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Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Any and all corrections to the following minutes will be made at the 01/05/06 Board of Selectmen’s meeting and are considered unapproved until then. Corrections will be noted in the minutes of that meeting.

DECEMBER 15th, 2005

Selectmen: Piet van Loon, Priscilla Cotton, Dan DeWalt, Patricia Halloran and Gary Katz.
Also Present: David Dunn of Rescue Inc., Gunther Garbe of Planning Commission, Todd Lawley as Road Foreman, and Doris Knechtel as Administrative Assistant.

The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman P. van Loon at 6:34 p.m.

A. ROAD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT - (See attached report)
(1) Item #2 - The payment for the paving done by Lane Construction will be held until after meeting with Larry Underwood to discuss the town’s dissatisfaction with the job.
(2) Item #4 A - Selectboard members will speak with the Highway Crew regarding their “extra job” concerns at a special meeting to be held on December 20th at the garage,
(3) Item #4 B - There was some discussion about the possible closing of the Williamsville Hall during the months of December, January and February to conserve on the heating. Will check with the Senior meal program, as they use it on a monthly basis. Only one other event is scheduled in January. There is also the thought that it is better to keep the building heated, otherwise there is the cost of draining the pipes. There have been some scrapes on the floor, which may need to be refinished to keep up the surface.
2. B. ROAD FOREMAN’S REPORT - (See attached report)
(1) Item #2 - Todd reviewed the equipment problems, especially the F-550, which he feels should be replaced.
(2) Item #6 - Concern has been expressed regarding the plowing of Newfane Hill Road (TH#20) by a private citizen and any potential liability for the town. It is marked “Closed”. Another issue is that by plowing the road in the winter, the road does not drain properly, causing the road to wash out. There are other Class 3 roads in town that have a portion of them closed in the winter. Items to be taken care of: measure the road areas closed during the winter months, check with VT Local Roads, and get some wording for new signs. A written policy will be considered.
(3) Item #6 - P. van Loon will contact John Spence regarding the culvert that he was responsible for installing on Baker Brook Road (TH#19).

David Dunn presented a several page document to the Selectboard regarding Rescue Inc. and how it serves the residents of Newfane. The population served in Newfane is 1,680, about 5% of the total served by Rescue Inc. They are committed to respond to all calls 24/7/365, provide paramedic level care, when needed, and assist NewBrook Fire Department personnel with technical service, when needed. Rescue Inc. received 71 calls from Newfane during FY 2005. The subsidy request for FY 2007 for Newfane is $12.75 per person for a total of $21,420. In a comparison of other ambulance services within Vermont and New Hampshire, the average subsidy is $17.38. Mr. Dunn invited Board members to ride along as long as they have a hepatitis shots.
The Ford F-550 has had to have the roof panel replaced recently for a cost of $1,633.95. Over the past several years the parts and repairs for that piece of equipment is approximately $24,000. Todd would like to replace the truck. Motion was made by G. Katz and seconded by P. Halloran to put the replacement of the F-550 out to bid with alternate financing/lease arrangements to be included. Unanimous.
A letter has been written to Stevens and Associates about having them put the bid specifications together and advertising for contractors to bid on the contract.

A. Gunther Garbe was present to review and explain the budget request for the Planning Commission for FY 2007. They will be updating the Town Plan and are planning to send out a survey first. They also will be doing some mapping for the plan and creating zoning districts. Some of the mapping information is available through Windham Regional.

(1) Delinquent Taxes - Selectboard members discussed the matter of the proposed mediation settlement of the Culhane Estate delinquent taxes in Executive Session on December 14, 2005. Action on the matter was deferred until this meeting with all Board members present.
Motion was made by P. Halloran and seconded by P. Cotton to approve the action recommended by Attorney Shriver for the amount arrived at through mediation with the Culhane Estate for delinquent taxes, with the understanding that all costs incurred will come out of the penalty fees. Unanimous.
(2) Traffic Calming Delineators - Board members discussed the proposed delineators that are taller with reflective wording on them to say Town of Newfane on one side and 25 mph on the other side. A wider application was discussed to expand beyond Williamsville in a town wide effort to include South Newfane and West Street.
(3) Treasurer - The Selectboard discussed items that they would like to see from the Treasurer on a regular basis, such as a regular monthly statement of the town finances - balance sheet - bank balance; expense overages; detailed expense and revenue information on the second meeting of the month (this is happening now) and a possible meeting with the Board on a regular basis. This would assist the board in making better financial decisions. These reports may be available on the NEMRC financial system.

