Janice Russell

Nov 302020
 

Braintree Conservation Commission minutes of 25 Nov 2020
Attending: Paul Shriver, Sanders Stephen, Linda Morse, Gina Logan, Joan Richmond-Hall
Meeting convened on Zoom at 7:05 pm.
Minutes of the September meeting approved.
We discussed potential ideas for a winter meeting that could be shared with neighboring conservation
commissions and the public.  Winter birding
 Discussion / presentation of the a resource developed by the Waitsfield CC: ‘A shared life:
people and biodiversity in Vermont’
We settled on the former. Paul will contact Brian Lowe and ask him if he’d be willing to speak at a Zoom
meeting. We’ll connect by email to hear Brian’s response, set a date and iron out communications and
logistics.
Adjourned at 7:35 pm.
/s/ Joan Richmond-Hall

Nov 202020
 

Unapproved Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Thursday November 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm

 

“In accordance with the recent amendments to Vermont’s open meeting law, and in light of the ongoing public health crisis, this meeting will be held via conference call. You can access the meeting at the scheduled time by calling 802-210-4472.”

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson      Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member     Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

Kris Haupt, Cemetery Commission Chairperson               Dylan Pratt, Road Foreman Katja Evans, Kimball Public Library Representative                                           Paul Rea, Guest

 

Present at Town Office:

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member

Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant 

Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer 

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 6:00pm.  Due to the ongoing COVID crisis in Orange County the Braintree Selectboard has transitioned back to an all call-in meeting format.  A roll call was conducted to confirm what Selectboard Members, Committee Chairpersons and guests were in attendance via teleconferencing.  

 

The Board reviewed the agenda with Ms. O’Toole adding a planning discussion regarding the audit and budget planning for FY ‘22 under New Business.  

 

On motion of Mr. McMeekin, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on November 5.

     

  • Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Mr. Pratt provided a written report to the Selectboard.  A brief discussion occurred regarding the bid process for the Spring 2021 Lemery Bridge and Peth Road projects with the Selectboard requesting Mr. Pratt start the bid collection process. 
  • Kimball Public Library Representative – Katja Evans reported that even with Covid-19 the Kimball Library had an effective year.  The library was able to provide both in-person visits on certain days, curbside assistance, on-line events, virtual events and programming.  There has been very successful programming for children with a Crafts-In-Bags Series that included an age appropriate book along with the craft materials, a quarantined themed magazine and the Safe & Seen Halloween.  The Library will be returning to Curbside Services Only on Thursday, November 19th.
  • Cemetery Commission Chair – Kris Haupt reported that The Cemetery Commission would like the Town to add a Perpetual Care Line Item to the Budget for the use of cleaning old headstones, especially the marble headstones, in each cemetery.  Per the experts who provided estimates the cleanings should be good for 10 – 15 years on the old white marble. The Commission provided a schedule of the cleanings, starting with the Lower Branch Cemetery this year, then lineup Braintree Hill in 2026, then East Braintree in 2029 and then Mountain View.   The Town Treasurer, Ms. Brassard, will provide budgetary amounts and information to the Commission and Selectboard for a follow-up on this topic.
  • Zoning Administrator – No report provided at this time.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
    • Restructuring Office For Safety – Mss. Brassard and Russell believe that as it is a slow time for foot traffic at the office, there is no need to close the office to the public.  If circumstances change, then a further discussion and decision will occur.
    • RAMAN – Mr. Caulfield was unable to attend but provided a report.  Orange County is now a hot spot and has moved into the third highest number of cases per capita.   Ms. O’Toole reported on the teleconference with Governor Scott, Dr. Levine and Orange County Government Officials that she had participated in on Monday evening.  The State and County government is asking Towns to find more interesting and productive ways to get the word out to their citizens on how to prevent Covid Spread.  That citizens need to stay diligent in the safety measures and to understand that the spread is now occurring through interactions in small gatherings as well as in large gatherings. Ms. O’Toole will write up a review of the teleconference and post it on the Town’s Website and FB page.
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2022-2023 Stockpile Follow-up – Mr. Haupt stated no updates at this time.
  • Town Website Overhaul Update – Ms. O’Toole is gathering the content materials the website designer has requested. 
  • Laptops for Selectboard Members Update – The laptops purchased had some software and hardware problems that Ms. Brassard is working with Vermont Computing Cooperative to resolve.  Ms. O’Toole and Mr. Burson, pulling from their experience using Microsoft Office Family 365, suggested that in the long run getting a yearly subscription to Microsoft Office Family 365 is a better option as updates are automatically received by subscription holders whereas a one time purchase of Microsoft Office would require the purchase of updates or the newest version. Ms. Brassard will have Vermont Computing Cooperative help upload the subscription version of Microsoft Office Family 365 into the laptops. 
  • Green Mountain Power Permit Application for Primary Underground Wire within the Highway Limits of Braintree Hill Road Follow-up – A discussion ensued that included further clarification on the planned site work on the project and why the dig work, as requested, is needed.   

