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MINUTES OF THE NEWFANE SELECTBOARD
REGULAR MEETING
OCTOBER 4, 2007
TOWN OFFICES
NEWFANE, VERMONT


PRESENT

Selectboard members: Ellen Darrow, Dan Dewalt, Joe Mandell, Peter Rysz, Guy Wachtel

Also Present: Shannon Meckle, Administrative Assistant; Fred Lawrence, South Newfane; Myra Fassler; Nicole Orne, Brattleboro Reformer; Walter Phelps; Piet van Loon; Gunther Garbe, Newfane Planning Commission; Ed Druke; Rod Lampe; Jack Bell, Long View Forest Contracting; Chris Petrak; Charles Bergmann; Robert Holden, Newfane Representative to Rescue, Inc.; Steven Jones, South Newfane Williamsville Fire Dept.; Paul Bowen; Tana Lilienthal; Peter Lilienthal; John Spicer

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.

MINUTES

The minutes of September 20, 2007 were reviewed. Peter Rysz made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The motion carried with four in favor, and Ellen Darrow abstaining because she was not present at the meeting.

ROAD BUSINESS

Road Commissioner’s Report: Christopher Williams reported that he was very pleased with the work being done on Grimes Hill Road, and that the rip-rap will probably be done tomorrow. The issue of dust control was discussed. Todd will ask them if there’s a way to control it.

Christopher also reported that regular maintenance is coming along well. The crew is working on getting leaves out of the culverts, because the rains are coming, and the culverts need to be clear.

Depot Road is coming along. The pavers are trying to coordinate with Dummerston, so that there will not be a seam at the town line.

Christopher Williams requested that the board change the agenda, so that he could discuss the proposed Anti-Idling Policy. The board agreed to change the agenda. Christopher stated that an Anti-Idling Policy couldn’t work in the winter, but might be able to work in the summer, with the exception of when workers are working in the roads and depending on the trucks’ beacon lights running to protect the workers. These use a lot of energy, and the batteries would die if you tried to run them without the trucks running.

The board discussed that a blanket policy would not work, but possibly a “common-sense” policy might work. The discussion was tabled until more research and more thought could be done.

Gunther Garbe and Dan Dewalt volunteered to head up a Sub-Committee to research this concept.

Road Foreman’s Report: Please see attached report.

Temporary Covered Bridge Repairs: It was the consensus of the board that the block should be replaced as soon as possible. It should cost about $2,500 and structures money is available.

Beetlestone Hill Bridge: Todd recommended to the board that they put down blocks to bolt to, and to repave the deck so that it will be passable until spring, when it can be repaired. Peter Rysz made a motion to implement Todd’s suggestion. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Arch Bridge: Todd reported that he spoke with Stantech, and that they stated the cost of the study to find out the options for the bridge would cost $40,000.00. Guy Wachtel made a motion that the town pay Stantech for whatever is owed at this point, and perhaps look at it again next year. After some discussion, Guy Wachtel withdrew his motion. The board will look at what billing comes in, and see what’s due. The state does a visual inspection every six months, and it isn’t a crucial issue at this point. The board can always request an inspection sooner if they feel it becomes critical.

Stratton Hill Bridge: Todd Lawley, Christopher Williams, Mike Renaud, Matt Mann and Peter Rysz were all present for an inspection at the Stratton Hill Bridge. Joe Russo of VTrans was unable to attend.

All present at the meeting concurred that the bridge condition was such that it requires emergency action. The deck appears to be in excellent condition; however the support beams are dangerously corroded.

Peter Rysz asked Mike Renaud of Renaud Brothers to send a proposal to the Selectboard to lift the deck off the existing support beams, replace the support beams as necessary, and to reinstall the current deck onto the new beams. It was thought that this would be the most sensible solution in terms of both money and time. It is recommended that either John Alexander or Joe Russo of VTrans be contacted to see if monies are available for the proposed repair.

Overweight Permits Violations: It has been suggested by the Windham County Sheriff’s Department that if bridges are posted with legal weight limit, that it will be easier to enforce. Discussion ensued regarding how these issues can be enforced without scales to weigh the trucks. Unless otherwise posted, bridge limits are 24,000 pounds. Steve Jerome of the Vermont Local Roads program may be a good resource to clarify these laws.

Arch Bridge Stop Sign: Todd mentioned that he hadn’t installed the sign because he’d not received anything official stating it was approved to replace the sign. Dan Dewalt made a motion to authorize Todd to replace the Yield sign with a stop sign. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Excess Weight Permits: Todd Bell from Long View Forest Contracting, Inc. presented the board with three Overweight Permit Applications. Discussion ensued regarding protection of the roads, versus supporting local logging efforts, and the economy. The logistics of the operation were discussed. Christopher Williams noted that there is a solution for the larger trucks. The larger trucks could come from the West Brattleboro end of Sunset Lake Road to the landing; then continuing down Sunset Lake Road into Williamsville. The turn can be made onto Depot Road from Sunset Lake Road, even if it takes a few turns. That way the loaded trucks will not be going over the Arch Bridge. This project should last only another month and a half to two months.

