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.

 

A Sampling of the Latest Selectboard Minutes

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

James Stimpson advised that the Planning Commission feels he will be enforcing the town ordinances and policies in the future.  Mr. Stimpson felt he should have a conversation with the Selectboard as to how this will happen.  The Selectboard stated that our ordinances are designated as civil and certain individuals are already in place to issue tickets and appear in court if needed.  The Judicial Bureau appointments will be reviewed at the next meeting.

ROAD CONDITIONS

  1. The weather has brought a roller coaster of conditions. The town sustained around $7,000-$8,000 in damages from Friday’s storm.  There was a small washout on Mill Road.  A large culvert on Lincoln Road was undermined by water and traffic was diverted through Dave Tatro’s yard while the road was being repaired.  Both Sportsman Road and Sumner Road had minor shoulder damage.  Dave Tatro had to call Jon Bohl and Tietgens Excavating for excavator work during the storm.  There are a few more repairs to be completed and the total cost will be around $10,000.  Bill Levine asked that Allison Strohl at the Bennington County Regional Commission be contacted with that estimate.  If the county sustained enough damage as a whole, FEMA money may be available.  Dave Tatro noted that a representative from the Agency of Natural Resources was in town on Saturday and issued a permit for the bank work needed on Mill Road.
  2. There is an ongoing water issue on The Lane. Dave Tatro stated that the culvert on Poplar Drive is squashed and water from the Beaupre residence is running from the ditch line into the road and freezing, making dangerous icy conditions.  Dave Tatro wonders if there is a drain in the Beaupre’s basement because he recalls having this problem before and after he spoke with the former owner, the water problem ceased.  Ruth West spoke about the icy conditions, problems with the snow plowing contractor, and a water pipe easement.  She requested the Selectboard’s help as fence viewers concerning a water easement and ditch line.  She thinks the pipe is leaking which is where the water problem is coming from.  The Selectboard did not want to get involved.  They felt it was a private matter and not a town issue.  The Selectboard agreed to send letters to the Poplar Drive residents and Mr. and Mrs. Beaupre concerning the water running and freezing on the Lane which could cause an accident.
  3. It is time to replace the Ford.  Dave Tatro has the specifications for two different trucks:  a Freightliner for about $140,000.00 and a Dodge Ram for about $100,500.  The Freightliner is a bigger, stronger truck that should last for 10 years.  The Dodge is the same size as the white Ford and will last 5-7 years.  It was noted that for 40% more in price, the town would get double the use from the Freightliner.  Dave Tatro described the advantages and disadvantages of each.  The truck could be funded by using the Equipment Replacement Fund and borrowing from the town’s Land Sales fund like the Fire Department did five years ago.

The Selectboard’s Latest

PLANNING COMMISSION
Sheila Lawrence provided the proposed Planning Commission budget to the Selectboard. She requested that the Planning Commission stipend be increased from $10.00/year to $25.00/year since they have had many meetings revising the town plan and now the zoning by-laws. Nancy Bushika agreed that working on these plans back to back was very time consuming, but asked if they would return to the $10.00 stipend once the by-laws were finished. Sheila Lawrence did not feel the $25.00 would break the town. Nancy Bushika thought if the Planning Commission stipend was increased, then all the board stipends should be also. Some boards have not met even once in the past year and the board discussed whether they should receive $25.00 also. There are approximately 50 people who are eligible for the stipend and many waive it. The Selectboard agreed to increase all $10.00 stipends to $25.00 beginning in 2018.

DELINQUENT DOG UPDATE
Amanda Kurpiel attempted to license her dog and paid the fees but did not have a valid rabies certificate. Luke McKay, the Dog Officer, will work with her to obtain the rabies vaccination. The Selectboard would like this wrapped up in the next month.

ACT 250 PERMIT
The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a notice that Nelson Dunn, Jr. has applied for an amendment to his Act 250 permit for property at 4957 Main Road.

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