Braintree Selectboard Meeting
February 2, 2021 at 6:00pm
“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
Jessica Brassard, Town Clerk and Treasurer Dylan Pratt, Road Foreman
Jackson Evans, ECFiber Representative Tim Caulfield, Emergency Management Director
Janice Thresher, Town of Braintree Citizen Kris Haupt, Town of Braintree Citizen
Present at the Town Office:
Megan O’Toole, Selectboard Chairperson Loren Bent, Selectboard Member
Charlie McMeekin, Selectboard Member Janice Russell, Administrative Assistant
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 Ms. O’Toole adding under New Business the Changing of the March 2nd, 2021 Selectboard Meeting as it conflicts with Town Meeting Day.
On motion of Mr. Bent, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board approved the minutes from the Regular Selectboard Meeting on January 19, 2021 and the minutes from the Special Selectboard Meeting on January 26, 2021 with one abstention from Mr. Haupt.
Citizen’s comments limited to 3 minutes per person with a 15 minute maximum – A citizen comment was moved to the Town Meeting Day discussion.
- Mr. Haupt questioned the budget amount listed to purchase four new chainsaws for the Highway Crew and why the Town owns two chippers. Messrs. Bent and Pratt explained that the Town’s current chainsaws are old and no longer have the power for removing larger trees or branches that fall into the road. Mr. Haupt stated he would be interested in purchasing one of the old chainsaws when the replacement occurs. Mr. Pratt stated that the Town uses the large chipper often and the little chipper is handy for smaller projects where having to turn around the larger chipper becomes a problem.
- Ms. Thresher led a discussion that followed up on a list of written questions she had provided earlier in the day via e-mail about steps taken by the Town Clerk and Selectboard regarding the Town Meeting and General Election, the lack of a Board of Civil Authority Meeting, the signing of Payment Orders and the purchase of the new Town of Braintree Sign in front of the Town Office. Mss. O’Toole and Brassard responded that as the law related to holding Town Meeting changed this year due to COVID-19, there was a short time frame to get Requirements for Candidates and Absentee Ballots Information out to voters and to save the Town money only one postcard was sent to the addresses with 05060 or 05669 zip codes from the Grand List and not the Voter Checklist but unfortunately some households/property owners may have received more than one postcard. Ms. O’Toole also pointed out that The Legislative Act 1(H.48) and Act 162, both signed by Governor Scott, gave the Selectboard the authority to make temporary changes during 2021 to the Town Meeting Voting Style, Place and Time of said Voting without the requirement of a town wide vote or approval from the Board of Civil Authority. The Selectboard did warn through Meeting Minutes that these changes were being discussed. The whole board must always vote to approve the Payment Orders, but not all Board members need to sign the orders. The installation of the new Town of Braintree sign has been in the works for many years, was approved by the board, and is in the budget for Town Office improvements.
- Highway Report – The report was reviewed with no concerns from the Selectboard. Ms. O’Toole informed the Selectboard that a letter from Ken Manning, owner of Abel Mountain Campground, had been received concerning the snow pile blocking the entrance to the campground. A brief discussion ensued about the reasons for the snow pile being at its present location. Mr. Burson will send a Response Letter to Mr. Manning.
ECFiber Representative Report – Jackson Evans – reported that as the Town of Braintree has been built out there is not a lot of information pertaining to Braintree. ECFiber spent a lot of time, energy and resources to bury conduits around mobile home parks in the Towns they serve to make it easier for a park resident to hook-up to ECFiber. Once Randolph is completely built-out the Town of Braintree’s coverage will come in from several different directions so that if a power outage occurs in one town Braintree should still get their system from the other direction.
- RAMAN update from Tim Caulfield – the levels of Covid in Orange County have dropped off from the peaks that were seen in November and December. Randolph is still the highest in cases but the area is down to 13. RAMAN is still working on getting out the message to stay safe and follow the CDC recommendations.
- Town’s options for a potential location of sand needed to replenish the 2022-2023 Stockpile Follow-up – No update at this time. This topic was tabled until late spring 2021 and will be removed from the agenda until that time.
- Town Report Delivery Schedule – Due to COVID the procedure of knocking on doors to deliver the Town Report will not happen this year but instead will be left on each mailbox within a plastic bag. The reports should be arriving from the printer on February 12th-15th and need to be delivered by the end of the day on February 19th.
New Business –
- Review bids for Lemery Road Bridge Project – The Selectboard reviewed the bids received from Hebert Excavation Corporation and Hilltop Construction.
On motion of Mr. McMeekin, seconded by Ms. O’Toole, the Board approved awarding the Lemery Road Bridge Project to Hilltop Construction for the bid of $38,500.00 with Mr. Haupt abstaining.
- Review bids for Peth Road project – As the Selectboard had questions on the bids received from J.L. Smith and Hilltop Construction no action was taken at this time. Mr. Burson will reach out to the bidders for clarification on their bids.
- Creation of new Welcome to Town Committee – Ms. Brassard has been receiving many calls from the new residents who have moved into Braintree in the past year requesting information on basic things like where to shop, where to place trash, etc. she and Mr. Evans have suggested creating a “Welcome to Town Committee. Mr. Evans would like to inform the new residents about Town Government, the Zoning Requirements, Lister Information and who to contact to get said information. Messr. Jackson and McMeekin volunteered to help get the committee set up.
- Moving the first meeting in March to Wednesday, March 3rd. A brief discussion ensued on the Selectboard Members availability to meet on Wednesday, March 3rd.
On motion of Mr. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. Bent, the Board unanimously approved moving the first meeting in March from Tuesday the 2nd to Wednesday, the 3rd at 6 p.m.
Payment orders – Mr. Bent and Ms. O’Toole reviewed the Payment Orders. Messrs. Burson or Haupt will come to the office on Wednesday, February 3rd to sign Timesheets.
On motion of Mr. Bent, 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 Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously voted to enter into an Executive Session at 6:53 P.M. for a discussion on a personnel matter pursuant to 1 V.S.A. Section 313 (a)(3).
At 7:20 pm the board came out of the Executive Session with no decision being made.
On motion of Ms. O’Toole, seconded by Mr. McMeekin, the Board unanimously adjourned the meeting at 7:20 p.m.
Janice R. Russell