Selectboard Meeting Minutes

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
1. There is a discrepancy between the town’s 1996 Ordinance regarding Street Naming and Street Addressing and the 9-1-1 State Board Standards for addressing. Nancy Bushika reviewed the state law which says the requirements will be set by the 9-1-1 State Board. Although the standards only require a 3” high number, our ordinance requires house numbers be 4” high. Bill Levine asked that the board keep the 4” high requirement. The standards require reflective address numbers, but our ordinance only requires numbers to be in a contrasting color from the building background. Mike Denault noted that we have another ordinance which the town is not enforcing. The ordinance does have provisions for penalties and fines for non-compliance.
MOTION by Chris Warren to add to Section IV of the ordinance that numbers be a reflective, contrasting color. SECONDED by Dan Potvin. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
The Selectboard will start the process of changing the ordinance officially.

TOWN CHRISTMAS TREE
Mike Denault would like to see a Christmas tree on the school front lawn. There used to be one years ago and several other towns have them. Electricity is available at the flag pole. Mike Denault knows someone who will donate an 8-10 foot tall tree and Dave Tatro will help put it up. Nancy Bushika suggested we talk to the principal, Micah Hayre, to see if the school children would like to have a tree lighting ceremony.

NEW HIGHWAY LABORER POSITION
Carl Taylor asked the board to be fiscally responsible in making the decision to hire a third full-time laborer. He charged the board to look at the whole picture. Dave Tatro said this position should reduce the overtime pay and eliminate the part-time position. Nancy Bushika said safety was a main concern when making this decision because our highway guys sometimes put in excessive hours during snowstorms. We don’t want them falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident. Dave Tatro said he gets calls at home from the state police and residents wanting their road plowed and the needs of the town are growing beyond what two people can manage. Dave Tatro said he really pushed for a third laborer and told the board he would not be here next year if they didn’t seriously consider it. Mike Denault told Carl Taylor he appreciated his input. Carl Taylor expressed that he was not trying to tell the board or Dave Tatro how to do their job, he just wanted to ask them to be fiscally aware.

All meeting minutes are located here

 

Latest Selectboard Minutes

RENAMING OF OLD COUNTY ROAD
Jon Bohl thought Newkom Road would be an appropriate name since Mr. Newkom lived there for so many years.  The public hearing to rename the easterly side of Old County Road was set for September 20, 2018 at 5:45 p.m.  Notices of the hearing will be posted and sent to the abutters.

TOWN WEBSITE
Chris Warren advised that the State of Vermont has certain requirements for a .gov address and wordpress does not support the state’s requirements.  He believes it is time to move forward and purchase our own domain name.  Jim Stimpson suggested stamfordvermont.org and said it was available.  Other names were discussed such as stamfordvermonttown.org which might give the website a distinction as the town’s site.  The Selectboard would like feedback from our residents with ideas for the town’s website address and a decision will be made at the next meeting.  Please contact a Selectboard member or the town clerk with your suggestions.

CELLULAR/INTERNET SURVEY
Chris Warren received a survey request from the Southern Vermont Economy Project about internet and cellular connectivity.  He is happy to respond to the survey.  They are asking what the state of connectivity is in town, what interests our town has, what future steps we would like to take, etc.  They are gathering information and there is no commitment.

TOBACCO COMPLIANCE TEST
The Selectboard received notice from the State of Vermont that Bilmont’s Country Store has failed a recent tobacco test.

This and more can be found here.

 

Selections from the Selectboard Minutes

SPEEDING ON TOWN ROADS
Mary Lou Wright said several townspeople have voiced concerns on social media of speeding on town roads such as Maltese Road, Basin Road, Robillard Road, East Road and The Lane. Nancy Lesage asked about a Watch for Children sign. Dave Tatro said the Vermont Agency of Transportation discourages those signs, saying they provide a false sense of security. More speed limit signs and perhaps speed bumps were also suggested. The cost of a town constable was also discussed. Jim Stimpson and Bill Levine recommended that people call the state police more frequently with complaints. Mike Denault will contact the Bennington County Sheriff’s office to request more patrol on the side roads as well as to request the speed cart.

PLANNING COMMISSION
The state is offering a municipal planning grant. The grant is between $2,000.00 and $22,000.00 and has a 10% town match. Lori Shepard asked if the Selectboard would like her to pursue the grant to help the Planning Commission’s costs to update the By-laws. The Selectboard was agreeable if the Planning Commission agrees. The next Planning Commission meeting will be September 10, 2018.
2. Dan Potvin felt there was a lot of misinformation given at the last Planning Commission meeting and that people were quoting laws and regulations that do not exist. Roberts Rules and how to run meetings was discussed. Chris Warren said clear guidelines of expectations should be established so people on town boards know what behavior is expected of them. Dan Potvin hopes for a good turnout at the next meeting and feels the more people that participate in the by-law revision, the better.

WEBSITE
Chris Warren and Lori Shepard have been working on the website. Chris Warren called the state about a .gov address but has not heard back. The website should be ready soon.

The full minutes can be found here.

