Braintree Selectboard Meeting
July 21, 2015
David Atkinson, Selectboard Member Lou Helmuth, Resident
Linda Doane, Selectboard Member Linda Thresher Grimes, Interested in WWI Memorial
Paul Kendall, Selectboard Member Janice Thresher, Resident
Loren Bent, Selectboard Member Julia Haupt, Resident
Tim Caulfield, Selectboard Chair Rob Townsend, American Consulting Eng. & Surveyor
Brian Jones, Resident
Holly Jarvis, Admin. Assistant
Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman
Jessie Brassard, Treasurer/Town Clerk/DTC
Mr. Caulfield called the meeting to order at 6pm.
The board reviewed the agenda. They added an update regarding ECFiber, Mr. Rea’s offer of an easement for emergency access purposes, and the Zoning Administrator position.
- Rob Townsend of American Engineering was invited to come and discuss how his company could assist in the gravel pit selection, and permitting process. He and the board discussed how gravel pit permitting works, and what he would do, if hired, as an initial review of the sites being proposed.
- On motion of Mr. Caulfield, seconded by Ms. Doane, the board unanimously approved the minutes of July 7, 2015, as corrected.
- Grimes asked about the exit 4 project. The Braintree Planning Commission had looked into the Act 250 preceding. Braintree isn’t directly impacted by the project therefor Braintree did not seek party status.
- Haupt asked about the Town’s policy regarding how the money from the sale of scrap metal is used. Currently there is not a written policy, but the highway crew has been allowed to use the money received from scrap metal to purchase tools for the garage. On motion of Mr. Kendall, seconded by Ms. Doane, the board unanimously approved the policy directing that the funds received from the sale of miscellaneous metals be used to purchase tools for the highway department with the appropriate records kept to the satisfaction of the auditors.
- Haupt advised that there is someone who has been setting off fireworks quite a lot in the neighborhood. After looking into what can be done about it, she has found out that it is possible that Selectboard could have given them a permit for the fireworks. The board advised that they have not given out any permits to set off fireworks. Therefore it is illegal for anyone to do so in Braintree currently, and she should call the State Police if it continues to be a problem.
- Haupt asked when the chloride tanks will be going back inside the ‘salt shed,’ now that it is finished. It was discussed. Mr. Masterson was not planning on putting them back in the building. He was planning on storing some equipment in the building instead of the tanks. The salt storage is partitioned off from the rest of the building and should not cause added problems with the equipment. Ms. Haupt is concerned that the tanks will leak and cause damage to the town office, and she also was wondering if they are fully on the town property or if they are partly over the boundary line. Mr. Masterson will look into the questions, and options.
- Semi-Annual Report of the Fire Advisory Rep. – Tut Doane. Ms. Doane provided the report on his behalf. There were no fire calls in Braintree this last month. The fire department completed a site visit for the five lot subdivision off 12A, they were happy with plans.
- Treasurer’s Report
- The financials were not presented at this meeting. In preparations for the audit the professional auditors were being asked some questions about the beginning balances. Ms. Brassard did some general journal entries to correct the beginning balances and it looks like some end of the year adjustments need to be made before everything will be in the right places. Therefore the financials are not clear at the moment.
- On motion of Mr. Kendall, seconded by Mr. Caulfield, the board unanimously accept the tax rate calculation as presented, setting the tax rates at 2.2308 for residential and 2.2920 for non-residential. The residential rate went down .065 and the non-residential rate went down .025 this year from last year. Only three property’s need to go to tax sale currently.
- Highway Report: The Lemery Road project has started. The Town has received the Connecticut Corners Road grant from Better Back Roads.
- Jarvis attended a training for the Road System Management Software (RSMS). It is a budgeting and planning program for road systems. Ms. Jarvis advised that it looks like it would be really good at helping those who are planning to consider which road projects are the most important to complete, and help estimate costs, along with being a good tool to track past expenditures. This program would make it easy for the details behind the budget numbers to be reviewed. The board was invited to stop by the office and take a look at the sample program. The program would cost $150.00. It will be discussed again at another meeting.
- Gravel pit update: On motion of Mr. Atkinson, seconded by Ms. Doane, the board unanimously approved asking Mr. Townsend for a written scope of work for the initial review of the possible gravel pits sites.
- Old Snowsville Hotel Update. The TV’s still need to be removed. Mr. Lothrop’s report has not arrived yet.
- The board talked briefly about the legislation affecting ECFiber and will look over the information they were given. It will be discussed at the next meeting. The board also talked about the progress of the installation of the dark fiber line in Braintree. Fairpoint is holding up the process, by not processing “get [the poles] ready” requests which will allow the dark fiber line installation to be completed, they should have been processed a number of months ago. On motion of Mr. Atkinson, seconded by Ms. Doane, the board unanimously approved writing a letter of complaint to the Vermont Public Service Board. Caulfield will write the letter.
- Caulfield advised that he took a look at the power consumption of the garage/office. He is not concerned that the electricity usage is up slightly (about .08%). He expects that changing out the lights at the garage reduced the usage by about 6-7% but the modines which were installed and the highway department’s new electric welder is likely balancing out the reduction.
- The board discussed the progress of the Stagecoach Road. Kendall will talk with the Conservation Trust and Mr. Simpson.
- Moving the monument at North Road was discussed. It is a World War II memorial, which was donated to the Town. Masterson had asked about moving it, so that North Road could be changed over to a straight intersection instead of a Y. Mr. Atkinson had measured from the centerline of Route 12A to the monument, it is 18 ft. He pointed out that there isn’t space there to hold a service, nor is the monument noticeable where it is. He thinks it should be moved to the Town Hall, replacing the rock out front next to the tree. Ms. Haupt, and Ms. Thresher feel strongly that it should stay where it currently is. It will stay where it is at this point.
- Zoning Administrator (ZA) update. There was not a quorum at the Planning Commission meeting, so nothing could be done to fill the ZA position. Mr. Bristow is willing to continue in the position for up to 3 months.
- There was no new information about Paul Rea’s offer of an emergency right of way.
- On motion of Mr. Caulfield, seconded by Mr. Kendall, the board unanimously approved the solid waste ordinance as presented.
- Doane mentioned that her ability to receive email has become more unreliable, she receives some but not others. So she is requesting that people call her if something important comes up, and to remember not to send attachments to her.
- The board thanked Mr. Atkinson for his service on the board. He will be missed. The closing on his house is tomorrow therefore he will no longer be a resident and cannot be on the board. It was noted that if someone is interested in filling the position they should write a letter to the board getting it to Ms. Jarvis before the 31st.
On motion of Mr. Kendall, seconded by Mr. Atkinson, the board unanimously approved the payment orders.
On motion of Mr. Atkinson, seconded by Mr. Kendall, the board voted unanimously to go into executive session for a discussion about employee pay raises.
Upon coming out of executive session, on motion of Mr. Kendall, seconded by Mr. Atkinson the board unanimously approved the salary increases as presented at this meeting, retroactive to July 1st.
On motion of Mr. Caulfield, seconded by Mr. Atkinson, the board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 8:13 pm.