no recording available
DATE: May 19, 2020
PRESENT: Ann Kuendig, Mona Colton, Joyce Stevens
PUBLIC PRESENT: Caleb Hawley, Dave Colton, A.J. Ruben
AGENDA MODIFICATIONS: NB5: Education Tax Payment
MINUTES APPROVAL: Regular Meeting May 5, 2020
1.Wood – email
2.VT Dept. of Public Service – public wi-fi spots
3.Resignation – Emergency Management Co-Director: Charles Piso
1.236 Lower Michigan Road – Demo Bid Award
2.Salmeri property flooding – update
3.April 2019 Disaster FEMA reimbursement – update
4.COVID-19 Update – Exposure Workplace Plan; Thermometers
5.Sand Shed Project – update
6.Playground – updates
1.PVR&R Extrication Equipment Purchase
2.Quin-Town Response Group
3.Memorial Day Observance
4.Treasurer’s Report – April Financials
5.Education Tax Payment
Next Meeting Date: June 2, 2020
Ann called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. She reminded those participating that because the meeting is being held electronically, that certain requests are made of any speaker. There was one Agenda Modification. The Minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 7, 2020 were approved. Since Caleb and Dave were here to discuss New Business #1 extrication equipment, Ann made a motion to take them out of order. Seconded by Joyce. All were in favor.
1. Wood – email. Peter Wood had written a letter to the Town expressing his concern regarding the expansion of the turnaround on Forsha Road, which is located on his property. He also indicated that illegal dumping was being done at that location as well. Ann had written a response to Peter indicating that George was adding more dirt to the turnaround, but that no expansion was planned. She asked Peter to keep the Board apprised of any continued dumping so it can be addressed in the future. Ann moved to approve the response letter and have the Secretary send this to Peter. Seconded by Joyce. All were in favor.
2. VT Dept. of Public Service – public wi-fi spots. The Board received a proposal from the VT Dept of Public Service offering to set up a public wi-fi hotspot in Town to assist online remote learning and working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. The offer provides free installation of the necessary equipment. The Town would have to pay for the broadband service and equipment to install a connection to the hotspot. An explanation of how a hotspot would assist Pittsfield would have to be written. After some discussion, the Board declined to pursue this.
3. Resignation – Emergency Management Co-Director: Charles Piso. Ann moved to accept Charles’ letter or resignation. Seconded by Mona. All were in favor.
1. 236 Lower Michigan Road – Demo Bid Award. Bids were received from Harvey’s, Mosher’s, and XCav8, all of whom attended the pre-bid meeting on May 1st. Ann provided a spreadsheet comparing each of the bids and various costs. Ann moved that the Board accept the bid from Harvey’s to clear the site at 236 Lower Michigan Road under the terms of the demolition proposal. Seconded by Joyce. All were in favor. The Secretary was asked to notify Harvey’s by email as soon as possible since this sets the clock ticking on the 45 days they have to complete the project. She was also asked to have Cheryl Harvey let Ann know what they plan to start, so that the driveway and building’s locks can be removed for access.
2. Salmeri property flooding – update. Joyce and Josh Carvahal, from the State, met with Sal and Greg Martin last Wednesday to inspect their properties and offer options to address the bank erosion and flooding issues. Joyce said that they discussed and agreed that armoring the riverbanks and adding rip rap would not do much in stopping the erosion. Scalping however might be the best option for Greg, Sal, and adjacent property owners to take. The State would allow property owners to take up to 50 yards of gravel, stone, and wood from the river above the water tide. The best time to do this would be between July and September when the river is at its lowest. Property owners would also be allowed to cut into the riverbanks to graduate the slope. These would require State permits. Josh will send an email detailing all the options property owners can take in preventing erosion and flooding. Joyce will keep the Board informed and the issue will be put on the next meeting’s agenda. Ann suggested that the Board provide this information to Paul Grindel as well as other property owners experience land erosion issues.