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the Green Mountain Power Permit Application for the underground wire as laid out in the application and map provided with Mr. Pratt specifying any additional standards and conditions on the permit based on what was discussed tonight and okay the work happening in the right-of-way.  

 

  • New business
    • Updates on the Audit and Budget Planning – The Audit is scheduled for early December.  The budget numbers have been added to NEMRC and Ms. Brassard will get the numbers printed into the worksheet and sent out to the Selectboard.  Messrs. Burson and Pratt will begin working on the Highway Budget.
  • No Trespassing Signs Posted on Old Stagecoach Road Town Trail- A brief discussion on what constitutes a legal posting sign along with who has access to the trail ensued.  The signs placed by Mr. Justin Poulin on and near the entry gate into the right-of-way are not posted legally and makes it appear that people using the trail are trespassing on private property.   The beginning of the trail, located at the intersection of Flint and Braintree Hill Roads near the antennas, has a sign posted that this is a Town Trail and to be used for un-motorized purposes.  The Town will purchase another sign reiterating that information and place it next to the entry gate.  Mr. McMeekin was authorized to remove the illegal posted signs from on and near the gate on Wednesday, November 18th.  
  • Possible Changes to Town Meeting Date and Australian Ballot Voting Due to COVID-19 – The State has authorized Municipalities to make changes to the way Town Meeting will be held without the need for a citizens authorizing vote.  Several options, including a virtual meeting, moving the meeting to May or June or moving to an Australian Ballot were discussed.  Ms. Brassard stated if the Selectboard decides to use Australian Balloting elections, that it be consistent with and held on the same day as the School District Voting.  A decision needs to be made sixty days before the normal Town Meeting Date.  This topic will be opened up for public comment at the December 1st Selectboard Meeting and so warned on the Town’s Website and FB Page.
  • Update on Highway Maintenance Opening – Ms. Russell and Mr. Burson provided information on the advertising of the position and number of applications received.

 

  • Payment orders – Mr. Bent, as the sole Selectboard Member in attendance at the Town Office, reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.

 

  • Adjournment

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:28 p.m.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Janice R. Russell

Nov 182020
 
Dear Braintree,
On Monday evening, town and local officials from Orange County met with Dr. Mark Levine, the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, and Secretary Smith from the Agency of Human Services to discuss developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak currently unfolding in our area. Dr. Levine conveyed his deep concern about this outbreak, including the one in Washington County, and explained that we are likely to see high positive case counts in our area for the next two weeks stemming from exposure that had occurred towards the beginning of the month. While I know we are all tired of the impacts of this virus, and more than desperate to return back to our normal way of life, I write today to implore all Braintree residents to dig deep to find the patience and resolve to do all that we can to follow the state’s guidelines related to travel, quarantine, hygiene, and restrictions on gatherings. We need to do this for our kids, so that they can experience as much as possible all of the wonderful benefits of Braintree Elementary School; our health care workers, so that they can safely care for our community; and for our local economy, so that it can it can continue to grow and thrive.
Since I cannot say it better myself, I’d like to restate the poignant words of Governor Scott from yesterday’s press conference: “If you want to ignore or choose not the believe the science, there’s not much we can do to stop you. But the number of people in hospitals is growing because some care more about what they want to do rather than what they need to do to help protect others… The skeptics are right, they can do what they want. But please don’t call it patriotic or pretend it’s about freedom. Real patriots serve and sacrifice for all, whether they agree with them or not. Patriots stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened, and right now, our country and way of life are being attacked by this virus, not the protections we put in place.”
So please, everyone: stay put, stay safe, be mindful of your activity in the community and how it might impact others. I am confident that our small, rural community can do what is required to protect each other and weather this virus well.
Thank you, and take care,
Megan O’Toole, Chair, Braintree Selectboard
Nov 092020
 

Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Thursday November 5, 2020 at 6:00 pm

 

“In accordance with the recent amendments to Vermont’s open meeting law, and in light of the ongoing public health crisis, this meeting will be held via conference call. You can access the meeting at the scheduled time by calling 802-210-4472.”

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

Robert Moyer, Development Review Board Chairperson

Timothy Caulfield, Emergency Management Dir.

 

Present at Town Office:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson                                    Loren Bent, Selectboard Member

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member                                 Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant

 

Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member, arrived late to the meeting due to a previous commitment.

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 6:00pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard Members, Committee Chairpersons and guests were in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

The Board reviewed the agenda with Mr. Bent requesting an Executive Session for a Personnel Matter be added.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on October 20, 2020 with a minor change under the Highway Report from 3’ of stone left at the Grantsworth Road crossing to 3” of stone left at the site. 

 

  • Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – No citizen’s comments.

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Ms. O’Toole read the supplied Highway Report from Dylan Pratt. The Highway Department was down one truck, the 2019 Mack was at Tenco for warranty work, during the snowstorm on Monday night and Tuesday morning which caused the road work to be extended to a two day process.  Pratt also reported that the New England Central Railway has not yet corrected the issues at the railroad crossings. A discussion regarding the offer from Mr. Masterson to sell his 16’ trailer to the Town of Braintree for $900.00 occurred.  The Highway Dept. has used the trailer in previous years for small jobs to carry hay, seed, mulch, etc. and Mr. Pratt considers it a useful addition to the Highway equipment.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the purchase of the 16’ trailer from Mr. Masterson for the amount of $900.00. 

 

Mr. Burson reported that Mr. Pratt met with Alan May, The Better Roads Grant representative, and was informed that due to lower funding options from the State of Vermont the Scope of Work has slightly changed to ditch work only with no tree removal unless absolutely necessary.

  • Development Review Board – Robert Moyer reported that no items have come before the Development Review Board since May 2020.
  • Zoning Administrator – Mr. Blatz was not in attendance so the Zoning Administrator’s report was tabled until another time.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
    • Restructuring Office For Safety – The Town is still awaiting the door installation into the Town Clerk’s work area.
    • RAMAN update from Tim Caulfield – The level of COVID is running higher in the state but Orange County is still the lowest County. There are only two towns in Orange County that have more than five cases.  Due to the ability to identify persons with COVID in less populated towns information from these Towns is not available.   O’Toole inquired if the latest COVID numbers are related to the outbreaks at the High School.  Mr. Caulfield believes that the High School breakout had been mitigated by contact tracing.
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2022-2023 Stockpile – Mr. Haupt is meeting with American Consulting and Engineering and R.E. Tucker next week at a potential gravel pit site.
  • BC/BS Open Enrollment Materials for 2021 Health Insurance Coverage-Domestic Partners – The Selectboard decided to allow Domestic Partners be added to the BC/BS Health Plan if an employee so chooses. Russell will meet with the Highway Crew to discuss the requirements for Domestic Partners and the Health Plan overall.
  • Town Website Overhaul Update – Ms. O’Toole teleconferenced with Brian from bMighty2 and was informed that he will need access to the Town’s current website to investigate what information the Town already has and how to make the Town’s requested changes. He will need photos, logo and other content that is visibly appealing to place on the new site.
  • Laptops for Selectboard Members Update – Vermont Computing has received the laptops and is updating and removing extraneous materials per the Town’s requirement.
  • Road Scholar Training Update – This has been tabled for now until Messrs. Burson and Pratt can meet.
  • FEMA Covid-19 Grant Update – Ms. Russell reported that a request for further information and clarification of expenses was received today from FEMA. She will respond to FEMA with the requested information.
  • Possible Trade-In of 2017 John Deere Loader – The Board discussed the 2017 John Deere Loader’s capabilities to perform as needed by the Highway Crew.   No decision to purchase a new loader was made and the topic has been tabled until further notice.