There are three positions that need to be filled on the Development Review Board.
Two contractors worked on the Jack Hill slide on Dover Road (TH#2) to remove trees and put down matting, seed and mulch. Renaud Bros and Turner and Renaud did the work.

A. None of the items listed required any action by the Selectboard at this time. A copy of the financial information was made for the Board members before they left the meeting.
B. A comparison information sheet will be compiled for the Selectboard members showing wages and benefits for Newfane Highway personnel and area towns.

Motion was made by P. Cotton and seconded by P. Halloran to approve the minutes of the special meeting of 12/07/05, as written. Unanimous.

A. The VT State Police would like to have a members for the area towns that they serve be a part of an Advisory Committee that meets on a quarterly basis beginning in March.
B. Information has been received from the Treasurer that indicates that NEMRC, as of 01/01/06, will be charging for sending our back up data to them from the Treasurer, Listers and Town Clerk at the cost of $500 per year. After some discussion, it was determined that it is money well spent. A list of Disaster Recovery services was included.
C. The Windham County proposed budget meeting will be held at Superior Court on Thursday, January 12th beginning at 10:00 a.m.
D. P. van Loon provided an article on bio-diesel and why it should be considered.
E. Joan Weir of Williamsville School Preservation Society has requested to meet with the Selectboard in early January regarding their appropriation request.

Motion was made by P. Cotton and seconded by D. DeWalt to approve the Newfane Payroll Warrants and the Accounts Payable Warrant for the following amounts:
12/07/05 Payroll $ 2,989.29
12/14/05 Payroll $ 3,549.81
12/14/05 Accts. Payable #12A $ 666.28
12/16/05 Accts. Payable #12 $ 53,563.67 Unanimous.
IRS Electronic Federal Payroll Tax Payments
12/14/05 $ 1,545.80

No matters came before the Board that required the need of an Executive Session.

Motion was made by P. Halloran and seconded by P. Cotton to adjourn the Regular meeting at 10:55 p.m. Unanimous.

Doris A. Knechtel
Administrative Assistant
Newfane Board of Selectmen

Posted: Town Clerk’s Office, Newfane Store, Williamsville General Store, and South Newfane General Store & Deli.


1. Equipment Problems
We have been having some equipment problems; seems to be under control now. Todd will provide details in his report.
2. Grimes Hill Paving
Todd is not satisfied with the paving job Lane did for us on Grimes Hill Road. The quality of the job was sub-standard and Lane unilaterally did more area than we has identified in the contract. In addition, some was done in the rain and may have to be redone in the spring. Todd recommends that we have a discussion with Larry Underwood about some accommodations before paying any part of the bill. I agree.
3. Newfane Hill Road
Todd has raised two issues related to the backside of Newfane Hill Road. Although the Town posts the road as “Closed” for the winter, he is concerned that some people may choose to use it anyway because Ed Druke plows it. His concern is about potential liability for the Town or Ed if someone should get stuck or injured. The second issue is that the plowing as it is done may have adverse effects for next spring that would not be an issue if the road were not being plowed at all. He recommends installing the Jersey barriers at each end of the closed road.
4. Crew Concerns and Budget Issues
A. The crew would like an opportunity to discuss raise possibilities as part of our budget discussions. They are also concerned that the impact of “extra” jobs - such as clean up near the recycle containers, responding to “squeaky wheel” issues, etc - is resulting in necessary basic work being postponed or not getting done at all. They believe this will have negative impacts on our roads in the future.
B. A separate budget issue is Williamsville Hall. People using it are not taking care of it. The recently finished floors are already badly scraped and scuffed; the cost of heating the building exceed revenues from its use. Todd suggests the Board consider closing the hall for winter months, noting that other venues for events are available in Town. (I know this is a touchy issue, but given our budget discussions so far and the likely difficulty of avoiding increases for the taxpayers, I think we should not dismiss this out of hand.)
5. Other Issues
A. Todd is checking prices and leasing options related to replacing the F 550.
B. Three quarters of the scrap metal near the garage has been removed. The remainder will be picked up soon. This is being done at no cost to the Town.

