Select Board

Brandon Select Board Meeting    

September 10, 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, Maria Ammatuna, Brian Sanderson, Seth Hopkins, Anna Scheck, Blaine Cliver, Kathy Rausenberger, Wayne Rausenberger, Olga Hopkins, Lee Kahrs, Nancy Meffe, Gary Meffe, Bernie Carr, Dolores Furnari, Allan Leavitt, Judy Bunde, Bill Moore, George Wetmore


1.  Call to order


The meeting was called to order at 7:01PM by Devon Fuller, Chair.

a) Agenda AdoptionMotion by Mitch Pearl/Devon Fuller to adopt the agenda as presented. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero. 


2.  Consent Agenda


a) Approval of Minutes – August 27, 2012 – Select Board


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the minutes of the August 27, 2012 Select Board Meeting. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


b)  Consider VLCT Annual Business Meeting Delegate Designation


Devon Fuller stated the VLCT Annual business meeting will be held on Thursday, October 4th at the Champlain Fairgrounds. A recommendation was made for Richard Baker to be the voting delegate for the Town of Brandon at the annual meeting.


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Devon Fuller to approve the designation of Richard Baker as the Town of Brandon delegate at the VLCT annual meeting. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


b) Errors and Omissions


Richard Baker recommended approving the first two errors and omissions for McDonnell and Miner. Mr. Baker noted the error and omission for Jonathan Blake is incorrect because Mr. Blake actually lives in Salisbury.


Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to approve the errors and omissions for the first two properties noted. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


3.  Fiscal


a) Warrant – September 10, 2012 – $60,543.23

Richard Baker requested approval of the warrant in the amount of $61,021.69, which supports the memo included in the Select Board packet. Anna Scheck advised the invoices came in when she was out of the office.  She wanted to include the invoices in this evening’s warrant approvals because one invoice was from last month and one was for an interest payment.


Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to approve the warrants of September 10, 2012 in the amount of $61,021.69. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


b) Consider Survey Authorization to Tinker Surveys for Churchill Road


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the survey authorization to Tinker Surveys for the Churchill Road dated August 3, 2012 for an amount not to exceed $6,000.00. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


Richard Baker seconded the motion with the friendly amendment that the motion indicate a “not to exceed” amount of $6,000.00. Devon Fuller stated he had a discussion with the Town Manager whether the cost was excessive.  Keith Arlund advised this was estimated on the ¼ mile they previously had done.  Mr. Arlund has encouraged the surveyor to work with Tim Gibbud.  There was a question as to when this document had been received and Mr. Arlund advised he received this shortly before he left on vacation.  He noted there was an estimate of $15,000.00 from another surveyor, which is the reason the town is going with Tinker Surveys.


c) Consider Agreement with NEMRC for Assistance to Listers


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the agreement between the Town of Brandon and NEMRC for assistance to the listers. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.


Keith Arlund stated this item was discussed with the listers during budget discussions and it was known there would be an increase; however, the contract had not been received at that time. The cost had been agreed upon with the vendor; however, he is since working with NEMRC, but this did not affect the price. Richard Baker stated he is now billing in advance and Ms. Furnari noted this has always been an advanced billing.


d)  Consider Agreement with Russell Graphics for Tax Map Maintenance


Richard Baker suggested this item be deferred until Mr. Swift is present, as he had provided additional information. Keith Arlund stated two years ago there had been discussion about mapping and he believes additional work has already been done at a cost of around $700.00.  Mitch Pearl questioned why this item is coming before the Select Board now since this is a two-year contract from January 2012 to January 2014 and was apparently signed by Russell Graphics in January. Richard Baker stated the work has been paid for and this is a renewal contract for next year. Maria Ammatuna noted there was talk about a digital copy and questioned if this has been received.


Motion by Richard Baker/Dave Atherton to table the discussion of this item until Mr. Swift is present. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero.  