It was pointed out that other permits have been approved at a smaller weight limit, and the town should either reverse the prior decision or limit everyone to the same weight.

After much discussion, Guy Wachtel made a motion to approve the permits with the restrictions as Christopher Williams suggested, in order to keep the trucks off the Arch Bridge, having a small car drive ahead of the oversize truck, if necessary; and to amend the last permit granted to allow the full weight requested. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. Discussion ensued regarding safety. The motion passed with four in favor, and one against.

SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Tax Sales: Marshall Glickman presented information to the board regarding two upcoming tax sales to be held November 2nd at 1:00 p.m. at the Town Offices. In the past, a representative of the town has been present at these sales, so that in the event that nobody else has interest, that the town can bid on these properties. This is often a catalyst to more interest in the properties. The right of redemption is one year, meaning that the property owner has one year from the tax sale to pay the taxes and redeem their property. Guy Wachtel made a motion to go with Marshall’s plan, and have a previously authorized member of the Selectboard present for the tax sales. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The motion carried with four in favor and one against.

Covered Bridge Discussion: Roger Whitcomb of VTrans, and Scott Newman, Historic Preservation Officer were present for a discussion regarding the 2009 Covered Bridge Project. Joe Mandell gave a brief background of what had been decided in the past.

Roger Whitcomb noted that they were present to discuss having a new covered bridge versus a rehabbed bridge.

Scott Newman stated that the preferred option at this point, is to build a new bridge, which would be a faithful reconstruction of the bridge as it looked when it was first constructed. At the time that the rehab was chosen, nobody realized how little of the current bridge would actually remain.

From an engineering standpoint, new wood is much easier to work with than old wood. Getting through the permit process for the rehab would be difficult.

Regardless of which option is chosen, the cost to the town would be zero dollars, however, if the bridge is rehabbed, it will be so far from the original structure, that it will no longer qualify as an historic site, and will no longer be eligible for the benefits attached. The faithful reproduction would be eligible.

The option of rebuilding it instead of rehabbing it would not change the July 2009. To have these funds earmarked means a good faith proposal by the Federal Government for the funds. The caveat is that the State has to match those funds. Grants can’t reimburse if the town goes ahead with the work before 2009. It can only spend forward.

A question and answer period regarding the dimensions of the “new” bridge and the way it would look, ensued. The cost to the town would be the same, reconstruction would allow the town to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and it would still be in the easement program, which would mean no cost for the town. There would be a plaque stating that it is a faithful reconstruction of the original bridge, however there would be minor changes not visible to make it functional for today’s vehicles.

Interim repairs were discussed, as well as a temporary bridge. There is $50,000.00 allocated through the local VTrans funding to repair the bridge until 2009.
If the board decides to go with a faithful reconstruction, Scott Newman can have the plans drawn up within the next few weeks.

Guy Wachtel made a motion to go with Scott Newman’s recommendation to reconstruct the bridge and let the rehab plan go. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Shannon will send a letter confirming this decision to Scott Newman next week.

Roger Whitcomb mentioned that in the meantime, a temporary repair is the most cost effective solution. As it is an emergency situation at this time, the board would not have to go through the bidding process.

After discussion of repair options, Guy Wachtel made a motion to steer towards repairing the bridge using state structure funds, not to exceed $60,000.00. After more discussion, Guy Wachtel withdrew his motion.

Peter Rysz made a motion to work with Roger Whitcomb and others to come up with a plan and bring it back to the board as soon as possible. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Winter Sand Bids: The winter sand bids were opened and were as follows:

Cersosimo Industries: 11.50/cubic yard
Zaluzny Excavating: 11.17/cubic yard

Guy Wachtel made a motion to take the recommendation of the Road Foreman and the Road Commissioner, once they’ve had a chance to look at each bidder’s product. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Radway Hill Intersection Update: The survey created by Dauchy-Creamer was just received. The conversation was tabled until each board member could look at the survey and a copy was sent to Matt Mann.

Culhane Corner: Peter Rysz reported that there would be a meeting the next day regarding the punch list of items to be completed. They would also look at pedestrian safety at that site meeting.

UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Ed Druke asked if VLCT had been notified that the Town was looking at other options for liability insurance. Shannon reported that the letter had been sent notifying them.

At 8:50 p.m., the Selectboard meeting was recessed in order to reconvene the Public Hearing regarding the proposed Subdivision Bylaws.

The meeting was called to order again at 9:35 p.m.

NEW BUSINESS

Dan Dewalt made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss personnel and legal issues. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to enter into Executive Session at 9:36 p.m. The board, Robert Holden, and Shannon Meckle were present for the session.

Dan Dewalt made a motion to come out of Executive Session. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to come out of Executive Session at 9:58 p.m.

Dan Dewalt made a motion to express the board’s confidence in Robert Holden as Newfane’s Representative to Rescue, Inc. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously, and the board thanked Robert Holden for his time at this meeting.

