Board. Devon Fuller stated the Zoning Administrator is working on this issue and the letter had been received and will be included in the minutes. Mr. Kirby stated the situation is better and the Zoning Administrator called him indicating there is an ongoing running violation. Mr. Fuller advised the owners are working on removing the vehicles and he hoped that Mr. Kirby will give them a little time to do this. Mr. Kirby stated Ms. Wiles also indicated questions should be directed to the Zoning Administrator instead of the Select Board. Mr. Fuller stated there is a chain of command and if Mr. Kirby does not feel the Zoning Administrator is not doing her job, it should be brought to the Town Manager and ultimately to the Select Board if satisfaction is not received. Mr. Kirby stated he does not have any hard feelings against anyone involved, but he is trying to get the neighborhood cleaned up and the approach to the town more appealing. Mr. Fuller stated racing motors and 4 wheelers should be addressed to the Police Chief. Keith Arlund noted Mr. Kirby can call him at any time. Mitch Pearl advised the state has made an effort to make the process less political, and that is why there is a Zoning Administrator, as the Select Board cannot act on these types of issues by law. He stated if Mr. Kirby does not feel that the Zoning Administrator is not doing her job, he can come to the Select Board.
Following is the certified letter received by the Select Board from N. Richard Kirby:
“June 11, 2012
To The Brandon Board of Selectmen:
For the past two months I have been attending Brandon Select Board meetings with a complaint regarding a zoning violation of excessive automobiles parked in and around the Bellone property, along with other junk!
In December 2009 the town sent Mrs. Bellone a zoning violation notice with a date of January 7, 2010 to correct the violation. No follow up was ever done and the situation stayed the same.
On May 7, 2012, three years later another violation notice was sent. On June 8, 2012 two vehicles from behind the fence were removed one to the front driveway along with one from the front driveway. I am attending the select board meeting on Monday June 11th to once again bring this matter to the attention of the board, with the mailing of a copy of this letter to the Board of Selectmen.
This action is a start but will need to be continued as this situation has a history of repeating its self as time goes on. As well as the overabundance of cars we and the neighbors are subject to, very loud noises from racing motors from cars, motor cycles and four wheelers. On occasions the sound is so loud we are unable to hear our television.
N. Richard Kirby”
Wayne Rausenberger stated there was a suggestion to have the Select Board meetings at the town hall and he would like them to consider holding the meetings there, as a lot of money has been spent to refurbish the downtown space and it is owned by the town. It was suggested that the staff schedule the Select Board meetings at the town hall, when available.
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to hold the June 25th Select Board meeting at the town hall, subject to availability. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Phyllis Reed read a letter to the Select Board expressing her interest to continue as a member of the DRB.
9. Old/Other Business (If Needed)
Ethan Swift has been assisting the Neshobe 6th grade class with their Community Challenge on Newton Road. The class has planted a couple hundred more trees and did a huge amount of clean up. The students hauled the debris back to school and made sculptures, which were judged as part of the graduation ceremony and community celebration. There is now a lot of left over debris, much of it metal, and Mr. Swift requested the town remove it from the school. Brian Sanderson will speak with Mr. Arlund regarding this request and will visit the school with Mr. Swift. Ethan Swift stated since the town is a long way from doing the Leicester Hollow bridge replacement; he questioned what temporary measures might be done since the trail has been open. He stated the trail systems generate revenue, but it is difficult to use without access. He noted the bridge is not in great shape, but there appears to be enough to try to replank half of it to allow for pedestrians and bicycle access. Mr. Swift also noticed on the VTrans web page that there was a bridge slated in Brandon. It was noted this had been for the Backyard Project. Mr. Swift asked if it would be worth looking at the reuse of the Bethel Bridge. Richard Baker stated the issue is one of the property owners wants the ability to haul logs across the bridge and the bridge in the warehouse is not suitable for this type of use. Devon Fuller suggested looking into that option as a temporary bridge. Mr. Swift also noted there are two Seminary Hill parcels that are going to be coming up on the auction block and he questioned if the town might consider the purchase of either property. Mr. Baker stated this action would require a 30-day warning for a special town meeting and voted on by the taxpayers, and there is not sufficient time prior to the sale. Janet Mondlak suggested the bank could be contacted if the town is interested to possibly postpone the sale until the vote could be done. Bernie Carr suggested that perhaps a private party could purchase the property and work out an arrangement with the town. Devon Fuller stated this is a good discussion, but if the town has not warned it properly, the town will need to discuss this item with the bank. It was the consensus of the board for Mr. Arlund to speak with the bank about this issue on behalf of the Select Board. Richard Baker stated the Select Board has received a request from the Brandon Independence Day Celebration Committee to use of the park and close the street in front of the Congregational Church from 4PM to 10PM on the July 6th, as well as the normal road closure on July 7th.
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to authorize the request for the park use and road closure from the Brandon Independence Day Celebration Committee. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
It was noted the Brandon Police Department and Public Works Department will coordinate with the Committee on this effort.
Janet Mondlak stated a couple of weeks ago she submitted an update on the town web site and for the most part everything is updated and departments are providing their information. Ms. Mondlak suggested the Select Board review the site to determine if it is the way they would like it, other than the routine updates that are being done, as she would like to put a closure to that piece.
Keith Arlund reported there was information received today regarding a mortgage that needs to be discharged for the Housing Trust. He noted repairs had been done and it had a deferred payback with the money flowing through the town because it was a community development block grant. Mr. Arlund requested the Select Board sign the discharge and the letter to the VCDP.
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to authorize the Town Manager to sign the necessary documents to facilitate the arrangement with VCDP and the Erastus Thayer House. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Richard Baker was concerned there is no timetable for the town office project and Mr. Arlund reiterated the specs are to be received from Mr. Ferro this week. Devon Fuller questioned if the old high school would be a better location for the town office, if the town is considering acquiring the former high school. Richard Baker questioned where the money will come from if the town is considering the purchasing the old high school in addition to reconstructing the town offices. Mitch Pearl stated if the town did buy the old high school, which is not being considered at this point, it would be many years in the future. Keith Arlund stated there have been some minor modifications for the first and second floor of the town office as far as layout that will accommodate handicap accessibility. Dave Atherton felt it is still worth fixing the existing building. Maria Ammatuna stated to date the listers have not been consulted and she heard they might be slotted for the second floor. Keith Arlund stated he has no plans to move the listers to the town office and they will remain where they are.
10. Possible Executive Session (If Needed)
No executive session was held.
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to adjourn the Select Board meeting at 8:49PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.