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MINUTES OF THE NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
REGULAR MEETING
MARCH 20, 2008
TOWN OFFICES
NEWFANE, VERMONT

PRESENT:
Selectboard: Gary Katz, Guy Wachtel, Peter Rysz, Joseph Mandell, Jeff Gouger (at 6:52 p.m.)
Also Present: Shannon Meckle, Gunther Garbe, Christopher Williams, Todd Lawley, Phyllis Mandell, Judy Egan, Walter Phelps, Fred Bacon, Laura Wallingford-Bacon, Carolyn Coleman, Carol Destromp, Timothy Destromp

1. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair.

2. MINUTES
The board reviewed the minutes of the March 6, 2008 Organizational Meeting and the following changes were made:
Under Section 2: Change Doris’ name to Shannon’s name as being elected as Clerk of the Board.

On the 4th page under “Road Foreman’s Report” discussion ensued regarding the March 6th discussion of the “Engine Brake” sign. No corrections were made to the minutes.
A motion was made by Peter Rysz to approve the minutes as amended. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The minutes were approved with 4 in favor, and Joe Mandell abstained as he was not present.

3. ROAD BUSINESS
Road Foreman’s Report: See attached report.

Discussion ensued about combining the Road Foreman’s Report and the Road Commissioner’s Report into one report on the agenda, since they cover the same areas. The Road Foreman and the Road Commissioner speak on a daily basis, Both the Road Commissioner and the Road Foreman will continue to attend the meetings.

Christopher mentioned that the weather is warming, and mud season is coming. With the Covered Bridge being in disrepair, and the other route being muddy, there could be some problems. The Crew is doing a great job of keeping the roads up.

• Selectboard to send a letter to Whitcombs regarding pavement work. Shannon will draft letter, to be sent as soon as possible and show to Christopher and Todd when it’s ready. The board can sign at the next meeting.
• The board agreed that it sounded logical to send out Paving Bids now, in order to get a better price. The bids will state that the work is not to be completed until after July 1st. Todd will look at the roads after a little more snow melts, and work with Shannon to get the bid request out.

Christopher stated that he would like to see the bids for mowing go out a little bit earlier, so that it can be done a little bit earlier in the year. (Get into the queue a little earlier.) There was one bidder last year. It was the consensus of the board that it made sense to get the bids out a little bit earlier. Todd will follow up with Shannon for the next meeting.

Discussion ensued regarding the paving that was done by Whitcombs and the letter that will be written. The board discussed whether the way Todd was treated should be a part of the letter. The letter can be as diplomatic as possible, but that they shouldn’t have responded to a customer like that.

Williamsville Covered Bridge: Judy mentioned that she is still seeing overweight trucks going over the Covered Bridge. If there is a certain time when this is occurring, enforcement can be available.

Radway Road Project: Peter reported that he talked asked Elana Baron to draw up an agreement for the town and Mercede, and she should have an agreement ready for the next meeting. Discussion ensued with the public being updated on the progress thus far.

Brookline Bridge: Discussion that the Brookline/Newfane Bridge is jointly owned, and it would be sensible if the two towns were consistent with the weight restrictions. Archie Clark will attend a meeting once he has obtained more information from the state. Right now, it’s 60,000 pounds on Brookline’s side.

4. UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Ground Rules: Gary commented that in meetings, there will inevitably be discussions with controversial opinions, etc…The board is going to try to listen to public, and if the public gets the impression that the board is not listening, please let the board know. By the same token, the public may have some strong feelings, but may not prevail, but everyone will still be neighbors. The board will be as objective and dispassionate as possible. Everyone should have respect for the decision reached, whether in agreement or not.

Judy Egan stated that it’s fine to have controversy and differences, as long as the issues are open.

Gary stated that the board will be keeping things as open as possible. They will be looking at use of emails, etc…and will keep it down to a minimal number, An example might be that if there’s a special meeting, and it conflicts with a business opportunity that someone has, they might want to submit an idea or suggestion, and an email would be a legitimate contribution, but the contribution will be read at an open meeting. Joe stated that any email sent should always include a copy to Shannon. The board resolved that Any Emails that board members send for any reason will be available at the town office.

Zoning Bylaw: Gunther reported that the Zoning Bylaw is drafted, and the Selectboard members each have a copy. There is a Forum scheduled for April 1, at the Newfane Elementary School. The Planning Commission recommends that the Selectboard be there, as they will eventually have to hold a hearing on such subject. It is at 7:00 p.m. Copies of the document are available at the Town Office. There will be also be a hearing, at which time, the Selectboard can come as well. As many Selectboard members as possible will attend.

Zoning Administrator Wage: Gunther stated that the Planning Commission recommends that the compensation for the Zoning Administrator be raised from $9.00 to $13.00 per hour. Discussion ensued regarding cost of living increases as it relates to the budget, as well as compared to other cost of living increases. As the pay increase was not figured into the budget beginning July 1, the discussion was tabled until the meeting in which the Treasurer is attending, in order to find in the budget, the money to raise the ZA salary.

5. SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
There were no scheduled members of the public.

6. NEW BUSINESS
A. Peter Rysz mentioned a concern regarding attorneys being able to access the Delinquent Tax information in a timely manner, as well as finding as a mechanism for legal notices coming to make sure they get to the Attorney in a timely manner.

B. Windham County Sheriff’s Dept Meeting: Jeff Gouger represented the Selectboard at a meeting with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department to go through a new reporting system they want to put in place. Currently the reports that the Selectboard get are very bland and to the point. In addition to an invoice for such number of hours, the Selectboard receives a report that shows the number of stops and number of violations/warnings/tickets. The new system would hold them more accountable for the hours they spend in each town. There are also grant hours they spend for the town, and they will be documenting and tracking that.

