Braintree Selectboard Meeting
July 18, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Richard Bowen, Selectboard Chair Brian Jones, Resident
Loren Bent, Selectboard Member Linda Grimes, Resident
Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member Janice Thresher, Resident
Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member Nora Skolnick, Resident
Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Member Stuart Kinney, Resident
Tom Cooch, Conservation Commission Tut Doane, Fire Advisory Rep.
Jeff Masterson, Road Commissioner Holly Jarvis, Admin. Assistant
Jessie Brassard, Treasurer & Town Clerk Jerold Kinney, from AOT
Mr. Bowen called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm.
The Board reviewed the agenda, adding the reappraisal contract.
- On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the July 5, 2017 minutes.
- Mr. Stuart Kinney suggested that the Board discontinue town roads which have one house on them.
- Fire Advisory Representative – Tut Doane advised that the contract is out to bid for the new fire station, and the new fire truck is being built. Mr. Stuart Kinney asked how much more a year Braintree will be paying after the fire station is built and the new truck purchased. Mr. Doane advised that insurance will be paying for the building and the truck. Braintree will not be required to pay more for either.
- Mr. Tom Cooch and Mr. Jerold Kinney talked to the Board about treating Knotweed. Mr. Cooch had talked to Ms. Nora Skolnick this morning, and she had come to talk with the Board about her concerns with using Roundup (or Rodeo, the commercial grade of Roundup). Mr. Cooch is proposing that the Conservation Commission revisit the discussion by talking with some biologists. He advised that they should talk with the Vermont Center for Eco Studies, asking them if eliminating Knotweed through the use of Roundup would result in a net gain regarding the goal of biodiversity. He pointed out that there are other reasons to control Knotweed. One main reason for the Town controlling knotweed is line of sight along the roadway. The plant is a fast growing one, and would have to be cut a number of times in a growing season to maintain visibility along roads where it grows. It would have to be cut quite a lot more often to eliminate a patch. Elimination through cutting would take at least ten years of vigilant cutting. Plus small pieces of the plant can take root, so mechanical cutting will cause the problem to spread, so it would have to be cut by hand. Ms. Skolnick explained her concerns about Roundup/Rodeo to the Board. There was discussion about a number of studies. It is also too late to get a permit in time to treat the knotweed while it is flowering this year. Ms. O’Toole proposed that the Conservation Commission take the available time to do some more research. They should look at the research that Ms. Skolnick suggested, and do the analysis that Mr. Cooch suggested, bringing back to the Board a recommendation this fall. That way there will be time to get a permit next spring if using Rodeo seems like the best option.
- The Board reviewed the Financial Report. Overall it looks like last year’s expenses will be roughly $3,000 over budget.
- Ms. Brassard presented the proposed tax rate to the Board. It was discussed. On motion of Mr. Bowen, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the residential tax rates of 2.2449, and the non-residential tax rate of 2.3699.
- Ms. Brassard has some questions to ask the Town’s attorney. She wondered if she has the authority to incur attorney fees on behalf of the Town. The Board agreed that she does, and that she can ask the attorney she feels would be the best one to assist her.
- Mr. Masterson provided the highway report. There has been more heavy rains. Braintree’s roads seem to be holding up well. Mr. Masterson advised the he has been holding off on having the roads graded while there is a likelihood of heavy rains, which seems to be helping keep the roads from washing. It does mean that there are roads which could use grading. Mr. Masterson will be meeting with Jaron Borg a River Management Engineer from ANR about Bear Hill Road which commonly is damaged by a small stream jumping its banks.
The Highway Department will be replacing some culverts around Town. A sign will be posted a few days before the closure to give notice to residents. Many of the culverts will be able to be fixed in one work day, some may take a second day. Residents should expect the road at those sites to be closed from 7:00am – 3:00 pm, following the sign being posted. Road work is likely before and after those hours, but the road should be passable.
- The Mountain Alliance, of which Braintree is a member, will be billing the Town roughly $1,470 for administrative and maintenance costs. The Selectboard had been discussing if it would be better to pay the costs through the Town’s budget or to have the fee included in the bag fees at the transfer station. The Alliance had decided that adding the costs to the bag fees will not work.
- The Insulation and Phone RFPs will be going out soon.
- Mr. Masterson presented the Board with a summary of loader purchasing options. The Board discussed the options with Mr. Masterson. One of the options brought to the table was waiting to purchase the loader in five years, instead of taking out a five year loan. This idea had not been discussed before. It was tabled so that Board members would have time to consider it.
- On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the access permit for agricultural use only for Carolyn Egeli.
- On motion of Mr. Bowen, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board approved the contract with Vermont Appraisal Company for $59,985 pending any additional parcels. Mr. Bent abstained from the vote; the other four members voted in favor of the motion.
- On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.
- On motion of Mr. Bowen, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:30 pm.