3. April 2019 Disaster FEMA reimbursement – update. The Board received an update on efforts to collect FEMA reimbursements for the numerous road repairs the Town had to make following this event. Five of the eight projects have completed FEMA review and the funding has been obligated. This totals around $53,341. The three remaining projects in the queues are progressing. All but one has been completed. George will prepare a bid for the Board so that the box culvert project on Upper Michigan Road can be started and completed by the December 14thdeadline. Tricia has indicated that there is nothing the Town needs to do about the State portion of reimbursements. She did say that she is awaiting State response on a subgrant agreement so we can find out what that is for.
Ann said that she has talked with John Brooker Campbell, our regional director for ERAF regarding Pittsfield’s status on the River Corridor protections and enforcement that will increase the State’s reimbursement percentage to 17.5%. So far there is no clear answer. It was felt that Pittsfield had approved the River Corridor Protections, but the mechanism to enforce the protections may not have been created. Ann said that the Planning Commission (per their April Minutes) has started to develop the permitting process to enforce the protections. The question remains as to whether a permit process needs to be in place and posted to qualify for the additional 5% reimbursement rate on the FEMA projects.
Joyce said that she spoke with Mascoma Bank to better understand the terms of the $1,000,000 loan the Town took out last year to pay for the repairs. Interest on the first loan due now ($3,961). The terms of the loan have been rewritten as FEMA reimbursements have not come in yet. Joyce said the Town will save money on interest if FEMA money goes straight to pay off the loan when it comes in as there is no prepayment penalty. Ann said she will keep the Board informed and keep the item on the agenda for the next meeting.
4. COVID-19 Update – Exposure Workplace Plan; Thermometers. The Governor has extended the Stay-at-Home order until June 15th. Companies, non-profits, and government entities have been asked to come up with exposure control work plans. Work sites with less than 10 people are exempt from filing a written plan but the Town needs to agree to follow mandatory hazard control measures including designating health officers to ensure those measures are followed. VLCT and the Town’s insurer PACIF are advising Towns to use their template which Ann drafted. The Board reviewed the Health Officer designees and Joyce suggested adding the Assistant Clerk/Treasurer to cover on the days the Town Clerk/Treasurer might be out of the office.
The Board discussed the Town Clerk’s plan to begin setting up appointments for real estate agents, attorneys, banks, and mortgage companies to come in to do research starting on May 26th. Ann and Joyce suggested the Clerk have a soft roll-out of that plan so the Town is not getting ahead of the Governor’s Executive Orders. According to the latest May 15thupdate from the Commerce Agency for Low or No Contact Professional Services, services operating with a single worker may operate if they can comply with the mandatory health and safety requirements listed above, with no more than 2 persons present at one time.
Thermometers. Measures would include taking temperatures of all workers at the start of their shifts. Discussion as to whether to proceed with the purchase of a thermometer for the Town Office. Ann moved to authorize Tricia to use the credit card to purchase a non-contact thermometer that can be used by the Town Clerk, Listers, and Library. Joyce seconded the motion. All were in favor.
5. Sand Shed Project – update. Ann said that she and Herb had a virtual meeting with the DuBois engineers and designers, including the Town’s project manager Pete Fellows from TRORC. They reviewed ways to cut down on constructions costs specifically reducing the amount of concrete to be used in the project. DuBois agreed to re-engineer the buttresses and footings and send a draft to everyone this week. VTrans will use the draft to begin the next phase of the project, the State Environmental Review. Scott Gurley of VTrans estimated that it could take up to six months but is hopeful he can get it done sooner. Ann will keep the Board updated on the progress and will add this to the next meeting’s agenda.
