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NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
NEWFANE TOWN OFFICE

PRESENT:
Selectboard: Gary Katz, Jeffrey Gouger, Joe Mandell, Piet van Loon, Guy Wachtel
Also Present: Judy Egan, Virginia Grabowski, Gunther Garbe, Maureen Albert Piascik, Ed Druke, Elana Baron, Richard Hickey, Tony Fratino, David Moore, Daniel Kinoy, Todd Lawley, Christopher Williams, Shannon Meckle

1. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair. Gary requested that a change in the agenda, moving the discussion of South Wardsboro Road Junk Ordinance Violation to the portion of the agenda that Radway Road would be discussed, allowing Attorney Elana Baron to discuss both issues at the same time. The board agreed with this change of agenda.

2. MINUTES

Gary noted that he had not been able to record the meeting of August 21, 2008, and therefore anything that other members could add, would be appreciated. The board reviewed the draft minutes and made the following amendments:

Gary mentioned that the suggestion come up for the board to hold pre-budget meetings with the School Board; the board had agreed to review the cost-saving suggestions; Gunther had provided the Westminster Town Class Four Road and Trail Model to work from; and the board had read a letter from Blake Prescott regarding the budget.

Joe mentioned that Sebastian Vonbulow, who’d been considering buying the church, was also interested in the land around the church. The land belongs to the town, and he’d sent a letter inquiring as to whether the town was interested in selling. A motion was made by Joe Mandell to send a letter to Mr. Vonbulow, stating that the town was not inclined to sell. The motion was seconded by Jeff. The vote was unanimous.

Jeff noted that the Guy made the motion to approve pay orders and the motion was seconded by Jeff, and the vote was unanimous. He also noted that Guy made the motion to adjourn, and Jeff seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous.

Joe Mandell made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The minutes were approved with a vote of 4-1, and one abstention by Piet van Loon, as he was not on the board at the time of the meeting.

August 28, 2008 - A motion by was made by Joe Mandell and seconded by Guy Wachtel to approve the minutes as written. The minutes were approved unanimously, with the exception of the abstention by Piet van Loon with regards to items 1, 2, and 3.

3. BUDGET STATUS REVIEW:
Maureen Albert-Piascik met with the board and reviewed the pay orders; they discussed the balance of the general fund. She noted that she sent $200,000 to the Newfane School, as a partial payment, and $95,000 was paid out for the paving of South Wardsboro Road. Maureen reviewed her conversation with Frank Rucker about the confusion around what Towns are supposed to pay schools.

Maureen also requested that the town call a company to come and pump the septic at the town office. The consensus of the board was that it was okay for Todd to look into it.

4. ROAD BUSINESS

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

There was discussion regarding the hiring of a new highway crew member. There were differing recollections about whether to hire someone now, in light of the budget constraints. Recollections tended towards hiring new member. A motion was made by Joe Mandell to refill the position as soon as possible. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

A discussion ensued regarding the Stratton Hill Bridge and its dangerous condition. The board’s consensus was to send a letter to the legislature regarding the dangerous situation, as currently there is no state money available. The first place to start would be with the Bridge Inspection. Further discussion was tabled until the results of the inspection become available. As to the letter to the legislature, the following people will receive a copy of the letter: Dick Marek, the head of the Agency of Transportation, and the Governor, as well as the two senators, and the Chair of the Senate and House Transportation Committee. It was okay with the board for Gary to sign the letters.

Todd noted that the new truck is coming within the next few weeks, and the town will need to pay for the chassis. Maureen will be on vacation, and will leave a blank check with Shannon in case the bill needs to be paid in her absence.

Discussion ensued regarding roof repairs and re-venting at the Town Garage. Todd will ask Frank about moving the pipe instead of doing a larger project. There were no other concerns about having the job done. Todd will ask Frank to have his insurance company fax an insurance rider before work begins.

Piet inquired as to whether the Ford F-350 has a warranty. Todd noted that there is a $50.00 deductible, but there is a warranty. Todd will find out what the warranty is, and what it covers.
Gunther noted that Steepway Road is very narrow since it was ditched.

Joe Mandell requested that the board revisit the stop sign at the Arch Bridge, and whether having a “yield to bridge traffic” sign might be a more efficient option. Shannon will prepare the necessary notice and advise the board at the next meeting.

Christopher Williams requested permission to speak to the board on another subject. Permission was granted by the board. Christopher expressed his concern regarding the Williamsville Hall and the Safety Violations that were cited. He noted that some of the violations are serious, and that the town should be discussing them, and possibly closing the Hall. The board revisited the Agenda process, and chose to table the discussion until the Williamsville Hall portion of the agenda.

