MINUTES OF THE NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
APRIL 17, 2008
1. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair.
The board introduced themselves to the public.
Gary reiterated the ground rules for the meetings.
Gary read a letter from Phyllis Mandell, voicing her concerns raised
at the last meeting. Gary apologized to Phyllis if the way he handled
the situation was offensive in any way. His responsibility is to make
sure everyone has a chance to say what they need to, but shouldn’t
be allowing sidebar conversations or personal attacks.
Gary reiterated the last meeting’s discussion on Conflicts of
Interest among Selectboard members, referencing VLCT’s Handbook
for Vermont Selectboards.
The board reviewed the minutes of April 3, 2008. A motion was made by
J. Mandell to approve the minutes. It was seconded by G. Wachtel. Minutes
were approved unanimously.
Peter requested that the minutes of the February 21, 2008 meeting reflect
that Peter recused himself during discussion and vote of Sexual Harassment
3. ROAD BUSINESS
Road Foreman/Road Commissioner’s Report: See Attached Report.
• Brookline wishes to join in the paving bids, and Townshend
may be interested as well. Todd will contact them, and let Shannon know.
It was the consensus of the board that if the bid was ready between
meetings that Gary could sign them to get them out.
Timson Hill Drainage: Gary Katz read a letter from Georgi Raymo, expressing
her concerns about the condition of Timson Hill Road. Discussion ensued
about possible solutions to the problem.
Radway Hill Road: The board reviewed the Radway Road Safety Audit. VTrans
needs the board to approve and fill out the questionnaire. Projected
date of completion should be this year.
Peter Rysz recommended that they accept the safety audit, agree with
all the recommendations and give a completion date of 12/31/08. P. Rysz
moved. J. Mandell 2nd. Discussion: No comments are needed on the questionnaire
unless they are disagreeing. Vote was unanimous.
Truck Bids: $125,000.00 was budgeted for the truck. It was the Road
Foreman and Road Commissioner’s recommendation to not go with
International trucks in the future, as the two that the town has purchased
have had issues. The Town has purchased Sterlings, and should stay with
them to have uniformity of parts.
Joe Mandell asked what would happen to the guard posts that have come
down over the winter on Parish Hill Road, where it meets Parish Hill
Road. Todd reported that there is a program for metal posts through
the state, and that not very many companies even make the wood ones.
Joe mentioned that the Road Crew did an excellent job with the roads
Grimes Hill Road Application: Todd suggested that they have the applicants
sign something that they understand that it’s established drainage,
and they understand they will be responsible for any damage caused to
J. Mandell moved to authorize Guy draft language to send a cover letter
to everyone who applies, in which they countersign that they understand
that they cannot interfere with established drainage. P. Rysz seconded.
Vote was Unanimous.
Duke Road Application:
Just make sure that letter is included with this application.
Excess Weight Permits:
Myra Fassler asked whose responsibility it is if there is damage done
by an excess weight truck. Todd explained that if we give a permit for
60,000 pounds, and they have a truck at 90,000 pounds, the trucking
company is responsible. If we give the permit for 40,000 pounds and
the truck is 40,000, and the road gives way, the town is responsible.
Discussion ensued regarding enforcement efforts by the Sheriff’s
Excess Weight Permit Applications Received:
Brad King Cement, East Dummerston. Applied for 64,000 pounds.
Young’s Propane, Springfield Vermont. Applied for three trucks
P. Rysz moved to accept both as applied for. J. Mandell seconded.
Covered Bridge: Gary went over a letter received from the State regarding
set backs in the progress on replacing the covered bridge, due to wetlands
restrictions. Discussion ensued regarding where can they construct the
new bridge and how it related to detour time.
More discussion followed, relating to possible options, including
using the field owned by Walter Phelps, or the pull off on the South
Newfane side of the Covered Bridge. The field would need to be brought
back to its original condition, and some compensation should be offered
to Walter Phelps, should his field be the only viable option. Gary will
follow up with Walter, to see what the willingness would be for that
option. Also will look into who owns the pull off and if that will be
a better option.
