Brandon Select Board Meeting
October 22, 2012
NOTE: These are unapproved minutes, subject to amendment and/or approval at the subsequent board meeting.
In Attendance: Devon Fuller, Richard Baker, Dave Atherton, Ethan Swift, Mitch Pearl
Also in Attendance: Keith Arlund, Chris Brickell, Brian Sanderson, Blane Cliver, Kathy Rausenberger, Wayne Rausenberger, Lee Kahrs, Gary Meffe, Bernie Carr, Alan Leavitt, Charlie Rivers, Dick Kirby, Stephen Beck, Tina Wiles, George Wetmore, Maria Ammatuna, Anna Scheck, Seth Hopkins, Kevin Thornton, Terry Kline, Lisa Kenyon, Laura King, Janet Mondlak, Alex Ford, Sam Stone, Kelly McCullough, Alyssa Tallman, Jim Emerson
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Devon Fuller, Chair.
a) Agenda Adoption – Motion by Ethan Swift/Mitch Pearl to adopt the agenda as presented. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
2. Consent Agenda
a) Approval of Minutes – October 8, 2012 – Select Board
Motion by Dave Atherton/Ethan Swift to approve the minutes of the October 8, 2012 Select Board Meeting with the following corrections. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
On Page 4 under Old/Other Business, a change from Stone Environmentalist to Stone Environmental.
On Page 1, the $4,000.00 invoice was for the installation of the lights, not the light fixtures, for the town hall.
a) Warrant – October 22, 2012 – $88,842.31
Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to approve the warrants of October 22, 2012 in the amount of $88,842.31. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
b) Consider Community Restitution Work Programs Contract (mowing)
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Dave Atherton to approve the Community Restitution Work Program contract for mowing. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Keith Arlund reported this is a fixed-price contract for three years. Ethan Swift questioned the areas the contract includes and Mr. Arlund advised it includes the town parks, the Police Department, the cemetery near the church in town, the area around the town office, the green space adjacent to Café Provence, Estabrook Park and other grass strips that are in the town. Keith Arlund stated the schools are done by another contractor, as the individuals in this program are not allowed on school property. Mr. Arlund stated Gus Letourneau provides the Recreation Department a discounted rate for this work.
4. Scheduled Reports from Committees and Officials
There was no discussion held.
5. Town Manager’s Report
Keith Arlund stated the final estimate for the town office has been received and there is a meeting scheduled with the Design Team at the Fire Station. Mr. Arlund has requested proposals, with a November 1st deadline, from a couple of engineering firms for flood proofing measures for the town office. Bob Tinker has completed the Churchill Road survey. The information will be provided to the property owners and the hearing will be rescheduled. With regard to the Paynter Hearing of October 15th, Mr. Arlund will continue to work with Mr. Reisenweaver. Mr. Arlund reported the Negotiation meeting is scheduled for October 29th at the Rescue Squad building.
6. Public Works Report
Brian Sanderson reported the Department has been working on normal routine operations and maintenance. There has been 20 feet of sewer main replaced along the East side of Seminary Street, as the sewer main had been compromised. Ethan Swift questioned the status of the four-way stop information for Park Street. Keith Arlund has sent this information to engineering firms, but has not received any data back. Mr. Arlund will also be discussing the crash data with Chief Brickell. Devon Fuller noted the town needs to cover all bases with the state on this item. Mr. Meffe stated he saw a near accident in this area and does not understand why a stop sign can’t be installed in this area. Mr. Fuller agreed, but indicated the town needs to be sure the data is reviewed by a traffic engineer. Mr. Arlund stated the guidelines put forth by the state indicated a traffic study needed to be conducted and the data then has to be reviewed by a traffic engineer to come up with a warrant suggesting there is a need for the stop sign. Mitch Pearl stated if the town does not go through the process properly, the stop sign is not enforceable, which would allow the ordinance to be challenged. In order for it to be enforceable, it has to be based on a traffic study. Mr. Pearl also noted as strongly as some feel there needs to be a stop sign, there are some that are strongly opposed to it and not everyone agrees there should be a 4-way stop sign in this location. Terry Kline questioned how there could be a sign placed there during Irene and Mr. Fuller noted that was due to an emergency situation, with traffic having to be rerouted. Mr. Fuller asked Mr. Arlund to give the engineering firm a deadline for a response. Ethan Swift asked if it was explored that the intersection was dangerous. Chief Brickell reported he has researched back five years and there have been three crashes in the area, but not at the actual intersection. He agreed there have been a lot of near-misses, but there have not been many accidents. Chief Brickell agrees it is wise to follow the traffic study.
