PRESENT: Selectboard: Christopher Dargie, Chair, David Bugbee, Nancy L. Bushika and Sheila G. Lawrence Thomas Houghtaling was not present. David R. Tatro, Road Commissioner. Lori A. Shepard, Administrative Assistant.
Visitors: Sally Bohl, Nancy Dargie, Cynthia DiBartolo, Lars Garrison, Stanley Lawrence, Jr., Bill Levine, CJ Vadnais and Rachel Vadnais.
Chris Dargie called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
HEARING OF VISITORS
1. Sheila Lawrence recused herself and moved to sit in the audience. Cynthia DiBartolo expressed her frustration with the ditching done along her property and a board member’s initial response. She said it was no reflection on the Road Commissioner’s capabilities and felt he does a wonderful job. But she wishes she had been informed of the work because a cement property marker has disappeared. She would like the cement marker restored. Stan Lawrence, Jr. recalled the marker being there when he mowed two weeks prior to the ditching. Chris Dargie stated the board would investigate the matter and asked if Ms. DiBartolo had any pictures of the property which would show where the marker was. Dave Bugbee apologized and stated his frustration came from other issues beyond her complaint.
2. Lars Garrison and others are interested in the 53 County Road property which went up for tax sale on April 23, 2014. There was no bidder so the town bid on the property for $4,758.40. Mr. Garrison said it was an old woodshed, without sewer and water and the place is not habitable. He asked the board to have Maura Hawkins inspect the house to declare it uninhabitable. He also asked that the value be taken off the tax rolls so that future high tax bills are not generated until this is resolved and properly valued. Mr. Garrison also stated it is a non-conforming lot and he could not imagine Ron Plock granting a permit to build or rebuild on the property. Dave Bugbee felt if there was an operating septic system, the lot could be considered grandfathered in, but if there is no septic, it could be viewed as a non-conforming lot. Sally Bohl disagreed and stated if a septic system fails, the state will grant a variance and build the best system possible to accommodate the house and property. The board will consider his suggestion.
3. CJ Vadnais confirmed that the Selectboard received his complaint. A vicious dog hearing was scheduled for Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Nancy Bushika requested a revision to the August 7, 2014 minutes under Policy Review: Nancy Bushika passed out the “draft of the new” Dog Ordinance, not the current Dog Ordinance.
MOTION by Chris Dargie to accept the regular meeting minutes of August 21, 2014 as amended. SECONDED by Nancy Bushika. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
The Selectboard reviewed and approved the following orders:
WARRANT #34 $ 5,780.71 payroll
WARRANT #35 $34,560.42 accounts payable
The salt shed trusses are up and the inside tongue and groove walls are almost completed. Tom Houghtaling has been up weekly to take pictures of the progress. Chris Dargie would like to have a picture taken of everyone when the building is completed and create a picture book for historical record. They discussed holding an Open House for the public as well. Nancy Bushika asked about the final inspection. The building will have to be inspected by the Fire Marshall when completed and if the actual cost of construction is higher than estimated, an additional fee will be due.
1. The highway crew has been working on culverts, ditches and has been crack sealing East Road and Jepson Road.
2. The rock hammering on Jepson Road is scheduled for next week. Dave Tatro plans to be done when school starts.
DELINQUENT DOG LIST
Missy Lawrence still has not licensed her dogs. The dog officer has been in contact as well as the Bennington Sheriff. The letter requested by the Selectboard at the last meeting was also sent by certified mail.
A letter responding to the previous complaint about a dog barking on Lincoln Road was reviewed. Chris Dargie received a phone call concerning an incident which occurred this afternoon. The board deferred action until additional information is received.
SNOW AND ICE POLICY
MOTION by Chris Dargie to readopt the Snow and Ice Policy as written. SECONDED by Dave Bugbee. All in favor. Motion APPROVED. The board signed the policy.
