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JULY 17, 2008

Selectboard: Gary Katz, Joe Mandell, Jeff Gouger, Peter Rysz, Guy Wachtel
Also Present: Virginia Grabowski, Fred Lawrence, Richard Hickey, Robert Holden, Judy Egan, Lewis White, David Thurber, Marie Lavesque Caduto, Daniel Torrey, Nicole Orne, Norman LaMoria, Leon Chamberlin, Jr., Harvey Traison, Marcia Melnyk, Michael Gould, Ed Druke, Todd Lawley

The meeting was called to order at 6:50 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair, with apologies that the site visit at the Old County Trail ran later than anticipated.

The minutes of July 2, 2008 were reviewed. J. Gouger moved to accept as written. J. Mandell seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.

The minutes of July 15, 2008 were reviewed. J. Mandell moved to accept as written. J. Gouger seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.


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

Road Salt Contract Discussion: The VLCT proposed bulk ordering of salt was discussed. Todd noted that the town is responsible for paying 80% of the quantity estimated, regardless of the amount used, so that it wouldn’t be cost-effective if it’s a mild winter. He also noted that the town wouldn’t be able to keep what they estimate if there was an overage, because the salt shed isn’t big enough for excess storage. The plus side of the program is that you’d be guaranteed to have the salt you need, instead of running into a shortage problem.

The board’s consensus was to table this decision until more information was available. Todd will continue to research the best option. J. Mandell made a motion to authorize Gary to sign the VLCT bid if it appears to be the best option, as per Todd’s recommendation. If it is not advantageous, the board agrees to continue purchasing salt on an as-needed basis. J. Gouger seconded. Vote was unanimous.

Todd noted that Joe Vaughn gave his one-week notice, and the town will need to hire another person. Guy questioned if this is wise, given the budget constraints. Todd replied that it may be okay to be down one person in the summer, however not in the winter.

J. Mandell noted that they had talked about not buying a new truck and wondered where that decision stood. There is a legally-binding contract with L&B Truck, and this is not an option.

Guy reiterated his thoughts on not hiring a new employee.

Todd expressed his frustration regarding the Road Crew and Highways being blamed for the financial difficulties of the Town. And, noted that the School had a surplus that could have been borrowed by the town.

Gary added that he’d been asked about work being done on the south side of the courthouse and near the church. The work is being done by the Village of Newfane and the Windham County Superior Court, and the town has had no involvement financially or otherwise.

River Road: There being no updates, Gary will reach Mike Fitzpatrick and Nicholas Mercede. There has been no communication on this issue in some time.

A bridge discussion in general ensued, as it relates to the budget. No actions were taken.

Opening of the Paving Bids:
The board discussed whether it would be sensible to open these bids, given the current budget issues. Todd’s recommendation was to open the bids, as the money had been correctly budgeted, and the road needs to be done. The bids were opened and are as follows:

Bid Received From: Newfane Brookline TOTAL
Lane Construction 1170 Tons @ $89.06/ton
280 Tons @ $89.06/ton
1,450 Tons @ 89.06/ton
Springfield Paving
$450/hour - $80.21/ton
$450/hour - $80.21/ton
Frank W. Whitcomb
$383/hour - $89.17/ton
$383/hour - $89.17/ton
Pike Industries
$740.96/hour - $81.69/ton
$740.96/hour - $81.69/ton

No actions were taken at this time, pending a recommendation by Todd and Christopher.


Marie Caduto, Watershed Coordinator for Agency of Natural Resources, was present to discuss the Rock River Preservation Study, and gave a presentation with regards to applying for another grant.

Marie also requested $1,500.00 from the Town of Newfane, and noted that the Town of Dummerston had also been asked for the same amount as a match for the grant. The $1.000 requested last year was not paid by the town because the grant didn’t go through.

Lee Chamberlain, Dummerston Road Foreman, gave his thoughts. Erosion to the road means erosion to the trails, and who is responsible for the maintenance of trails and/or any facilities added?

Todd offered his thoughts both as taxpayer and as Fire Chief.

A discussion ensued regarding safety, health, legalities, and the sensibility of approving something that would encourage more people to access the river in that spot.

