NEWFANE SELECTBOARD MINUTES
JUNE 5, 2008
NEWFANE TOWN OFFICE
Selectboard: Gary Katz, Joe Mandell, Jeff Gouger, Guy Wachtel, Peter
Also Present: Gunther Garbe, Ed Druke, Virginia Grabowski, Carol Destromp,
Tim Destromp, Norma Shakun, Lila S., David Palmer, Judy Egan, Robert
Hughes, Fred Lawrence, James Brisson, Jon Julian, Peter Potvin, Tenco
New England; Maureen Albert-Piascik, Treasurer; Christopher Williams,
Road Commissioner; and Shannon Meckle, Administrative Assistant.
1. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m. by Gary Katz, Chair.
Gary Katz noted that VLCT recommends tape recording meetings, for clarification
purposes, or resolving differences, and that there was equipment available.
He checked with the board as to whether it was agreeable with them.
The board would still rely on Shannon for taking minutes, and the tapes
would be used only if there was question. The board members didn’t
have a problem with it. Gary noted that the members of the public would
have to speak clearly. J. Mandell made a motion to record this and future
meetings. Jeff Gouger seconded the motion. Unanimous.
Gary reiterated for the tape, that the board had agreed to record meetings.
The minutes of May 15, 2008 were reviewed and the following changes
Page 5, Under Williamsville Hall Use, change “J. Mandell made
a motion to approve the use of the Hall for a one-time use, to sell
produce.” to “J. Mandell made a motion to approve the use
of the Hall for either May 24, 2008 or May 31, 2008, to sell produce.”
G. Wachtel moved to approve as amended. Peter Rysz seconded. Unanimous.
The minutes of May 29, 2008 were reviewed. Peter noted that he had
sent suggested corrections for consideration. G. Katz read the draft
minutes aloud, as well as Peter’s suggested changes.
Joe felt that it was important for it to be in the minutes that Peter’s
attorney had stated that because it was a procedural matter, not a substantive
matter, Peter shouldn’t have to recuse himself.
Ed Druke wondered why Jeff wasn’t there and Peter was, if they
were both recusing themselves.
Gary explained that Jeff has recused himself from the whole case, and
Peter has only agreed to recuse upon a case-by-case basis, as it is
his decision as a Selectboard member.
A long discussion ensued regarding differences in recollection with
regards to Peter leaving the meeting.
After an extended period of time, Ed Druke suggested that the board
table the discussion, so as to let the town get on with regular business,
and reiterated his concerns that both board members should have recused
themselves, or both attended the meeting.
G. Katz recollection is that he opined that “as a courtesy to
the rest of us so that the Board could do what it needed to do that
would be appreciated.”
Peter Rysz recollection is that he left because Katz asked him to, and
that Gary agreed to state such in the minutes.
Joe Mandell made a motion to accept Peter’s amendments, except,
as suggested by the chair, the addition of the other language about
as a courtesy. G. Wachtel seconded. Discussion: Gary stated that aside
from motivations or impressions, he did not ask Peter to leave. He would
be comfortable saying that the nature of the discussion suggested that
Peter leave, but he did not ask Peter to leave.
G. Wachtel made a friendly amendment to the motion to state the following:
“Motion was made by G. Wachtel and seconded by J. Mandell to
go into Executive Session to discuss whether to ask Investigator Eileen
Blackwood for a written report at the conclusion of the investigation
into the allegations involving P. Rysz. Discussion ensued. Chairman
G. Katz asked if P. Rysz would recuse himself. He said ‘no,’
citing advice from his attorney. Following further discussion focusing
on the Board’s concerns about the inappropriateness of P. Rysz
participating in this matter, P. Rysz asked if he was being asked to
leave. Chairman G. Katz opined that “as a courtesy to the rest
of us, so that the Board could do what it needed to do, that would be
appreciated.” At this point, without any action by the Board or
any further discussion, P. Rysz left the meeting. The recollection of
the other members of the board was that it was being suggested that
P. Rysz leave.” Attached, as part of the minutes of May 29, 2008,
are Peter’s suggested changes, as his recollection of the discussion.
The amended motion was seconded by J. Mandell. 3 voted in favor. 1
Opposed. Motion passed.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to amend the agenda to allow the Members
of the Public to speak. Peter Rysz seconded the motion. Unanimous.
3. UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Williamsville Covered Bridge: A member of the public asked what was
going to be done about the bridge, since there are holes in the deck.
