TOWN OF PITTSFIELD
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
To listen to the meeting recording, click here: https://bit.ly/3nDFyXg
Moderator, George Deblon, called the Special Town Meeting to order at 6:01pm. There were 22 people in attendance. George led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Article 1. Shall the town vote to adopt a July 1 through June 30 fiscal year, effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, as provided by 24 V.S.A. § 1683?
Herb Kuendig motioned to accept this article, seconded by Sarah Gallagher.
Discussion by Ann Kuendig giving reason for changing to a fiscal year from a calendar year. Ann went on to explain one of the main reasons is to reduce operating budget by eliminating need for additional funds before our first revenues are received in August from tax. The Select Board along with the Town Treasurer created a six-month budget during budget hearings. Ann went on to explain that the yearend surpluses will cover interim budget costs, adding that auditors will have more time to complete Town report, winter highway maintenance and heating costs will all be in a single budget year and the town fiscal year will coincide with School and State fiscal year.
George asked for question/comments, hearing none he asked for a motion to approve this article.
Sandy Begin made a motion to accept the article, seconded by Donald Bass.
Motion passed, article 1 accepted.
Article 2. Will the voters of Pittsfield approve the proposed six-month transitional budget to meet the expenses and liabilities of the town from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022?
Donald Bass motioned to accept this article, seconded by Sarah Gallagher.
George asked for questions/comments. Donald Bass asked what the total budget is, and Ann responded for all departments totaling about $250,000.00.
No other comments/questions, a few minutes was given to look over budget document.
Dave Colton made a motion to accept the article, seconded by Herb Kuendig. Motion passed article 2 accepted.
Point of order made by Betty Warner to clarify the dates of this budget, George confirmed the dates of January 1-June 30, 2022.
Article 3. Shall the voters of Pittsfield authorize the Select Board to draft a Noise Ordinance as provided by 24. V.S.A. §§ 1971-1976?
Sandy Begin motioned to accept this article, seconded by Sarah Gallagher.
George asked Ann to give information on reasoning behind article. Ann went onto explain about complaints received by the Board around fireworks, dogs barking and roosters. In the public hearings on the rooster complaints, she stated that they settled the complaints by having the neighbors work together. The Select Board was also asked during those hearings to consider instituting a noise ordinance and said it had to come in front of the voters.
Sandy Begin commented that she thought that this should be tabled until Town Meeting in March when there were more voters present. Joyce Stevens explained that they did it now so they would have the time to draft an ordinance to present at the Town Meeting in March. Lynda Colton asked if her daughter Christi Bollman who was not a voter, but a taxpayer in town could speak for her. George allowed Christi to speak.
Christi had a letter than she read stating the following points:
Noise ordinances are difficult to enforce. How would it be enforced? What level constitutes a violation? What noise testing level standard would you use? Monitoring requires professionals and is very costly. Why enact something you cannot enforce? She went on to discuss that most business are intentionally situated on Rte. 100, and how some every day noise made by chainsaws and emergency equipment, traffic etc. can easily violate state standards. Would this ordinance be for everyone and everywhere? She spoke about Act 250, and about how Pittsfield is a destination town and that this could hurt businesses. She recommended not drafting a noise ordinance for the Town of Pittsfield. (Please hear Christi’s comments in their entirety on the attached meeting link). Sandy Begin agreed with Christi.
Joyce Stevens explained that the Select Board was asking if the Town wanted them to draft an ordinance to bring forth to the March Town Meeting, that is what we are voting on tonight. Sarah Gallagher underscored Christi’s statement by saying that it is very hard to enforce, and we will be inundated by complaints about silly things, saying we are a small town and should be able to work things out together with our neighbors. Rebecca Steward spoke about how we should be respectful, but people are not respectful of their neighbors. Donald Bass commented that we do not need a noise ordinance in town. Herb Kuendig also commented that he feels we do not need it, saying there is no way to enforce, we are a small town why can’t we just get along. Lynda Colton went onto explain that it is very costly to get a professional in, 2-hour session will cost between $5,000-$8,000. It was commented that we cannot afford it. Sandy Begin went onto explain that we are a farming community.
George reread Article 3, asking for a voice vote, the no’s have it. Article 3 did not pass.
Article 4. Will the voters of Pittsfield engage in discussion on developing plans to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act?
Sandy Begin motioned to accept this article, seconded Jeremy Rayner. George asked Ann to engage in discussion. She began by saying there was a handout. Pittsfield will receive a total of $165,306.10 Federal Fiscal Recovery funds half of which is already deposited in a town account with additional funds distributed in August and September of 2022. Funds can be obligated from March 3, 2021-December 31, 2024. All funds must be spent by December 31, 2026. She spoke about how VLCT and TRORC are reading through the Federal documents that explain how the Town can spend the monies. Ann explained that the Select Board would like to set up meetings with the community to discuss our options and inviting someone from TRORC to attend and help guide.
George asked for clarification on what we were voting on. We are voting on having a discussion (meetings).
Dave Colton offered that we should investigate funding for a generator and getting the Hall ready to use as a shelter. Lynda Colton would like to see some funds put forth for the continued restoration of the Hall.
Caleb Hawley commented on how much enthusiasm the ice rink has brought and would there be monies for a multi-use pavilion, more community outdoor gathering spaces. Sarah Gallagher agrees with Caleb’s point on community, supports something that would help make the Town Hall a real community gathering place. Betty Warner asks for a time frame for delivering on ideas and thoughts, meetings? AJ Ruben feels that by next Town Meeting, 2023, we should have a very good idea, planning on meetings this summer and fall.
Betty then took a moment to talk about Pittsfield Vermont Community Connection and gave date and time of the first meeting and invited any or all.
George reread the article, asking for a voice vote, the I’s have it, article approved.
With no further business to discuss, Sandy Begin made a motion to adjoin the meeting seconded by Sarah Gallagher.
Meeting adjourned at 6:36pm
Respectfully Recorded and submitted by: Tricia L Fryer, Town Clerk
(s)Ann Kuendig (s)Joyce Stevens (s)AJ Ruben