November 1, 2023, 6:30 p.m.
Town Hall, Washington, VT
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Present: Board Members: Sheila Duranleau (Chair), Fred Blanchard, AJ Galfetti
Town employees: Danielle Bresette (Rec dept), Peter Carbee (Planning), Lois Deberville (Town clerk), Harry Roush (Assistant clerk/Lister), Ben Tiefenthaler (FEMA admin)
In person visitors: Linda Ingold (Safeline), Lucas Stubb (CVFiber)
Zoom visitors: Karen Kotecki (CVFiber), Sarah Teel
- Chair called meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
- Fred made motions to accept minutes of both October 3, 2023 meeting and October 17, 2023 budget meeting, 2nd by AJ, carried by ayes.
- Adjustments to agenda: 7.8 bridge repair on Firehouse Lane, 7.9 Vermont 250th Anniversary Commission, 5.3 Safeline
- Public Comment: none
5.1 Karen Kotecki and Lucas Stubb discussed the CVFiber OLT (optical line terminal) Site and Utility Easement Deed. Karen had sent the easement deed to the board for their signatures for placement of the OLT near the entrance of Carpenter Park. (there is already a cabinet right off Lowery Road from previous company(ies) ). This is a broadband site to consist of a concrete pad, a cabinet, a propane tank for backup power for a generator. Sheila shared concerns from a resident regarding EMS transmissions, and Karen said there is none as this is a fiber line. Board reviewed the photo of where the current cabinet is, which is out of the way. Harry discussed the original grant for the purchase of the park, would this affect the purpose of the deed. Karen said this would not preclude any recreational purpose, CVFiber would have an easement, but she will have their attorney look at the deed. Sheila asked if CVFiber would have any interest in that land should CVFiber not need that area or ceases to exist. Karen said the easement deed could mandate that the area be put back to original state should that occur. Signing is tabled until those questions are addressed.
Lucas said time frame is up in the air, guided by funding. They are looking beyond government funding to get Washington active, and the best-case scenario is 2025. The loop needs to go through Marshfield/Plainfield before getting to Washington. Could be 2026.
5.2 Danielle Bresette, representing the town recreation department, discussed the idea for a gate at Carpenter Park to deter unwanted activity there. There have been reports of people sleeping there as well as drug paraphernalia left on the ground. While the rec department is a body of its own, she feels this is a town decision. Discussion on logistics of how it’d be opened and closed, what kind of gate, what kind of locks. Board discussed possibly fining folks found there after the closing time of dusk. Danielle will research prices on different options of gates and locks.
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5.3 Linda Ingold, Executive Director of Safeline (domestic violence and sexual abuse) serving all of Orange County. Linda said that due to the recent suspicious deaths of two young women whose bodies were found in Washington, Safeline would like to hold a vigil at Carpenter Park in the near future to bring the community together to talk about respect, responsibility, offer reflections, recognize that something scary happened in town. Sheila asked how they plan to publicize it, Linda said no plans made yet as waiting on the board’s decision. The board had no objection and is leaving the details to Safeline. Linda will reach out to Danielle Bresette.
6.1/6.2 No report from the delinquent tax collector/treasurer
6.3 Road commissioner talked with AJ earlier in the day on finishing up with the backhoe, piling up sand, try to tackle Stellar Road the week of November 13.
6.4 Lois reported that she and Peter updated and submitted the PACIF renewal questionnaire. AJ looked at the insurance cards to verify all vehicles were listed. Lois is still working on record retention, and has calls out to the state on certain items. Some items can’t be destroyed until an audit has been performed, and because Sullivan Powers & Company has said that the town is unauditable prior to FY2023, Sheila will ask them to send us a statement to that effect for Lois to pass on to the state. Lois gave each board member a letter from a resident concerning issues with a new neighbor. Board acknowledged that it is a private matter as all the land in question is privately owned.
6.5 FEMA administrator Ben said we are four days away from needing every line item in the town to be listed, but those line items can then be adjusted. He is working with a new FEMA representative as of this date. Calef Library will be added as well as the town office. There are subdivisions of work on some roads that will be added. Since the last board meeting, Ben reconstructed category A work (debris removal), next will be category B work (ie: Ward and Avery work) to hopefully get some reimbursement streams back into the town. Mitigation proposals will be submitted probably in December so town will be ready for spring work. Sheila acknowledged that Ben has been very gracious and patient working with a previous FEMA rep under challenging situations. Ben said there has been some errors in transcriptions (not on his part) so he is double checking all figures with the new FEMA supervisor.
7.1 The board signed the adopted Rules of Procedure and the Personnel Policy.
7.2 Peter said the town does not need an alternate for the Municipal Planning Grant, which is to help communities do their town plans. Sheila is point person, and Peter is the manager of the grant.
7.3 Town report: Sheila sent letters to previously-funded service agencies and those who had reports in previous years, requesting updated letters of intent. All information that is to go into the town report is due by November 30. Lois mentioned looking at going back to the smaller books, prices will be compared. Sheila will look into getting a bulk mailing permit. Ben has offered to proof the reports, and has road photos for consideration of inclusion.
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7.4 Regarding vacant road crew position, AJ said the general consensus is if they don’t find someone before snow, they think they can handle it. Budgeted for 2.5 crew. Mike will be our 2nd full time. We currently have two applications. Town can hire temporary seasonal help if need to.
7.5 Harry had sent the board the Demolition and Site Stabilization RFP (request for proposal) for the Woodchuck Hollow (Buswell) property, looking for their input. Different sections were modified to fit the town’s requirements. Discussion of removing the new septic and pump tank for use on town property in the future. Will be reviewed and put out to bids.
7.6 TAP grant will not be pursued for a possible salt shed due to it being an 80/20 grant and unable to count in-kind, and can’t use other federal money to match the grant. The timeline is 3-5 years before construction.
7.7 Town hall building maintenance issues were discussed last week between Sheila, Harry and Lois. Harry has three bids to upgrade the security systems and will review and choose one. Sheila wants the building exterior power-washed before winter. Bids will be put out as road crew will not have time. Fred repaired the ramp, and Scott will cut plywood for the door lips.
7.8 Elwin and AJ has discussed the bridge repair on Firehouse Lane. Potholes need to be patched, and while Elwin would like to address this before winter AJ doesn’t see that happening. Fred agrees that it needs attention due to road deterioration, needs paving.
7.9 Vermont 250th Anniversary Commission invited all towns to commemorate historic events associated with the American Revolution, by adopting a resolution to be part of the commission. The board members have too many time constraints, and Lois will put information on social media to see if any community members/friends want to form a committee and plan activities for Washington. State wide commemorations will begin in 2025 and finish in 2027.
- The next scheduled regular meeting is December 5, 2023, 6:30 p.m. at the town hall.
AJ made the motion to adjourn at 7:53 p.m., 2nd by Fred, carried by ayes.
This is a draft subject to amendment/approval at the next regular selectboard meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Lois Deberville