Discussion ensued regarding how the income to the town is figured and how it’s sent. Courts may order a lesser amount to be paid than the ticket was written for. It was pointed out that one thing that could come from the discussion could be that the town could direct the Sheriff on how lenient they want them to be in enforcement.

It was the consensus of the board that it would be beneficial to have the Sheriff at another meeting. It should be well-warned to give the public an opportunity to be there. The contract should be discussed as well, to ensure that the traffic control budget isn’t eaten up by other crimes.

One good question for the Sheriff would be is there a uniform number over the speed limit for which a car should be stopped?

C. Payments: Joe Mandell mentioned that in the absence of the Treasurer, there is not always a person to write a check. Is there someone who could learn how to print checks? The discussion was tabled until the next meeting, when the Treasurer will be present.

D. Budget: Gary mentioned that he had heard that the Town Clerk’s Assistant Budget is coming to an end, and there is enough money for another few days, which might become an issue at some point.

E. Broadband: Jeff had previously mentioned that there are broadband internet grant, where money might be available for towns to work with local contractors to get broadband to parts of town where it’s not generally available. Some of the research has shown that the town is way behind, as far as applying for these grants. The grants come in $50,000 dollar increments, and they are matched grants. Jeff is currently researching USDA Grants as well. Discussion ensued regarding support for cell phone towers in addition to broadband. This will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. Laura Wallingford-Bacon suggested contacting the Conservation Commission to invite them to the discussion, as they have done some work on the subject.

7. OLD BUSINESS

A. WW. Building Supply: Guy Wachtel went over the lease for the public’s interest, and made a motion to approve and sign the lease and Joe Mandell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

B. Ancient Roads Issue: Joe Mandell explained that the prior board had started to form a committee; there were a few interested parties. Some were interested in being on an actual committee, and some were interested in research, but not being on a committee. Gary gave an overview of the legislation that passed a few years ago, requiring towns to make a decision on ancient corridors, that don’t show up on current town maps, partially due to concerns by title searchers. Discussion ensued regarding what the laws will mean for towns, and the deadlines in which the town needs to make a decision. Joe Mandell gave an overview of information from Vermont Local Roads.

Guy Wachtel made a motion to establish an Ancient Roads Committee. P Rysz seconded the motion. Discussion: Virginia Grabowski and Ed Druke have interest in being on the committee. Gary suggested a friendly amendment to the motion in adding a date by which they can get back to the board with findings. Discussion ensued regarding how much of the research can be done by the deadlines, as research entails going through the land records, old tax maps, town meeting minutes from the beginning. The goal for research is to have as much information possible by the deadline in order to make an informed decision.
Gary withdrew his amendment, and the original motion passed unanimously. Shannon will send letters to Ed Druke and Virginia Grabowski with the appointment acceptance form.

There was discussion about what the charge for the committee will be. What else needs to be done besides what the research volunteers are doing?

• Provide advice as far as political options and implications of this for the people in town, what are the pros and cons for the people to establish control of this.

• Committee to ensure that the Selectboard gets the information they need to have it available to make the decisions in a timely manner, and to help keep up with statutory deadlines.

• Coordination, contact, and gathering more information,

• Ed wanted it made clear that it’s important to let the land owner what’s going on, such that if a piece of land is identified, they immediately give the land owner notice that it’s being looked at. This would even before obtaining permission to go onto the property.

• If the Selectboard hasn’t heard something regarding the research in a reasonable amount of time, the committee can communicate with them.

C. Williamsville Hall: The process of rentals for the Williamsville Hall was discussed, as well as the Committee and its role in the Williamsville Hall. Improvements that could be made to the process were discussed, as well. Meetings of the Williamsville Hall are held the 1st Tuesday of each month.

Joe Mandell made a motion to keep things status quo. The motion was seconded by Peter Rysz. The vote was Unanimous.

Nappi Appeal: Laurie Rowell has been hired to look into this matter, she has all the information she needs, and will be filing an appearance on our behalf.

Junk Ordinance Violation: Discussion ensued regarding ways to ensure that these projects and issues continue to their conclusion as smoothly as possible. The attorney in the matter should get a copy of any correspondence, whether they are supposed to be copied directly or not. Unresolved issues should stay on the agenda until they are resolved, regardless of if there are updates for discussion or not.

Status of Nu-Tique Building: Guy reported Ed Druke, Jr. (of W.W. Building Supply) has right of first refusal and fully intends to exercise that option. Discussion ensued regarding the viability of having the Post Office on the same property as the Town Offices.

(Joe Mandell left at 8:56 p.m.)

8. CORRESPONDENCE: Marlboro Morris Dancers submitted a letter asking permission to use the town green for a festival on May 25, 2008. Discussion ensued regarding how they would be responsible for any mishaps. P. Rysz made a motion to authorize Morris Dancers to dance on the green on May 25, pending proof of liability insurance. G. Wachtel seconded. Unanimous.

9. PAY ORDERS – Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the pay orders as follows. Jeff Gouger seconded the motion. Motion passed unani mously.

Pay Orders: 3/21/08 - $29,102.23

Payroll: 3/21/08 - $903.20
IRS Electronic Payment:
3/19/08 - $1,353.05
3/12/08 - $3,910.24
3/26/08 - $1,351.41
3/19/08 - $4,027.90
3/26/08 - $238.42

15. ADJOURNMENT

Motion was made by Guy Wachtel and seconded by Jeff Gouger to adjourn the meeting at 9:13 p.m. Unanimous.

Respectfully Submitted,
Shannon Meckle

Posted: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, W.W. Building Supply,
S. Newfane/Williamsville Post Office and the South Newfane General Store & Deli. www.newfanevt.com (after approval)


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