Discussion continued when Mr. Swift arrived. Mr. Arlund thought this item had previously been taken care of.  Ethan Swift stated his email questioned what was in the proposal. Mr. Swift was under the impression Mr. Russell was paid to convert the maps from paper to digital. He stated Tina Wiles uses this software and it would be helpful to have this information in a digital format. Mr. Swift did not see that the shape files had been provided and if Mr. Russell has the technology to provide this information as polygons, this would be very useful.  Mr. Swift stated this would provide acreage and other useful information. Mr. Baker stated it would be useful to be able to acquire the information anywhere that has the Internet. Ethan Swift stated with the GIS programing, other layers could be added to the database, such as wetlands. If Mr. Russell is being retained to provide information on the maps, the town should be receiving the information digitized. Keith Arlund stated there had been a proposal for Mr. Russell to provide the digitized information and he will discuss this matter with Mr. Russell. It was noted if Mr. Russell has questions, he can contact Mr. Swift. Mitch Pearl stated as the technology has improved, tax maps are looking more like surveys, but they have no legal significance as far as boundaries.  Mr. Pearl stated in terms of what is available to the public, the GSI is already publically accessible, however, what is currently being discussed are the files that Mr. Russell should be providing to the town staff for its use. Devon Fuller stated this item needs to be postponed until Mr. Arlund has the opportunity to contact Russell Graphics to determine whether the town is going to receive the information that is being requested. Blaine Cliver stated this is a great idea, but as a tax payer, he asked that it be put on the town web site for public use.


4. Scheduled Reports from Committees and Officials


.  Recreation Administrative Director


Bill Moore expressed his gratitude for all of the community help and assistance from the town staff that he has received with the Recreation Department. Mr. Moore also wished to thank Shawn Smith, the former Recreation Administrator, for all of his help. Mr. Moore provided an overview of the Recreation activities that included: 27 children attended a Baseball Camp at OV, 18 children attended a Neshobe Basketball Camp, and 37 children attended swimming lessons that were held at the Brandon Inn.  Mr. Moore wished to thank Louis and Sarah Pattis for the use of their pool. Currently, 115 children are in the Youth Soccer Program, which is for children in Kindergarten through 6th grade.  There are five sponsored teams and two game fields that are being used.  There are 17 children participating in a Flag Football Program that is participating in the Middlebury Flag Football League and is coached by Doug Whitney. There are 31 children participating on a Tackle Football Team. Mr. Moore reported the schedules will be posted on line and he hopes to hold a community forum at the end of the month to solicit ideas for programs.  It is Mr. Moore’s intent to develop some adult programming as well. Dave Atherton reported he has recently heard a lot of good comments about the Recreation Department and Devon Fuller read an email he received complimenting the new Recreation Program. Terry Kline suggested installing signs at Seminary Street playground encouraging people not to litter.  Mr. Moore will look into this situation.


5.  Town Manager’s Report                                                                                                                                                                           

Keith Arlund reported Mike Yendell will not be available to bid on the town office project. Mr. Arlund has contacted Naylor & Breen Builders, who provided names of two estimators who may be able to do the work. Mr. Arlund has compiled and filed the Municipal Bond Bank information for the Police Department and there has been a change in the interest rates, which could be a potential savings. On September 18th and 19th, Ladue Masonry will be doing the work on the retaining wall. The Bruce Paynter petition will be posted and published for the October 15th Select Board meeting.  Mr. Arlund noted it is his understanding that the town office will remain where it originally was, but there had been discussion of flood mitigation.  Ethan Swift stated if the hydraulic study indicates the town needs to increase the hydraulics in the river and alleviate the burden through Bridge 114, it may be necessary to increase the capacity of the flow. This could end up being a several year project and Mr. Swift is worried how this will affect the timeline of Bridge 114 and whether this will be something the town can afford to do. It the town is not able to increase the hydraulic capacity from the H & H study; it is putting the town’s records in harm’s way and he questions if this location should be used as the town office.  Dave Atherton understands this concern, however, he noted the Town of Wilmington had a similar issue from the storm and they have moved back into their offices and suggested someone could contact them to discuss this issue with them. Richard Baker stated the town does not have control of the space between the town’s building and the adjoining building and does not see the benefit of obtaining an estimate to install an elevator that may never come to fruition. Mitch Pearl stated there have been several conversations about this subject and he would like to see a cost estimate and alternatives to consider. He does not see that the town offices have to be in that location, but something does need to be done, as it is a town-owned building. Devon Fuller stated there is a set of plans that have been drawn up and Mr. Yendell was to provide a cost estimate, however, the town does not have to renovate the entire building.  A portion of the building could be repaired and other options could be discussed in the future. Mr. Fuller stated the town owns this building and the design people have put countless hours into this project, and he feels the town should move forward with the estimators. Keith Arlund will get together with Max and will provide the information to as many professional estimators that he can within the next couple of days. Ethan Swift agreed with Mitch Pearl that there should be some other alternatives to consider, but as an interim measure, the repair of the town office is necessary. From the H & H study, it will be determined what can be done for the future. Judy Bunde asked if there is information on the reimbursement from FEMA and the insurance. Keith Arlund stated all documentation has been submitted to date, but a complete estimate will not be known until it is determined what is required for the cost of the improvements. The final numbers are needed for repair of the first floor and there will need to be some structural repairs done to the second floor to bring this area to code.  Wayne Rausenberger questioned the status of the HKydrology and Hydraulic study.  Devon Fuller advised this is being done by the state. Keith Arlund stated CLD and VHB are working on the scope of the bridge work for BR114 that includes the H & H study. Allan Leavitt appreciates the effort to protect the town records and noted there were many records moved from the town office to the town hall and suggested another location should be used that is higher and dryer to secure the records.