 

  • New business
  • Tim Caulfield/Emergency Management Group – Emergency Evacuation Plan – Mr. Caulfield reviewed the new Emergency Evacuation Plan that was created to be sustainable for the Town. The lack of a facility for an Emergency Shelter is a problem for the Town so the EMG decided that through the budgeted Disaster Related Funds the Town would provide hotel rooms for anyone needing temporary shelter during a disaster until FEMA or another organization can provide the needed shelter.
  • Green Mountain Power Permit Application for Primary Underground Wire within the Highway Limits of Braintree Hill Road –A short discussion on the permit application and location of the potential dig site to place an underground electrical wire ensued. Pratt and the Selectboard Members are not in favor of allowing Green Mountain Power to run the line as requested on the permit application.  Mr. Haupt volunteered to contact the Green Mountain Power representative for further information, clarification and other options for the permit request.

 

  • Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313(a)(3).

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:49 P.M. for a discussion on a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313 (a)(3).

 

Executive Session –The Board returned from Executive Session at 7:12 PM with no decision being made on the personnel matter

 

  • Payment orders – The Selectboard reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

  • On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.

 

  • Adjournment

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:12 p.m.  

 

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Janice R. Russell

Nov 052020
 

The Town of Braintree is seeking an individual to work in the Highway Department. The job includes road maintenance, equipment operation and repair, and vehicle maintenance and repair. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and must have or be able to obtain a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Class B within 3 months. Applicants must be able to work overtime and be on call during winter months. Equipment repair skills are not required but are a plus. Benefits of employment include health insurance, retirement, paid holidays, and uniforms.  Applications are available at the Town Office (932 VT Route 12A, Braintree, VT 05060) and on the Town website: braintreevt.com. For questions, email braintreesb.dburson@gmail.com or call the Town Office at 728-9787.

Oct 242020
 

Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 6:00 pm

 

“In accordance with the recent amendments to Vermont’s open meeting law, and in light of the ongoing public health crisis, this meeting will be held via conference call. You can access the meeting at the scheduled time by calling 802-210-4472.”

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Ron Cadrette, Braintree Citizen

Timothy Caulfield, Emergency Management Director      

 

Present at Town Office:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson                   Loren Bent, Selectboard Member

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member              Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant        Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer 

 

Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member, was unable to attend the meeting.

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 6:00pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Committee Chairpersons and guests were in attendance via teleconferencing.  

 

The Board reviewed the agenda with Ms. O’Toole requesting a TRORC notification for a Municipal Grant-In-Aid, LGER Grant Expenses Update and notification from VLCT PACIF on 2021 prices to be placed under Old Business.   

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on October 6, 2020. 

 

  • Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum –

Mr. Cadrette requested a status of the Lemery Road Bridge project.  Mr. Burson stated that an RFP has been prepared and will go out shortly to start the bid process but that no work in rivers/streams is allowed after October 15th.  A contractor will be chosen and lined up to do the work after June 1st. The plan, barring any unforeseen difficulties, is to have the project completed in this year’s budget that ends July 1st.