The board reviewed a spreadsheet of contractors and insurance coverages. It was decided to create a policy requiring all contractors who work for the town to carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in General Liability, a minimum of $1,000,000 in Commercial Automobile coverage and a minimum of $100,000 in workers’ compensation. If the contractor does not have employees and therefore has no workers’ compensation policy, a signed Non-Employee Work Agreement and Liability Hold-Harmless agreement will be required.
MOTION by Chris Dargie to approve the Ancient Roads acceptance letter and to include it in Ancient Roads book. SECONDED by Dave Bugbee. All in favor. Motion APPROVED. Bill Levine suggested a copy of the Ancient Roads study be given to the Stamford Community Library.
The board reviewed the draft ordinance and had some questions that will need to be answered. Lori Shepard and Nancy Bushika will do some research before the next meeting.
Bill Levine and Pete Chesbro looked at the generator out front and discovered that the battery was dead. Bill Levine will purchase a new battery. It was determined that there is no need to change the exhaust pipe because the doors and top will have to remain open for air circulation when the generator is running.
The Selectboard signed a letter authorizing Lori Shepard to collect the taxes.
TAX BILL INSERT
Changes were made and a final draft will be reviewed at the August 28, 2014 meeting.
The board agreed to defer approval of the bill and will ask Mark Anders from the Bennington County Regional Commission to come to the next meeting to report on the status of the project.
Letters were sent by the Vermont Agency of Transportation to all adjacent property owners and meetings have been scheduled at the site to allow property owners the chance to discuss the project and its effect on their property. Nancy Bushika would like to attend.
ANNUAL FINANCIAL PLAN – TOWN HIGHWAYS
Agency of Transportation officials met with town officials on August 20, 2014 and reviewed the highway budget for maintenance of town roads. MOTION by Chris Dargie to accept and sign the annual financial plan. SECONDED by Nancy Bushika. All in favor. Motion APPROVED. The board signed the annual financial plan.
MILL ROAD INTERSECTION
The town office has received several complaints, a written letter and a complaint from the Bennington Sheriff stating that visibility pulling out onto Main Road from Mill Road is greatly reduced and unsafe due to the overgrown hedges on the corner. The Road Commissioner requested that the bushes be trimmed after the first complaint. Since this falls within the state’s right-of-way, the matter was discussed at yesterday’s meeting with the Agency of Transportation. The AOT officials took down the owner’s name and address and will look into the matter. The bushes at the end of Jepson Road were also discussed and the board asked Lori Shepard to contact David Whitcomb.
The town health officer term is expiring and the Department of Health has asked for the Selectboard’s recommendation. Maura Hawkins will be contacted.
ENFORCEMENT OF ZONING BY-LAWS
Nancy Bushika would like to meet with Ron Plock to review the past findings of the Zoning Board due to a complaint received from the neighbor of a local store requesting assistance from the Selectboard in enforcing Zoning Bylaws which he feels are being ignored. After the meeting she would like to respond to the neighbor.
ROUTE 100 BYWAY SIGNS
Since the Route 100 Byway Signs are not MUTCD compliant, they cannot be used along the road. The Selectboard considered hanging the signs back to back from the wooden sign in front of the building. The school principal will be consulted.
Dave Bugbee expressed his frustration with a Selectboard member and feels there has been unnecessary conflict and difficulties. He would like to ask Sheila Lawrence to consider resigning from the board. Sheila Lawrence was not able to respond to his comments because she had already left. Chris Dargie had prepared an official censure which he intended to read at the meeting documenting her activity and drawing support from VLCT excerpts. He declined reading the censure until Sheila Lawrence is present. Dave Bugbee commended Dave Tatro for an excellent job and feels the condition of our roads has greatly improved since he started.
MOTION to adjourn by Chris Dargie. SECONDED by Dave Bugbee. All in favor. Motion APPROVED. The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
DB/las Clerk pro tem
1. There will be two vacant Justice of the Peace positions in the November general election. Anyone interested in serving as a Justice of the Peace may run as a write-in candidate.
2. The statewide Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at the Stamford School Hall. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Office for early voting through Monday, August 25, 2014 at 5 p.m.
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