Todd will talk to Wayne Gammell at VTrans to see if he has any other
ideas at this point.
Stratton Hill Bridge: John Alexander to look at abutment to see what
it looks like.
Ancient Roads: Gary read a letter from Walter Phelps regarding the
Ancient Roads legislation. It seems that they are pushing the 2009 deadline
back to 2011. Carolyn Coleman and Laura Bacon have been spending a lot
of time in the vault. They started researching with the year 1789 and
they are up to 1804.
Brookline attended the meeting to discuss the weight limit for Bridge
19. Currently it is posted differently on each side. Brookline’s
weight limit is 60,000 #.
Shannon will look into what the current weight listing is for Newfane,
and change it on the Bridge Restriction List.
P. Rysz made a motion to amend Bridge 19’s weight limit to 60,000
pounds maximum, consistent with the weight limitations on Brookline’s
side. J. Gouger seconded. Vote was unanimous.
5. BUDGET STATUS REVIEW
The board reviewed the Budget Status Reports received from the Treasurer.
Gary stated that the board may have inadvertently made an improper
decision, when dealing with the Williamsville Hall. It turns out that
for the past several years there has been a line item in revenue, voted
on at town meeting, anticipated revenue voted on at town meeting. When
the tax rate is set for the town and the budget is approved at town
meeting, those revenues are set. We would need to go back to the town
and ask to raise the tax rate, or what they would like the board to
do. Putting the proceeds put back into the Williamsville Hall wasn’t
something that the board could legitimately vote for.
Discussion ensued regarding donations versus rental fees. Donations
should be earmarked at the discretion of the donor. John Julian had
made a cash donation in the past, and to date, we are unsure where that
money went into. Could we find out where they went, and move them? It
may depend on what fiscal year it was donated.
J. Mandell made a motion to place a moratorium on any spending derived
from revenue coming in, until that should be held aside and not put
in any particular line item until we get another answer in addition
to Doris’, perhaps from Tom Salmon, or Joe Juhaz. P. Rysz seconded.
The vote was unanimous.
P. Rysz made a motion to keep an accounting to be kept of donations
made, separate from rental income, during the moratorium, so we know
where it went and where we could put it back. G. Wachtel seconded. The
vote was unanimous.
Capital Reserve Funds: Peter questioned the “miscellaneous debit”
from Capital Fund of $67,000.00. The Administrative Assistant gave the
explanation regarding Capital funds belonging to the General Fund. The
capital account, then, needed to pay back the General Fund. A more detailed
discussion will ensue when the Treasurer is present at the next meeting.
Maureen pointed out a few statements that she’d like the board
pay attention to, presenting statements for which she couldn’t
find board authorization.
Discussion ensued regarding the Williamsville Hall Committee, and the
perception of a conflict of interest, as well as the Williamsville Hall
budget being over by $700.00. If money is coming in, recompense from
renting the Hall, money may not be spent by the Williamsville Hall Committee,
anyway they see fit, but if a donation is earmarked, it can.
G. Wachtel made a motion that the Williamsville Hall Committee meet
and come up with concise presentation of how they are going to handle
the budgeting issue for the next meeting. J. Gouger seconded. The vote
6. UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Ed Druke reported that the Newfane Hill Common Committee will be meeting
on Thursday the 24th of April; at 6:00 p.m. Bill Guenther will be there.
Ed encouraged the board to attend as well.
Frank Suponski, approached the board, asking permission to a small
amount of improvements to the Old County Road.
Joe Mandell, as an abutting land owner, stepped away from the table
and became a member of the public. Discussion ensued regarding research
done in the past on this matter, through Jim Barlow, Attorney for VLCT,
and it’s warning to exercise caution when permitting people to
Gary Katz read the original Memo from Jim Barlow. Ask if someone would
be willing to make a motion that says it’s okay with the Selectboard
for Mr. Suponski to make modest improvements to the trail. Is anyone
willing to entertain the motion?
