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Selectboard Meeting 9/13/23

 Selectboard Meeting 9/12/23

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Present-

Board members: Sheila Duranleau (Chair), Fred Blanchard, AJ Galfetti

Town officials: Josh Bell (Tree Warden), Scott Blanchard (Treasurer, Collector of Delinquent Taxes), Peter Carbee (Planning), Lois Deberville (Town Clerk), Jesse Lambert (Road Commissioner), H Brooke Paige (Justice of the Peace), Harry Roush (Assistant Town Clerk, Lister), Ben Tiefenthaler (FEMA Administrator)

In person: Carroll Avery, Courtney Avery, Maxine Durbrow, Reg & Alice Poulin, Norm Vermette, Robbie Perdue, Joe Pelkey, Kevin Rice, Phil Poulin, Cannon Williams, Travis Moran, Vince Vermette, Andera Poulin, Joan Check, Billy Donovan, Sarah Teel, Deb Mitchell

Zoom attendees: Lisa Costa, Larry McIntire, Terri Crawford, Ellen Blanchard, Rachel, Cheri, Judy and Kay, Gordon Pirie, Leon Beede, Ryan Bresette, Tammy, Nancy Blanchard, William Lyon, Joyce

Orange County Sheriff’s Department: George Contois, RJ Caldwell

  1. Chair called meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. She reminded everyone of the Rules of Procedure adopted by the board in May.
  2. AJ made the motion to accept the minutes from the August 8, 2023, meeting, 2nd by Fred, ayes carried. Fred made the motion to accept the minutes from the August 15, 2023, meeting, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.
  3. Adjustments to agenda: Karen Kotecki (CVFiber) was unable to attend, Sheila moved her to the October meeting. Sheila moved Additions to the Selectboard’s Formal Procedures to Meetings to the October meeting. Billy asked to discuss the August special meeting, Sheila added this to the end of the meeting.
  4. Public comments on items not on the agenda: Billy had talked to Ethan of the VASA Club. He would like the town or club to update the trail map. Roads in question are East Orange/West Corinth intersection and Notch Road. Discussion on whether a landowner can rescind permission previously given for ATV use.   

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4 continued: Town is sticking to the ordinance, in which there is nothing about that. Sheila will discuss with Ethan when/if he reaches out to her. Sarah offered clarification on rescinding permission issue: a landowner was previously approached by the ATV club with understanding that there was a 1-year trial basis, and this year that person was not going to give permission. Billy sent a letter to the State Police regarding violence in the town by ATV people, asked that it be entered into the record. (see attached) Sheila recommended that Billy and others report unlawful and/or threatening behavior to law enforcement, Robbie and Joe. AJ concurred. Joan spoke on people talking about cutting down the trees she has cameras on, she did report it to the game warden. Robbie said roads that are closed are not within the club’s oversight. Sheila suggested Joan send her video to the police. Brooke asked the sheriff what can be done to protect the people. Sheriff Contois said primarily a daytime office but will respond as they can.

Deb Mitchell said her husband came to the town clerk’s office to pay taxes, but he left without doing so because they haven’t gotten response to her husband’s request for name of delinquent taxpayers.

  • Visitors: John O’Connor requested that the town give up a portion of TH 47, a Class 4 road, as no one is able to travel on it. It has become a place for folks to dump trash. The board will look at other roads that possibly could be given up as well, will work on a policy abiding by the state’s process.
  • Updates/Reports:

6.1, 6.2 Delinquent tax collector/treasurer-Scott reported the updated total collected is $234,277.00, since March. He gave the board a list of delinquent taxpayers. Two are in probate, one needs an abatement hearing, that will leave three left to sell. Scott will discuss with a lawyer on the process. He’s aiming for February 15, 2024, sale date. 2023 Taxes collected to date total $661,372.00.

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6.1, 6.2 continued…Discussion between Billy and Scott about Billy’s request for paperwork to tie up his account. Billy said he had to get Vermont Legal Aid involved. He wants the final amount of tax and penalties. Scott responded that the hold up was that Billy’s residence was not Washington, he sent all the paperwork in.

Scott discussed the warrants for bills to be paid. He is still working on QuickBooks, Chad (Sullivan Powers) will meet with him to change some items for FY23. $514,000 available, savings about $236,000.

AJ asked Scott to look into getting a credit card for the road crew, limit of $5000.

Road Commissioner Jesse Lambert reports that the three full time crew have Creamery Road 100% done, Turnpike is about 90% finished on the FEMA end, Ryder Road is 100% done with new culverts and rebuilding, Williamstown Road is done with exception of guardrails and a few odds and ends, Notch Road has been started and estimate more time as they need to prep and bury the lines, hopefully about 10 days to completion as it’s hard to get trucks, Fred and AJ went around Sunday and cleaned up loose debris for FEMA, the 2017 truck is back and is in use, there are roads that do need grader but working on having as much done as possible in-house. He acknowledges that there’s some frustration but they are working as hard as they can, working on making roads more resilient. Joan Check thanked the crew, and said she called Topsham Telephone who said they were working with the town but appears they aren’t but she would be happy to call the company. Jesse said they did come up to do a site visit. All the work done by the road crew is being documented with photos. Ben said Topsham Telephone has been contacted, nothing in our town’s holdings show the right for a line to be travelling in the road.

