TOWN OF BRAINTREE
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING MINUTES – Unapproved
Saturday, MARCH 2, 2019
The legal voters of the Town of Braintree, in the County of Orange, met at the Braintree Elementary School in said Town on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. for the annual Town Meeting. Jackson Evans, current moderator, welcomed everyone to a first Saturday town meeting in recent memory. Mr. Evans always has an anecdotal story to tell about our town from years past. He then led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, read a list of the townspeople who had passed away in the previous year. Jenny Thresher was added to this list. He also read a blurb on etiquette, Robert’s Rules and encouraged anyone that had a question to speak up. The non-registered voters were noted and the warning was read. The meeting was turned over to Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chair, so that this years’ moderator could be elected.
Article 1. To elect a moderator for the year ensuing. Ms. O’Toole asked for nominations for Moderator. Laura Davidson, seconded by Linda Doane, nominated Jackson Evans. There were no other nominations and Ms. O’Toole directed the town clerk to cast one vote for Jackson Evans. The meeting was then turned back over to Mr. Evans.
Article 2. To hear the reports of the town officers for the past year. All reports and information were noted from the town report. There were no questions. Linda Doane, seconded by Paul Kendall to accept the reports. The reports were accepted by voice vote.
Article 3. To elect all the Town Officers as required by law: it was noted at this time that a nomination does not need a second to be considered. That being said, the following officers were elected.
- A Selectperson for a three year term; Megan O’Toole nominated Daniel Burson. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Daniel Burson for Selectperson.
- A Selectperson for a two year term; Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Janice Thresher, nominated Loren Bent. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mr. Bent.
- A Selectperson for a two year term; Charles Farrington nominated Preston Allen, Paul Kendall nominated Charles McMeekin and Keegan Haupt nominated Stacey Blanchard. There were no other nominations. While the paper ballot voting was set up, Mr. McMeekin had a short statement. No other candidates were present. The ballot voting and counting took about 35 minutes. While that was going on the current State Legislators said a few words. The outcome was Charles McMeekin – 57, Preston Allen – 10 and Stacey Blanchard – 9. McMeekin was elected and is taking, the retiring Richard Bowen’s seat. A round of applause was given to Mr. Bowen for all his years of service.
- A Lister for a three year term; Terry Rose nominated Heather Fernandes. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Ms. Fernandes.
- An Auditor for a three year term; Tim Caulfield nominated Tom Cooch. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mr. Cooch.
- A Delinquent Tax Collector for a one year term; Walt Palmer nominated Jessica Brassard. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Ms. Brassard.
- A First Constable for a one year term; Tim Caulfield nominated Steve Brassard. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mr. Brassard.
- A Cemetery Commissioner for a five year term; Tim Caulfield nominated Kris Haupt. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Kris Haupt.
- A Cemetery Commissioner for four years of a five year term; Tim Caulfield nominated Mike Gaidys. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mr. Gaidys.
- A Cemetery Commissioner for three years of a five year term; Laura Davidson nominated Chris Blanchard. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mr. Blanchard.
- A Town Agent for a one year term; Steve Brassard nominated Nancy Gray. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Mrs. Gray.
- A Trustee of Public Funds for a one year term; Loren Bent nominated Jessica Brassard. There were no other nominations. The clerk was directed to cast one ballot for Ms. Brassard.
Article 4. Shall the voters authorize financing for capital plan expenses which would include town highway improvements in an amount not to exceed $ 30,000 to be financed over a period not to exceed five years? It was moved by Linda Doane and seconded by Charles McMeekin to approve the financing of up to $30,000 for the capital plan expenses. There was no discussion and the motion passed by voice vote.
Article 5. Shall the voters authorize total fund expenditures of $ 1,236,289.96, of which $ 975,414.96 shall be raised by taxes and $ 260,875.00 by non-tax revenues? Linda Doane, seconded by Laura Davidson made the motion to pass the budget as stated above. Stephanie Barrett had questions regarding the fire service from Randolph going forward. The amount in the budget for fire services is a place holder and negotiations are still ongoing. Ellen Fox asked where the non-tax revenues were coming from and was directed to the page that those were on. That was the extent of the discussion. The question was called and was passed by voice vote.
Article 6. Shall the town collect its real property taxes in two installments, with the due dates being October 15, 2019 and March 16, 2020? Lin Brown, seconded by Laura Davidson made the motion to approve these dates. There was no discussion and the motion passed by voice vote.
Article 7. Shall the town vote to change Town Meeting day back to the first Tuesday in March pursuant to 17 V.S.A. § 2640(b)? Nora Skolnick, seconded by Keegan Haupt made the motion so as to get the discussion started. Tim Caulfield noted that the number of people really hadn’t changed because of the change in date, just demographics. Carolyn Egeli felt that more young people were attending. Nora Skolnick was afraid that the voter turnout would be smaller for the school budget voting. Also, that we could still use the school and have child care if it were moved back to Tuesday. Derek O’Toole stated that Tuesday’s are a burden and present a challenge to some people to have to alter their schedules and should stay on Saturday. School voting was discussed again, leaving it for another year because of the work that went into getting it changed. Seth Fernandes stated that a lot of families work every day of the week just to make ends meet and that if people wanted to come to Town Meeting they would make the time. But that the Town should try harder to publicize goings on. Megan O’Toole stated that Braintree now has a Facebook page and Instagram. More ideas have come up and more things will be done next year to remind the people of the Town goings-on. There was more school discussion and the vote was finally called. There were several who voted against keeping Town Meeting on Saturday but the Nays prevailed and next years’ Town Meeting will be staying on Saturday for the following year. Kathy Eddy asked that the question come up again next year.
Article 8. To transact any other business not of a binding nature. Tim Caulfield, Braintree Emergency Management Director, talked about info on emergency management being available and looking for more volunteers to help in the case of an emergency. Mr. Caulfield said that there are many different things that could be asked of volunteers, food for emergency workers, helping run shelters, making phone calls to alert townspeople of emergency situations, etc. VT Alert is another avenue for people to sign up with to find out information on emergencies when they start in our area. Weather alerts are being put on the website – www.braintreevt.com. Katja Evans, Kimball Library Board of Directors, was looking for community input on a substantial bequest that the library was left. Megan O’Toole discussed the fun page in the town report, more info on Facebook page and Instagram, overhauling the town website and a huge thankyou and round of applause was given to Richard Bowen for all of his help and service on the selectboard, as he is retiring. He will still be a Justice of the Peace. Linda Lubold asked for help getting lunch ready next year – guessing that the potluck will continue and it would be easier with more hands helping. Keegan Haupt also wanted to thank Megan O’Toole, who had been thrown into the position of Selectboard Chair last year, for doing a very good job in that position.
This concluded the business of the Town of Braintree. The motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 11:56 a.m.
Respectfully submitted: _____________________________
Jessica M. Brassard, Town Clerk
Board of Selectmen:
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Richard Bowen – Selectboard Keegan Haupt – Selectboard Megan O’Toole – SB Chair
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Loren Bent – Selectboard Daniel Burson – Selectboard Jackson Evans – Moderator