Excess Weight Permits:
No excess weight permits were received. Shannon reported to the board that she’d sent 3 of the 4 letters that were to go out, as one company was not local, and no contact information was available.

Radway Hill/River Road: Elana Baron, Attorney, was present to speak with the board with regard to this issue. Gary recused himself due to a possible Conflict of Interest. Piet questioned whether the discussion should be in an Executive Session because it’s a legal issue. Jeff Gouger made a motion to go into Executive Session at 6:35 p.m. The motion was seconded by Piet van Loon. Vote was unanimous.

A motion was made by Piet van Loon to come out of Executive Session at 6:58 p.m. The motion was seconded by Joe Mandell. The vote was unanimous.

A motion was made by Piet van Loon to request that the attorney approach Mr. Mercede to see if it’s possible to agree on some, if not all points that have been raised. Joe Mandell seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous.

The board felt that Attorney Baron had answered their questions on both the Radway Road issue as well as the Junk Ordinance issue, and Shannon will direct the board on what they need to do.

At 7:00 p.m., a motion was made by Piet van Loon to adjourn the meeting for the purpose of convening the Public Hearing on the Town of Newfane’s Zoning Bylaws. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

A motion was made by Piet van Loon to recess the public hearing, to be reconvened at 7:30 p.m. on September 18, 2008. Joe Mandell seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

The board reconvened the regularly scheduled Selectboard Meeting.
5. SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
David Moore was present to ask the board for approval of Newfane’s Rapid Response Plan. He explained that it was an update of what had been used for the past few years, with no substantive changes, besides the names of the Selectboard. A motion was made by Piet van Loon to approve the Rapid Response Plan. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The board unanimously approved the Rapid Response Plan. David Moore mentioned that they are working on getting together information for applying for a grant.

6. UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Judy asked about Access Permits on the agenda. Shannon explained that if she receives applications for Access Permits, she puts it on the agenda, but doesn’t if there aren’t any.

Jeff stated that he noticed in Williamsville, where the fruit stand was, there are several propane tanks (for an exchange) and wondered if it is being used, or if they are just sitting there. Shannon will contact Rob Goldenhill to find out if he’s keeping them there for the reopening of the store.

7. NEW BUSINESS

8. OLD BUSINESS

Junk Ordinance Violation/South Wardsboro Road: Shannon explained that the board needed to decide, at this point, whether or not to begin foreclosure proceedings. Discussion ensued regarding expenses, and the ability to recover those expenses. A motion was made by Guy Wachtel to begin foreclosure proceedings, with the first step being to contact the attorney for action. The motion was seconded by Joe Mandell. Discussion: Should the Selectboard start research on the possibility of foreclosure? What court would it end up in? Is it available to foreclose on? These are questions that the board still has on this issue. The board’s consensus was that they should inquire as to how much the attorney fees will be. It was also the board’s consensus that there should be more research into what is involved in this process.

An amendment to his first motion was made by Guy Wachtel to look into the issues associated with the property, the assessed value, any liens, and any other information needed to make an informed decision as to whether foreclosure is in the best interest of the town. Joe Mandell seconded. The vote was unanimous.

A motion was by Guy Wachtel to go into Executive Session at 8:32 p.m. for the purpose of discussing the evaluation of a public officer or employee. The motion was seconded by Joe Mandell. The motion carried with a vote of 3-2.

Piet van Loon made a motion to exit Executive Session at 9:21 p.m. The motion was seconded by Guy Wachtel. The vote was unanimous.

Jeff Gouger made a motion that Piet van Loon contact the attorney with regards to the Junk Ordinance Violation, and to find out what documents are needed, and what other/better options there may be to pursue. Piet van Loon seconded. The vote was unanimous.

Williamsville Hall Change of Use Application: The Town/Community Store has applied to the DRB for a change of use. Dan Kinoy reported that there is a site visit and hearing scheduled for next week.

Discussion ensued regarding the application process and who is actually applying. The board voted at the last meeting to apply for the Change of Use for the group, because it is a town building.

There was further discussion regarding the violations to the Division of Fire Safety Violations and how it relates to the Change of Use application. It was suggested that perhaps the town should wait until all permits and plans are in place, and then make a decision. The report had not previously been reviewed by the board. It was the consensus of the board to review the document and come to the next meeting prepared to discuss the report

A procedural matter of whether the Fire Safety regulations should be part of the discussion of Williamsville Hall Change of Use Application was debated.