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6.3 continued: The company has packed the line in, Ben hasn’t seen any damage to the line.

6.5 skipped to FEMA administrator: Ben said our FEMA application has been accepted and the town has been assigned a rep. He has been meeting with different representatives/site inspectors along with different board members. His main project is ‘damage inventory worksheet’ that lists every town site damaged by the July flood. Town needs a cost estimate before having other work done. Regarding Notch Road: it will be restored to preexisting conditions then FEMA has a mitigation process that allows improvements to be made. He discussed recommendations from FEMA, and how while the roads may appear fixed, residents may see issues that are in Ben’s and the road crew’s awareness and may not be fixed until after winter.

Sarah said most of the damage along Notch occurred on her family’s side of the road, the water should have gone there instead of water putting so much pressure in the culverts. She will research what landowners can do to their own property to help future situations.  

Discussion on FEMA reimbursement as far as mitigation/timeline/costs. No set timeline. Town liability is 12.5% of total fee unless state reaches a certain threshold, then town could be reimbursed up to 90%.

6.4      Town clerk Lois Deberville asked the status of Plumb Road, Jesse will check it out tomorrow, as well as Hyland Hill.

7. Business

            7.1      ATV ordinance revision timeline: Sheila prefaced by asking for help in getting folks to respect the laws and their neighbors. She recognizes this is a polarizing subject. There were 32 names submitted to the board asking that the revisions not be done until the new town plan is developed. Also a petition signed by 120 people asking the board not to wait.

            In our current town plan, ATV usage is recognized, and it spoke on expanding the trails.

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7.1 continued…Her suggestion is to introduce a revised ordinance at the December selectboard meeting, vote on it in January, and if there’s a petition to disprove the plan, then it’ll go to a vote at town meeting day.

Peter said that a town plan is not a regulatory plan, rather it’s inspirational.

Sheila allowed anyone present or on Zoom five minutes to speak on this topic, and after everyone had, then another five minutes per person would be allowed. Much discussion followed. Motion by AJ to follow Sheila’s suggestion, 2nd by Fred, ayes carried.

7.2      Additions to the Selectboard’s Formal Procedures for Meetings is postponed until the October meeting.

7.3      Municipal Technical Assistance Program from CVRPC is a grant to help towns. Peter asked the board to consider applying for funding to help with our town plan, is for administrative help. Motion by AJ to accept, 2nd by Fred, ayes carried.

7.4      Update on 3693 East Orange property: Gary Winders (zoning) had sent a 2nd letter to comply with permit to run a business, letter came back returned as unable to forward. It will be hand delivered by the OCS department. The board suggested that concerned neighbors call the state Hazmat department about oil spills leaking onto the neighbors’ properties.

7.5      Records Retention Policy-Lois has gathered lots of old papers that are allowed by statute to dispose of. The policy is not mandated, but is to let the town know what is going to be disposed of and/or kept. Discussion on whether or not this policy has to be distributed to the public prior to any acceptance. Tabled until further notice.

7.6      First FY25 budget meeting will be October 17, opened to public.

7.7      2023 legislative highlights related to listers and assessors discussed by Harry (lister).

7.8      2024 Municipal Park and Ride Grant Program, motion by Fred to not apply, 2nd by AJ, carried by ayes.

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7.9/7.10       Harry discussed request for proposal demolition and site stabilization of flood damaged residential property, he still needs to find a lead/asbestos certified person to assess.

7.11 The library requested that the town pay the ServePro bill for the library flood cleanup. The bill is $16,662.25. Maxine Durbrow is confident the insurance will pay it back. Fred made motion to have town pay this, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.

7.12 Bill Durbrow’s request for cemetery project funds is tabled, motion by Fred, 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.

8. Next regular meeting is scheduled for October 3, 2023, 6:30 p.m. at the town hall.

AJ made motion to adjourn this meeting at 9 p.m., 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.

See attached letter that was asked to be included in the record.

Respectfully submitted by Lois Deberville

These minutes are a draft, subject to approval/revision at the next scheduled meeting.

Addendum which was not part of the meeting: Per Carl Andeer, staff attorney at VLCT (Vermont League of Cities and Towns): “Generally, unless there’s a specific state law (statute) that requires certain public comment periods for policies, none of which I’m aware of, the selectboard can adopt policies by majority vote at a noticed meeting. No 2 public meetings are required”.

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