Gary explained that at the last meeting the board voted to approve $55,000
in interim repairs to the deck until the rebuild in Spring 2009. This
was with the understanding that $45,000 was coming from the state. Renaud
Bros. was ready to start work, and has ordered approximately $15,000.00
in material. The state contacted us today, to say that the money that
was available is now frozen, and the state wasn’t able to fund
the project right away. The money might be available in the coming weeks,
but we don’t know what that will be.
There was discussion regarding payment options, aside from the state
grant. Gary will continue to represent the town on this until the state
provides more information Peter suggested speaking with Mike Renaud
in the meantime to get his ideas, and to find out if there’s any
flexibility in payment.
Discussion ensued regarding the responsibility of keeping the roads
and bridges safe vs. the cost to the town of paying for these repairs.
If there isn’t money to fix the bridge, but there’s a safety
concern, one option could be to close the bridge until the money from
the state comes available. The biggest risk is the motorcycles. There
are currently Caution signs in place.
G. Wachtel made a motion to erect a large sign on each side of the
bridge. Saying: “Motorcycles use extra caution - Loose Boards.”
Joe seconded the motion.
G. Wachtel made another motion to have Mike Renaud fix the bridge as
soon as he can. P. Rysz seconded.
Discussion: G. Wachtel suggested setting a special open Selectboard
meeting for next week, to which we would invite Todd, Chris, Mike Renaud,
John Alexander, and anyone from the state that could give us a more
informed answer regarding funding from the state. Peter noted that Matt
Mann from Windham Regional Commission also might be a good resource.
Joe Mandell made the suggestion as a motion. Peter seconded. Vote was
Guy withdrew the motion regarding moving ahead with the repairs.
G. Wachtel restated the first motion to place large, hand painted signs,
at each end of the bridge, urging motorcycles to exercise caution, due
to loose boards. The motion had been seconded by Joe Mandell. Discussion:
Peter stated that there are two large signs leaning up against the old
town garage that could be used for that purpose. Vote was unanimous.
Member of the public suggested that it be written in red, because it
catches the eye.
Rock River Produce: Judy Egan asked for clarification regarding the
Rock River Produce, and whether it was related to the Williamsville
Hall Committee; as the board had requested they come in for ideas of
Guy’s suggestion was to take up Williamsville Hall issues now,
while they are here, and allow discussion.
Discussion ensued regarding the Agenda, and whether to discuss Williamsville
Hall, Rock River Produce, and the Hall Committee at this time, or to
split it up. Judy reiterated that there was a motion by Guy to have
the Williamsville Hall Committee to come up with a plan for future expenses.
Jon Julian reported that the Committee didn’t receive any such
request. A member came to the Town Office to get financial reports and
was told they were too busy to furnish such information.
Joe Mandell made a motion to have all donations made to go into a separate
fund. Peter Rysz seconded the motion.
Discussion: Guy liked the idea. Gary stated he didn’t feel it
should be aggregate. Have a responsibility to the citizens of Newfane
to be judicious of the expenditures. Jeff felt there was no issue with
donations to the Williamsville Hall, except the Hall is over budget,
and the Town is operating in the red. If the town’s funding the
budget, and it’s been overspent, and there is donation money that’s
not being used, it’s unfair to the other taxpayers to be on the
hook for that money.
Joe Mandell called the question. Discussion ensued about how many times
a person can talk, and what happens when someone calls the question.
Steve Levine questioned whether the Williamsville Hall was reorganized,
and if it wasn’t, then, why not.
Myra Fassler stated that the discussion was off the topic. A motion
was made, seconded and called.
Jon Julian stated he had spoke with Gary about specifically making
a private donation, that it was no problem. The Committee is in agreement
that the rental fees go into the General Fund, but that the donations
should go to the Hall Committee. However, the Hall Committee is trying
to sort out what happened to the donations made in the past.
Guy cautioned that the board should be responsible for making sure
that no large changes were made to the Hall without prior board notification.
Guy made a friendly amendment to the motion to state:
All donations shall go to the Williamsville Hall Fund, and the board
needs to be approached before any physical/structural changes can made
to the building. The vote was unanimous.
Joe Mandell moved to re-charter Hall Committee’s Renewal of Members
as stated below. Peter Rysz seconded.
Jon Julian, Annie Landenburger, Myra Fassler, Phyllis Mandell, Nancy
Rysz, Dan Kinoy,
Robert Hughes, Ann Hughes, Marsha Highland, Steve Levine
4 in favor. 1 opposed. Motion passes.
Town Finances: Gunther wrote a letter to the Selectboard regarding
the state of the town’s finances. Discussion ensued about possible
options. Shannon to check with VLCT as to whether the Selectboard can
raise the tax 5% without a special town meeting.
