Interstate School Merger and Selectboard Minutes

An update on the Interstate School Merger can be found in the right sidebar.

1. The Selectboard questioned several entries on the last couple sheriff’s bills. One was a VIN verification that the town was charged for and the others were when the officer responded to accidents that did not occur in Stamford. The town was still billed several hours even though the officer was no longer patrolling in Stamford. The town was also charged for numerous hours when the officer did the accident follow-up the next day and for completing the necessary paperwork. Sheriff Schmidt said it would be a billing nightmare if his officers had to clock on and off each time they had to respond to an emergency call. He needs to pay his officers from the time they get behind the wheel. The officer’s schedules are planned for the whole month and he said it all works out in the wash. If they leave Stamford to respond to a call, Stamford is still billed for the officer’s time. But if they are in a neighboring town and respond to an emergency call in Stamford, that other town would get billed for it.

The state police know their schedule and often ask them to intervene. Sheriff Schmidt said our contract includes a mutual aid agreement and if Stamford is not willing to honor it, then the next time there is a call, he will have to tell the state police no, they cannot respond, because Stamford won’t pay for it. Mike Denault asked if he was in a town that does not hire him, if he would still assist or would the officer not go because there is no contract with the town to pay. Sheriff Schmidt said
no, they would still go. Sheriff Schmidt suggested that we speak to other towns such as Readsboro, Woodford and Searsburg and if we could pool our money and guarantee 40 hours/week between the three/four towns, he could designate one officer to serve us specifically. We could count
on the same officer consistently. The Selectboard thanked him for coming and will consider inviting the chairs of other Selectboards to come and discuss the possibility. 2. The Bennington County Sheriff
recently asked the school principal for a key to the school lock box. Bill Levine was consulted for his opinion and he wanted to make the
Selectboard aware of the request.

Full minutes found here.


Third Time’s the Charm?

“The town [Clarksburg] will once again see if town meeting will accept combining school districts with Stamford, Vt., with the same article tabled at the December special town meeting.”

“Town Administrator Carl McKinney said both communities are under the gun and have to move on the merger, which is being driven by Vermont’s Act 46 that calls for small Vermont school districts to begin consolidating.”

The special town meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 5, at 6:30.

Read the full article from


Voting Results And More

Thank you for your support of my candidacy for School Director at Stamford Elementary School. The election resulted in a tie 77 to 77 between myself and Kelly Holland. I have formally conceded this position to Kelly, and so a runoff election is not going to be necessary.

Kelly will be an excellent Director. She is an active member of the school merger committee, and has been attending School Board meetings consistently. She has children in our school, and has a strong sense of dedication to excellence in education. Kelly is also a strong voice of reason, and I have confidence that she will collaborate well and she will listen well.
I hope those that voted for me will also give her your full support as our School Board moves forward in this very exciting time.
Sincerely, Helen Fields


The town clerk provided samples and thought sending a postcard reminder in March stating all dogs need to be licensed with the town by April 1st, with the rabies clinic info could reduce some of the delinquent dog problem. Nancy Bushika did not feel it was necessary and feels dog owners should be responsible. The deadline and rabies clinic information will be announced at town meeting. The rabies clinic will be held on Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the firehouse.

There has been more dumping but it occurred on the Clarksburg side. Residents expressed frustration that nothing seems to get done to stop the dumping. Mike Denault stated that several people were caught dumping last year and had to pay fines. If you see something, say something. The more problems are reported, the more will get done.

All Selectboard Meeting Minutes


Selectboard Minutes Without All That Reading Stuff

1. The auditors are not done with the audit and do not yet have final fund balance figures.
2. Bill Levine will allow candidates running for office to introduce themselves at town meeting but no speech will be allowed on the floor. It was noted that there is a contest for the 3 year Selectboard term (now held by Dave Tatro) between Chris Warren and Jim Stimpson and a contest for the 3 year School Director term (now held by Jessica Bugbee) between Helen Fields and Kelly Holland.
3. Dave Tatro asked about the Finance Committee report. Bill Levine stated that the Finance Committee supported the town budget. Bill Levine advised that they did have a concern with Article VI of the school warrant to raise $60,000 for a public preschool and they felt the change from the current private preschool to a public preschool was not transparent. As Moderator he feels the concern can be resolved by splitting the article in half to vote whether to change to a public preschool and if so, whether to raise the $60,000.00.

The Selectboard reviewed a quote received from Trinity Engineering for the design of a replacement septic system and well at the garage. Copies were made for the board and the matter will be discussed at the next meeting.

