“To listen to a recording of the meeting please click here”: https://bit.ly/2X1hWlqand https://bit.ly/2X0K5cl
DATE: September 2, 2021
PRESENT: Ann Kuendig, A.J. Ruben (Joyce Stevens via TEAMS)
PUBLIC PRESENT: in person: Rebecca Steward, Betty Warner
- Sand Shed Grant Application – C5
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: August 19, 2021 Regular Meeting
- Land Records Online - Update
- American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – TRORC Update
- VT Outdoor Recreation Community Grant Program
- VLCT Town Fair & Business Meeting
- Citizen Concern/Complaint – follow-up rooster complaint
- Delinquent Dog List - Update
- Lister vs Private Assessor – Discussion
- Budget/Capital Budget/Town Meeting Schedule
- Box Culver Project - Update
- Unemployment Benefit Charges - Update
- Municipal Roads General Permit Grant Agreement
- Public Property Request
NEXT MEETINTG DATE: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Ann called the meeting to order at 6:01pm. AJ seconded. All in favor. Ann indicated the Agenda Modification (see above). AJ motioned to accept the Minutes of the August 19, 2021 Regular Meeting. Ann seconded. All in favor. Ann took the following out of order to address the public present: OB#1 and OB#3.
- Land Records Online – Update. The Assistant Town Clerk sent an update regarding his request. To buy the NEMRC Land Records Module, there is a one-time fee of $695.00. Installation and training on the module will be done remotely and will take about an hour. They bill $145/hour for this time. Louis said he would check to see if the annual support agreement would increase. When the Town is ready for the Land Records Portal add-on, there is a one-time setup fee of $800.00 and an annual hosting charge of $1,200.00/year. The result would be a website that would allow anyone with internet access to view and purchase documents in the Land Records Module. There was discussion about how this would initially be paid for, what fund/s could be used, and how the Town would receive the revenue. It was felt that the revenue would ultimately pay for the additional yearly expense. Ann moved to approve the additional expenses in moving forward to putting our land records online and that we request that NEMRC put in writing how they are going to process the fees and return them to the Town of Pittsfield. AJ seconded. All in favor.
- American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – TRORC Update. ARPA funds have been disseminated to counties. Pittsfield will now be receiving $53,706.89. Pittsfield has already received $28,946.00 for just the first year. Ann explained that over the next two-year period, Pittsfield will receive a total of $165,306.00 in ARPA funding. The Board will go forward in deciding how to spend those funds. Ideas will be received from the public at the January Special Meeting and then announced at the March meeting.
- VT Outdoor Recreation Community Grant Program. This was not received by the Board in a timely manner. Discussion. It was decided to forward this to the Planning Commission because they are taking the lead on the Brick Grant Program from FEMA.
- VLCT Town Fair & Business Meeting. This event will be held in Burlington this year. It appeared that none of the Board members were planning to attend. Ann designated herself as the representative.
- Sand Shed Grant Application – Municipal Planning Project Manager Pete Fellows has sent the first draft of the SFY 2022 Environmental Mitigation Grant Application which is the first grant the Town is applying to for the additional funds to complete the sand shed project. He wants to apply for $113,586.00. Ann asked the Board to review the handout and it will be discussed again at the next meeting.
- Citizen Concern/Complaint – follow-up rooster complaint. AJ was tasked with meeting with Bill Leimgruber. AJ said he advised him about the continuing crowing issue and the threatening behavior instance with another neighbor. Bill said he was committed to keeping the rooster boxed more in the morning and evening. He said he wasn’t aware of the other issue and had never witnessed any aggressive behavior. Bill agreed that we live in a small community and need to get along and if someone came to him with an issue, he would listen. AJ felt that there was room to mitigate the problem. Rebecca was asked how things have been lately. She said that the rooster is out around 5:45am and that it crows all day with short breaks. It was felt that 7am would be more reasonable. Rebecca added that she may have a solution that might work. She felt that if the space was enlarged to an appropriate size it might help. Another option would be to have some playthings for the rooster. She said that she just cannot live with the constant crowing. AJ said he didn’t feel that a follow up visit would help, but that corresponding by letter would be more effective. Ann said that the Board can work on a noise ordinance but that it would need to be brought to the public and might be more controversial. This could be done at the special town meeting proposed for January to discuss the budget. Rebecca felt that there were enough people to support an ordinance. AJ said that this issue needs mediation and asked if Rebecca would consider that. Options would include 1) mediation at no or low cost, 2) draft an ordinance, 3) and sending a follow up letter requesting a 7am wake up time. Ann asked Rebecca how she would like to proceed. Rebecca said that she didn’t want to have any direct dealing with Bill. AJ asked Rebecca to call the Rutland County Diversion Program and ask if they offer mediation services. She should also contact an attorney and see what they could do to help her. In the meantime, the Select Board will discuss putting that Warning on for the January meeting and moving forward and doing some research. Ann asked Rebecca to let the Board know how she makes out with her phone calls.
