Board of Selectmen Meeting
February 6, 2012 - 7:00 PM
Williamstown Middle/High School

MEMBERS: Larry Hebert – Chair, Bill Ashe – Vice Chair, Rodney Graham, Francis Covey, Art Stone

TOWN MANAGER – Jacqueline Higgins  

Visitors – Robert Cleaves, Horace Duke, Mike Sprano, Chris Peloquin, Chad Benoir, Jacob Benoir, Art Kramer,  Wally Roberts, John Menard, Tom Bailey, John Taylor, Matthew Roulea, Wade Holt, Doug Poor, Hank Buermann, Dave Delcore – Times Arugs, and Kathleen Lott – Northfield News.

L. Hebert called to order the Selectboard meeting at 7:00pm.

L. Hebert announced there would be an executive session for personnel reasons.

2nd Public hearing of proposed charter change

Public Hearing – Charter Change
    L. Hebert stated that he would not be reading the entire copy like he did at the last meeting, but that a copy would be included in with the town report.  The changes made after the last hearing were to add a school board member and auditor to the hiring committee.
    Selectboard Comments -   R. Graham & J. Higgins commented about the Brattleboro Treasurer position.  Their system is very different than ours.  They have a CFO, assistant CFO, 3 other faculty members along with the Treasurer.  
    Public Input – A. Kramer noted that Brattleboro has 9000 residents and that they have 3 districts, and each district has a representative, and that’s who does the voting.
    R. Cleaves noted that most of the places that have appointed Treasurers are in bigger cities and not in smaller town.  He stated that we list 9 in our information letter and there are 251 towns in VT.  L. Hebert responded with that they didn’t survey each town, just had a list of the ones they knew immediately.  R. Cleaves asked what the pay would be, and L. Hebert said it would depend on their duties and qualifications.  R. Graham said that given the current duties and 2 days a week 15k-20k.
    A. Kramer stated that he felt that we should not have the Auditor on the committee has it might present a conflict of interest.  The Board agreed, and switched it from the Town Auditor to a CPA or equivalent, not currently working for the town.  A. Kramer would like a notation reference in subsection (d) listing the specific state statute that it is referring to.  The Board agreed to put it in.
    C. Peloquin asked if we could legally make changes now because it has been warned.  The Board answered that yes, minor changes could be made.  He also asked if the Board had discussed this position in depth.  They answered that they have not gotten into every detail yet because, if passed, the change would not go into effect for over a year.
    J. Taylor asked for clarification regarding the wording Governance Charter.
End of Public hearing at 7:30 p.m.

Selectboard Meeting

Changes to agenda – Add executive session for personnel reasons.
Visitor’s Comments: (maximum of 3 minutes per person, per topic)

J. Taylor asked about the Library budget.  He was told by a librarian that it was cut $2000 by the Town.  J. Higgins responded that the Library budget did not change from what they submitted except to apply the proper amounts for insurance based on the price quotes the Town received.

Review & Approval:
  1. Warrants – R. Graham made a motion to approve SB129, and payroll warrants dated 1/1/12-1/14-12, 1/1/12-1/14/12(2), 1/15/12-1/28/12, seconded by F. Covey, and so voted.
  2. Minutes – R. Graham he made a motion to approve January 16, 2012, and the January 30, 2012 minutes, seconded by F. Covey, and so voted.

Reports – Manager Report    
  1. The new truck will be ready for pick up the 1st week of March, then it will go and get the body put on and it will be in our hands the 2nd or 3rd week of March.
  2. Highway work is being scheduled for the Spring & Summer.  Brush Cutting is done on Birch Road, Boyce Road is almost complete, and then they will go to Tripp Road and Stone Road.
  3. Winter maintenance is being done.
  4. The grader repair is still doing okay, but hasn’t really been tested as they aren’t using the grader much.
  5. We will be renting a roadside mower for a 2 week period in June for $3400.  There is $4500 in the budget, and our own crew will be operating it (either Ed or Tim).  R. Graham noted that he would like the road crew to be working on the roads and not doing these things that we could hire out.   

New Business:
  1. Change Signers at People’s Bank – B. Ashe made the motion to approve the addition of Horace Duke as a signer for the Peoples Bank accounts, seconded by F. Covey, and so voted.
  2. Planning Commission Appointment – R. Graham made the motion to appoint Wally Roberts to the Planning Commission on the longest open term, seconded by F. Covey.  B. Ashe thanked W. Roberts for volunteering.
  3. Pay Request by Road Crew – The Road crew have 15 weeks of vacation that need to be used between now and the end of June. The Road crew is asking to have 1 week of vacation each be paid to them in a week’s check without taking the time off.  R. Graham made the motion to allow E. Farnham, T. Emmons, D. Smedy, J. Perusse, and B. Palmer each get one week’s pay (40 hours) in lieu of actual time off, if they have it accrued, seconded by F. Covey, and so voted.
  4. Highway Policy Change – L. Hebert stepped down and B. Ashe took over the meeting.  Currently the highway policy states “. Single driveways serving up to three dwellings shall be permitted providing they are constructed to allow ingress and egress for emergency vehicles. Any other type of access serving four or more dwellings, and any commercial, retail, or industrial activities shall be considered a public or private road and shall be developed in accordance with Section 4 of this policy. All road cuts shall be restored to original or better condition within one week of the initial cut. Restored road cuts shall be guaranteed by the applicant for a period of two years.”  L. Hebert is asking that the number of dwellings be raised from three to five to become more in line with ACT 250 policy.  ACT 250 takes over at six dwellings.  F. Covey made the motion to increase the number of dwellings from three to five, seconded by R. Graham, and so voted.  It was noted that the road does not automatically become a town road when there are five dwellings.  They (property owners) still need to get the road up to road classification standards and apply to the town for them to take it over.  C. Peloquin said that this was an excellent idea and thinks we should look at some small roads that do not have the required number of dwellings and think about tossing them up.  The Board has agreed to look at this in the future.

Unfinished Business


Visitor’s Comments

M. Sprano asked why there wasn’t a Town Meeting article to deal with the surplus highway funds.  The Selectboard said that they did not, as by state statutes highway funds are earmarked for highway only.  R. Cleaves said that he does like it and that he feels the voters should have a say in what happens.  C. Peloquin said that he agrees with the Selectboard but also believes the voters should have a say.  R. Graham said it is not the intent of the Board to roll over the funds and use frivolously.  It was an oversight and it is too late to change the articles now.  

T. Bailey asked about the grant for the culvert on Flint Road.  J. Higgins reported that they extended the deadline and we won’t be getting any answers until probably March.

Around the Table:
  1. Stone – nothing

R. Graham – Crystal Whitcomb said she had nothing by praise for the work done on Young Road.

F. Covey –  nothing

L. Hebert  - Asked everyone to be extra vigilant.  There have been more break-ins in town.  Sunday          the Moose Lodge was broken into.

  1. Ashe  -  While he admittedly is a Patriots fan he congratulated any Giants fans for their win of the Superbowl last night.

J. Higgins announced that there will be an open house for retiring Fire Chief Ed Eaton, Saturday, February 11, 2012 from 12-4 at the Fire Station.

F. Covey made the motion to enter into executive session at 8:10 p.m. to discuss personnel issues, seconded by R. Graham and so voted.

    R. Graham made a motion to come out of executive session at 9:25, seconded by F. Covey, and so voted.  No action taken.

R. Graham made a motion to adjourn at 9:26 p.m., seconded F. Covey, and so voted.

Respectfully submitted,

Cora Grandfield