Janice Russell

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  • Wonders if the child-care section is outdated in light of universal pre-K and after-school until 5 pm programs.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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 202020
 

For those who need access to the internet during this period where a lot of us are trying to complete normal tasks “remotely”, there is a public Wifi network available at the Braintree Town Office. Network information is posted on the front door of the office. Please feel free to use the connection while outside the office or sitting in your car.

Mar 182020
 

An Emergency Selectboard Meeting will be held tonight, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, via teleconference.  The item on the agenda is Town of Braintree’s response for employees time used during the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Scott’s State of Emergency requirements.

Teleconference number is 802-210-4472.

 

 

Mar 182020
 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Town buildings will be closed to the public until April 6 or until further notice.   Town staff will continue to be available, normal business 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 to emergency services only.
  • 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 162020
 

Town of Braintree operations update:
As we all rearrange our lives and routines to slow and prevent to spread of COVID-19, please keep in mind:
1. The town office will remain open until further notice. If you are not feeling well, or if you have been exposed to or around others who are not feeling well, please do not come to the town office.
2. To achieve the recommended social distancing and protect the health of town employees, all town selectboard, commission and other town group meetings will be taking place remotely until further notice. Members of the public who wish to participate in these meetings will have access to a conference line number which will be provided on the posted meeting agenda of each meeting.
3. Taxes are due TODAY. A reminder that you can pay your taxes online: https://www.braintreevt.com/make-a-payment/.

Thank you all for your patience and assistance during this time. Please call the town office (802-728-9787) with any questions.

Mar 162020
 
The 03/17/2020 Selectboard will be held over the phone. At 6pm, please dial 802-210-4472 (no passcode required) to attend the meeting.
The Selectboard recommends that all participants call in from your cell phone so that you can mute your line when not speaking. This cuts down on background noise and other disruptions.