Gary Katz, Road Commissioner

ROAD FOREMAN’S REPORT - December 15, 2005

1. We are now doing winter maintenance, plowing, sanding, and salting the roads. We had a complaint on Newfane Hill Road (TH#20) about a ditch line that people could drive into very easy so we put up some metal posts and reflectors to help mark the road.
2. Equipment: L9000 sander chain broke last storm so we had to buy a new chain. Int. 4900 had some problems with the hydraulics. We had Paul Foster from Custom Snow & Truck equipment come to garage and fix it. ‘90 Mack has had its wing post and front fender fixed after I ran off the road and the wing dug into the soft shoulder and fixed the fender. It was a very close call the driver of the car was in the middle of the road and never did pull over and kept going after it happened. F550 is back and it has a new roof panel on it and David Ford has warranted the electrical work the Rountree did this spring. They don’t really know yet what kind of problems we will still have with the electrical system as there was quite a bit of damage to it from the water getting into it. The bill is going to be $1,622.95. I have called five dealerships to get prices on new trucks and I called six body companies to get prices on the body and plow frame. I feel strongly that it is time to get rid of it as we are putting a lot of money into it. The money we are putting into it could be a lot better spent making payments on a new one. I do realize that the money isn’t in the budget for replacement but I also know that is would be a savings to the town and taxpayers to replace it.
3. Doris has been helping me on the budget and it is pretty well done except for the capital budget items and wages. We need to meet with the road crew about wages before I will know what to put down for a budget figure. I will also need to know what you are going to do with the F550 before I can put a figure down for that truck.
4. The band rail on Pat Gray bridge (BR#41) is repaired.
5. The tree removal has been done on the Jack Hill (Dover Road-TH#2) project and the matting has also been done.
6. I would like to see some type of written policy on road closings in the winter. We close several roads in the winter because no one lives on them and they are dangerous to travel on. Newfane Hill (TH#20) is one of those, on the back side. We do have Road Closed signs up but Ed Druke plows it to check on the Leape’s house. The problem is that someone who is not familiar with the road sees that it is plowed goes down over it and hits a tree or rolls over because its only plowed and not sanded could be there a long time before they are found. The rescue squad would also have a hard time getting to them. The other problem is that the snow does not get pushed back over the ditch and it makes an ice lip. Then in the spring, when we get a lot of rain, the water can’t get back to the ditch where it belongs and washes the road out. Ed has done it for years. I just don’t know where the liability is. No other road that is closed in the winter gets plowed. Phil Bartlett said the town needs to get a ruling or guideline from VLCT or the Secretary of State.

Thank you.

Todd Lawley
Road Foreman

To: Newfane Selectboard MEMORANDUM
From: Doris A. Knechtel
Subject: Administrative Assistant’s Report
Date: December 15, 2005

1. Norm LaMoria was in to look at the light situation inside the Town Office. I have not heard back from his as yet.

2. I have completed the information for the budget numbers discussed at the 12/14/05 meeting and added the November to date numbers. I have not copied that information for you as yet. Today has been crazy!

3. I also have completed the November revenue and expense information, which has not been copied for you. For a quick summary, the revenues for the first five months of FY2006 are at 56.36% of what is anticipated. On the expense side for the first five months it is at 36.00% for the Town and Highway Budgets. If you include the debt service, capital and school, the percentage is at 44.10% The school’s have received 50% of their funds. A five month period is 41.67%.

4. It has been suggested that the Williamsville Hall be closed down for the winter months to save on the heating costs. Currently the use of the hall is scheduled for January 8th for a Journey East pot luck, the traffic Calming Committee on January 30th, the Senior meal on January 26th, February 23rd and March 23rd. Town Meeting will be at the Union Hall this year. The cost to date (5 months) for the heat and electricity at the hall is $945.39 and the income is at $550 for a net cost of $395.39.

5. Several quotes have been received for a replacement vehicle for the F-550. A summary sheet has been included with your information.

6. There have been five, yes five, gentlemen who have picked up applications for the vacant highway position. One has been returned so far. They are due on December 22nd.

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