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MAY 1, 2008

Selectboard: Gary Katz, Joe Mandell, Guy Wachtel, Jeff Gouger, Peter Rysz (at 7:30 p.m.)
Also Present: Judy Egan, Richard Hickey, Tim Shafer, Susan Saylor, Martin Saylor, John Feifel, Doris Knechtel, Gunther Garbe, Robert Holden, Fred Lawrence, Larry Robinson, Ed Druke, Virginia Grabowski, Rick Wilson, Ken McFadden, Mary Ann Runge, Helen Passino, Bettyann Runge, Lynn Leighton, Todd Lawley, Road Foreman; Christopher Williams, Road Commissioner; Shannon Meckle, Administrative Assistant

The meeting was called to order at 6:55 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair.

The board reviewed the minutes of April 17, 2008. Joe Mandell asked about prior discussions regarding Conflict of Interest. Shannon clarified that the discussion he was referring to occurred at the April 3, 2008 meeting, and that it was briefly mentioned again at the April 17th meeting.

A motion was made by G. Wachtel to approve the minutes as written. The motion was seconded by J. Gouger. The minutes were approved unanimously.

Gary reported that because of obvious concern of Conflict of Interest, he contacted Secretary of State, Deborah Markowitz, who responded saying that Joe and Peter were correct in that where the Williamsville Hall Committee is concerned, a conflict does not exist, because the committee simply makes recommendations and they have no authority to make any policy decisions.

Maureen Albert – Piascik was present to go over the budget and town’s finances. She reported that she spoke to Joseph Juhasz, from the Office of the State Auditor, at a Conference at Mount Snow. She has kept communication up with him, since the meeting he attended. She also reported that Cynthia from NEMRC had showed her in the Audit that the General Fund didn’t borrow money from the Capital, but other way around. The Town‘s people voted to use money from the Capital fund that wasn’t there. Also, money was not borrowed to cover expenses from the Capital Fund, so it was all coming out of the General Fund. With that in mind, the board needs to borrow money.

Discussion ensued regarding long term loans vs. short term loans, and interest rates. Maureen felt that a long term loan would suit the town best, because they can pay it back over time instead of taking next year’s money to pay it back, so the same thing doesn’t keep happening.

J. Mandell made a motion to borrow $250,000 for a long term loan, to pay for expenses. G. Wachtel seconded the motion.

Discussion: Payments will be built into the next fiscal years’ budgets. After more discussion regarding interest rates as they relate to short term lines of credit versus long term loans, the motion was amended. J. Mandell AMENDED the motion to authorize Maureen to borrow $250,000, on the basis of what the best advantage is for the Town, depending on whether a long term loan is more advantageous, or if a short-term line of credit is better. G. Wachtel seconded the amended motion. The vote was unanimous.

The board and the public discussed the idea of having a special town meeting to bring the financial difficulties to the attention of the Tax Payers, and perhaps look at amending the budget that was passed in March. At this point, there isn’t time to have a Special Town Meeting before the tax rate needs to be set for the next Fiscal Year.


Road Foreman/Road Commissioner’s Report: See attached report.

Annual Financial Highway Plan: $842,000 was the amount the state calculated, the page was sent around the table for the board members’ signatures.

Grant Application: VTrans Paving Grant application was signed by Gary Katz, as Chair, with the consent of the other board members.

Pay Increase: Mike O’Donnell was not employed by the Town of Newfane, when the pay increases were set for the other Highway Crew members for the upcoming Fiscal Year. Herbie (when he was employed with the Town), Dick, and Kenny were approved for a 4% increase. Joe Vaughn and Todd Lawley were approved for a 3.3% increase. The board needs to make a decision very soon, on what increase Mike O’Donnell should get. The decision was tabled until the next meeting.

Workers Comp: Joe Vaughn is still out on Workers Compensation. Work is falling behind, since the crew is short. J. Mandell made a motion to give Todd and Christopher contingent authority to hire someone part-time temporarily, as long as it doesn’t go above Joe’s pay. P. Rysz seconded the motion. Discussion: Peter reminded Todd that a background check or reference check should be done. The vote was unanimous.

Discussion regarding the general rule about dead trees along the roads that need to be taken down. Todd stated that Bill Guenther, Town Tree Warden and County Forester, usually takes a look at them before Todd cuts them.

Old County Trail: Joe asked Todd about a culvert was out of standard. It was stated last year that it needed to be changed to 18,” and he wondered if it had been. Todd and Chris will go and make sure.

Miscellaneous Items: Peter Rysz mentioned to Todd that there should be a flag or reflector placed on the chain that goes across the town garage driveway, so that if someone goes in there when the Town Garage is closed, they won’t get clothes lined. Peter also mentioned that there are two old signs leaning against the old Town Garage building, and asked Todd if he could put them inside, as it’s the first thing you see as you come towards the bridge.