7. Town Infrastructure
a) FY14 General Fund Budget and Select Board Guidance
Keith Arlund received confirmation from the state for the change in the project worksheet for Briggs Lane that increases the funding by $17,300.00 for debris removal. The state is still considering the project worksheet for the Kennedy Park retaining wall. There is work that is needed to be done and could be impacted by the retaining wall. The town is looking to FEMA for additional funding for more engineering, as there are property line issues. Mr. Arlund reported with regard to Segment 6, VHB and CLD have the notice to proceed on the water line and the ASR 7 and ASR 8 for the water line is proceeding. The appraisal RFQ is in review and will be sent out this week and the right of way documents are under review now. The revised scope of work and the first phase of Bridge 114 have been reviewed by VHB and VTrans. Mr. Arlund stated the Board should discuss during executive session the contractual issues in order to approve the contract and notice to proceed. Phase A will be the hydraulic study and there are several other work items involved. Phase B will be the final documents and Phase C will be the construction. With regard to the Maple Street issue, Markowski is working with their vendor to get the paving done this season.
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to approve the contract in amount of $60,760.00 for Phase A of Bridge 114 engineering services.
Ethan Swift noted there are some inaccuracies in the scope of work that needs clarification regarding the Bridge 114 contract and he would not be inclined to approve it at this point. Mitch Pearl stated if it is matter of policy, the Board needs to discuss the items, however, if it is technicalities, Mr. Arlund could take care of them. Ethan Swift stated he does not agree with approving a contract that has inaccuracies. Devon Fuller asked if all corrections that had been discussed have been approved and Mr. Arlund noted they have been discussed. Devon Fuller expressed concern this is the second contract being brought for Board approval that is inaccurate. Keith Arlund stated the town relies on the Project Manager to do a lot of this work, but he would be glad to sit with Ethan Swift and discuss the stream work with him. Ethan Swift asked if there is an expectation that there will be revisions to the contract in getting it approved as a final agreement. Mr. Swift noted he would like to review the contract prior to approving it.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Dave Atherton to table the motion to obtain a revised contract.
Mr. Baker did not think the Board could wait another two weeks, as two to three weeks is very vital to the Route 7 project. This action will trigger the survey team and Mr. Baker feels it is irresponsible on the Board’s part to delay in approving this contract. Ethan Swift stated the Board could approve it, based on revisions to be accepted.
Mitch Pearl withdrew the motion to table the original motion.
Ethan Swift made a friendly amendment to the original motion with the approval being contingent upon the Board’s corrections to the contract that are in the best interest of the town.
Mr. Swift stated the town is the client and it is our future at stake. It is worth getting the contract right and with VHB and CLD as vendors, he hopes the Board would get work plans to review. Mr. Arlund stated this is the 3rd revision and if there are technical issues with the H & H study, those can be corrected in a timely manner. Devon Fuller stated the Board needs to be included as part of the players. Mitch Pearl stated the Board relies on the staff to prepare the documents and he felt that it is unworkable for the Board to get every draft along the way. Mr. Swift indicated the Board should not be receiving documents with technical flaws and inaccuracies. Mr. Baker was uncomfortable with this situation due to the fact the document had been approved by VTrans. Mr. Fuller felt this document should have been received sooner.
The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Ethan Swift congratulated Mr. Arlund for his work in obtaining approval for additional funding for the Briggs Lane work. Keith Arlund stated Brian Sanderson is working with Wilk to shore up and move the edge of Route 7 as it now exists. This will allow the jersey barriers to be moved to open up Briggs Lane. Jim Carroll continues to work on the Poirier issue.