J. Gouger spoke to the fact that a majority of people that use the area are not from the area, and wondered if there has been any poll taken to see how many residents/tax payers actually use that area. Does the study really benefit the people who are paying for it?

G. Wachtel made a motion to approve the grant funds, with the stipulation that the concerns of the rescue personnel be a part of that study, and that J. Mandell seconded the motion.

Members of the public commented that with the town asking to raise an additional $300,000 in taxes, it’s not wise to spend money on a study to see if they should do something that no one wants to do because they don’t have the money. Gary agreed that there should be no further spending without contacting the tax payers, but that it would be something that could be discussed and looked at with the voters. Concern was expressed that money can be found for beautification and studies, but not for failing roads and bridges.

Guy offered to withdraw his motion, however without the second being withdrawn, a vote had to be taken.

Gary reiterated that the motion was that the board could put the request on the table when we look at the budget, in the context of the other budget requests, and that we approve of the concept. The vote was two in favor, three opposed. The motion failed.
G. Wachtel made another motion that they consider the request when we look over the budget, as it relates to the serious financial difficulties the town faces. P. Rysz seconded the motion. The motion passed with four in favor and one opposed.

Old County Trail: Gary reported that the board attended a site visit at the Old County Trail, at which the board agreed to accept Frank Suponski’s offer to mulch the north edge ditch from the area of the rock abutments near the culvert, to the bottom of the road; remove the brush pile, cut up the logs into firewood lengths so that someone can use it; and remove the bottom most culvert (right on the Class 3 section of the road.) The Town will clean up the water bar and will dig out the outflow area of the culvert that’s remaining. Marcia Melnyk confirmed that she and Frank Suponski are okay with the agreement that was reached.


Judy Egan asked Peter if there was any way he could indicate if the situation will be pursued further, costing the taxpayers more money. Peter exercised his right not to comment.

Robert Holden said that he was speaking on behalf of Rescue, Inc. during Rock River discussions, but is available on behalf of Rescue, Inc. to discuss the letter that the Selectboard received from Rescue. The discussion was tabled until the Correspondence portion of the meeting.

Judy Egan asked if the Conflict of Interest policy would be adopted this meeting. Gary explained that it was tabled to allow for budget discussions this evening.


Zoning Bylaw Hearing: The Planning Commission has concluded work on the Zoning Bylaw. The next step was to present it to the Selectboard for adoption. The board must now set a hearing on this. After discussion, the board scheduled discussion and question period with the Planning Commission for the second meeting in August, and the hearing for September 4, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Deficit Spending: Voters did not approve the addition of $300,000.00 to the formerly approved budget, but indicated they’d like a detailed report showing the exact numbers, how the deficit occurred, and how it can be avoided in the future.

Gary’s suggestion was to put together a small committee, with the charge of determining what caused it, possible cuts, and better financial planning. The Committee would consist of Harvey Traison, Daniel Torrey, Shannon, Maureen, Doris, Gary. The consensus of the board was that this would be a good idea. There would be a target date of mid-August.

Specific Charge: to ask the committee to come back to the board with report on August 14, 2008. 1. The clearest understanding of what #’s are of actual deficit and what caused it. 2. Options for how we can deal with the deficit (any combination of things: budget cutting, retroactive loans, creative financing) 3. Suggestions for how to strengthen financial management to avoid these problems in the future.

The board commented that Gary did a great job doing his homework for the Town Meeting, and they appreciated it. Todd interjected that it Shannon also deserves recognition for helping with the information.

Junk Ordinance Violation: The Judgments have been filed in the Land Records, and there is a waiting period. Elana Baron will give the okay to remove the trailer after looking at the correspondence.

Lighting Issue: Was tabled until the new Zoning Bylaw comes into effect, and to look at the current Zoning Bylaw. Shannon found no other pertinent information during her research.


Rescue, Inc.: Gary read the letter. There will be a meeting on the 7th or the 14th. No board members were able to attend. There was a discussion regarding Rescue, Inc. and its organization and funding.

Neal Carter: Wrote a letter resigning his position as chair of the DRB. The Selectboard asked Shannon to send a letter, accepting his resignation and thanking him for serving.


A motion was made by Peter Rysz and seconded by J. Mandell to adjourn at 9:43 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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