Last year the town was contacted by the state concerning their program to create tax maps for towns. The Selectboard and Listers talked at length and decided not to participate in the program. The maps are not surveys and cannot be relied on as such. The state has advised that they will not stand behind their maps and they will not hold up in court. The Selectboard and Listers had much concern that our residents would either gain or lose acreage and it would place an undue burden on our residents to prove their assessed acreage against the state’s tax map. The state only provides digital maps and paper copies would be an additional cost to the town along with the yearly updates.
The town clerk was contacted by the state advising that it is not optional as they original purported and that the state intends to map every municipality in Vermont, if not in Phase II then in Phase III. The Selectboard complained about the state control and chose to defer at this time. Helen Fields did not like the thought of all of our information being out there on the internet.

The rest of the stuff can be found here


A Little Commentary If You Don’t Mind

I can’t exactly say when I met Darrell and his wife Trish, I’m guessing it was either the PTG or coaching youth sports 20 or so years ago; or maybe it was a certain Santa that had a familiar way about him as he handed out candy canes to elementary school kids after the school’s holiday program.

Our kids grew up together and have moved on with their own families and careers. Darrell and Trish were avid supports of both the school and the library as well as all the associated activates, fund raisers, and programs – but most of all they were just good friends and neighbors to many of Stamford’s residents. Sadly, Trish was called home but her energy, her enthusiasm, and concern for nature and the environment will always be with us. It is my hope that the Stamford Community Garden will finally and officially be named in Trish’s honor.

I write these words because last night at the Fire Dept monthly business meeting, Darrell sat in the Secretary’s chair taking notes – illegible to anyone but himself; a chair that he has occupied for past 21 of his 25 years with the dept – It was also Darrell’s last night in that chair.

At the conclusion of our meeting Chief Ethier expressed his praise and gratitude to the man who has sat next to him for nearly every monthly meeting for all those years. Darrell was presented with a commemorative gift which, no matter how appreciative we are of Darrell, will always pale in comparison to what Darrell and his family have given to the community of Stamford.

Good luck, take care, and full speed ahead old friend!


Town News

Stamford Stomp and Slurp Snowshoe Day
Easy snowshoe for beginners and anyone else who would like to join!
Instruction provided
Bring a pair of snowshoes or borrow a pair
Meet at the town library
Saturday, February 3, 1-3 pm
Hot chocolate provided

BUDGET WORK SESSION – Selectboard Meeting Minutes
The Finance Committee had several concerns.  Carl Taylor compared the 2017 budget to the 2016 budget.  If all the anticipated warrants passed at town meeting, the budget would be $123,076 higher than last year’s budget.  Mr. Taylor does not want to be difficult but feels he was appointed to the Finance Committee to review the budget and many people in Stamford could not afford such an increase.  This figure does not even include the school numbers which he hasn’t seen in final form.  Nancy Bushika noted that the raise and appropriate, without warrant articles is only up 1% over last year and the warrant articles are not part of their budget, nor part of their control.  The town decides on the warrant articles.  The first concern was the fire department’s request for $20,000 to re-establish a fire truck replacement fund.  Nancy Bushika noted that the warrant article request was received after the January 18th’s deadline, but she was willing to honor it if the rest of the board approved.  Paul Ethier said they used to reserve funds.  The fire department paid $16,000/year for the fire truck payment so this is only $4,000 higher.  Since the fire department borrowed from the town, the truck payment amount has been around $9,000/year.  The Finance Committee also wanted to discuss Article 12: borrowing $100,000 to repave the school parking lot.  Dave Tatro said the blacktop is in extremely poor condition.  The crew has to be careful plowing because it just crumbles up.  The $100,000 estimate is the most practical and economical repair, and does not address the poor base or drainage issues, which would increase the repair cost well over $300,000.  The Selectboard explained the money would be borrowed over a five year term resulting in a yearly payment of around $24,000.  The Selectboard considered if there were areas in the budget to reduce the raise and appropriate amount in Article 5.  The money to build a dog kennel is new this year.  Luke McKay, the Dog Officer, contacted North Adams who is unable to take dogs across state lines without all their papers, so building a dog kennel in town is necessary.  Other increases are hiring an assessor, employee benefits and raises.  Carl Taylor noted that although one commission member came in asking for a higher stipend, the Selectboard increased the stipend for all commissions, even those that do not meet regularly.  Helen Fields spoke that she supports modest raises for the town employees who all do a great job.  Bill Levine acknowledged that the Selectboard has been very conservative in estimating the revenue this year and we may have a fair fund balance at the end of the year.  Dave Tatro and the Selectboard discussed Article 11.  It was ultimately decided to purchase the Freightliner if the article is approved.