6. Public Works Report


Brian Sanderson stated the Park Street traffic monitoring is complete and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission will compile the data and submit it to the town. The Briggs walkway is complete and he wished to thank Naylor & Breen Builders. A small section of the Champlain Street sidewalk will be removed and done on Wednesday. The winter sand deliveries have arrived. Mr. Sanderson has erected a “Bridge Closed, Walk at Your Own Risk” sign at the entrance to the Churchill Bridge. With regard to wastewater, they have cleaned out the sediment and three loads of sludge have been removed. Dave Atherton asked if the Churchill Bridge is going to be replanked. Brian Sanderson had emailed the Select Board about the cost to do this project. Devon Fuller stated this project is in limbo until the survey is completed. Keith Arlund advised the truss bridge is owned by the Snowmobile Club and they will be discussing with their membership whether they want the truss bridge back.  There had been a discussion of cutting it up and removing it, but it is not owned by the town. It was noted the VAST system does not have access to cross Route 73 or the rest of Gibbud’s property. Dave Atherton stated the area for the lower bridge is smaller and would not require as much for replanking; and it would be beneficial for them to take the truss bridge. Mr. Arlund will contact the Snowmobile Club to obtain an answer as to whether they will be removing the truss bridge. Mitch Pearl stated if they are willing to quick claim it over to the town if they do not want it; then the project could continue. Devon Fuller requested Mr. Arlund advise Mr. Atherton of the Snowmobile Club’s response. Devon Fuller noted they have spray painted the sidewalk on Park Street that is going to be worked on and it appears to be more area than required. Brian Sanderson will confirm this area with Naylor & Breen Builders. Devon Fuller has had a discussion with property owners on Maple Street and they are still having water back-up and it is not draining after heavy rains. They are upset as this was happening before the project was done and after allowing the project to move forward, they were under the impression the water would drain better. Brian Sanderson has viewed the sites and has cleaned out the basins; however, there may be some residual water. George Wetmore stated after the last rainstorm, there was water over the street. Mr. Sanderson noted with these types of rains, it is difficult for the drains to hold this much water. Mr. Fuller stated there is a concern about what will happen this winter. Mr. Sanderson will speak with Markowski again to see if there could be another solution for this area; however, there is a constraint due to the shallow collection system. Mr. Fuller requested an update regarding the drain north of the Shell Station and Mr. Sanderson stated this issue is being addressed. Blaine Cliver asked when the sidewalk work on Park Street will begin. Mr. Sanderson expects it to begin within the next week. He will solidify the date and post it on the web site. Terry Kline asked about the crosswalk on Park Street. Devon Fuller stated the numbers from the survey are supposed to be received by September 15th and the Select Board will review the data and make a decision by the end of the month.


7.  Town Infrastructure


Keith Arlund stated Mike Yendell will not be able to work the town office project into his schedule. Mr. Arlund will move forward in finding another vendor to give a formal estimate.  The town has, on occasion, bid projects prior to getting an estimate, but that is not the best practice. Mr. Arlund questioned how the Board would like him to proceed, as there had been some discussion of alternatives.  Richard Baker suggested deferring the conversation until Mr. Swift arrives.


