Janice Russell

Sep 252020
 

Town of Braintree

Draft Auditors Meeting Minutes – September 21, 2020

** Meeting remotely using conference line for the Town of Braintree (802-210-4472) **

 

Attendees:  Tom Cooch, Stephanie Barrett, Lin Brown, Jessica Brassard (Town Clerk-Treasurer), Janice Russell (Administrative Assistant)

 

  1. Mr. Cooch called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m.

 

  1. Changes to the agenda included correcting the date of our last meeting from 3/16/20 to 3/23/20, and adding a discussion of the status of the Cash Receipts and State Payments procedure manuals to ‘Other Business’.

 

  1. The minutes of the March 23, 2020 meeting were approved.

 

  1. Payroll auditing.

Mr. Brown reported on the new payroll system. In January 2020 the Town contracted with Compucount, Inc. of Randolph for payroll services. The Town no longer uses the Payroll module in NEMRC, thus necessitating a modified payroll audit procedure.  The current audit procedure consists of checking three items: current employee list and pay rates, employee time sheets and pay checks, and employee tax and benefit payments. The first two items require audit modifications. The last is done in the AP module and remains essentially the same.

 

The new process for doing a payroll has been evolving over time, but basically works as follows. The Town (Janice and Jessie) prepare a spreadsheet with employee names, pay rates and hours (from time sheets) that is emailed to Compucount. Compucount uploads the spreadsheet information into their software, and after some back and forth checking, generates paper checks or EFTs to the employees being paid and to the taxing authorities for that bi-weekly period. They then send the Town a pdf report of the amounts paid, taxes, and benefits – much like the information on a paycheck. Other benefit time accumulation and use is also tracked.

 

The problem for auditing is that the Town no longer has a payroll data base that can be queried (as we did with NEMRC). We have individual time sheets, the bi-weekly payroll spread sheets (with employee time and pay rate data), and the pdf payroll report (check stub type information with payment amounts). These are all separate documents, one for each pay period, in different forms (paper/electronic) located in different places. Payroll expenses are recorded in NEMRC as aggregate General Ledger entries.

 

We examined sample input bi-weekly payroll spreadsheets and pdf payment reports from Compucount. The Administrative Assistant noted that Compucount does do some consistency checking of what the Town sends them, as they have occasionally called asking for clarification of some of the spreadsheet information. After discussion, we decided to try an audit procedure that would check whether the time sheet information was being correctly transferred to the payroll spreadsheet provided to Compucount.  A random selection of employees over the 6-7 pay periods per quarter will be checked.

 

Mr. Brown will prepare a new draft payroll audit procedure for review as soon as possible.

 

  1. Review tasks needing completion for FY20

– General Fund: Complete for FY20.

– Reserve Funds: Complete for FY20.

– Grand List (annually): Completed last Fall. Mr. Cooch will contact Mr. Evans (Head Lister) to determine if any expansion of the audit procedure may be necessary because of the recent property re-evaluation just completed.

– Accounts Payable: Done through FY20-Q3. Ms. Barrett to complete Q4.

– General Journal: Complete through FY20-Q3.

– Payroll: Complete through FY20-Q2 using the NEMRC system. New procedure in preparation by Mr. Brown for completing Q3 and Q4 using Compucount system (see item 4 above).

– State Payments: Complete through FY20-Q4.  One discrepancy noted. Awaiting resolution from Clerk-Treasurer.

 

  1. Assign jobs for FY21

We agreed that auditor job assignments will remain the same as in FY20

 

  1. Delays in receiving financial data.

The auditors rely on having prompt monthly bank statement reconciliation reports from the Town Treasurer for auditing General and Reserve Fund balances. Of late, given the difficulties with COVID-19, personnel changes, and other factors, these reports have been delayed to a point of auditor concern.  A discussion with the Town Clerk-Treasurer ensued about whether the auditors might make recommendations to the Select Board for assistance to the Clerk-Treasurer to alleviate this delay.

 

The Clerk-Treasurer noted that these times and circumstances are unusually difficult. She believes the situation is now under better control and will improve in the future.  We came to no resolution for changes or assistance, but decided to make the best of a difficult time period. We agreed to revisit this issue at our next meeting.