Devon Fuller questioned if ASR 7 and ASR 8 are completed and approved. Keith Arlund reported approval has been received, however, the cooperative agreement amendment is still outstanding. CLD can start the work, but they cannot get paid until the amendment is completed. Mr. Fuller requested Mr. Arlund stay in touch with CLD so that they do not start designing and working on it, as he wants to be sure the Downtown Brandon Alliance Committee is in communication with CLD. The Committee can work as an agent of the town if they are so inclined. Mr. Baker stated an entity that is not part of the town is totally unacceptable and Mr. Arlund is the only agent of the town that is authorized. Mr. Fuller questioned who did the design for the Green Park. Mr. Arlund advised the plans were done in-house, as an outside vendor was estimated at $43,000.00 and was out of the realm of the town’s budget. There was input received from Markowski, Jack Bowen Construction and Bagley Construction.
a) FY14 General Fund Budget and Select Board Guidance
Keith Arlund proposed obtaining general input from the Board on areas they would like to target. He noted information is coming in from external sources, with Blue Cross Blue Shield indicating a likely increase of 9% to the current health insurance premium. Liability insurance is based on experienced rating and will be a 15% to 20% increase. The cost of living increase as of August is 2.27% for urban wage earners. This has been the figure used in past iterations and will be confirmed in contract discussions. Mr. Arlund noted entry level salary for the Highway Department is $13.57 per hour and depending on the insurance plan chosen, is somewhere between $42,000.00 and $52,000.00 per year. Brian Sanderson has worked up capital items and has been asked to prioritize his department’s needs over five years. For capital purchases, the town has been using the five-year municipal lease, which has very low interest rates. Mr. Arlund stated if there is consideration in obtaining a new loader, the price range is $200,000.00 to $250,000.00 for new equipment. Mr. Arlund noted if the Board has areas that they would like considered, he welcomed their comments.
Mitch Pearl stated the level of staffing in the Public Works Department is an area to discuss. He would like to know if this department is adequately staffed and if not what the budget implications would be to properly staff it. He stated this is a big priority to be sure the staffing levels are correct. Mr. Pearl would like input from Keith Arlund and Brian Sanderson on this subject.
Richard Baker stated the budget has been almost level-funded the past few years and the Board should take a serious look at what the budget should look like and determine what the affect would be. Devon Fuller requested Mr. Arlund also include a review of the streetlights in the budget. Mr. Arlund stated there is a formula available and he will confirm it with Green Mountain Power. Mr. Fuller felt it is worth looking at replacing the lights, at least a few at a time. Mr. Fuller also noted the Police Department’s garage had been a topic of discussion for the budget and he requested Mr. Arlund review this item. Ethan Swift stated the Board had discussed having a capital budget plan to assess longer-term needs and requested the staff determine what those needs are so that the Board has knowledge of where funds will be required. He noted the town may be able to do some grant writing for funding of some of the items. Tina Wiles stated the Planning Commission is working on a plan. Mr. Arlund stated much of the equipment is far beyond its life expectancy. Richard Baker stated it is best to have a complete plan to review to determine how to move forward. Maria Ammatuna asked when department budgets are due. Keith Arlund advised he has been working with the department heads, however, there has not been a firm date set. Terry Kline suggested including a better program for emptying the trash barrels.
8. Citizen’s Public Forum
George Wetmore questioned if there are any plans for hiring in the Public Works Department. Devon Fuller stated this cannot be answered until after the budget discussions take place.
Bernie Carr questioned the status of the old barn on Nickerson Road. Mr. Arlund has not heard anything from the owners yet on this subject.