OLD BUSINESS

Peter Rysz made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to enter Executive Session at 10:00 p.m.

Peter Rysz made a motion to come out of Executive Session. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to come out of Executive Session at 10:15 p.m.

The board will look at amending the Personnel Policies regarding page 7, paragraph “C.”

Peter Rysz made a motion to authorize Joe Mandell and Dan Dewalt to form a committee to discuss a personnel issue. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT

Please see attached report.

CORRESPONDENCE:

Peter Rysz reported that the Williamsville Hall Committee received a letter stating that there was no evidence of insect infestation. They will send a bill to the town offices.

PAY WARRANTS:

Dan Dewalt made a motion to approve the pay warrants as follows. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion.


10/4/07 Accounts Payable: $18,179.89
10/4/07 Payroll: $ 2,552.15
10/1/07 Payroll: $ 3,284.41
9/24/07 Payroll: $ 3,600.13

IRS Electronic Federal Payroll Tax Payments
$1,439.44
$1,240.67
$1,122.85

The motion passed unanimously.

Peter Rysz made a motion to adjourn at 10:45 p.m. Dan Dewalt seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Shannon Meckle
Administrative Assistant

Posted At: Town Clerk's Office, Newfane Store, Williamsville/South Newfane Post Office, and South Newfane General Store & Deli. www.newfanevt.com (after approval)

Road Foreman's Report

1. Roads: We are still doing ditch and culvert work. So far this year we have
replaced 20 culverts including the flood work. The crew is now working on
Lost mile rd doing ditch and gravel work. We are also putting up culvert
posts and cleaning culverts. Most of the roads are in good shape there are a
few with some wash boards due to the dry conditions.

2. Equipment: The 2007 F350 has been to David Ford to have a front end
alignment done. The Mack had some front lug bolts break, and we are waiting for the new parts to get here and we will fix it in the shop ourselves.

3. Paving: Whitcomb's will be starting on the paving Friday. They will start
on Depot Road first. Since we did not have to use the rest of our paving money on Culhane Corner, I am going to have them pave in front of the town garage doors. We have always had a mud and dirt issues on the garage floors this would help out the garage a lot.

4. Grimes Hill: Fitzpatrick's have started the project and so far everything is going well.

5. Covered bridge: We met with Mike Renaud, Joe Ruzzo, and Matt Mann the other
day. It was decided to have Matt Mann get a hold of the people at AOT and have a meeting at the bridge with them, Mike Renaud, Joe Ruzzo, and Matt Mann and let them see the bridge and talk some more about the temporary bridge idea, as Mike Renaud doesn't think that they can do anything except replace the entire deck and have it last. I think that everyone agrees that the best solution is a temporary bridge is the only logical way to go.

6. Stratton Hill
Bridge: We also looked at the Stratton Hill Bridge and we are getting a price on replacing the I-beams. It is going to be the cheapest way to do it. So we are waiting to get the price from Renaud Bros.

7. Beattlestone Hill
Bridge: I am getting a price from Courtney Nau on rough-sawn hemlock to temporally fix the rails until we can get someone here to replace the deck. That all hinges on if we get a temporary put in place of the covered bridge. At this point it is going to be too late to do a deck on the Stratton Hill bridge before winter so we need to do a temporary fix for the winter.

8. Arch Bridge: I did hear back from George from Stantech about the Arch Bridge to do a complete study on the bridge and weather or not it makes sense to fix what’s there or to replace it would be about $40.000.00. As it stands right know he said the same thing that Mark Sargent, from VTRANS said:
that he sees no evidence of a major problem with the strength of it. It
shows no major cracks on the arch itself. It should be able to handle whatever loads are currently going over it. He did check with the state and it is on the historic sites list which he said complicates it even further. It
would be up to the board to decide to go on with more study or just wait and keep an eye on it.

Thank You,
Todd Lawley
Road Foreman

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT

1. Filing/Cleaning Up Project: We are moving along with the filing/clean-up project, and have implemented small changes. This past weekend, we were here for almost 6 hours. We emptied out 2 of the large rolling recycle bins, and got rid of lots of junk. I am asking the Selectboard to authorize spending in order to make the area a nicer place to work. I am looking to purchase a new refrigerator, and some storage for supplies and kitchen ware. The refrigerators that we have priced run from $140.00 – $228.00. The storage bins are running between $30.00 and $50.00. I have placed office supplies in the small filing cabinets behind the Selectboard table. While it’s not exactly a perfect solution, it’s a lot better than what we did have for a shared supply area. A new microwave is needed, although Doris has stated her intention to donate a new one to the Town Office. You may notice that your mail folders have been done away with, replaced with mail boxes. I believe it will be a neater, less confusing solution.

2. Town Fair: I will be out of the office next Thursday, October 11, for the VLCT Town Fair in Essex, Vermont. The Town office will be closed with the exception of the Listers’ Office. Barbara and Brian will be in. Doris is going to the Town Fair.

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