Interstate School Merger Needs You

Last year in StamfordVT.org’s survey most you indicated that keeping a thriving school in town was a top priority and asked how you could help. Here is your opportunity to help.

From the committee:
We’re reaching out to the Stamford community for some assistance with the interstate merger group please. The community focus group in Stamford will be held on Monday starting at 4:30 (prior to the joint town meeting). Currently, we only have one community member who has responded so far to participate in this focus group. We need at least 7-10 more interested community members willing to dedicate a little time to answer some questions and bring some insight into how you envision the future education of Stamford’s students.
If you are interested and willing to participate, please email Cindy Lamore at clamore@stamfordelementary.com by noon on Monday. The Stamford School Board of Directors and the Interstate Merger Committee thank you for your help in this endeavor.

Notice of Meeting

STAMFORD/CLARKSBURG SCHOOL MERGER – CORRECTION

The location of the school merger meeting was incorrect in the Selectboard minutes. The location of the meeting is at Stamford Elementary School.

STAMFORD/CLARKSBURG SCHOOL MERGER
The Interstate Merger Committee held an informational joint town meeting in Clarksburg in January and has scheduled a second meeting for Monday, February 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in Stamford. All are invited to attend. If you would like to sign up for email updates on the status of the merger feasibility study, send a request to interstatemerger@pcgus.com.

Selectboard Shorts

Dan Potvin received a phone call late at night because someone was stuck on Klondike Road during the last bad ice storm. They had called the garage and obtained his phone number from the answering machine. The Selectboard agreed that being out late at night and getting stuck should not constitute an emergency and the town is not a towing service. Dan Potvin reviewed the town’s Snow and Ice Policy which states there will be a reduced level of service between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and noted that we do not have a bare roads policy. He feels the garage answering machine should state if people have a true emergency, they should call 911. If they have comments or concerns, he is happy to take the call. Dave Tatro said the state police have called him when someone is stuck to go sand the road. The Selectboard will send a letter to the police requesting that they not call Dave Tatro until they have come down to Stamford to assess the situation. If someone is stuck, the police should be calling a tow truck, not the town. If the roads are very slippery, people should be responsible and not go out if they do not have good snow tires, studs or tire chains.

DOGS/DOG KENNEL
1. The 2017 price for a two-stall dog kennel from Sheds N Stuff was $3,200.00. The current price is $4,200.00 but they agreed to build it for us for $3,680.00. The amount budgeted is $2,500.00. The Selectboard gave permission to purchase the $3,680.00 two-stall kennel. It will be cheaper to buy a sheet of plywood to separate the stalls if the board chooses.
2. Luke McKay updated the board on the dog bite incident of January 26, 2018. The 10-day quarantine is complete and the dog owner brought the dog for a rabies shot and has licensed the dog with the town. Nancy Bushika spoke with Great Fields Kennel in North Bennington, VT. They were willing to hold the dog for 10 days for the dog owner but not for the town because they have no contract with the town. They said our Dog Officer or Health Officer would not be able to observe the dog while it was at their facility.
3. Luke McKay stated that he received a call concerning a new dog problem. The dog is frequently let outside loose in the yard and bothers people walking their dogs or people just walking by. Luke McKay received complaints about this dog a few months ago and sent a letter in early January asking for their compliance with the leash law, but the problem continues. The dog is not licensed with the town. A letter will be sent by certified mail to the tenants and the landlord requesting compliance and stating that continued violations would be considered a second offense. Luke McKay will also talk to the tenants.
4. There will not be a rabies clinic in Stamford at the firehouse this March. There are not enough volunteers or help this year to hold the clinic.

STAMFORD/CLARKSBURG SCHOOL MERGER
The Interstate Merger Committee held an informational joint town meeting in Clarksburg in January and has scheduled a second meeting for Monday, February 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in Clarksburg. All are invited to attend. If you would like to sign up for email updates on the status of the merger feasibility study, send a request to interstatemerger@pcgus.com.

SPAGETTI DINNER DANCE
A group in town is putting on a spaghetti supper at Stamford School on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Dancing will follow with Champagne Jam, a local band that plays music from the 50’s and 60’s . It should be a fun community event. Tickets are available at $10.00 each.

The full meeting minutes can be found here.

Selectboard Shorts

STATE MAPPING PROJECT
The town clerk has been contacted by three mapping firms interested in submitting bids to the state for the state-wide town mapping project. Although the Listers and Selectboard have objected to the program for the past several years, the state is paying for the GIS data to be obtained. The town has the option of paying for their own set of paper maps. If we purchase paper maps, it is recommended that we budget funds every year for the contractor to update the maps each year. The town clerk’s concern is that these maps are not surveys, they will not hold up in court, and the state will not back them. She is worried about the cost to our residents and our town that discrepancies in acreage could create. If the contractor calculates a different acreage than the town’s grand list, it will be costly to our residents to pay for a survey to determine the actual acreage. It could also be costly to the town to have to defend the new calculated acreage. The contractors have advised that this is a four to six month process and they will want to photograph the town maps and surveys and will need copies of the deeds. This will be very time consuming for the town office staff. The Selectboard supported the town clerk charging the state allowed $2.00/hour fee for copying as well as $1.00 per copy regardless of whether it is obtained by photograph or copy machine. They also agreed with the clerk that no records should leave the town office. The Selectboard decided not to obtain copies of the tax maps and will continue to use our grand list information.