 

More Meeting Minutes

LETTER FROM ATTORNEY/ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
The Zoning Board of Adjustment proposed several questions to the attorney. Nancy Bushika added the question of whether the Selectboard could adopt interim By-laws until the Planning Commission had time to update them completely. The attorney’s letter said anyone, including the Selectboard, has 15 days to appeal the Administrative Officer’s decision to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Jim Stimpson complained about the lack of communication in this town. He feels the people serving on boards, especially those in charge, are doing things that are wrong and against the law. He asked why he was denied a copy of the attorney’s letter. Nancy Bushika felt that correspondence should not be distributed before the Selectboard had a chance to review and discuss it. Jim Stimpson argued that this violated the law and that she did not have the right to authorize a call to the attorney. The board previously decided only Lori Shepard as Administrative Assistant would call the attorney with Selectboard approval. Dan Potvin acknowledged that a lot of mistakes were made by all of us, but feels it is best to move forward. Mike Denault agreed that the board needs to be more careful and email should only be used to distribute information. If a topic cannot wait two weeks for a regular meeting, the board will call a special meeting. Jim Stimpson said he has absolutely no confidence in the town processes currently in place. Dan Potvin suggested Jim Sullivan from the BCRC could be a resource when the A.O. has questions about the By- laws and Dave Saldo offered the Planning Commission as a resource. The Selectboard does not want the ice cream truck owners to be the victims of this issue and does not want to do anything that will negatively impact their business during the short summer season. Jim Stimpson wants the board’s full support moving forward. Jim Stimpson would like more people appointed to these boards. The board will check state statute to confirm that the Planning Commission can have up to seven members, but it is hard to find people willing to serve. Bill Levine felt that if members of the town boards and commissions are not acting responsibility and participating, then the Selectboard can replace them. The board decided they will not override the Administrative Officer’s decision that a permit was not needed for the ice cream truck business.
MOTION by Mike Denault to stand by the Administrative Officer’s decision in his interpretation of the By-laws. SECONDED by Dan Potvin. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.

2018 TAX RATE
1. Due to the paving project and other costs, the town is low on funds and will need to send out tax bills in July to bring in money. Having to bill so early will cause a large amount of extra work because the state has not finished processing over 14,000 homestead declarations and state payments. Last year the treasurer was able to wait until September to send out bills which gave the state more time to process returns and meant less revised bills were necessary. Nancy Bushika asked if other town funds could be used to borrow from ourselves. MOTION by Chris Warren to use $100,000.00 from the reappraisal fund CD which is up for renewal to cover town expenses until September when it will be reinvested with interest at the CD’s current rate. SECONDED by Mike Denault. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
2. Lori Shepard provided a spreadsheet explaining the calculation of the 2018 tax rate. The state’s homestead residential rate is $1.3031 (last year’s rate was $1.1724). The state set the non-residential rate at $1.4873 (last year’s rate was $1.4059).
MOTION by Dan Potvin to set the 2018 tax rate as follows: to accept the state education residential rate of $1.3031 and the non-residential rate of $1.4873 as calculated by the State of Vermont. The Selectboard set the municipal tax rate at $0.2970 and the highway rate at $0.4060. The total residential tax rate will be $2.0061 and the total non-residential tax rate will be $2.1903. SECONDED by Carol Fachini. All in favor. Motion APPROVED. The 2018 tax bills will be mailed in September. Chris Warren would like to discuss moving to a cash-positive position.
3. The Selectboard reviewed the 2018 tax bill insert and made some minor changes.

Full Minutes Here


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Not Everyone Screams For Ice Cream – Selectboard Version

ICE CREAM TRUCK PARKING
1. Nancy Bushika summarized the discussion from the last Selectboard meeting. At a recent Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting the ice cream truck came up and the ZBA decided to contact the town attorney for clarification. Pam Tworig was dismayed that so much discussion has been going on concerning her business. About 23 years ago they stopped having open business hours but she has been selling landscaping materials and products all along. Pam Tworig and Kristin Malachuck submitted a permit application for the ice cream business. Kristin Malachuck contacted the state and no permit is necessary to sell ice cream but she has applied to the state for a permit to sell hotdogs. Sheila Lawrence spoke to James Stimpson, the Administrative Officer, advising that he needed to shut them down because they were in violation due to the traffic hazard created by patrons parking on the road. Jean Kurpiel stated that Sheila Lawrence was speaking as a private citizen, not as part of the ZBA. The Administrative Officer said he would go down and speak to the ice cream truck owners concerning the parking along the Main Road. Dan Potvin agreed that there are a lot of rumors going around. Dan Potvin noted that the vast majority of residents support the ice cream truck business. Jean Kurpiel acknowledged that there is a valid concern for safety with the parking on the road. Pam Tworig supports parking on her property and Kristin Malachuck has already ordered signs to direct parking in the parking area. Nancy Bushika felt this matter should have gone before the Zoning Board. Jim Stimpson was frustrated that nobody contacted him directly. Jim Stimpson said he felt the root of the problem was that he allowed the business without a new permit because they already had a permit and he would do it again. Jean Kurpiel felt the parking was the main issue her board had and the new signs should resolve the safety issue. She did not expect to receive such an aggressive response from the attorney. Helen Fields was pleased with how easily the parties reached an agreement.
MOTION by Chris Warren to acknowledge that the Selectboard addressed, discussed and resolved the matter. SECONDED by Dan Potvin. All in favor. Motion APPROVED.
2. James Stimpson said if someone really feels there is an unsafe condition from cars parking on the road, then the sheriff or state police should be called. Dave Tatro asked who the Administrative Officer answers to. Since the Selectboard appointed him, it would be the Selectboard. If there was a real emergency, Bill Levine as head of Emergency Management could be contacted.
3. At the attorney’s recommendation to handle the unsafe parking issue immediately, the Selectboard amended their regular notice to include an emergency topic and gave emergency notice. Many were unhappy with the term and asked if the term urgent could be used in the future.

The rest of the minutes can be found here.