MINUTES OF THE NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
MARCH 20, 2008
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.
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
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
• 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
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
Motion was made by Guy Wachtel and seconded by Jeff Gouger to adjourn
the meeting at 9:13 p.m. Unanimous.
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)