Wayne Rausenberger questioned with the ASR’s being complete, at what point is the Select Board going to take a stand as to whether the Design Committee will be working with CLD and VHB on the project. Mr. Rausenberger stated the Committee has spent a lot of time on this project and the Board needs to decide whether this can be done or not. The Design Committee’s intent was not to delay the project, but to improve what is out there. He would like to know whether the Design Committee can proceed, or whether to stop working on it. Mitch Pearl would like some clarification on the procedural posture of doing this, as he is not sure that Mr. Rausenberger is properly stating the position. Mr. Pearl stated the new ASR’s have been approved, but he does not understand that this Board needs to be approving something else. Keith Arlund stated when the overall approval came back, it was the same caveats and there was $79,000.00 included to review the changes suggested. Mr. Arlund stated CLD has offered to hold a meeting sometime in mid-November to discuss the changes that would include the Select Board, staff, the Downtown Business Alliance and engineers. Mr. Fuller asked if the Board would like to direct the town manager to schedule a meeting to include the Downtown Business Alliance to make sure we are on track. Mr. Baker noted this is a small group of people that are oriented on specific ideas and this Board has to think about all of the voters in the town. Mitch Pearl stated it is his understanding the additional funding is for the engineers to determine which changes would work and whether it would trigger problems with the project. Richard Baker stated a follow-on conversation should be held, as there had been no discussion since the August 15th meeting. Mr. Baker stated there are some things that can be adjusted now, rather than further on in the project. How the work is done around the park should be discussed sooner rather than later. Mr. Arlund noted he can set the date for the meeting. Blane Cliver stated since the August meeting, there have been several public meetings held and more ideas have been generated to present to CLD. Mr. Cliver had not heard about a mid-November meeting and asked if some of the other ideas could be discussed at the November meeting. Devon Fuller suggested the Design Committee submit their additional information to CLD. Keith Arlund stated to his knowledge, they are prepared to discuss the items that were submitted previously. Richard Baker stated there are some items that are critical to the job and some items that could be discussed with the construction contract. Jim Emerson attended the Downtown Business Alliance meeting and he feels the Committee has a lot to offer to better the town and he encouraged the Board to take up their suggestions with the state. Mr. Emerson stated the Committee has brought a lot of professional input that will benefit the town. Kevin Thornton stated the Board needs to consider the recommendations, noting he does not feel the town has to rush into a decision. Mr. Rausenberger stated CLD has a list of items to review and there are also some other items that have been brought to the Design Committee’s attention. Devon Fuller stated changes could not be made to the ASR 7, as it has been approved. Mr. Rausenberger stated it would have been helpful to have known what was on the list. Richard Baker stated within the budget, he does feel there is room for substitutions and that is why CLD would like to meet. Mitch Pearl stated, in his opinion, he would like for the town manager to keep the Select Board on track with this project.
9. Old/Other Business
Mitch Pearl noted the Board received a letter from Mr. Scheck regarding Mill Lane. Mr. Pearl stated people should know the reason the Board has made the decision to cease plowing Mill Lane is due to the fact it is not a town road.
Ethan Swift questioned whether the Board needed to motion to close Route 7 for the Halloween parade.
Motion by Ethan Swift/Richard Baker to close Route 7 for the Halloween parade route on October 31st. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
The Department of Health will be holding public meetings for expanding surveillance, testing and control efforts to prevent EEE and West Nile virus. Keith Arlund asked the town’s health officer to request the OV auditorium for Brandon’s meeting. The meetings will also be held in Leicester, Sudbury and Whiting.
Richard Baker stated the next Select Board meeting is scheduled for Veteran’s Day and the second meeting will be the Monday after the town office is closed for four days. Mr. Baker suggested changing the meeting dates to November 5th and 19th. The Board was in agreement with the changes in the meeting schedule for November.
It was noted that Karen Lynch’s term on the Revolving Loan Fund Committee expired on June 30th and a reappointment is needed.
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to appoint Karen Lynch to the Revolving Loan Fund Committee for a term ending June 30, 2015. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Devon Fuller reported the Neshobe School Board has agreed to the Memorandum of Agreement between the town and the school for the emergency generator.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Ethan Swift to approve the Memorandum of Agreement for the emergency generator located at Neshobe School. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Ethan Swift to recess the Select Board meeting to convene as the Board of Sewer Commissioners at 8:15PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
The Select Board reconvened at 8:28PM.
Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to enter into executive session at 8:29PM for the purpose of discussing a personnel matter, to initially include the Town Manager. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.
10. Possible Executive Session – Contracts/Personnel (If Needed)
The Board came out of executive session at 9:13PM. There were no actions required.
Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to adjourn the Select Board meeting at 9:15PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.