To listen to a recording of the meeting click https://fccdl.in/Ma8IVORXsn
Minutes Approval: Regular Meetings-July 14, 2020; August 13, 2020
Public Present: Janice Stumpf (by Phone)
- VT State Police Letter
- VT Dept of Housing & Commerce
- VT Dept of Forests, Parks and Recreation
- EWP Project-update (guardrails)
- Box Culvert #33 project Update (Permits)
- Cemetery project update (project Revision)
- Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
- Playground Projects Update
- Town Hall Building Committee Report
- Dog Ordinance Amendment
- Delinquent Tax Collector Report
- PVF&R- Breathing Apparatus Expenditure
- Sand Shed Reimbursement Letter
- Budget Hearing Schedule discussion
- MPG Resolution-Grant for Town Plan Update
- Quintown Regional Energy Committee Agreement
- Treasurer Report-July Financials
Next Meeting Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Ann called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. Joyce Stevens, Mona Colton and Secretary recording the meeting-Louis Cocci in attendance.
Agenda Modifications:Ann moved to have Town Unemployment Claims added as New Business #8. Mona seconded. All in favor.
Minutes Approval: July 1, 2020 and August 13, 2020
Ann moved the Board approve the minutes from both meetings. Joyce seconded. All in favor.
Public Present: Janice Stumpf-Pittsfield’s Delinquent Tax collector to address NB #1, Caleb Hawley-PVF&R (by phone) to address NB #2
Out of Order: Ann moved to take out of order New Business #1 Delinquent Tax Collector Report and New Business #2 PVF&R Breathing Apparatus purchase. Joyce second. All in favor.
#1 VT State Police-this is a letter from the VT state police asking municipal governments to weigh in on the debate over reforming police departments. Ann said this is a legislative debate, and an issue our lobbying group VLCT is involved in so Pittsfield is being represented in the debate. No further action.
#2VT Dept of Housing & Commerce-this is a reminder that applications for municipal planning grants are underway to help townsimplement town plan recommendations and jump start initiatives like zoning updates to welcome new homes, plans for a state designated area, or economic recovery strategies. Pittsfield’s Planning grant will be discussed under new business #5
#3-Vt Dept of Forests, parks and recreation-this is also a reminder that applications for grants in ash tree management are open. No further action.
#1 EWP update-Ann updated the Board on the two EWP projects. The Parmenter place riverbank revetment and most of the Tweed River Drive project has been completed. NCRS granted Pittsfield an extension until Oct 31 to finish the Tweed River drive project by harvesting and planting live stakes that will take route and offer more protection from erosion. Ann has received a commitment from the White River partnership that they will send volunteers to harvest and plant the live stakes after October 1 at no cost. The Town Clerk is currently finishing up the paperwork to submit for reimbursement which is 75 percent of the construction costs and 100% of the administrative costs. Tweed River project ran $32,434.00 of which the Town will pay around $8,100. Parmenter place $19,687.00 of which the town will pay around $4,921. George is proceeding with securing the installation of guardrails which will run around $4,350.00. He says the cost can probably be covered in his highway budget. Ann moved the Select Board approve the expenditure for guardrails. Mona seconded. All in Favor.
#2 Box Culvert-Ann had a preconstruction meeting with Josh from ANR, the contractor and George and agreed that they are not going to be able to start the project until after July 1 next year. The box culvert manufacture estimated it cannot get the contractor the culvert until mid-October at the earliest and the construction schedule would be too tight. As a result, Pittsfield will have to apply for both a state Streambed and Army Corp of Engineer permit for the project as well as request an extension of the FEMA agreement for reimbursement of the project. Ann will set up a meeting with all involved to fill out the applications and get requirements for filing for an extension.
#3 Cemetery project-Ann updated the Board on the Cemetery project. FEMA has already approved funding for the project, but there are disparities between what the state originally permitted Pittsfield to do and what FEMA is funding. The state permitted Pittsfield to dump 55 cubic yards of rip rap along a 50-foot section of the lower cemetery riverbank but the FEMA project is actually to repair a much larger section of erosion and will end up needing much larger quantities of rip rap. George is getting an estimate on the new costs. Ann will contact the FEMA project manager for guidance on resolving the differences.
#4Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. Joyce reported on the first of three public hearings led by the TRORC consultant on updating the Local Hazard mitigation plan that expired last month. The hearing was to review the most pressing hazards and begin assessing response plans to each hazard.
#5Playground Projects- Ann updated the Board on the playground project to install the fence that the previous Board Chair purchased last year. There is a rail missing from one section and the caps for the posts were never ordered. Herb Kuendig has ordered them at Home Depot and once they arrive will determine how difficult digging holes for the posts will be. Connie has been looking for an exterminator to remove the digger wasps near the swing set.