Keith Arlund reported he met with Todd Meneese and Jaron Borg of Stream Alterations concerning the Kennedy and Green Parks. They are prepared to draft a permit to address the retaining wall. Brian Sanderson and Mr. Arlund are working on an RFP for both parks. The permitting for Kennedy Park is complete and they will work on the information from CLD.  It is not thought that a permit will be required for the retaining wall in Green Park. The work will be done on the bank and will not require work in the stream. The Kennedy Park sewer will be the second FEMA project. The town has some preliminary figures, but the state is still requesting the town dig up the timber cribbing wall, but this would jeopardize the entire park. The town would like to add some timber cribbing or concrete and gravel. Mr. Arlund stated another issue with Kennedy Park is what to do with the steps; whether to close off the area or repair the steps, as FEMA will not cover the steps.  Mr. Arlund stated the steps can be repaired and a handrail can be added, but he needs direction from the Select Board. Richard Baker stated any repairs to the steps would not be ADA compliant. Mitch Pearl would like to see alternate plans presented, with cost estimates and some sketches, which would allow the Board to make a decision. Mr. Baker stated one of the issues is if the area is going to be ADA compliant, it will need to be pushed into the parking lot or pushed out into the park. If government money is going to be used, it will need to be upgraded. Dave Atherton stated it does not seem like it is a huge job to get the steps usable. It was noted there is now wheelchair accessibility to the building from another area.  Devon Fuller stated the town could clean out the area, fix the bank at the top edge and install handrails on the steps; and it would be much less costly than tearing out the steps. Keith Arlund reported the claims are in and the town has received the federal funding to fix the park.  Mr. Fuller stated the town needs to repair what it can and requested Mr. Arlund to provide the cost for adding the handrail, cleaning up the area and repairing the steps. The parking lot could then be utilized by employees to allow the street parking for customers. Mr. Arlund stated the corner can be brought back to pre-storm condition with the funding received. The weed growth can be removed, but the state would like to maintain the trees for bank stabilization.  The RFP’s will be sent out and he will update the Board this week on this subject.  Mr. Arlund stated they cannot get to the area of the sewer line that needs to be repaired, as it will jeopardize the entire park.  He has discussed this issue with the state and there is going to be more engineering involved for the sewer piece, which will require either a change of scope or an appeal.  Mr. Arlund stated the pavers will be the final piece of the project and if it looks like the sewer lines can’t get done, the back portion of the park can still be completed. Mitch Pearl questioned if the sewer line was a necessity for the Watershed building to be used. Mr. Arlund stated the new owners of the building have been advised the sewer line has to come out to the street. This has been tested and the dye is making it to the treatment plant. Mr. Arlund reported several people from Emergency Management are going to assist the town with this effort.


Mr. Arlund reported Briggs Lane is part federal highway funding and FEMA to the West.  The federal highway claim has dealt with the area in front of the building. Markowski had removed debris and covered the sewer lines and a claim to cover their costs was submitted and denied, and an appeal has been made.  They have 60 days to respond to the appeal. The town has reviewed the Poirier building again and there has been a suggestion to put more stone in the corner of the Poirier building to support the building.  The work can then be continued to do Briggs Lane and to protect Route 7. There water service is also being restored. Mitch Pearl stated if the town is not getting a response from Poirier, it is suggested the town advise Poirier what is going to be done via registered letter. Keith Arlund stated the town will proceed on the sewer delinquencies for a tax sale of the Poirier building.


8.  Citizen’s Public Forum


Nancy Meffe was present as a representative for the Brandon Farmers’ Market.  Ms. Meffe provided the Select Board with the letter noted below and apologized for not getting the letter to the Select Board sooner. She stated the Farmers’ Market is concerned about the Segment 6 portion of the Route 7 Project, as it relates to the town green. Ms. Meffe noted there is a need for an extensive loading and and unloading area around the park as many events, such as the Leaf People, July 4th and Farmers’ Market, use the park. The Farmers’ Market would like the Select Board to take this into consideration in having adjacent parking areas and loading/unloading zones.


“September 7, 2012


To:  The Town of Brandon Select Board


From:  Nancy Meffe on behalf of the Board and Coordinator of the Brandon Farmers’ Market


Re:  Segment 6 of the Route 7 construction project – configuration of the Town Green/Park


We are aware that two alternate design plans have been presented to the Select Board for reconfiguration of the Route 7 Segment 6 project.  As the Board moves forward to choose the final design, we respectfully request that the following be taken into account regarding design of the town green.


Every Friday morning for at least an hour and a half during market season, the town green is surrounded by a succession of vendor vehicles for the purpose of unloading and transporting into the park all the merchandise for sale as well as tents, tables, chairs, and other items.  At the end of the day, that process is reversed as everything is taken away.  Many of the items being unloaded are heavy and numerous, and several of our vendors are older citizens, so parking proximity to the town green is crucial.


