THE STAMFORD TOWN OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED
ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019
AND FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2019
THE STAMFORD TOWN OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED
ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019
AND FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2019
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The town office will be closed for the week between Christmas and New Years.
TOWN CHRISTMAS TREE
The Selectboard thanked Robert and Debra Burchard for donating the Christmas tree, Luke McKay for providing the horse drawn wagon carrying Santa, Mary Lou McKay for organizing the event, the Denault family for buying the Christmas lights, the Shepard family for donating the candy canes, Sally Bohl for helping to decorate the tree and the fire department for directing traffic and keeping the area safe. Everything came together and it was great time. There were close to 100 people and it was nice to see such community spirit.
The Veterans Dinner was a complete success. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable and the board looks forward to next year.
Susan Senning from the Vermont League of Cities & Towns provided an opinion as to the Selectboard’s liability for posting various events and information on the town website. She said the Selectboard has to post all or nothing when it comes to the website; they cannot pick and choose what events or what type of information they want to post. Either nothing but town business/information goes on the website, or the board must accommodate all requests, regardless of content. The board decided to only post municipal business on the website since CJ Vadnais’ website is already a place for community information. Susan Senning also suggested the board amend the website policy to reflect this. Chris Warren will prepare an amended website policy for the board’s review.
**Editor’s Note: Readership and postings have dropped dramatically with most groups creating their own web sites now – I’m not sure StamfordVT.org will be around much longer. However, I believe if one were to make a public announcement at a Selectboard meeting. This should make it into the meeting minutes (precedent has already been set for a public announcement for an event that wasn’t in Stamford, nor was it run by a resident of Stamford) which would appear on the town website and be distributed to a greater population than this site reaches.
1. Bill Levine received an email from Tyler Hermanson, the GIS Specialist on the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board. He stated that when the Selectboard changed the name of the easterly side of Old County Road to Brown Brook Road, it made the 9-1-1 numbers on the remaining portion of County Road out of proper sequence. He recommends that the buildings/residences on Old County Road be renumbered. Laura Champagne voiced her frustration over the difficulty and expense of changing addresses. The Selectboard tried very hard to avoid this problem. Bill Levine recommended that the Selectboard take no action at this time and leave the numbers as is.
At some point the 9-1-1 Board could demand that the town renumber Old County Road. Mike Denault said the board would deal with this if it happens, and discussed changing the name of Brown Brook Road back to Old County Road which would solve the renumbering problem.
2. Bill Levine will begin sending out letters to all residents who are not in compliance with state laws for 911 emergency house numbering. The first batch will have a deadline of March 2019.
1. No school directors attended to discuss the school merger and other issues. The topic will be moved to the next meeting’s agenda and hopefully someone will come to the next meeting.
2. Nancy Bushika recalled discussion about an email from Rep. Laura Sibilia concerning the state’s determination to continue to recognize our school as an isolated district.
ORDINANCE REGARDING STREET NAME AND STREET ADDRESSING
MOTION by Nancy Bushika to accept and sign the Ordinance Regarding Street Naming and Street Addressing as written. SECONDED by Chris Warren. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
The ordinance was signed and will become effective on January 15, 2019 if no petition is received objecting to the ordinance prior to that date. Lori Shepard was asked to publish the required notice in the Berkshire Eagle.
Financial reports for the first three quarters were discussed. Nancy Bushika sat with the treasurer prior to the meeting to review some of the figures. Mike Denault would like to take a more active role in reviewing the reports. The treasurer encouraged the board to come in to review reports and ask questions.
Lori Shepard received a request to post something on the town website and looked for direction from the board. Chris Warren felt it was fine to post anything discussed during a Selectboard meeting on the website. Any other requests should be approved by the Selectboard first.
MOTION by Mike Denault to give Lori Shepard the authority, if someone requests to have information posted on the website which is a public informational flyer from the state or a state agency, she is authorized to do it. SECONDED by Chris Warren. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
HIGHWAY GARAGE WATER AND SEPTIC PLANS
Trinity Engineering submitted engineerning designs for the planned well and septic system at the highway garage. Dave Tatro has requested a quote from R.I. Baker for the parts. The costs will be minimized since the highway crew will do the digging and installation work. Nancy Bushika asked Dave Tatro to obtain a quote from a well drilling company. The next step will be to forward the application to the state for approval.
Jim Stimpson stated that the Planning Commission is working with Jim Sullivan from the Bennington County Regional Commission to adopt energy initiatives into our town plan. He believes the school board has set aside funds to replace the boilers at the school and would like to see the school move toward a renewable energy source like pellets or wood chips. Jim Stimpson feels he doesn’t know much about the school. Chris Warren asked if the School Directors could be invited to a Selectboard meeting to discuss the merger and other issues they are facing. The board agreed to invite the School Directors and felt an All Boards meeting could be scheduled in January.
This and more, here
The Selectboard is looking for volunteers to serve on this year’s Finance Committee. Last year’s members will be contacted.
EMERALD ASH BORER
The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program has scheduled a presentation in Arlington, Vermont to discuss the emerald ash borer. This insect has been found in Stamford by the Agency of Natural Resources.
1. The highway crew has been working on the Mill Road ditching project. We are making money back on our equipment and time by using our own excavator instead of hiring out the work. Projects that took a week before can be finished in a day with the excavator.
2. Dave Tatro received the permit to repair the Creamery Brook culvert on Clough Road.
3. Dave Tatro plans to work on some culverts on Klondike Road.
4. Dan Potvin heard there was a logger working on East Road and suggested Dave Tatro check on the road.
5. Allen Desautels has accepted the full-time highway laborer position and will start on October 29, 2018.
6. Larry Arnold has been using the leaf blower to clean out the ditches. He is all done mowing.
7. Dave Tatro has heard a lot of rumors and misinformation in town. He said times have changed and people expect a level of service that demands a third highway person. He wishes people would attend Selectboard meetings and get the information first-hand. The town will save a lot of money with our own excavator instead of hiring contractors. Being able to repair equipment in house instead of paying a garage for repairs saves lots of money and the third laborer will make the highway department more efficient. The Selectboard and Dave Tatro will plan a presentation for town meeting.
COMMUNITY BUILDING GROUP
Pat Sullivan and Victoria Jefferies met with an architect at Norwich University. They presented the Selectboard with a written outline. The architectural department has agreed to use our project as part of their curriculum. They will develop project ideas, prepare sketches and cost estimates for town meeting. There is no cost to the town for their services which is a tremendous savings. The group will pursue grants and the amount of grant funding obtained may ultimately decide the scope of the project and whether the project will be completed in phases. The board gave its full support. Chris Warren suggested they speak to the School Board about the interstate merger with Clarksburg since ownership of the school building and land will need to be turned over to the school district according to the draft merger documents.