Guy Wachtel made the motion to allow Frank Suponski to make modest
improvements to the Old County trail. J. Gouger seconded. Three voted
in favor. Joe Mandell abstained. Motion passes.
Marc Gray gave a bid for this year’s mowing. Discussion ensued
regarding the two bids presented by Marc. J. Mandell made a motion to
approve the mowing by Marc Gray for the coming year, at $27.00 per hour,
with an expected total of approximately $2500.00. G. Wachtel seconded.
The vote was unanimous.
7. SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Judy Egan read her memo, respectfully requesting that an ethics committee
be formed, in order to protect the elected officials and the town’s
people. Joe will look at VLCT’s Model Conflict of Interest Ordinance,
and present suggestions at a future meeting.
8. OLD BUSINESS
South Wardsboro Road Junk Ordinance Violation: The Administrative Assistant
updated the board, that they would need to make a decision about removing
the derelict trailer at the second meeting in May, and that the board
is awaiting further information from the Courts regarding the Contempt
Zoning Administrator Pay Increase: The Administrative Assistant reported
that she and the Treasurer had looked at the budget and found a few
different places that could be adjusted in the budget to allow for the
increase. G. Wachtel made the motion that the Zoning Administrator pay
be increased from $9.00 to $13.00 per hour, beginning July 1, 2008.
J. Mandell seconded. Discussion: Peter wondered if this expenditure
was wise, taking into consideration the $67,000 that was removed from
the Capital Fund. Discussion of line items, including Planning Commission
wages, and the Road Commissioner’s wages were suggested. The vote
Nappi Appeal: No new updates. Still waiting to hear back from the Attorney
regarding a possible site visit.
Williamsville Hall Flyer: Some corrections were suggested by Judy Egan.
More information from the Fire Marshall will be helpful for the flyer,
as well as for seeking funds for fixing the suggested changes/violations.
9. NEW BUSINESS
Noise Ordinance: Enforcement of such ordinance was discussed. The Sheriff
should come to a future meeting to discuss the possibility of having
a noise ordinance.
SEVCA sent a letter requesting that the Selectboard appoint Tristam
Johnson Jr. as Newfane’s Representative to SEVCA. P. Rysz made
the motion to appoint Tristam Johnson. G. Wachtel seconded. The vote
George D. Aiken Resource: Requested identification of needs and concerns
for development of a strategic plan. The consensus of the board was
to pass it on to the Conservation Commission for their comments.
Kearley Fuel Service: Service Agreement $189.95 – Gary went over
the terms of the service agreement. Shannon will sign the Town Office,
the Williamsville Hall, and the Town Garage up for the Service Agreement.
11. PAY ORDERS: – Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the pay
orders as follows. Jeff Gouger seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Pay Orders: 04/10/08 - $100,010.00
04/18/08 - $45,110.99
Payroll: 04/18/08 - $122.36 IRS Electronic Payment: 4/3/08 - $231.24
04/14/08 - $2,878.07 4/7/08 - $961.87
04/09/08 - $2,951.92 4/14/08 - $909.50
4/17/08 - $20.28
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Peter Rysz requested Executive Session
to discuss contracts, labor relations agreements with employees, arbitration,
mediation, grievances, civil actions or prosecutions by the state, where
premature general public knowledge would clearly place the state, municipality,
other public body, or person involved at a substantial disadvantage.
The board went into Executive Session at 9:59 p.m. The board came out
of Executive Session at 10:37.
G. Wachtel made a motion that they agree the previous board resolved
this issue appropriately, and the new board agrees not to take any further
action again. Joe Mandell seconded. The vote was Unanimous.
Motion was made by Guy Wachtel and seconded by Peter Rysz to adjourn
the meeting at 10:45 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)