Access/Right of Way Applications & Permits: Shannon read proposed changes to the Access/Right of Way Permit Application, to clarify and reinforce the importance of the laws regarding drainage and damage to highways. J. Mandell made a motion to accept the modifications P. Rysz seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Williamsville Covered Bridge: Gary reported that he’d spoken to Roger Whitcomb, who believes the best location for reconstructing the bridge is the pull-off on the South Newfane side of the bridge, near Mayor Road. A letter has gone out to the landowner, asking permission. Roger subsequently told Gary that there is a release form to be signed, if the landowner does agree. Walter Phelps said if there is no other option, he will consider use of his field. One set of phone/power lines may need to be raised or moved, and detour time would be no more than a few months if the pull-off can be used. A tentative meeting for temporary repairs is being worked on. Peter will find out details and let Shannon know so she can coordinate with board members.

Radway Road Project: Peter reported that Kevin Shrader, Todd, Mike Fitzpatrick, The Hershes, Peter, Matt Mann, attended a site meeting, and asked Mike what status of the agreement with Mercede is, and he stated that there were only a few changes that Mike Fitzpatrick and Mercede would like to see. They had a few questions regarding the cost of paving. Originally, the town’s understanding was that the town was going to pay up to $25,000 and Mercede would pay the rest, but they are not in agreement with that. The board tabled any action on this until Mercede submits proposed changes. The landowners seemed happy with the proposed changes to the road. The group will get together again, after Mike Fitzpatrick has roughed in the road, so they can see it, and if there are minor changes, they could be tweaked. Matt Mann brought up a good point, the part of the road, would formally need to be discontinued, and the town would need to keep the land. Since they are moving the road over approximately 20 feet, the town could plant grass, and simply make the town right-of-way a little wider.

Ancient Roads: Ed Druke reported that Laura Wallingford-Bacon and Carolyn Coleman have continued their research in the vault. Joe Mandell stated that he read an article in the New York Times regarding Ancient Roads, and he can give Ed a copy of it.


Lynn Leighton, of Newfane Hill Road expressed concerns of area residents with people parking at the bottom of Newfane Hill Road. It occurs especially during sunny, hot days because people are walking to the swimming holes. Not only are they parking in the intersection, but they aren’t 12” from the roadway. That intersection is becoming a parking lot for access to Rock River, and they are going down through the property of Robert Schwartz.

Betty Ann Runge of Newfane Hill Road stated that the area that has become the parking lot is her property. Unfortunately, in addition to the parking, litter is becoming a problem. They have found condoms, dirty diapers, beer bottles and beer boxes, soda bottles, litter, feces, and toilet paper. She reported the other day, she found a man urinating.

The concerned citizens suggested to the town, that it might make sense to make a parking lot, somewhere, with permits available for purchase, to get a little money, and to alleviate some of the parking problems.

Guy Wachtel expressed his concerns regarding allowing people the access to the river in a safe, clean way.

Richard Hickey noted that whether or not your land is posted, you can invite anyone you want to leave your property, but to have your property posted, they have to be legal signs, registered with the Town Clerk, and the State, and after that you can ask the game warden to investigate in order have trespassers prosecuted. Hanging a sign on the tree doesn’t cut it. But again, you don’t need the sign to begin with, you can tell anyone to get off your property.

Todd Lawley and Christopher Williams stated that it used to be a place for the people to park while they waited for their children to get off the bus, and now, they can’t get in there to park. Todd suggested for that area, “one-hour parking only” signs or “Bus Stop Parking Only” signs, so that the kids can be dropped off by the bus, and still it would allow the parents to park there. There were no arguments from the land owners for this to happen. Todd wondered if there was an ordinance process that needs to be done.

Peter Rysz suggested that the Rock River Preservation group be contacted, since the Town paid to be part of their grant survey, and if the landowners would be willing to put their concerns in writing, they could be addressed to the group, so they can be looking at this issue that the town’s people are facing right now.

Jeff stated that by diverting them from parking, it will only move them further back. They are willing to walk. The brainstorming should be where they can park, not where they can’t park.

Robert Holden noted that he has seen the rescue calls, where rescue workers are facing health issues, stepping around condoms, feces, and needles. It’s not just a parking issue, but a clear public health hazard.

The idea of “No Parking – Tow Away Zone” signs and “Bus Stop Parking Only” signs was reviewed. The board’s consensus was that ½ mile up the road and ½ mile down the road would be sufficient. Todd stated that they have some signs, but being over budget, would have to wait until after July 1 to order enough to go that far.