 

  1. Other Business

-Cash Audit Procedure: Mr. Cooch reported that he will have a draft procedure for our next meeting.

-State Payments: Mr. Brown reported that he has drafted a modified procedure and is currently testing it for the FY20 Q3&Q4 audit. The basic modification is to reconcile the NEMRC report for Cash Receipts from the State against the State Town Payment Report (TPR), rather than the reverse, which is how the current procedure is written.

 

  1. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Linfield C. Brown

Sep 252020
 

Unapproved Minutes Emergency Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Friday, September 25, 2020 at 10:30am

 

“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 Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member    

          

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 10:30am.  A roll call was done to confirm what members were in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

Executive session to discuss a personnel matter

Ms. O’Toole made a motion to enter into executive session, Mr. Burson seconded the motion.

 

At 10:58am the board came out of executive session with no decisions being made.

 

Ms. O’Toole made a motion to adjourn, Mr. Burson seconded the motion.

 

The meeting adjourned at 10:59am.

Sep 252020
 

 

Unapproved Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Tuesday, September 22, 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:

Paul Kendell, Tri-Valley Transit (Stagecoach) Representative       

 

Present at Town Office:

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

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member              Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member     Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

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

  

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 that the BC/BS of Vermont Health Insurance be tabled and the removal of the U.S. Department of Labor – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Paid Leave for Municipality Employees With Children Remote or Hybrid Learning Schedules.  The information regarding the FFCRA will be forwarded to Mr. Masterson to share with the Highway Crew Members affected by Remote or Hybrid Learning Schedules.  Mr. Caulfield was unable to attend tonight’s meeting but sent a report for the Selectboard Members to review later.

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on September 8, 2020. 

 