- Delinquent Dog List – Update. Trish checked with the Town of Stockbridge and one of the dogs is licensed there. The other dog is licensed in Massachusetts and the owner will obtain and forward those records when she returns to Massachusetts for work.
- Lister vs Private Assessor – Discussion. At the last meeting, Betty was tasked to meet with Rick Favor to see what his responsibilities would be to the Town if hired. Betty said she also wanted to bring up another issue that deals with the Grand List. She said that the Grand List, once it is Lodged, becomes the As Billed Grand List, and belongs to the Select Board on behalf of the Town. There are instances where changes need to be made to the GL and need approval from the Select Board. She explained two instances that they have discovered and when Errors and Omissions would come before the Board. She noted that they found that there were two properties that were sold and should have been subdivided but never shown on the Grand List. One involved a 22-acre property that sold off 11 acres and a 1.5-acre property that sold .7 acres. To solve this problem, the two tax bills sent out would need to be deleted and four created to reflect the properties. AJ made a motion to have the Listers correct the error by working with Trish and Janice to identify the properties, to issue four new tax bills and to contact the owners of the first tax bills and let them know of the error and resolve any overpayments that may have been made. The Board would resolve not to penalize or fine these property owners for failing to make the August deadline. Ann seconded the motion. All in favor. Betty said that she had a phone conversation with Assessor Rick Favor, and he explained the duties he would have as he had explained to Joyce previously. Betty said that she had some “buts” and was concerned about what should be put on public record. It was decided to enter Executive Session. Ann moved to enter Executive Session citing 1 VSA Section 312 (A) to discuss the terms of a potential contract at 7:00pm. AJ seconded the motion. All in favor. Ann adjourned Executive Session and reopened the regular meeting at 7:16pm. AJ seconded the motion. All in favor. Ann presented the outcome of the Executive Session. Betty said that what she would like to see is an Assessor who deals with the data collection and software. The Lister would serve in an oversight role making sure deadlines, etc were maintained. Ann said she would call VLCT and Betty said she would take the four different scenarios and see how they can fit into what is wanted. This discussion will continue at the next regular meeting.
- Budget/Capital Budget/Town Meeting Schedule. Discussion. The Board decided to begin budget meetings on September 21st, with meetings on Tuesdays at 5pm on weeks alternating with their regular meetings. Various departments will be invited to attend meetings and submit their 6thmonth interim budget, a 12 mth budget beginning in July and an updated capital budget through 2027. The deadline for submission is October 1st. The Board decided to hold the Special Meeting on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. The timetable prior to that date was determined. The Auditors will be asked to provide a timetable for producing and printing bids for the Town Report.
- Box Culver Project – Update. Ann noted that all the pieces have been moved into place. Construction will begin on Tuesday, September 7th. The footbridge is in place.
- Unemployment Benefit Charges – Update. Trish sent some follow-up correspondence she has had with VLCT. The Board still questions these claims. They decided to have Trish follow up with the VT Department of Labor.
- Municipal Roads General Permit Grant Agreement. This agreement is for the $6,100.00 that pays for this year’s road improvements which include Liberty Hill. Ann moved to have the Chair sign the grant agreement. AJ seconded. All in favor.
- Public Property Request. This is a request by Kelly Ziegler and friends to hold a yard sale on September 18thon Town property on the corner of Route 100 and Parmenter Place. Discussion. Concern was expressed over possible liability to the Town as well as safety and parking. It was thought that the Village Green would be a better place if it’s not the same weekend as the Town Bazaar. The ballfield could be offered if it is the same weekend. Joyce offered to speak with Kelly.
- Joyce asked about any follow up regarding the Polinator. Ann said she emailed them but never received a response. She said she would reach out again.
- Ann said that the appeal letters were sent out and within one week, $3625.00 has been received from both residents and out of state property owners. She would like to see a list of contributors included in the Building Committee’s Report in this year’s Town Report. She also noted that the Committee did not receive the second grant for $25,000.00 that they applied for through the Vt Arts Council.
NEXT MEETINTG DATE: Thursday, September 16, 2021.
As there was no further business to discuss, Ann moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:34pm. Seconded by AJ. All in favor.
Martha L. Beyersdorf, Secretary
Approved: September 16, 2021
Ann Kuendig Joyce Stevens A.J. Ruben