There were violations found, regardless of the intent of whoever called. The seriousness of the violations was discussed. Piet cautioned that the town needs to act cautiously, knowing that there are these violations. The consensus of the board was to put this issue on the next agenda, and the board to review the violations between now and the next meeting. They also agreed to invite the Fire Chiefs to the next meeting.

Piet van Loon asked Shannon if there are reservations between now and the next meeting. Shannon reported that there is one reservation between now and the next meeting. After further discussion, Piet van Loon made a motion to not allow the Williamsville Hall to be used (with the exception of the Williamsville Hall Committee) between now and the next meeting, at which time the board agrees to review the inspection report. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion, but suggested a friendly amendment of not allowing any new events between now and the next meeting, but allowing the current reservations to stand. Amendment accepted. Discussion: Prior action on this matter by the board was discussed. No action had been taken previously, but the matter had been discussed. Joe Mandell noted his distress with regards to the motion. Piet van Loon noted that one way to reduce the risk is to limit the public’s access to the building, and to create a plan and timeline for addressing these violations. Dan Kinoy wished to register his objection to what he feels is an unfair process, and would like to have all uninspected buildings that belong to the town.

Jeff agreed with the amendment, noting his concern with people renting the hall, believing that it’s a safe building; however doesn’t think that it needs to be shut down, putting rentals at such an inconvenience… would agree with not cancelling current reservations, but would agree with not accepting any more between now and the next meeting.

Gary reiterated the motion for the board and the public: that the board will review the document from the state, come prepared to discuss it at the next meeting with the objective of figuring out where we go from here, in the meantime we will honor the reservations existing, not accept new reservations until the next meeting.
VOTE: The motion carried with a 4-1 vote.

Joe wished it to be a matter of record that it was improper to take such a vote without it being properly warned on the agenda.

Gunther pointed out that there needs to be improvements in communication. Discussion ensued. Ed Druke wished to comment that the discussion is only regarding the change of use application.

Judy mentioned that it’s time to have the lift inspected again.

Oil Contract: Peter had volunteered to look into oil contracting, and had asked Shannon to put together information on usage for last year, and she had done that. Would anyone agree to take over that project? Jeff agreed to take over the project, and the board was in agreement.

With board’s approval, the discussion of budget cutting discussion was tabled to be the first item on Old Business next meeting.

Joe brought the board up to date on the tree cutting issue at Old County Trail, a needy family was given most of the wood, through the Drop In Center, and there is still a little bit of wood left for them to pick up. Discussion related to the removal of the brush pile. The consensus of the board was that the board can send a letter to Frank stating that the board clarified its understanding in the last minutes; we understand that it’s going along as agreed upon. We were going to clean up the culvert, and that all he has left to do is to remove the brush pile and remove the culvert, and also thanks for his cooperation.

Update on status of the Declaratory Judgment: A motion was made by Joe Mandell to go into Executive Session for the purpose discussing a document from the access to public records provisions, at 10:25 p.m. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous. Jeff Gouger recused himself.

Piet van Loon made a motion to come out at 10:32 p.m. Guy Wachtel seconded. The vote was unanimous.

Piet van Loon made a motion to authorize the Chair to maintain contact with the attorney with regards to the legal matter before the town. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

9. CORRESPONDENCE:

  • Windham Regional Commission 2008 Annual Dinner, 9/16/08, Piet van Loon will go.
  • VLCT Candidate Forum Toolkit. Shannon will keep it in the file and will contact the School board later on in the year, to inquire.
  • VLCT Vermont Municipal Policy for Annual Business meeting. Shannon will be attending, and take a look at the policy.
  • Decreasing expenses and increasing revenue from Bud Bergmann.

Discussion ensued regarding how the board wants to receive Correspondence, and how it relates to making copies. The consensus of the board was to leave it up to Shannon what should be copied and what shouldn’t, in the effort to save paper, not copying everything. The board will ask Shannon to use her judgment and if she thinks it’s something we should see before the next meeting, she can let us know and put it above the mailboxes.

Discussion ensued regarding the recycling bins. Shannon will set up meeting this coming week with Doris, Tuesday with Guy and Jeff, during the day.

10. PAY ORDERS: – Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the pay orders as follows. Jeff Gouger seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Pay Orders:
04/04/08 - $24,214.78
04/03/08 - $249.96

Payroll:
04/03/08 - $1,393.22
03/26/08 - $3,084.97
04/02/08 - $3,006.24

IRS Electronic Payment:
09/03/08 – $ 976.76
09/10/08 - $ 574.98
09/10/08 - $ 965.80

15. ADJOURNMENT

Motion was made by Jeff Gouger and seconded by Guy Wachtel to adjourn the meeting at 11:05 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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