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

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Mr. Masterson reported that the tree and stump removal project behind the Braintree Town Hall is near completion with mostly minor tasks still remaining.   
      • An introductory meeting between Dylan Pratt and representatives of VTrans and TRORC occurred so Mr. Pratt could get acquainted with the types of support they offer; FEMA, Codes and Standards and Grants.  The importance of the technical support and training provided by Vermont Local Roads was also discussed at the meeting.  
      • This year’s supply of sand is stockpiled at the garage location and next year’s supply is stockpiled at the Riford Brook gravel pit.  A larger vein of gravel than expected was located on Sam Paddock’s property with at least 12,000 yards of gravel extracted and a potential for much more.  Mr. Paddock has given permission for the Town to stockpile the gravel or crushed sand on his property.  Crushing the gravel now would require using next year’s sand budget early to pay for the crusher but would enable the Town to return the layer of topsoil and reseed the pasture to its former state for Mr. Paddock to use next spring.  A discussion ensued about how it would work and of any possible issues arising if next year’s sand budget was used early.  After a suggestion by Mr. Bent, and confirmation by Ms. Brassard of this option, it was decided the Town should transfer money from the pit fund to cover the cost of getting the gravel crushed now.
      • Mr. Bent thanked Mr. Masterson for all the work he has done for the Town, especially in researching and applying for Grants.
  • Tri-Valley Transit (Stagecoach) Representative Report – Paul Kendall reported that due to COVID-19 the last six months has been very difficult for all public transportation providers in the state of Vermont.  The primary focus of all the providers is to ensure that they are providing a clean and safe service for their users, especially the elderly and at risk-riders.  Tri-Valley Transit is very pleased that there has been no transmission of COVID-19 to the passengers and the drivers, especially the volunteer drivers who use their private vehicles to transport passengers.  Tri-Valley Transit is requiring all passengers to call in advance for a ride, to wear masks, to sit alone and next to a window unless traveling with a related person and limited the amount of passengers in each vehicle.  The number of passengers riding on the commuter routes has dropped by 15-17 % and the elderly and disabled taking advantage of the services provided has dropped by around 30%. 
    • Along with the usual essential services Tri-Valley Transit has also been delivering meals to students in the local supervisory unions, delivering meals to people temporarily housed in hotels, supporting food banks and the farmers to table programs. 
    • There have been adjustments to routes, especially the more traveled routes with some additional trips being added for better access to the shopping areas and other vital facilities.
    • The transition from Stagecoach merging Addison County to create Tri-Valley Transit has gone, and hopefully will continue to go, rather smoothly.  A majority of riders have begun to refer to the service as Tri-Valley Transit and soon there will a rebranding of all the buses and publicity.
    • The new Upper Valley Community Transit Center, which will be located in Bradford, is proceeding nicely with almost all permits and funding in place and hopefully construction can start this fall.  The job is out to bid and once the bid numbers return, Tri-Valley Transit will know how to proceed.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
  • Office Closure To Public – The Town Office has reopened to the public except for Access to the Vault; an appointment is still required due to lack of Social Distancing Space in the Vault.
  • Restructuring Office For Safety – The glass for the new partition in the Town Clerk’s office will be delivered to Portland Glass on Monday, September 28th.
  • Possible Trade-In of 2017 John Deere Loader – A lengthy discussion was held regarding the highway crew’s issues of lack of power, incapability to function properly on jobs and the inability to completely use the bucket due to weight concerns toppling the 2017 John Deere Loader.  Mr. McMeekin stated that he researched and read the minutes from the Selectboard Meetings before and during the purchase of the loader and questioned why the John Deere was purchased when it was obvious the highway crew had problems with it during the demonstration period. Why wasn’t the highway crew’s judgement valued and taken into consideration when purchasing a new loader?  Mr. Burson informed Mr. McMeekin that it had to do with the $7,000.00 difference in purchase price and a better warranty.  Ms. Brassard stated that during the original discussions to purchase the 2017 loader the topic had been tabled while the Selectboard explored the option to wait 5 years, while keeping the current loader in use, and purchasing a new one outright without financing.  But at the next Selectboard Meeting the NORTRAX salesman arrived without invitation and gave another sales pitch and the Selectboard, without giving the other salesmen a chance to produce further information, decided to purchase the 2017 John Deere Loader.
  • Mr. Masterson said that the Town has currently spent a significant amount of money for NORTRAX to travel to Braintree to repair leaking hoses and other mechanical problems.  As some Selectboard Members believe that the Town’s warranty agreement with NORTRAX should be covering the cost of the repairs and travel, a review of said purchase agreement and warranty is being conducted.   
    • The Town requested and received quotes from Komatsu, Caterpillar and John Deere on a new loader.  Selectboard Members have spoken to some Braintree citizens and have received both positive and negative comments on purchasing a new loader. The discussion centered on whether the problems with the 2017 John Deere outweigh the fiduciary responsibility the Selectboard has to the citizens of Braintree. From a budget perspective there is money available to purchase a new loader without the need to raise taxes now or in the future.   Mr. Burson stated that there are different ways to view the financial situation of the town and that crews’ needs are not a back breaker in that sense and that it doesn’t adversely affect anyone’s future or present tax rate.  No one in six months is going to receive a tax bill that’s going to be 10% higher because the Town purchased a new loader.  The only way it would affect people’s taxes is if the Town contributed less to the equipment fund in the future and that is nowhere in the plans.  A discussion then occurred on how the Town’s budget items are fully funded. 
  • Ms. O’Toole will do up a spreadsheet comparing the quotes and warranty information provided on the Komatsu, Caterpillar and John Deere and will present at the next Selectboard Meeting.  
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2022-2023 Stockpile – Although the Town has located enough gravel for at least the next 2 years there is still a need to continue searching for a long term solution for access to gravel/sand.  
  • ECFiber Hookup at the Braintree Town Hall – A short debate on the need for Internet Service at the Town Hall occurred and it was decided that Mr. McMeekin would write up a survey for Braintree citizens, especially those living in the immediate area, to complete and return to the Administrative Assistant.  At this time there is no money in the budget allocated for this project so it was decided to postpone this until the 2021-2022 budget.  
  • VTRANS Requesting Comments from the Town regarding VTrans Preliminary Plans for Improvements of Bridge 47 over Ayers Brook in East Braintree. Ms. O’Toole had requested further information from VTrans regarding the proposal for detours and was informed that VTrans plan is to detour RT 12 travelers up/down Route 12A.  As the bridge work is not scheduled to start until 2022, it was decided that the Selectboard would wait until closer to the construction period before requesting detailed information on detour routes for East Braintree residents.
  • Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant – Progress/Status Information from VT Department of Taxes  – The deadline for submitting applications for LGER grant has been moved back to October 1st and any revisions to submitted applications has been moved to October 15th.  At this point the Town has submitted all current and expected expenses for COVID -19 purchases and upgrades but will submit any expenses that may arise before October 15th

 

  • New business
  • Server Backup Service – The Administrative Assistant, Ms. Russell, is experiencing issues with the current Server Backup Service, Carbonite, and is in the process of switching to another company.  Ms. Russell is currently working with Dr. Backup, a VT Computing Inc. recommended company, for a cost estimate.  

 

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

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:39 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 8:13 PM with no decision being made on the personnel matter

 

  • Payment orders – The Selectboard reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. Bent, 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 8:13 p.m.  

Sep 162020
 

Election Information – Pursuant to the authority granted in Act 92 (2020) and Act 135, (2020) the Secretary of State’s office will be mailing the November General Election Ballot to every Active Registered Voter in Vermont.  This process will start on September 18th.  You may return your ballot by mail, drop box, in person or you may still vote at the polls on November 3rd.  The voting location in Braintree, on November 3rd, is 5379 VT Route 12A at the Braintree Town Hall.  If you have questions please contact me, Jessie, at 802-728-9787 x3 or braintreetownclerk@gmail.com.

Sep 142020
 

Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Tuesday, September 8, 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:

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member       

 

Present at Town Office:

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

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member         Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member     Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant

  

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 Ms. O’Toole informing the Board that neither Paul Shriver, Conservation Committee Chairperson, or Timothy Caulfield, RAMAN representative, were able to attend the meeting and should be dropped from the agenda.  A written report was supplied by both Shriver and Caulfield for the Board Members to review later.   Ms. Russell added an update on the submission by the Town for a Local Government Expense Reimbursement Grant.

 

On motion of Mr. McMeekin, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on August 18, 2020. 

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Special Selectboard Meeting on August 27, 2020.

 

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

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Mr. Masterson stated the Sand Pile work has been completed and the Highway Crew was able to retrieve and stockpile enough sand for both the winters of 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 barring any unforeseen need to use more sand than usual in either year.  

 

  • Old business
  • The Vermont Department of Public Safety and the Vermont State Police are requesting from the Town and its citizens, input for a re-examining of the role police should play and how police should evolve to meet challenges raised by mental health or drug-use issues, use of force and systemic racism.  

The Town Office received one citizen comment regarding this topic which Ms. Russell will forward to the VSP Contact, Lieutenant Kessler.

  • COVID-19 Follow-up
  • Office Closure To Public – The Town Office will reopen to the public except for Access to the Vault; an appointment is still required due to lack of Social Distancing Space in the Vault.
  • Restructuring Office For Safety – The Town is still awaiting the delivery and installation of the glass by Portland Glass.
  • Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant – Ms. Russell informed the Board that the grant had been submitted and an e-mail confirming the submission had been received from the Department of Taxes.  The Grant Submission did not require invoices at this time only an amount on how much had already been spent and an estimate on future expenditures.  
  • Road Foreman Open Position Follow-up – This discussion was moved to the Executive Session.
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2021-2022 stockpile.  Messrs. Bent and Burson stated that they have not been able to communicate with any landowners for a potential gravel pit site.  Mr. Masterson provided information he has accumulated from speaking with highway crews of surrounding towns and to J.L. Smith, who supplies sand to those towns.  The cost for good sand alone is going to be very expensive and the trip to collect the sand would include a two hour turn around trip for two drivers along with the use of diesel and the wear and tear on the town’s trucks.  Mr. Burson and Mr. Masterson have been working on a cost estimate on the current procedure of rock crushing and the use of the current gravel pit against both purchasing and retrieving the sand or purchasing and having the sand delivered.  A more accurate and detailed report with real numbers will be provided at the next Selectboard Meeting.
  • ECFiber Hookup at the Braintree Town Hall – tabled for further information on pricing.

 

  • New business
  • VTRANS Requesting Comments from the Town regarding VTrans Preliminary Plans for Improvements of Bridge 47 over Ayers Brook in East Braintree, The only question the Selectboard has regarding this potential work is clarification on whose responsibility it will be to notify the area residents and businesses regarding the Detour Routes.  Ms. O’Toole will contact the Vtrans Representative for said clarification.   
  • Possible Trade-In of 2017 John Deere Loader – Mr. Masterson stated that there are issues with the loader; the machine’s lack of power while digging into banks; the machine feels like it is going to tip over when the bucket is full and completely extended;and the requirement of multiple repairs on the three year old machine.    According to the seller, Nortrax, the Town doesn’t have an extended warranty.  The Town has been paying out money for travel time, parts and labor for Nortrax to maintain the loader.  Messrs. Burson and Haupt thought that an extended warranty had been purchased with the loader and will do further research on the purchase contract and warranty and investigate why the Town is being charged for the maintenance.  If the Town decides to purchase a new loader, Ms. Brassard stated that there will be no impact to the equipment budget; that the funds are already available and the Town would not need to finance.  There would be no need to raise taxes or a requirement to ask the taxpayers for permission to finance the loader.  The Town has collected some information/bids on the new loader and Ms. Brassard will provide a breakdown on the budget for purchasing a new loader.  This topic will be revisited at the next Selectboard Meeting.

 

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

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:39 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 7:11 PM. 

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board approved, with one abstention by Mr. Bent due to personal conflict, the offering of the Road Foreman Position to Dylan Pratt.   

 

  • Payment orders – There were no payment orders prepared for this meeting.  Mr. Burson will review the payment orders when notified of their completion.   

 

  • Adjournment  

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:16 p.m.  

 

Sep 112020
 

 

Minutes Special Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 1:00 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:

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member                                      Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member

 

Present at Town Office:

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

Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman                                     Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Ms. O’Toole called the special meeting of the Selectboard to order at 1:00pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Committee Chairpersons and guests might be in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

The Board Reviewed the agenda with no changes being made.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved moving the Tuesday, September 1, 2020 Selectboard Meeting to Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and the Tuesday, September 15, 2020 Selectboard Meeting to Tuesday, September 22, 2020. 

 

  • New business
  • Approve the Tax Rate – The Selectbboard Members reviewed materials provided by Ms. Brassard for the calculation of FY ’21. The good news is the Town Tax Rate went down from last year and the Educational Residential and Non-Residential Tax Rate also went down.  A brief discussion ensued regarding possible reasons why the tax income may be less and how the current budget could absorb the shortfall.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the Town Residential Tax Rate of 2.3579 and the Town Non-Residential Tax Rate of 2.3732. 

 

  • Adjournment

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 1:10 p.m.  

 

Aug 242020
 

“The Vermont State Police are responding to calls for a re-examining of the role police should play, and how police should evolve to meet challenges raised by George Floyd’s murder and systemic racism.  If you are a Braintree resident and would like to respond, you may either write down your comments and forward them to Janice Russell at the Braintree Town office, at 932 VT RT 12A or email to braintreeadm@gmail.com for presenting at our September 1 selectboard meeting, which begins at 6:00.  This item will be first on our agenda under Old Business for the evening. You can call in to the meeting at 802-210-4472.  All input received will be forwarded to the Vermont State Police.

Aug 212020
 

Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Tuesday, August 18, 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:

Timothy Caulfield, Emergency Management Director

 

Present at Town Office:

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member                               Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member                                               Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member                                 Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson, was unable to attend the meeting.

 

Mr. Burson chaired the meeting in Ms. O’Toole’s absence calling the meeting to order at 6:02pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Committee Chairpersons and guests might be in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

The Board Reviewed the agenda with changes made.  Mr. Burson added under New Business an Application for Access from Joseph Melkonian, a discussion on a letter received from the Department of Public Safety/Vermont State Police requesting the Town’s participation in shaping the approach to policing across Vermont and in the Town of Braintree and a discussion on a Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant.  As there was no material available for the New Town Plan, this topic was removed from the New Business Section.  Mr. Burson added an Executive Session for a Personnel Matter.

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on August 4, 2020. 

 

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

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Mr. Masterson stated the Sand Pile work will be started next week. There was no flooding from the Tropical Storm Isaias.  He briefly described the work being done on the ditch work on the Town’s roads to mitigate possible road and private property flooding issues.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
  • Office Closure To Public – The Town Office will continue to be closed to the Public unless an appointment by phone or e-mail is made with the Town Clerk or Administrative Assistant to enter the building. There is a drop-off box in the front of the building to leave any correspondence that does not need an immediate response.
  • Restructuring Office For Safety – Michael Iddings has completed the framework for the new counter shield and door into the Town Clerk’s work space. Portland Glass will be returning to take new measurements of the area and then will have Mr. Iddings assist in placing the plexiglass into the frame.   A search for a door has not been successful and may require the building of one to Ms. Brassard’s specifications.
  • RAMAN – Mr. Caulfield provided an update.  There have been two new cases in Orange County in the past two weeks but does not appear to be an outbreak situation. The State of Vermont has an excellent contact tracing protocol to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Orange County has no towns that have over 5 infected people.  The Town has received 300 Facial Masks to be distributed freely on a first come first serve basis to Braintree residents.
  • Trashy Neighbors Research Follow-up – Review of New Trash Ordinance – A brief discussion ensued regarding the final version of the new ordinance.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved passage of the Trash Ordinance. 

 

  • Road Foreman Open Position Follow-up – The Open Position ad was run again in The Herald, The Times Argus, The Valley News and on Front Porch Forum and the VT Roads website, the Town’s Website and Facebook page but still have had only one application. There are many towns in the State also looking for highway foreman and crew members without success.
  • Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2021-2022 Stockpile.  A discussion of options between Mr. Masterson and the Selectboard Members was held. A review will be conducted of the potential quarry sites presented in the reports from Vermont Testing Consulting Corporation and American Consulting Engineers and Surveyors the Town had commissioned in 2016.  Other Town locations and Vermont Businesses that supply gravel were deliberated.  Burson, Bent and Masterson will contact the landowners and current gravel suppliers for a review of the prospective sites and prices.
  • Review of Gene Bianco’s Revised Right-of-Way Permit Application – After reviewing Mr. Bianco revised permit application the board decided the work to be done does follow the required guidelines.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved passage of Gene Bianco’s Right-of-Way Permit Application. 

 

  • New business
  • Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant – Ms. Russell and Mr. McMeekin will coordinate the materials and application submission for this grant.
  • VLCT Virtual Town Fair 2020 – Ms. Russell will locate further information on this event and forward it to the Selectboard Members who then will individually decide to attend all or partial events of the Town Fair.
  • Review of Joseph Melkonian’s Right-of-Way Permit Application. The Selectboard evaluated Mr. Melkonian’s application to add an access driveway off Bent Hill Road and found everything to be in order.

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved passage of Joseph Melkonian’s Right-of-Way Permit Application. 

 

  • Letter from Department of Public Safety/Vermont State Police requesting the Town’s participation in shaping the approach to policing across Vermont and in the Town of Braintree. After a brief discussion on how to accommodate the response to this request it was decided that that the following warning requesting input from Braintree Residents will be added to the September 1, 2020 Selectboard Meeting agenda and posted at other sites.  “The Vermont State Police are responding to calls for a re-examining of the role police should play, and how police should evolve to meet challenges raised by George Floyd’s murder and systemic racism.  If you are a Braintree resident and would like to respond, you may either write down your comments and forward them to Janice Russell at the Braintree Town office, at 932 VT RT 12A or email to braintreeadm@gmail.com for presenting at our September 1 selectboard meeting, which begins at 6:00.  This item will be first on our agenda under Old Business for the evening. You can call in to the meeting at 802-210-4472.  All input received will be forwarded to the Vermont State Police.
  • Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313(a)(3).

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:54 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 7:06 PM with no decision being made on the personnel matter.

 

  • Payment orders – The Selectboard reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.

 

  • Adjournment

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Bent the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:07 p.m.  

Aug 102020
 

Minutes Regular Meeting

Braintree Selectboard

Tuesday, August 4, 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                                   Jackson Evans, ECFiber Representative

Timothy Caulfield, Emergency Management Director

 

Present at Town Office:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson                                    Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

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

Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member                                       Loren Bent, Selectboard Member

 

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 Ms. O’Toole tabling the discussions of two items, the Town Hall Internet Options and Possible Changes to Webmaster and Web Page, listed under Old Business.  Mr. Caulfield added the Emergency Management Team’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias under New Business.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on July 21, 2020. 

 

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

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report
  • A brief discussion ensued on the Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2021-2022 Stockpile.
  • Masterson informed the Selectboard that he has been in contact with a possible buyer for the 2001 International Truck.
  • ECFiber Representative – Mr. Evans informed the Selectboard that ECFiber is working with the State of Vermont Public Service Department to help locate previous potential customers, especially those with school age children, who for bad location issues or financial reasons were not connected to ECFiber to inform them that Federal Money may be available now to get them connected.

ECFiber has experienced an influx of new customers due to the necessity of many people, due to COVID-19, being required to work from home and needing faster internet.

A Town of Braintree Alternative Representative to ECFiber is still needed and Mr. Evans provided some skills and knowledge that the potential candidate may need to be successful in the position.

Mr. Evans also stated that ECFiber, just like any other utility, is prepared for any damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias.

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
  • Office Closure To Public – The Town Office will continue to be closed to the Public until at least August 18th, unless an appointment by phone or e-mail is made with the Town Clerk or Administrative Assistant to enter the building. There is a drop-off box in the front of the building to leave any correspondence that does not need an immediate response.
  • Restructuring Office For Safety – The work has begun and is still in progress.
  • RAMAN – Mr. Caulfield provided an update.  There have been up to seven new cases of COVID-19 around the state per day, mostly in the Bennington and Burlington areas but with one or two new cases in Orange County.  The County remains amongst the lowest in the state.   One new death was reported in the Bennington area, which is the first death in the state in 45 days. The Governor is still trying to safely open schools and has provided guidelines to school districts.
  • Review of New Trash Ordinance and possible vote – This discussion was tabled until the next Selectboard Meeting to provide the members time to review the new ordinance in more depth.
  • Continued discussion of possible Solar Array Installation at Braintree town gravel pit – After a brief discussion regarding the lack of an easement to the property through the surrounding properties the Selectboard Members agreed to table this project at this time.
  • Town Hall Internet Options – This item was tabled until the next Selectboard Meeting.
  • Announcement for the vacancy position of Road Foreman Follow-up – Ms. O’Toole recited the list of Newspapers and On-line Sites where the ad had been placed.  Mr. Burson stated that at the time of the meeting he had yet to receive a request for further information on the position or completed job applications.
  • Possible Change to Webmaster and Web Page – This item was tabled until the next Selectboard Meeting.

 

  • New business
  • PACIF Risk Management Report from July 23, 2020 Visit – The Selectboard Members reviewed the report and discussed what corrections needed to be completed and by whom.
  • VLCT COVID-19 Fiscal Impacts Survey – Ms. O’Toole will complete the Survey for the Town of Braintree.
  • Bids Opening for Thayer Brook Culvert Header Repair – The Selectboard Members opened and discussed the three bids received for the Thayer Brook Culvert Header Repair project.

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the acceptance of J.L. Smith’s bid for the Thayer Brook Culvert Header Repair work.

 

  • Bids Opening for Garage Floor Maintenance – Only one company delivered a bid for this project but did provide different options.   Due to the need of the Selectboard and Road Foreman to do more research on the materials listed in the bids no decision was made during this meeting.
  • Emergency Management Team Response to Tropical Storm Isaias – Mr. Caulfield informed the Selectboard that a warning had been sent to all the Town’s Landlines and Vermont Alerts Subscribers regarding flash flooding and put in place a temporary evacuation plan for the Town and would use the State’s Plan for Evacuation Housing if needed.
  • Payment orders – There were no payment orders prepared for this meeting.

 

  • Adjournment

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:56 p.m.