Jeff stated that there’s a certain amount not coming in because
of delinquent taxes, and if you raise the tax rate, there is a certain
amount that you’re not going to see, because it’s going
be delinquent, so you should probably plan on that.
Joe felt that Gunther should be thanked for bringing this to the attention
of the board, and we should resolve this.
Ed Druke felt we should warn a public Town Meeting, in the meantime
for this, just in case.
Gary suggested that the board authorize Shannon to get the ball rolling
on warning a Special Town Meeting. Shannon will check on procedure for
warning a special town meeting and the authority of the board.
Guy made a motion to use the information as a basis to get started
on a Special Town Meeting, and to accept Gunther’s offer to work
with Shannon on this. Joe seconded. The vote was unanimous.
6. SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Jon Julian presented a letter of support from the Williamsville Hall
Committee, and plans for a proposed stair well be built on the outside
of the Williamsville Hall, from the street level to the door. Jon stated
that Labor & Industry was okay with it. He also stated that this
project would be done with the help of volunteers and donations, with
no town money being spent. Eventually, the hope was to open a General
Store in the unused, downstairs portion of the Williamsville Hall.
Gary asked for clarification regarding this project as it relates to
the Williamsville Hall Committee and the Rock River Produce Buyers?
Gunther asked about the legal arrangement between the proposed store
and the Town for use of the building, a lease, a contract, agreement,
as to maintenance, fuel cost, etc…
A member of the public asked what would be done about parking. Another
member of the public reiterated parking concerns.
Robert Hughes spoke to the board about how the loss of the General
Store affected the Williamsville Community. Also, how the Williamsville
Hall has the potential to bring the community back together. He spoke
to the parking issue and stated that the landowners surrounding the
Hall are willing to tolerate the parked cars.
Gary questioned daily use of the facility, as it raises a question
about insurance. Is the plan to have an insurance policy in place, or
is the group planning on using the Town’s insurance? Jon Julian
will work with Shannon on investigating insurance implications.
Jon Julian stated that the group would like to know from the board:
is the use of the lower level on an everyday basis, for the community,
an acceptable use; then they will move on with logistics, insurance,
lease, etc… cost, labor, materials; does the board think that
the idea of the store is reasonable, and second, do they agree with
the staircase being put in.
Gunther said that before anything is decided on, the Williamsville
Hall Committee and the board should go into serious discussions regarding
leasing the building so that it’s not in the town’s hands
Joe Mandell made a motion that the board accept the use of the building
as presented, meaning an investigation into the possible use, including
insurance, parking, permit for the stairs, and to file the application
because there is no obligation. Guy seconded the motion.
Discussion: The building is not a historical building. Handicap entrance
and elevator has met Labor & Industry approval. The present staircase
that you take now is treacherous. You don’t have to be handicapped
to fall down there.
The vote was unanimous.
Shannon will work with Jon to fill out the state’s application,
Gary will sign it as soon as it is done. Steve Levine stated that they
would pay for the application fee.
Discussion ensued regarding what form of entity this group is, and
plans to be, and also how that relates to insurances, legalities, and
any health permits that are necessary, etc…
Dan Kinoy explained that the Rock River Buying Group is an informal
buying thing, which is not the same as the General Store.
David Palmer stated that the group could indemnify the town, but that
it would leave the individuals liable. The Town’s liability may
not cover commercial enterprises. He cautioned that because of the liability
involved for both the town and the individuals, none of this should
be entered into lightly. He also stated that it may be reasonable for
the Town to allow the group to try it two or three times to see if it
will work, but then they need to organize. It’s reasonable to
accept some risk, but the town needs to define how long they can accept
that risk. They are eventually going to need a non-profit group that
leases the building, and will carry insurance that pays up to the Town’s
Peter expressed concerns that it’s limiting the use of the building
to tell them they can use it 2-3 times and then stop because they’re
Carol Destromp, member of the public stated, that the Selectboard should
be taking into consideration the interests of the whole town, and that’s
financial and otherwise.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to allow the group to use the Hall for the
next three times, over a period of 6 weeks, and the Hall Committee will
research the liabilities and what steps they need to take. Gary seconded.
2 in favor. 2 opposed. Jeff abstained. MOTION FAILS.
3. ROAD BUSINESS
Road Foreman/Road Commissioner’s Report: See attached report.
Radway Road: The board’s consensus was to send a letter to Mercede,
stating that they haven’t heard from him, that they’re aware
that he’d been anxious and to please let the board know what needs
to be done to get the project moving, and that the board is awaiting
his written response. Gary will sign for the board.