G. Wachtel suggested making the adjustments to the ordinance that would allow the “No Parking - Tow Away Zone” signs, and “School Bus Stop Only” signs to be put up at the intersection of Newfane Hill Road and Grimes Hill Road, and to prioritize the signs further down the road. These signs would be installed before the ordinance change came into effect, which may not be enforceable, but may deter parking in the meantime. Appropriate language for the Ordinance will be drafted for the next meeting. In addition to these efforts, Ed Druke suggested a No Trespass order.

Joe Mandell made a public announcement that the Grocery Store in Williamsville will never open back up, so a committee is forming. There will be a meeting, Monday at 7:00 at the Williamsville Hall to possibly organize a Cooperative.

Newfane Hill Common Committee: Ed Druke noted that Gary and Jeff were at the meeting. They talked to Bill Guenther, who had a few different ideas, and said that being a common, there should be an open area at the front, (about an acre) Ed asked if the board is still okay with the decision from last year, to allow the logger to come in and cut those trees. Bill Guenther will mark the trees this month. Margaret Stearns had some ideas as well.

Rick Wilson and Larry Robinson were present at the meeting to ask permission to widen the pavement in front of the Church, at the church and county’s expense. There was discussion around this idea, and ownership of the land around the proposed project. Todd, Larry and Rick will meet and come back to the board with suggestions.

Judy asked the board about any progress on an Ethics Committee. Joe will go over this under Old Business.




S. Wardsboro Road Junk Ordinance Violation: Shannon updated the board regarding the payment of fines as well as the agenda for the next meeting, to decide whether or not to remove the trailer.

Nappi Appeal: There was no update at this time.

Old County Trail: Joe mentioned that on October 24 trees were cut down on Old County Trail without a permit, and wanted to remind the board that the matter continues to be on the back burner, as a Vermont State Trooper has information, but has not furnished it at this time. Discussion was tabled until such time that the Trooper submits information.

Zoning Administrator: Guy questioned whether he is supposed to be working with Z.A. to get information on permits issued. Gunther agreed to have the Planning Commission review the permits on a regular basis, as the Zoning Administrator already submits a regular report to them.

Proposed Zoning Bylaw: Gunther gave an overview of the changes to the Zoning Bylaw, and the meetings that will need to take place. The Selectboard will then have an opportunity to review the proposed bylaw, have a public hearing, and either adopt it as written, send it back with suggested changes, or reject the whole amended bylaw.

Conflict Of Interest Policy: Joe’s suggestion was to use VLCT’s model as written. The board members each took a copy for review, to be voted on at the next meeting. Joe reminded the board that they should also look at adopting VLCT’s model Rules of Procedure for Selectboards, also given to the board to review for next meeting.


Rescue, Inc. Contract: Gary went over the proposed Rescue, Inc. contract for the coming year. Robert Holden was present for any questions. The board changed the amount on the contract from $36,540.00 to $36,000.00, as voted on at Town Meeting. The contract was signed with the board’s consensus.

Subdivision Bylaws: Gary gave a summary of Bud Bergmann’s letter regarding the Subdivision Bylaws that were adopted by the last board. Gunther stated that the Planning Commission went through all of his suggestions, and many concerns he had, were requirements of the Federal Government, that can’t be changed. There are certain things you need to be in the bylaws to make them enforceable. The Planning Commission has a copy of Bud’s correspondence.

Gary read a letter from the Council on Aging, stating that they’d applied for funding for a new stove at the Williamsville Hall. Shannon will draft a letter to the Council on Aging, accepting the gracious offer (should the funding be awarded,) and reaffirming that a new stove had been approved by the previous board.

Gary read a letter regarding an appeal of appraisal. The Listers are aware of the situation, and are gathering the information.

Gunther gave the board information regarding the Annual Report distribution, to take into account for next year’s budget. Voter Checklist needs to be updated. Call a meeting of the Board of Civil Authority. Invite Jahari to a future meeting, how to update the Voter Checklist.

Gary read a letter from the Sheriff’s Dept. regarding Animal Control conformity. There will be a meeting in May, to address the issue. It was the board’s consensus that Kevin Behan should be the representative, as Newfane’s animal control officer. Shannon to give the letter to Kevin Behan.

– P. Rysz made a motion to approve the pay orders as follows. G. Wachtel seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Pay Orders: 04/23/08 - $195,439.84
05/02/08 - $12,205.97

Payroll: 04/23/08 - $2,832.07 IRS Electronic Payment: 4/21/08 - $915.38
04/30/08 - $3,069.02 4/28/08 - $997.12
05/02/08 - $1,718.05 4/29/08 - $331.69

Motion was made by G. Wachtel and seconded by P. Rysz to adjourn the meeting at 9:31 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.
(after approval)

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