#6 Town Hall Building Committee-the Committee held its first meeting and elected Herb as Chair. Ann will serve as administrator and liaison to the Select Board which is a non-voting position. The committee will act as a project manager and has started to divide the project into tasks that can be accomplished by volunteers. The first project was completed this week when Joyce, Betty, Micheline and Ann packed up the kitchen area to prepare for demolition. A 20-yard dumpster has been ordered from Able Waste Management to be delivered next Tuesday for the next project taking down the paneling and dropped ceiling. The building committee asked the board approve up to a $2,000 expenditure for pre-construction costs such as boxes, dumpsters, materials, design retainers to be taken out of the Town Hall Reserve account since there is only $133 left in the Town Hall maintenance budget. Ann moved the Board approve up to a $2,000 expenditure for pre-construction costs. Joyce seconded all in favor
#7 Dog Ordinance Amendment. Tabled to next meeting.
NB#1Janice Stumpf, the Delinquent Tax Collector provided background on three properties that together owe approximately $34,400 in delinquent principal taxes and represent roughly 80% of the total amount of outstanding taxes due Pittsfield. Janice said she has tried everything over the years to collect the back taxes owed, including talking with abutters who might want to buy the property and putting two of the properties up for tax sale. Janice would like to seek advice from Pittsfield new attorney. During discussion, board members agreed that it would be advantageous to get an idea of what each individual property is worth, considering features that might make the property unbuildable or unmarketable. Ann moved for the Board to ask the Listers to conduct such an inspection and review of the properties and send a report to Janice and the Board. Joyce second. All in favor.
The Board then discussed with Janice how many delinquencies there were after the first tax payment deadline last month. Janice said despite the economic fallout from the pandemic, the list of property owner who failed to pay on time was about the same as last year or even fewer.
#2 Pittsfield Volunteer fire and Rescue expenditure-Ann saidthe fire department is seeking approval to withdraw funds out of the Self-Contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) reserve account to pay for six replacement bottles. Caleb informed the board that most of the $5,550 cost of the purchase from Municipal Emergency Services is being covered by a $4,700 pandemic grant from the Rutland Rotary Club. Ann movedthat the Board approve the fire department expenditure of $788 plus any shipping costs. Ann seconded. All in favor.
Caleb also requested that the cost of conducting flow tests on the six SCBA by MES be taken out of the SCBA reserve. Joyce so moved. Ann seconded. All in favor.
#3 Sand Shed-Ann updated the Board on the sand shed project. The state environmental review has been completed and approved and the design engineers are now moving forward on submitting the final design and construction documents to allow Pittsfield to go out to bid. TRORC, the municipal project manager prepared a letter to VTRANS requesting the second reimbursement of funds the town has expended for the project to date $5,711.94. Ann moved to have the Chair sign the letter as requested so it can be submitted for reimbursement by the Town Clerk. Mona seconded. All in favor.
#4Budget Hearing Schedule- Ann asked Board members to begin thinking about setting up a budget hearing schedule. In years past, the budget meetings haven’t started until November or December, have had minimal input from the public and the minutes of these meetings and any decisions made have not been detailed enough for residents and taxpayers to understand. Ann would like the Board to discuss ways to increase public participation in the process, make the process much more transparent for all town departments and ensure the Board and taxpayers fully understand what goods and services are being paid for and how and when reserve funds that are approved at town meeting are expended.
Ann suggested the Board set up a schedule of budget hearings that can be advertised well in advance. Joyce suggested that the Board attend the various department meetings to discuss their budgets. Mona raised concerns about holding public meetings and it was agreed budget hearings would have to be conducted virtually using a computer not a hand-held phone which has created audio problems in the past. Ann also suggested that the Board first hear Capitol budget requests from departments, then review budget line items before deciding on capitol budget requests. The Board agreed all budget hearings should be recorded and detailed minutes kept of budget decisions,
Ann will put together a proposed budget schedule after discussions with the Town Treasurer.
#5MPG Resolution-The Planning commission is applying for a municipal planning grant to help fund the effort to update the Town plan which is due in 2023. The Planning Commission hired TROR as its consultant on this which estimates it will cost $4,800 to help the Planning Commission complete the application in updating the Town Plan. Ann moved the Board approve the application for a Municipal Planning Grant.
Mona seconded. All in favor.
#6Quintown Regional Energy Agreement-the Select Boards of five towns are being asked to sign an intermunicipal agreement to form a sub-regional energy committee to meet quarterly to help town planning commissions incorporate energy planning in Town plans. Matt Corron is Pittsfield’s appointed energy coordinator. Ann emailed Matt for information on the committee, but has not heard back. Under the terms of the Agreement, Town Energy Coordinators would have to attend quarterly meetings of the Committee and each Board would have to appoint an alternate delegate. Ann moved to table the discussion to the next meeting until the Board hears from Matt or TRORC on what’s involved in creating the committee.
#7-Treasurer Financials. Joyce had a question about why PILOT deposits were made to the highway fund. Joyce will talk with Tricia about it.
#8 Unemployment Claims-Board discussed why the Town is being charged for a portion of unemployment benefits for Matt Corron, Johanna Baker, and Scott Kaufman. Joyce will ask Tricia to look into the claims.
Ann moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:42pm
Recorded by: Louis Cocci & Ann Kuendig
Approved: September 17, 2020
Ann Kuendig Mona Colton Joyce Stevens