Peter mentioned the paving on the south side of Culhane corner is showing
some thin spots. Shannon will ask Todd to look at the pavement.
Excess Weight Permits:
Lawrence Bills: Applied for 60,000, 80,000, and 35,000 pounds. Amended
to 60,000; 69,000; and 35,000 pounds.
Cardinal Logistics: Applied for 80,000 and 25,999 pounds. Amended to:
69,000 and 25,999 pounds.
Peter made a motion to approve as amended. Guy seconded. The permits
were approved unanimously.
Joe mentioned a pine tree on Parish Hill Road that had fallen, and
whether it could be removed by the town or not. Shannon will ask Todd.
The following bids were opened:
Custom Snow & Truck Equipment $57,985.00
E.W. Sleeper Co.: $59,500.00
J. Mandell made a motion to accept Tenco’s bid, contingent upon
purchase of the truck, and Todd and Chris’ acceptance. G. Wachtel
McDevitt: MACK $88,486.56
L&B Truck: Sterling: $66,540.00
S.G. Reed: International 7400: $69,123.00/$69,973.00
Reed faxed in an Extended Warranty and a bid exception.
Guy Wachtel made a motion to accept L&B Truck Services’ bid,
pending asking Todd and Chris to look at them and give us their recommendations
and to specifically check the trade-in from Reed. Peter Rysz seconded.
Peter noted that he spoke to someone who said that the cracked frame
is a very easy thing to fix and would be stronger than when it was new,
and also questioned whether it’s realistic to purchase the truck
in light of the financial difficulties facing the town.
Joe Mandell was concerned about the Road Commissioner who walks out
of a meeting because he’s upset about the discussion, and he felt
that something should be said to him. Peter stated that he brought it
up at the Organizational Meeting, that he calls people names and storms
out of meetings.
The following bid was opened for roadside mowing:
ROADSIDE MOWING: M&M Excavating: Brookline: $2,000.00
140.00/mile as billed in 30 days.
Shannon will ask Todd to get in touch with the company to clarify the
bid, as to whether the $140.00/ mile is inclusive or in addition to,
before making any decisions.
7. NEW BUSINESS
State Police Contract: Gary read the accompanying letter to the board
regarding the renewal of the contract. Joe asked what kind of time constraints
there would be. Joe would like to invite Rick Hopkins to a Selectboard
meeting, explaining that the Troopers were doing a criminal investigation
as to illegal cutting on Old County Trail, and never got back to the
board. The board asked Shannon to put, under Old Business, Old County
Trail Non-Permitted Cutting of Timber, on the agenda for next meeting.
Jeff’s Report about discussion with Sheriff’s Department:
The Sheriff’s Dept. would like the $8,000 dollars that would normally
be appropriated to the State Police. After a short discussion, the decision
was tabled until more information could be obtained. The board had a
discussion about the income from tickets as compared to the expense
of the contract.
8. OLD BUSINESS
Nappi Appeal: Jeff made a motion to enter Executive Session to discuss
litigation related to a real estate matter at 10:56 p.m. Guy seconded
the motion. The vote was unanimous.
Peter moved to exit Executive Session at 11:13 p.m. Guy seconded. The
vote was unanimous.
Guy moved to Authorize Jeff to continue to negotiate for the town on
the Nappi appeal. Peter seconded. The vote was unanimous.
The board decided to table the approval of the Conflict of Interest
Policy and Rules of Procedure for Selectboards to the next regular meeting.
Newfane Village Sidewalk Letter: Gary read letter out loud. The board
will get back to the Village Trustees and thank them.
Municipal Park & Ride Grant Program: No ideas were thought of at
Williamsville Hall Correspondence: Shannon will make copies for everyone.
10. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT:
See Attached Report.
11. PAY ORDERS: – Peter Rysz made a motion to
approve the pay orders as follows. Guy Wachtel seconded the motion.
Motion passed unanimously.
Pay Orders: 06/03/08 - $88.92
05/23/08 - $371,546.10
06/06/08 - $34,950.37
Payroll: 05/21/08 - $2,795.91 IRS Electronic Payment: 5/19/08 - $902.53
05/28/08 - $2,817.02 5/24/08 - $898.01
06/04/08 - $2,822.12 5/31/08 - $911.23
06/06/08 - $7,186.81 6/04/08 - $2103.34
Motion was made by Guy Wachtel and seconded by Jeff Gouger seconded
to adjourn the meeting at 11:30 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