EQUALIZATION STUDY/REAPPRAISAL
Nancy Bushika, Sally Bohl and Lori Shepard met with Chris Landon, the state’s District Advisor, this morning. Nancy Bushika explained how the state calculates the town’s CLA (Common Level of Appraisal) and COD (Coefficient of Dispersion). There is no room to negotiate with the state and in July we will receive an order to reappraise. The time frame is about three years. Readsboro sent out letters to reappraisal firms and they only received one response. They have about 772 parcels and received a quote of about $68,000.00. We have a similar amount of parcels. Debbie Darling stated that the town really needs to reappraise. Stamford will begin the process of sending out letters to obtain bids.

ROAD CONDITIONS
1. The new truck should be here by the end of next week. It is finished but they are waiting for the plow to come in.
2. The Ford continues to give trouble. At some point it will have to go in for repair but they need it on the road right now.
3. Nancy Bushika received two complaints about snow plowing from last week’s storm and she has talked to Dave Tatro already. People should not be calling Dave Tatro at home with complaints. When people call his home angry and his wife and children have to hear someone berate him on the answering machine it’s hurtful. Mike Denault suggested he consider an unlisted phone number. He doesn’t want to do that in case someone needs to reach him in an emergency. Dave Tatro said there is a lot of pettiness going on. He would like the Selectboard to go out and look at the situation when they receive a complaint. The Selectboard asks anyone who has a complaint or problem to come to a Selectboard meeting or send a letter to the Selectboard.
4. Nancy Bushika was approached by someone recently who praised how well our town roads are taken care of.
5. The treasurer advised that the town continues to be billed for warranty work done on the Ford last year at Carbone Ford. Lithia Motors bought Carbone in Bennington and continues to bill us for the work. Both Dave Tatro and Lori Shepard have repeatedly sent them copies of the documentation showing that the manifold assembly work was done under warranty. The board feels this could be considered a form of harassment and asked Lori Shepard to send Lithia a letter by certified mail with the documentation.

In an effort to reduce confusion, StamfordVt.org will no longer duplicate the archiving of the complete Selectboard Minutes. The minutes that were available prior to the town website creation will remain on the archive pages here, all new archive minutes will be located on the town’s website.

Full meeting minutes can be accessed here.

 

Selectboard Shorts

ROAD CONDITIONS
1. Dave Tatro is frustrated that the new truck is delayed again until the end of January.
2. A resident stopped at the garage yelling at Mike Brothers and Allen Desautels, angry that his road was slippery. Dave Tatro offered to show pictures of the road. He had plowed and sanded not that long before and you could see a dusting of new snow but a good amount of sand was still visible. Dave Tatro said the level of service that some people expect is ridiculous. We can’t go out for every single flurry. The Selectboard gave their support to the highway department and agreed that we do not have a bare roads policy.
3. The Ford keeps overheating and Dave Tatro will probably have to take it to Carbone’s for repair.
4. Allen Desautels will work on getting his CDL license this summer.
5. Dave Tatro reminds everyone to refrain from plowing snow across town roads. It is against the law and can create hazardous conditions.

RECYCLING
TAM has not been able to find us a used compactor yet. Nancy Bushika will see Trevor Mance at next week’s alliance meeting and will talk to him about it.

COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT
Jim Stimpson informed the board that he has been investigating and working with a solar company to install a solar array on his property. He said the company has identified several areas in town that would be favorable for solar fields and wanted to bring it to the board’s attention so the board could begin to discuss a community solar field. He would like to invite a representative from the solar company to a Planning Commission meeting and perhaps a Selectboard meeting also. Jim Stimpson said towns cannot regulate solar arrays, they are all permitted by the state. The Planning Commission is working with the Bennington County Regional Commission to take steps toward choosing favorable locations for the installation of windmills in Stamford.

Selectboard Shorts

BENNINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
The board discussed signing the six month contract from January through June 2019. Mike Denault is researching the pros and cons between keeping the Bennington sheriff, hiring Vermont State Police to patrol, or appointing a constable. He recognizes the voters showed support for law enforcement in town at a previous town meeting. The board hopes to have information available at town meeting so the voters can make an informed decision. The Selectboard would like to invite a State Trooper to their January meeting. The Bennington County Sheriff contract was signed.

2018 AUDIT
The Selectboard signed the engagement letter for the firm of Love, Cody & Company to conduct the 2018 audit of town accounts. This confirmation agrees to provide the auditors with all information necessary to conduct the audit which will begin January 28, 2019 at a cost of $10,200.00. Last year the cost was $10,000.00.

TOWN MEETING/YEAR END BUDGET PREPARATIONS
Pat Sullivan reminded the board that they had agreed to add a line item in the budget to hold any donations or grant money that the Community Building Group receives. A line item will be created.

WEBSITE POLICY
Chris Warren provided updated language for the board’s review as a result of the attorney’s opinion from the Vermont League of Cities & Towns. The final draft will be reviewed and signed at the next meeting.