The Farmers’ Market is not unique in this need for access to the town green.  Numerous events like the Chamber of Commerce auction, musical concerts, the 4th of July celebration, the summer SoarFest, the fall Leaf People project and others depend on being able to have loading and unloading access around the park.


The current design plan, now known as Plan A, reduces the park in size to a long, useless island that seems not to be an appropriate configuration for how the town green is used.  Plans B & C are vastly better, but don’t seem to take into account how the green is actually used because there are few or no parking spaces directly adjacent to the park.  If design elements of Plans B or C are adopted (which we fully support) we would urge the Select Board to take into consideration the need we have pointed out for loading and unloading space.


Respectfully submitted,


Nancy Meffe, ad hoc member of the board on behalf of the following:


Donna Hutchison, President

Debbie Kirby, Vice-President

Stacey Mincher, Secretary

Sally Wood, Treasurer

Wendy Cjika, Market Coordinator

David Cobb, Ad Hoc Member”


Maria Ammatuna stated during the last storm warning, she had been asked by a young family about the possibility of temporary shelters. Devon Fuller stated Neshobe School is one of the areas designated as an emergency shelter.  Keith Arlund noted the Brandon American Legion has also been approved for temporary use; however, they do not set up unless there is a designated number of people.   Mr. Arlund stated people should contact the American Red Cross and they will be directed where they should go.  He noted in the cases of small groups of people, he has known the Red Cross to put those people up at a hotel.


Dick Kirby wished to remind the Select Board about the registered letter he had sent to the town, due to the fact as time goes on, the violations gradually increase and he wishes to remind them of this issue. This summer there has been five vehicles that have not moved and as of today, there are eight vehicles at the residence next to him. Keith Arlund reported Tina Wiles continues to monitor this situation and she has checked for registration for the cars at this location. Mr. Kirby stated there are three cars in the driveway and two cars on the lawn that have not been moved all summer. Devon Fuller requested Mr. Arlund have Tina Wiles contact Mr. Kirby to provide him with an update.


Bernie Carr questioned the status of the Nickerson Road barn. Keith Arlund advised he will follow-up on this situation.


It was noted the postings for the Select Board meetings are incorrect, as they have the location as the BARS building.


9.  Old/Other Business (If Needed)


Richard Baker questioned if the Board has come to a consensus as to whether Form Base Coding should be done, as the deadline for the municipal planning grant is upcoming.  It was noted that Anne Bransfield has been asked to provide more information, but additional information has not been received. Mitch Pearl stated if the $3,500.00 match is not available, perhaps this project could be moved to next year. Mr. Pearl does not have enough information about Form Base Codes to determine whether it is worthwhile pursuing. The Planning Commission indicated this is something the town should pursue; however, the Select Board would like more information prior to moving forward. It was noted a brochure was received, however, it did not provide a lot of detail on the program. Ethan Swift reported it is a relatively new planning concept and he assumes they will be receiving more information as the concept evolves. He would also be reluctant to move forward with this item until it is known what other learning opportunities there are. Mitch Pearl stated given the timing, he questioned if the money would come in during 2013 and requested the Planning Commission provide more information. Keith Arlund has asked Anne Bransfield for a copy of the application and he will request additional information on the program.


Richard Baker questioned whether the Select Board should move its regularly scheduled Select Board meeting from October 8th to October 15th, since the hearing for the Paynter issue is scheduled for the 15th. Further discussion of moving the first October meeting will take place at the next meeting.


Devon Fuller received a letter from the VLCT regarding candidate forms. It was noted the Brandon Chamber usually handles this item.


Devon Fuller reported he sent an email to the Select Board members regarding employee evaluations. Mr. Fuller stated as an employer, the town should have a policy for this subject.  Keith Arlund confirmed the town does have a current policy concerning employee annual evaluations. Mr. Fuller is also concerned with employees sending letters to the editor that include their title and he would like to have a policy regarding this subject. Mr. Fuller stated if a letter is going to be sent to the editor of a newspaper, a title should not be included, however, if a title is used, the letter should be vetted by their supervisor prior to submitting the letter.


10.  Possible Executive Session – Contracts/Personnel (If Needed)


There was no executive session held.


11. Adjournment


Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to adjourn the Select Board meeting at 8:58PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero. 


Respectfully submitted,


Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary