Janice Russell

May 072020
 

Unapproved Minutes

Braintree Selectboard Meeting

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 

 

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

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member          Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member          Joan Richmond-Hall, Planning Commission Co-Chair 

Gary Blatz, Braintree Citizen          

 

Present at Town Office:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson         Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member                 Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

Janice R. Russell, Administrative Assistant                                 Paul Rea, Citizen 

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order by phone at 6pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.  

 

The Board Reviewed the agenda with no changes made. 

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on April 21, 2020.

Citizen’s comments are limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – No citizens attended.

 

  • Reports
  • Highway Report- The Selectboard reviewed the Highway Report and discussed the following with Mr. Masterson.
    • COVID-19 operations – All the Road Crew Members are VOSHA Certified.  Ms. O’Toole is going to research having a COVID-19 Plan in place for all town employees.  
    • Roadside spraying – The Town is in the process of getting a permit for roadside spraying in the same areas as last year although some areas may not need to be sprayed.  

 

Mr. Haupt has had contact from a resident on Riford Brook and Thayer Brook Roads who was concerned that only parts of the roads had been graded   Mr. Masterson stated it was due to the weather.    

 

Several Riford Brook Road residents also felt that the Beavers located at the Pond on their road should be left alone because lack of food for the beavers will make them leave and the road has never flooded.    Mr. Masterson goes to that specified location every day or every other day to clean out the debris from the culvert so the road does not flood.  It has been close to flooding a couple of times before it was cleaned out.

 

A discussion ensued between Mr. Masterson, Ms. Brassard, Mr. Caulfield and the Selectboard members regarding the 2020 Green–up Day, which has been moved to May 30th.  It was decided that the Town will get a dumpster as usual and will keep the price of tires the same as last year at $3.00 per tire.  The tires do need to be rimless. 

 

  • RAMAN update – Mr. Caulfield reported that Postcards went out to all residents.  A Sub-committee is looking at how to safely open local businesses and the economy in the region. Ms. O’Toole has been in a discussion with Mr. Nate Cleveland about shifting the focus of the Working Communities Grant to assisting the towns in recovering from the public health crisis.   

 

  • Old business
  • COVID-19 Follow-up
    • Office Closure To Public – Ms. O’Toole proposed that we continue to keep the office closed until May 19th, even though the Stay Home Stay Safe Order ends Friday, May 15th.    Ms. Brassard initiated a discussion regarding rearranging the Town Office for safety purposes before re-opening to the public.  Ms. Brassard would like to change the current counter and include a new see-through barrier.   The Selectboard agreed that there is money in the Capital Budget for the safety upgrades to the work areas in the Town Office and Garage.  Mr. McMeekin volunteered to meet with the Town Office employees and Mr. Masterson to plan how to reorganize all work areas for safety purposes.   
    • Remote Working – The process of remote working is going fine and the new computer hardware is working wonderful.

 

  • New business
  • Properties With Trash Problems – Ms. Brassard reported she has received two complaints on properties with a trash problem.  The Town of Braintree does not have a By-law or Ordinance regarding properties with excessive trash but can send a letter to the property owners requesting a cleanup of said property be done.  Ms. O’Toole and M. Burson will do further research on who has jurisdiction to send the letter and also on creating an Ordinance for future problems.  They will report their findings at the next Selectboard Meeting.  Mr.’s McMeekin and Haupt wanted to know why an Ordinance was not created last year when there were similar issues but no answer could be provided. 
  • Zoning 

 

  • Zoning Administrator Appointment – Gary Blatz was on the phone to express his interest in the Zoning Administrator position.  Mr. Blatz and Ms. Richmond-Hall have spoken; Mr. Blatz printed off and has started reading the ByLaws and Ms. Richmond-Hall suggested he review the last several years of Zoning Permits.  Ms. Richmond-Hall also suggested that Mr. Blatz start with the two easy permit applications that were recently submitted.to the Town of Braintree.  

 

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of Mr. Blatz as Zoning Administrator.  

 

    • Consideration of Zoning application for subdivision- After a lengthy discussion on why Paul Rea’s Sub-division Zoning Permit had not been completed last year by The Town and Mr. Rea.   Mr. Rea explained the need to reconfigure two adjoining parcels to make all parcels two acres and he then resubmitted a new permit application in January which was directed to the Development Review Board by then Zoning Administrator, Holly Jarvis. The changes are very minor from last year to this year’s permit application and Ms.’s Brassard and Richmond-Hall believe that the Selectboard should grant Mr. Rea a waiver requiring the need to go before the Development Review Board and allow the submission of a new mylar of the design.   

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved Mr. Rea’s application for zoning and issued him a permit. Mylar will be submitted and signed by the appropriate town officials.   

 

  • Executive Session
    • Personnel matter – 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 7:05 P.M. for a personnel matter.   

 

At 7:19 P.M. The Selectboard came out of the Executive Session with no decision made.

 

  • Payment orders – Ms. O’Toole and Mr. Bent reviewed the Payment Orders.

 

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

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:18 p.m. 

Apr 252020
 

Braintree, VT Conservation Commission

Minutes, 04/22/2020

Present: (by teleconference)

Gina Logan, Linda Morse, Paul Shriver, Sandy Stephen, Joan Richmond-Hall

 

Agenda:

  • Public comment—none at this time
  • Approval of March minutes—there was no March meeting, so no minutes to approve
  • Information from Joan re: DEC/PFOAS and Randolph sewage treatment plant: deferred to May meeting
  • Introductions: Gina (Regina) Logan, 60 Murphy Rd., Braintree (logan.writer@gmail.com; 802-728-9080) is a new member of the commission as of March 2020
  • Review of goals/ discussion of new goals:
  • Work with Randolph/ Brookfield?

Discussion: sponsor/ hold a presentation on pollinators.  Linda will look through her notes from a presentation she attended previously. Sandy wondered about the “bee folks” in

Brookfield; he will look into his contacts. Linda will look into Brian Lowe from Randolph, who works with birds (banding kestrels, etc.).

  • The bird count was also mentioned as omething we could participate in (winter bird count/ spring bird count).
  • Everyone will report back at the May meeting and we will plan a presentation on pollinators going forward.
  • Work on Thayer Brook: deferred to summer due to COVID-19 restrictions on gathering/ social distancing. We will discuss the situation at the next meeting, when perhaps some restrictions will have been lifted or modified.
  • The meeting ended at 7:50 p.m.
  • Next meeting (27 May, 7 p.m.) will be via Zoom. Joan will host. An invitation will be emailed; to participate, members should click on the link provided in the body of the email.  Make sure to test your device’s audio and video (camera).

 

 

 

Minutes respectfully submitted by Gina Logan

Apr 252020
 

 Minutes

Braintree Selectboard Meeting

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 

 

“In accordance with the recent amendments to Vermont’s open meeting law, and in light of the ongoing public health crisis, this meeting was held via conference call. The public could have accessed the meeting at the scheduled time by calling 802-210-4472.”

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson     Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member                         Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

 

Present at Town Office:

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member         Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Janice R. Russell, Administrative Assistant     Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order by phone at 6pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.  

 

The Board Reviewed the agenda with Ms. O’Toole requesting the Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) be added under New Business and Ms. Russell and Mr. Masterson requested the Municipal Highway Grant Application be removed from New Business.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Haupt, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on April 7, 2020.

Citizen’s comments are limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – No citizens attended.

 

Reports

 

  • Highway Report – The Highway Foreman, Jeff Masterson, wants to move forward in procuring next year’s sand stockpile.  Under the new COVID-19 Governor’s Guidelines work can begin on projects that require no more than a 2-person crew and who will be practicing social distancing.  The projects Mr. Masterson has lined up are mostly outside and the Highway Crew will be in individual vehicles. The Town is lacking PPE’s for the Highway Crew so Mr. Haupt will donate hand sanitizer and Ms. O’Toole will post a request on Front Porch Forum and Facebook requesting assistance on locating face masks.  

 

There is an ongoing issue with a beaver dam on Riford Brook Road that requires a culvert to be cleaned out every two days or so to prevent flooding of the road.  A discussion followed on the best option to legally remove the beavers and, although there was no decision on how to remove the beavers the Selectboard provided permission to Mr. Masterson to use his judgement and proceed with the removal.

 

  • COVID-19 – Randolph Area Mutual Aid Network (RAMAN) Updates – Tim Caulfield provided information on what RAMAN has been able to provide to area towns and what will be happening in the future.  There is not much happening in Braintree at this time relevant to the CoVID-19 issue. A mailing will be going out to all the residents of Braintree with what assistance RAMAN can provide.   

 

  • Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Brassard read her Treasurer’s Report and will be providing it out to the Selectboard members.  The Town is below 75% of spending at the end of March.  Delinquent Tax Bills have been sent out and another set will go out shortly and there are two requests at this time to convene the Board of Abatement.  Dog Registrations are continuing to arrive at the office.

 

Old business

 

  • Hiring of a Zoning Administrator- Mr. McMeekin will continue his efforts to contact potential candidates.  

 

  • COVID-19 Follow-up – The Governor’s new COVID-19 Guidelines have stipulated that Municipal Clerks Offices may re-open.  The re-opening has to follow strict safety guidelines and after a brief discussion between the Selectoboard, Ms. Brassard and Ms. Russell it was decided that the Office will continue to be closed to the public and limited research access to the vault would be on an appointment basis only and under strict guidelines.  

  

Ms. O’Toole suggested that as the Stay At Home Order is still in effect until May 15th that the Town Office should remain closed and the Selectboard will re-evaluate the closure at each consecutive Selectboard meeting until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.  The other Selectboard members agreed that it made sense to continue with the closure.  Ms. Russell will update the Town website, Front Porch Forum and Facebook with the new information.

 

New business

  • Town and Bridge Standards – There are no changes to the Town Road and Bridge Standards from last year.

 

  • Emergency Management Director and Deputy Emergency Management Director Delegation of Authority forms to be attached to the Local Emergency Management Plan.  The Delegation of Authority allows the Emergency Management Director and Deputy Emergency Management the ability to act quickly on behalf of the Town of Braintree during a disaster.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeeken the Board unanimously approved the Delegation of Authority to the Emergency Management Director, Timothy Caulfield. 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. McMeekin the Board unanimously approved with Ms. O’Toole abstaining, the Delegation of Authority to the Deputy Emergency Management Director, Derek O’Toole. 

 

  • Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) – Mr. Caulfield had provided the newest version of the LEMP and the only changes were the dates of the current plan, contacts and contacts information.

 

On motion of Mr. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the Local Emergency Management Plan dated April 21, 2020.

 

Payment orders – Mr. Bent, as the only Selectboard attending the meeting at the Town Office, checked and signed the payment orders. 

 

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

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:49 p.m. 

Apr 102020
 

Minutes

Braintree Selectboard Meeting

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

 

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

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

 

Present at Town Office:

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member                                       Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Janice R. Russell, Administrative Assistant                                Jeff Masterson, HighwayForeman

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order by phone at 6pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

The Board Reviewed the agenda with Ms.’ O’Toole and Brassard stated that new information would be mentioned under the COVID-19 section of Old Business as the situation and regulations are constantly evolving.

 

On motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on March 17, 2020.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from the Emergency Selectboard Meeting on March 18, 2020.

 

Citizen’s comments are limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – No citizens attended.

 

Reports

 

*    Highway Report – The Selectboard reviewed the report submitted by Mr. Masterson. Ms.             O’Toole requested information on the Peth Road tree cutting plans and was informed that            it is between Mud Pond and Walker Roads for ditch work and is a grant funded project,          although the town has not yet received said grant.

 

Upon a question presented by Ms. O’Toole regarding sand stockpile and a need for a new             sandpit in the near future;  she wanted a definition of near future.  Mr. Masterson stated   that on best case scenario the current sand pit will suffice for 3 or 4 years and worst case          is 1 or 2 years.  Until further digging is completed there is no way of knowing which           scenario will pan out.

 

 

Old business

 

*   Hiring of a Zoning Administrator- Mr. McMeekin will continue his efforts to contact           potential candidates.  Currently all Zoning questions are being forwarded to Joan             Richmond-Hall, chairperson of the Braintree Planning Commission.

 

*    COVID-19 Follow-up – Office Closure To Public & Remote Working – Upon request      from the Selectboard Ms.’ Brassard and Russell described how effective the Office       Closure and Remote Working is functioning and when each employee is at the office.

 

Ms. O’Toole suggested that the Town Office should remain closed until April 21st and the       Selectboard will re-evaluate the closure then and at each consecutive Selectboard meeting       until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.  The other selectboard members agreed that it   made sense to continue with the closure.  Ms. Russell will update the Town website,             Front Porch Forum and Facebook with the new April 21st date.

 

Timothy Caulfield, the Emergency Management Director, has created a new Town Office             outgoing message that states that if you need any non-emergency assistant related to the   COVID-19 Health Crisis that there are resources on the Braintree Website right on the Home Page with a link to the Emergency Management Page that leads to the Randolph    Area Mutual Aid Network (RAMAN) information. The new outgoing message also             provides Tim’s contact information.

 

Ms. Russell initiated a discussion regarding the new forum, much like Zoom that   Vermont Computing created for the greater Randolph area to use for video and telephone    meetings.  At this time, the Selectboard decided this forum is not necessary to use at this          time but are glad the option is there for use at a later date.

 

New business

 

*          Dog License Late Fee Waiver – Ms. Brassard that because of Vermont State Statute the             Dog License Fee date of April 1st can not be changed but late fees can be waived.  Due to         the COVID-19 Rabies Clinics have been pushed out or canceled altogether and people             are scrabbling to get the required Rabies Certificate. Other towns are pushing the late fees      out to April 30th to the end of May.  The Town of Braintree collected less then $100 from    late fees last year and wonders if we should push it out or waive all late fees for Dog             Licenses this year.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously approved the waiver of Dog License Late Fees for this year.

 

*          Certificate of Highway Mileage – The Selectboard reviewed the Highway Mileage,             which has not changed since last year.

 

On motion of Mr. Burson, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the Certificate of Highway Mileage.

 

*          Request for Public Assistance (RPA) from FEMA to Recoup Any Losses During             COVID-19 Crisis – A discussion ensued and no Selectboard Member felt that the Town   had anything to recoup at this time.  The Town has not experienced any financial burden.

 

*          Current town wide reappraisal and issues surrounding the extension of the deadline for             the grand list. –  The State of Vermont has extended the filing of the Grand List but the             requirement of a 30 day period of when the tax bills are sent out and when said tax bills             are due is still in place.  Ms. O’Toole read the information provided by Ms. Brassard and      Jackson Evans, Town Lister, and the Town is in a unique position because the Town             Wide Appraisal is almost completed.  Mr. Evans, in his information, explained his             concern is regarding grievances of an appraisal and due to COVID-19 would not be able      to convene the Board of Listers to hear these grievances. A discussion to push back the             date of reappraisal notifications until later in the summer occurred and the selectboard             discussed that the bills could be sent out on October 1st with a due date of October 31st.

 

Ms. Brassard spoke about the lack of Disaster Recovery Backup of the KAMA system,             which is where all the appraisers support and work comes from.  To purchase the Disaster             Recovery Backup for KAMA would be $500.00.  To prevent the possible lose all the        work of the appraisers the Selectboard approved Ms. Brassard using the IT Support and             Software and Office Supply lines there is money available to purchase the Disaster    Recovery Backup software.

.

*          Kari’s Law and Upgrade to the Phone System – Ms. Brassard informed the Selectboard             Members that Key Communications notified her that as of February 16, 2020 that all             public building required to have a phone system that allows direct dial to 911 without             having to enter a code.   The cost to the Town of Baintree would be a one time fee of no        more then $100 for the update.  Ms. Brassard was given permission to have the upgrade             to the telephone system completed.

 

Payment orders –  Mr. Bent, as the only Selectboard attending the meeting at the Town     Office, checked and signed the payment orders. Mr. Burson arrive at the Town Office on Wednesday morning for a second signature.

 

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

Apr 082020
 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Town buildings will be closed to the public until May 19th or until further notice.   Town staff will continue to be available on limited hours, to assist residents by phone, e-mail, U.S. Postal Service, and by appointment with preventive protocols in place. Meetings of all boards are to either be cancelled until further notice or be held by phone conferencing in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, as close as possible.

WHAT IF I NEED SOMETHING?

  • DOG LICENSES:  The date to register dogs by has been extended to April 30th.  You can leave your payments ($9 s/n/$13 intact) and an updated copy of your rabies certificate for each dog in the drop-box or send via USPS.  We will mail new tags. If you aren’t sure if you need a new rabies certificate you can call the town clerk.
  • TAX PAYMENTS:  At this point, tax payments are delinquent.  Please call for the new amount owed before mailing in your payment.  You can also leave your payment in the drop-box to the right of the door.
  • TAX BILL COPIES:  If you need a copy of your tax bill, please call or email us!  We can email and fax copies to you or your tax preparer or mail them to you.
  • LAND RECORDS RESEARCH:  Our vault is available for research BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  The decision to come to our offices will be at your discretion.  We WILL NOT conduct research for anyone regardless of the current situation as we do not carry Title Insurance and could be held liable should incorrect documentation be mistakenly sent.  If you have deed references (book/page required) you may request documents to be emailed to you with an invoice attached.
  • ROAD CREW:  Road crew operations will be limited.
  • Stay Healthy!

Town Clerk/Treasurer/Delinquent Tax Collector – 802-728-9787 x3

Administrative Assistant – 802-728-9787 x6

Listers – 802-728-9787 x5

Road Foreman – 802-728-9787 x4

For more information:

Mar 272020
 

Braintree Planning Commission Meeting of 25 March 2020

 

Attending: Jenn Phipps, Paul Kendall, Jackson Evans, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Joan Richmond-Hall

 

Convened at 7:02 pm by phone conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Malcolm felt that there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed in the Town Plan but were missing in this draft.

  • Groundwater and aquifer maps should be included. If this information isn’t available, then we should make plans to get it.
  • Braintree needs plans to develop a more resilient back roads system that is more resistant to weather and allows emergency vehicle access across town even in mud season.
  • Braintree’s higher ground, for example along the top of Braintree Hill, doesn’t have fire-fighting ponds. We should consider locating water tanks on the higher ground.
    > Malcolm will contact Mike Hildenbrand, chief of Randolph’s Fire Department to get his feedback.
  • Roadside shade trees should be maintained and thinned. This would require landowner’s permission and that of the tree warden but should be done.
  • Flooding is a major issue. We should get ahead of the State’s coming stormwater regulations and require residential construction to assess groundwater runoff and mitigation.

> Joan will ask TRORC what they are planning to do about upcoming stormwater rules.

 

Jackson likes the new, concise format. He’ll send granular edits to Paul K.

  • Chapter 1 is good.
  • Chapter 2:
    • Agrees that we need to check the items that Paul highlighted.

> Joan will do a bit more research here and check sources.

  • Wonders if the child-care section is outdated in light of universal pre-K and after-school until 5 pm programs.

> Jackson will do a bit of research on the current child-care situation and will check in with employers.

  • Chapter 3: Notes that we’ll need to go back and add sources.
    • Added a paragraph about Braintree’s architectural history. There may be additional information on Snowsville. Needs to add information on old dams as evidence of an ‘industrial’ past.
    • 5.3: Clarified that we have no “identified” archeological resources.
  • Chapter 4:
    • Notes that Braintree may be maxed out for new housing sites: geographically challenged (particularly in light of need for two septic sites).
    • 5: Need to consider the balance between solar and wind development vs. preserving agricultural land.

 

Jen:

  • Chapter 1: good
  • Chapter 2: No mention of Stagecoach?
    • Need to double check descriptions of town officers and volunteers (Town Report)
    • In policies/actions:
      • How do we: attract the young? Improve transportation? Develop the economy?
    • Need to clarify the connection between climate change and forests.
    • How recent is development or densification in South Braintree.
    • Housing should include all types of housing, not just apartment buildings.
    • Add wood to the energy section.
  • Chapter 4: Needs to include:
    • Housing
    • EV charging
    • Single-family homes
    • Isn’t Randolph providing sufficient socialization for seniors?

 

Joan:

In the interests of time Joan will send her comments to Paul. They are largely in agreement with others comments.

 

Next meeting will focus on policies and actions.

  • Paul will pull together earlier policies and actions, organize them and weed out repetition.
  • Joan will send around TRORC’s last replies about required elements.
  • Malcom will draft areas of concern to him, particularly water.
  • Jackson will consider childcare and housing sites.
  • Jen will focus on housing.

 

Adjourned at 8:50 pm.

 

Tentative schedule for next meeting: Thursday 16 April by phone conference

 

/s/ Joan Richmond-Hall

Mar 252020
 

Town of Braintree

Draft Auditors Meeting Minutes  –  March 23, 2020

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

 

Attendees:  Tom Cooch, Lin Brown, Jessica Brassard (invited)

 

  1. Mr. Cooch called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

 

  1. No changes were made to the agenda.

 

  1. The minutes of the November 1, 2019 meeting were approved.

 

  1. Elect Officers. Voted: to keep the current officers in place for the coming year. Mr. Cooch as Chair, and Mr. Brown as Secretary.

 

  1. Payroll auditing. As of January 1, 2020 the Town has contracted with Compucount, Inc. of Randolph for payroll services, necessitating a new payroll audit procedure. Mr. Brown reported initial steps in learning about the new payroll system. He will meet with the Town Administrator and Town Clerk-Treasurer for more detailed information, and prepare a new draft payroll audit procedure for review at the next auditors meeting.

 

  1. Review tasks needing completion for FY20

– General Fund: Summaries completed for Q1 & Q2; Mascoma bank reconciliation completed for January.

– Reserve Funds: Summaries completed for Q1 & Q2.

– Grand List (annually): Completed last Fall.

– Accounts Payable: Done through FY20-Q2. Six items were not found in the files.  Awaiting resolution from the Town Administrator.

– General Journal: Complete through FY20-Q2. There was a long list of entries for FY20-Q1 and Q2, which Mr. Cooch reviewed with the Treasurer and Admin. Asst.

– Payroll: Complete through FY20-Q2 using the NEMRC system. Research is underway on preparing a new procedure now that Compucount has been contracted for payroll services (see item 5 above).

– State Payments: Complete through FY20-Q2.  One small discrepancy noted. Awaiting resolution from Clerk-Treasurer

 

Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk-Treasurer, joined us for the remainder of the meeting.

 

  1. Review of Sullivan & Powers Report; re: gravel prepayment.

The external auditors asked about our accounting practice regarding advanced payment (or prepayment) of gravel from Tucker. The Town purchases a portion of its gravel from Tucker in the spring, when they offer a 5% discount, but does not take delivery until summer. The issue with S&P appears that the expenditure is typically in one fiscal year and receipt of the gravel is usually in the next fiscal year. Ms. Brassard will follow-up with S&P for clarification and resolution.

 

  1. Review formatting of the financials in the Town Report.
  2. Reserve Funds: The problem is how best to report Reserve fund balances at the end of the year, when invoices received in June are not paid until July. It is unclear to the auditors why NEMRC uses cash accounting in these cases. The auditors prefer that the accrual method be used and reported as such in the Town Report. After much discussion it was

Voted: The accrual method of accounting be used in the quarterly Reserve Fund summary reports and in the end-of-year Reserve Fund balances in the Town Report.

 

  1. Currency: The issue is how the budget and expenditure numbers should be reported; with or without a dollar sign ($), in whole dollars rather than dollars and cents, and with or without a comma separator for 1,000s. This issue arose because there were inconsistencies in the initial draft of the Town Report. We agreed that we will continue with our current and past format: dollars and cents, with no dollar sign, and a comma separator.

 

  1. Balance Sheet: The two issues are whether to continue to publish the Balance Sheet in the Town Report, and whether it should have more detail. Our consensus was “yes” to the first and “no” to the second.

 

  1. Assign jobs for FY20.

Voted: Auditing assignments for FY20 will remain the same as for FY19.

 

10 Procedure Manuals

  1. General Fund: Mr. Cooch has prepared an entirely new procedure manual, largely driven by changes in the structure of the Town’s accounts at Mascoma Bank. It also notes the propriety of optionally using on-line statement balances, rather than paper statement balances for doing end of month reconciliations.

Voted: To approve the new General Fund Audit Procedure Manual contingent on review and consent from Ms. Barrett and Mr. Brown by 3/27/2020.

 

  1. Reserve Funds: Mr. Cooch has prepared a revised manual reflecting the use of accrual rather than cash accounting for monthly balances (see pages 11 and 12 of the manual)

Voted: To approve the revised Reserve Fund Audit Procedure Manual contingent on review and consent from Ms. Barrett and Mr. Brown by 3/27/2020.

 

  1. Payroll: See item 5 above.

 

  1. State Payments: Tabled to our next meeting

 

  1. Other business. There was none.

 

  1. The meeting was adjourned at 9:56 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Linfield C. Brown

Mar 202020
 

Unapproved Minutes

Emergency Braintree Selectboard Meeting

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chair

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member

 

 

Present at Town Office:

Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Janice R. Russell, Administrative Assistant

 

Ms. O’Toole called the emergency meeting to order by phone at 5 pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members, citizens and employees were in attendance via teleconferencing.

 

A brief discussion occurred regarding Jeff Masterson, Highway Foreman, making it mandatory for the Highway Crew to be absent during the COVID-19 State of Emergency shutdown of the schools.  It was brought to the Selectboards attention by Ms. Brassard that other towns in Vermont are also requiring their Highway Crew and other employees to be away from the job and are paying the employees their regular wages.  Ms. O’Toole stated that the wages are in the budget and that in this time of crisis the employees should be paid without the worry of using up sick and personal time.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole and seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously agreed to pay the Town of Braintree’s employees their normal compensation until at least April 6th and to re-evaluate the situation at the April 7th Selectboard Meeting.

 

On motion of Ms O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.

Mar 202020
 

Unapproved Minutes

Braintree Selectboard Meeting

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

 

 

Present via Remote Conference Calling:

Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chair                                                      Thomas Cooch, Resident

Charles McMeekin, Selectboard Member                                                 Sandy Cooch, Resident

Daniel Burson, Selectboard Member              Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director

Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member

 

Present at Town Office:

Loren Bent, Selectboard Member                                   Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Janice R. Russell, Administrative Assistant

 

 

Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order by phone at 6 pm.  A roll call was done to confirm what Selectboard members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.  Ms. O’Toole then explained that the COVID-19 self-distancing practices were the reasoning behind the move to remote teleconferencing.

 

The Board reviewed the agenda and there were changes as follows: Ms. O’Toole added to the COVID-19 listed under New Business the Highway Crew and their hours, status of the operations at the Town Office and working flexibilities, remote meeting protocols and the Purchase and Use of Laptops for Town Office employees and Selectboard Members.  Ms. Russell stated that Adam Lang of Lost Nation ATV Club stated he was not prepared to review the ATV Ordinance at this time and requested he be removed from the meeting agenda.  He then asked for a copy of the current ATV Ordinance to be sent to him in preparation of attending the next Selectboard Meeting, which Ms. Russell has done.

 

Keegan Haupt stated he had a citizen call inquiring if property taxes were still due at the current deadline and if late charges were still going to be added during this period of self-isolation due to the COVID-19 virus.  Ms. Brassard stated that yes due to statutes the taxes are still due on the current deadline and that yes late charges will still be added.  Any citizen who was unable to get their taxes paid by the deadline can request a Board of Abatement meeting to plead the case of and voice the reasons why late charges should be removed.

 

On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from March 4, 2020.

 

Citizen’s comments

 

  • Thomas Cooch – as a member of several Town Commissions he appreciates and thanked Ms. O’Toole and the Selectboard for the quick actions of the board regarding doing remote conference calling meetings for Selectboard and Commissions’ Meetings.  Ms. O’Toole informed Mr. Cooch that the conference call company is also able to do webinars, videoconferencing etc.
  • Reports
  • Highway Report – Ms. O’Toole read the brief Highway Report and noted that the Town Highway Foreman is working on several road grants.  There were no other questions or concerns regarding the report.

 

  • Old business
  • Hiring of a Zoning Administrator – Mr. McMeekin is in contact with a possible candidate for the Zoning Administrator position and will keep the Selectboard updated on the status of the candidate.  Ms. Brassard reminded the Selectboard that as of March 1st the previous Zoning Administrator was no longer assisting with Zoning By-Law questions and that Ms. Brassard has been fielding questions.  She is able to answer the simple questions but was diverting the more in-depth questions to the Planning Commission Chairperson, Joan Richmond-Hall.

 

  • New business
  • Green Mountain Power (GMP) – Request for Climate Plan Input survey – Ms. O’Toole volunteered to take a closer look at the survey and will try to make a recommendation at the next Selectboard Meeting of what the Town of Braintree wants to submit to GMP.  Mr. Bent stated he knows that GMP has done a partial shutdown of their office.
  • COVID-19 – Ms. O’Toole questioned the other members and Office Staff on receipt of e-mails from the State’s Emergency Operation Center; upon receiving negative replies stated she would begin forwarding the e-mails.  Ms. O’Toole encouraged all Selectboard Members and Mr. Caulfield, if they were available on Wednesday, March 18th, at 3 p.m., to participate in a COVID-19 Regional Coordination roundtable call/webinar being coordinated by Linda Anderson from Capstone Community Action.

 

Ms. Brassard informed the Selectboard that she has followed the action of many surrounding towns and moved the due date of Dog Licenses to April 30th.  This information has been placed in The Herald, on the Town Office, on the Town’s Website and Facebook Page.

 

A brief discussion occurred and a decision was made that the Braintree Town Office will be closed to the Public until April 6th for the health and safety of the town employees.  The announcement of the closure will be placed on the Town Office, the Bulletin Boards, the Town’s Website and Facebook page and Front Porch Forum.

 

Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director, clarified his input from three weeks ago that the COVID-19 pandemic is a health officer issue with the Emergency Management Team following up with any support the Health Officer may need.  Ms. O’Toole stated that at this time the Town of Braintree is deferring to the guidelines presented by the Vermont Emergency Operation Center but the Selectboard will defer to the Emergency Action Team for any communication issues that may arise.

 

Ms. O’Toole provided the information on the remote meeting setup and how she created a Google Calendar for the use of the Town Commissions to schedule their meetings use of the teleconferencing number.

 

A discussion resulted from Jeff Masterson’s request in his Highway Report to allow the Highway Crew to remain at home during the COVID-19 shutdown of the schools unless the crew needs to be called in for weather or emergency issues.  At point is the question of whether absences will be voluntary or mandatory and how payment of the missing hours would be paid. Ms. O’Toole will clarify with Mr. Masterson on the voluntary or mandatory issue and report back to the other members in an Emergency Meeting.

 

Ms. O’Toole brought up the subject for discussion of the purchasing of laptop computers for Braintree Town employees and Selectboard Members to enable more flexibility during times of crisis, illness and the necessity of needing a computer and internet access during elections being held at the Town Hall.  Ms. O’Toole will contact VT Computing to get further information on the purchasing of laptops.  Ms. Russell will contact ECFiber regarding internet access at the Braintree Town Hall.

 

  • Purchase New Mower – Mr. Burson led the discussion on the purchase of a New Mower and that the cost of the new mower has risen to $19,000.00 but the Town only budgeted $17,000.00 for next year.  Mr. Masterson has located a used mower for $15,000 but it requires an immediate purchase. Brassard was asked if there is money in the Vehicle/Equipment Fund for this purchase and there is.  The money will be replenished in the next budget year.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. Burson, the Board unanimously approved the use of the $15,000.00 to purchase the used mower.

 

Payment orders – Mr. Burson will arrive in the Town Office at 8:30 a.m. to approve the payment orders.

 

On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:59 p.m.