6. Playground – upgrades. Ann sent a copy of the inspection report done by the Town’s insurers in July 2017. The high priority items that need correcting include adding more sand to fill in the thinned-out areas, gaps in the slide and the sides, and missing or loose bolts on the swing sets. The previous Board also thought it necessary to install a fence and sign parallel to the walkway into the Town Offices as a safety measure. Joyce was asked to do an inventory of the fence sections and play equipment. Joyce said the fencing was in the basement, but not any of the swings or hardware. Joyce will check with Tricia to see if Charlie still has the swings and hardware to hang them. Ann asked about putting together a work plan. It was felt that most of the work could be done with a work party of volunteers to dig the fence post holes, review the nuts and bolts on all the play structures, price sand that George could deliver and spread it. Mona said that Dave can pick up the sand once it is determined how much is needed and the sand puts reopen. The Board agreed that the fence cannot be installed until after the sand is delivered and social distancing would restrict workers from being close together. Setting up work schedules will be addressed at the next meeting.
1. PVR&R Extrication Equipment Purchase. As background it was explained that two years ago the Select Board approved the Fire Department’s Capital Budget item to purchase extrication equipment with appropriations approved at Town Meeting. In 2019, at Town Meeting it set aside $15,000 in a reserve fund towards the Fire Departments Equipment Fund. Last year, the Board decided not to submit another appropriations article for equipment. Despite that, the Fire Department has figured out a way to go ahead with the purchase and Caleb was here to explain how they arrived at a dealer and price. Caleb said that three manufacturers of extrication equipment (Holmatro, Hurst, and Akron) were consulted. After demos and discussion, the department decided on Holmatro. They found the equipment easier to use and the best fit for the department. It was also the least expensive and included a 5-year warranty on batteries and training. It was decided to purchase a cutter and splitter, plus charger and adapter. The equipment was in stock and delivery could be within a few weeks. Ann moved that the Select Board accept the Fire Department’s proposal to purchase the Holmatro brand of extrication equipment for the quoted price of $20,879, and further that $15,000 of that purchase price come from the Reserve Fund dedicated to extrication equipment. Seconded by Joyce. All were in favor.
2. Quin-Town Response Group. Mona received an invitation for Pittsfield to join a group of Select Board members, Emergency Response directors, School Administrators, and Relief and Food Agency representatives from area towns that have been coordinating relief efforts caused by the pandemic. Ann said she attended Monday’s meeting to see what the group was doing. Most of their focus has been on setting up grocery delivery services and improving food access for those that have lost their jobs. Some of the possible projects include a veggie van that would service Rochester and Stockbridge twice a month beginning in July, organizing a food drop in Rochester similar to programs in Rutland, Middlebury, Barre, and in other parts of the State, holding a graduation for Rochester Middle School students, seeing how towns are handling property tax collections, and providing free transportation to pop-up testing sites. Joyce suggested that this might be a group the librarian and/or Library Trustees might be interested in. Ann said she would speak with Erica Hurd, but in the meantime will continue to attend the Monday morning virtual meetings so at the very least Pittsfield is in the loop about the relief efforts the group is working on and can then relay information to Pittsfield residents who may be in need of food and other basics.
3. Memorial Day Observance. This year’s observances have been cancelled. Ann asked if there was any interest in holding an observance for veterans later in the year. Mona suggested doing something on the Green during the Bazaar if it is being held. The Board agreed this was a worthy idea and would discuss it with the bazaar organizers.
4. Treasurer’s Report – April Financials. Ann asked if anyone had any questions. Joyce had a question regarding the NEMRC expenditure. Ann explained that this was primarily a Lister expense for their data servicer and that the fee was increased substantially this year. Part of the fee is covered by the General Fund. Ann had a question about an expenditure in the Town Hall Maintenance Fund. Tricia will be consulted about a breakdown.
5. Education Tax Payment. Joyce had a question about this payment that was presented with the weekly orders. She also said she was trying to get a handle on the total FY2020 non-residential education property tax liability. Ann suggested that Joyce speak with Tricia as soon as possible so that Pittsfield makes the payment before June 1stwhen interest begins to accrue on late payments.
Next Meeting Date: June 2, 2020
Adjournment: There being no further business, Ann moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:42pm. Seconded by Joyce. All were in favor.
Martha L. Beyersdorf
Select Board Secretary
Approved: June 2, 2020
Ann Kuendig Joyce Stevens Mona Colton