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Ms. O’Toole asked if any Board Members had questions about the Highway Report submitted by Mr. Pratt.  Mr. Burson informed the Board that a complaint regarding the Granstworth Road railroad crossing had been presented to Mr. Pratt.  The complaint is in regards to recent work the New England Central Railroad (NECR) performed on the crossing that left 3″ stones in the roadway which is already causing problems with vehicles and will be difficult to plow over this winter.  Mr. Burson contacted NECR and was informed that NECR knew of the problem and would be making corrections to this and other crossings with similar problems.  There were no other questions or concerns about the Highway Report.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
    • Restructuring Office For Safety – The partition glass has been installed so the project is almost complete with the upcoming new door installation being the last of the work.
    • RAMAN update from Tim Caulfield – Mr. Caulfield provided a written report as well as verbal information to the Board.  The State Health Officer believes that there will be a significant increase in COVID cases in the coming weeks and is urging Vermonters to continue to be vigilant in following all recommendations of mask wearing, social distancing, no large gatherings or unnecessary travel outside the State.  Orange County has reported six new cases of Covid-19 in the past 9 days but there is no information in which towns the cases are located.  Orange County is still the third lowest county in Vermont, and Vermont is still the lowest per capita Covid-19 state in the nation.  
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2022-2023 Stockpile – At this time there has been no further communication between the Town and the landowner but there are plans for this communication to occur soon.
  • BC/BS Open Enrollment Materials for 2021 Health Insurance Coverage – A discussion ensued regarding the slight increase in the cost for the 2021 BC/BS Health Insurance Premiums for eligible employees.   One update that BC/BS included in the enrollment material was the notification that BC/BS is severing their affiliation with HRA provider, HealthEquity, effective January 1st and have created their own HRA provider, “Further.”  A discussion on allowing Domestic Partners to be covered under the Health Insurance plan was tabled until the next meeting.
  • Town Website Overhaul Update – A brief discussion on the real need to make changes to the website occurred with Ms. Brassard informing the Board that the cost of the overhaul is covered in the Capital Budget.  Ms. O’Toole will reach out to bMighty2 regarding the Selectboard’s decision and permission to move forward with the process.  

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the hiring of bMighty2 to update the Town of Braintree’s website. 

 

  • Laptops for Selectboard Members –Vermont Computing responded to a request by Ms. O’Toole to provide a recommendation and quote for the purchasing of laptops.  Vermont Computing recommended the purchase of Lenovo 110-15 laptops at $449.99 each.  The purchase of the laptops will be covered by the LGER Grant.  

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the purchasing of the Lenovo 110-15 Laptops from Vermont Computing at the stated price of $449.99 per laptop. 

 

  • Road Scholar Training – So further information can be gathered this item was tabled until the next meeting. 
  • FY 2021 VT Better Roads Notice of Award – The formal Notice of Award of the $20,000 FY 2021 VT Better Roads Grant was received from VTrans.  Ms. Russell will continue gathering the information required to satisfy the grant requirements.
  • Municipal Roads Grants-In Aid Program – Two Rivers-Ottauquechee provided a Letter of Intent to Participate in the Municipal Roads Grants-In-Aid Program in SFY’21.  The program would provide a grant of $16,400 that requires the Town do a 20% Local Match in Cash or In-Kind of $4,100.  The Selectboard members considered how this grant would be beneficial and decided it would enable the Town to improve several roads.   

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the signing and submission of the Letter of Intent to Participate in the Municipal Roads Grants-In-Aid Program. 

 

 

  • LGER Grant Updates – The State notified the Town of Braintree that before it is qualified to receive the LGER Grant Funds the Town needs to submit a FEMA Covid-19 Grant.  The FEMA Covid-19 grant submittal is mandatory even if it is likely the Town will be denied by FEMA for not having the requisite minimum $3,300 eligible expenses required by the FEMA Grant.   Ms. Russell will submit the FEMA Covid-19 Grant before the October 30, 2020 deadline.

 

  • VLCT PACIF –A notification from VLCT PACIF was received informing the Town of the lowering of their rates for 2021.
  • New business
  • Change the November 3rd Selectboard Meeting Due to Conflict With Elections – 

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved moving the November 3rd Selectboard Meeting to Thursday, November 5th

 

  • Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) Grant – Ms. Brassard stated that the Town has been awarded $5,000.00 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to upgrade the Town’s Election Facility and Equipment.  Ms. Brassard proposed the funds be used for a Laptop, ECFiber Internet Connection at the Town Hall and new plastic folding tables to be used during Town Meeting and Elections.  The Selectboard agreed and signed the Grant Paperwork

 

  • Payment orders – The Selectboad reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

  • On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.

 

  • Adjournment 

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:46 p.m.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Janice R. Russell