Braintree Selectboard Meeting
March 16, 2021 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 Vice-Chair Keegan Haupt, Selectboard Member Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director
Paul Shriver, Conservation Commission Chairperson Paulette Staats, Braintree Citizen
Paul Kendall, Tri-Valley Transit Representative Adam Lane, President, Lost Nation ATV Club
Present at the Town Office:
Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson Loren Bent, Selectboard Member
Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member
Ms. O’Toole called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. A roll call was done to confirm what members and citizens were in attendance via teleconferencing.
The Board reviewed the agenda with the following changes being made: add Under Old Business – Fill the Planning Commission Member Slot and add under New Business – License for Bent Hill Brewery related to their restaurant and add Delegation of Authority for Deputy Emergency Management Director.
On motion of Mr. McMeekin, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board approved the minutes from the Special Selectboard Meeting on February 27, 2021 and the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on March 3, 2021.
Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – Paulette Staats expressed concern that the Selectboard was planning to open more roads to ATV travel. Ms. Staats is alarmed by terrain damage she has witnessed in upper New Hampshire caused by excessive ATV use and is worried that the same thing could happen in Braintree. Mr. Kendall concurred with Ms. Staats assessment of the damage in upper New Hampshire and is also nervous about the possibility of it occurring in Braintree.
- Highway Report – Ms. O’Toole reviewed the submitted report and highlighted the point that the Town has received the new 2021 Mack Truck. A brief discussion ensued about an additional culvert issue on Peth Road that Mr. Pratt may add to the Peth Road work scheduled to begin later this Spring. Burson informed the Selectboard that Mr. Pratt is concentrating on locating potential work sites for a Class II Road Grant.
- Tri-Valley Transit (Stagecoach) Representative – Mr. Kendall spoke about how Tri-Valley responded to the COVID-19 crisis by initiating and maintaining safety protocols that kept both the drivers and riders safe. Tri-Valley also changed their services to accommodate the needs of their riders by adding more buses to some routes and eliminating trips on other routes. They are encouraging all their employees to get vaccinated and offering up to two days to recover from any side effects without the need for the employee to use their own Sick Leave or Personal Leave. McMeekin stated he is impressed by the adaptation and sensitivity to passengers and drivers needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Conservation Commission Report – The Chairperson, Mr. Shriver, reported that the Commission has been meeting remotely via Zoom since March 2020 and still has all five members. The committee’s goals for 2021 are to hold discussions and events with other Vermont Towns conservation commissions. Possible Topics to discuss include Green Burial, Bird Conservation and the protection of amphibians. The commission is still working on the reclamation of Thayer Brook by trying to eliminate the Wild Chervil and Japanese Knotweed down the bank to the brook and to protect the trees that the White River Valley Partnership planted after Irene.
- Old business
- RAMAN update from Tim Caulfield – The number of new COVID cases, as well as COVID related deaths, has continued to drop in Orange County. Braintree had no new cases reported last week. RAMAN plans a Yard Sign Campaign as a way of reminding people to continue to mask, social distance and stay safe.
- RASTA BMF Trailhead Parking and Signage Followup – The trailhead has been re-opened and additional signs have been placed as planned.
- New Braintree Website update – Topic was tabled until the April 6, 2021 meeting.
- Planning Commission Appointment – after a brief discussion
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the appointing of Nathan Cleveland to the last position on the Planning Commission.
- New business
- Re-Adoption of Braintree ATV Ordinance – Ms. O’Toole reiterated that the Selectboard and Lost Nation ATV Club had no plans to add additional roads to the ordinance. Lane reassured the callers that the clubs goals are not to open up more roads or to allow the wild rides as seen in other states. The club has placed signs on all trails to be respectful of the trails roads and other ATV riders. The Lost Nation Club is very active and self-polices its members and takes care of any issues. The club also maintains the trails with their own equipment to prevent erosion and other terrain damage. Several years ago, when Mr. Lane was President of the Vermont ATV Organization, he convinced that Board to not allow any Tourism ATV rental organizations/businesses in the State of Vermont to help prevent erosion and damage to the Vermont ATV Trail System. Messrs. Haupt and McMeekin thanked Mr. Lane for being so proactive in the care of the ATV Trails, alleviating the concerns of Braintree citizens and getting the ATV Ordinance passed.
On Motion of Mr. Haupt, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the 2021 ATV Ordinance as currently drafted.
- Bent Hill Brewery Restaurant License – The State requires an additional license for the planned restaurant at the Bent Hill Brewery. Further discussion and approval of this license was tabled until the April 6th Selectboard Meeting.
- Delegation of Authority to the Deputy Emergency Management Director –
On Motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the Delegation of Authority to the Deputy Emergency Management Director with Ms. O’Toole abstaining.
Payment orders – Ms. O’Toole and Mr. McMeekin reviewed the Payment Orders.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously approved the payment orders.
Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313 (a)(3).
On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:47 P.M. for a discussion on a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313 (a)(3).
At 6:54 pm the board came out of the Executive Session with the decision that with the first pay period after Daniel Small’s successful completion of the CDL License test and his probation he will receive an increase in pay of $1.00.
On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:55 p.m.
Janice R. Russell