Special Meeting, July 20, 2023
Selectboard members present: Fred Blanchard, Sheila Duranleau (Chair), AJ Galfetti
Employees/elected officials present: Josh Bell (Tree Warden), Peter Carbee (Planning, CVRPC, TAC), Lois Deberville (Town Clerk), Harry Roush (Assistant Town Clerk/Lister) Anna Strong (Treasurer), Ben Tiefenthaler (Town FEMA Administrator)
Visitors signed in: Larry McIntyre, Gayle Callahan, Joe Callahan, Billy Donovan, J Lambert, Jennifer Lambert, Ethan Pratt, Dwayne Braman, Mark Foster, Ethan Hubbard, Andrea Poulin, Representative Carl Demrow
Via Zoom: Cheri, Rick, Sarah Teel, Diane Donovan, Joan, Harlan Smith, Kara, Dana Teel, Rick
1. Chair called meeting to order at 6:31 p.m.
2. Adjustments to the agenda: discussions on what will be added, as follows
3. Adopt minutes from previous meeting:
Chair: suggests deleting the end of the sentence that started with ‘Josh turned in his town keys and quit’ as it was not caught on the tape so it was in dispute. Also, while they were in the executive session and Chair came out to get her computer, Nick told her the truck will be in the yard in the morning. Chair did not realize that meant he quit.
Chair recommends they rescind his termination of employment and accept his resignation.
AJ made motion to rescind termination of Nick Benoit as highway foreman, 2nd by Fred, carried by ayes.
Fred made motion to accept resignation of both Nick Benoit and Josh Bell, 2nd by Fred, carried by ayes.
AJ made motion to accept minutes from previous meeting minutes of July 13, 2023, with above revisions. 2nd by Fred. Carried by ayes.
4. Discuss damage assessment and next steps:
4.1 Chair was charged with asking Sullivan Powers & Co to help with the damage reporting. SP said they could help with the final submission of the report but not be the boots on the ground. Board has
hired Ben Tiefenthaler to be the town’s FEMA administrator.
He has been charged with collecting the appropriate documentation for the initial emergency work (“Category A” through FEMA) and he has connected with contractors and AJ. The town will not get reimbursed without the proper documentation. The next stage will be not emergency, will be the temporary work.
Ethan Hubbard: Lives on Doyle Road and it’s really washed out; they are getting by. They have not photographed the road, is it up to the residents?
Chair: it is not.
AJ: the team was out there looking at the road.
Hubbard: Hart Hollow is beautiful, is really great.
4.2 Chair: the assessment they did this week with Carl (Demrow) and the technician from the Agency of Transportation, Macaden Lyford,- they spent 5.5 hours driving around. Macaden has special software that will eventually give us money amount of what they estimate the damage to be. Do we need more signs or cones?
AJ: Notch and Stellar.
Billy Donovan: he has put a barricade at one end of Notch Road.
Lois: Work Safe in Barre has two signs that were ordered and are now ready for pickup, Peter offered to pick them up.
Ben: speaking with Jeff Moran today who has done some work, Jeff had asked if there are minimum weight restrictions on the temporary bridges i.e.: Johnson Lane.
AJ: 16,000 pounds for wood deck bridge is pretty standard, should get some signs made
Ben: will tag the bridges
AJ: tag Poor Farm the same
Chair: tag the ones we asked for inspections on?
AJ: we can wait to see what they come back with, the Poor Farm should be tagged
Billy: is this job a federal or town?
Chair: town position that we will seek FEMA reimbursement for, category Z position
4.3 Ryan Bresette has resigned as town Emergency Management Coordinator. Fred said he would fill that position.
Peter: Level 100 certificate online two-hour training, Fred would do this.
AJ made motion to appoint Fred as EMC, 2nd by Sheila, carried by ayes.
Peter: also there is a regional committee that he himself is part of, as was Ryan, they meet quarterly
4.4 Financing options: Chair has been contacted by Community National Bank about a 12 month note to borrow on to bridge the gap before FEMA reimbursements. Also: VSECU offering options. Our bank is Northfield so if they have something that is comparable we would probably go with them. (depending on interest rates)
AJ: we may need more than one.
Anna: any bank in Vermont would be willing to work with what we need. The three banks she contacted cannot give her an interest rate. They will be particularly low.
4.5 Chair: email from Sam Church CVRPC looking for general assessment of damage. We don’t have that information right now.
Peter: inventory of culverts about 75% done. FEMA will want the coordinates.
Carl: cc him on it
Billy asked if FEMA is 100% or cost sharing?
Chair: in VT Digger she found article that FEMA will cover 100% of Vermont ‘emergency protective measures’ for 30 days, does not cover rebuilding and debris management. We still need to see what will be covered.
Dwayne Braman suggested using a professional photographer for damages. Suggested Brandon Poulin who does it as a business.
AJ: Harry had suggested we have some arial drone footage, Fred agreed.
Larry McIntyre: who to speak to about specific culvert (Creamery RD). Concern is will it be replaced with something bigger down the road. Fred will keep an eye on it, he will look at it.
Lois: emergency management contacted us that FEMA will bring their mobile unit to town as soon as Orange Country is declared an emergency, workers will assist residents with paperwork.
Chair: Spots? (for drone picture)
AJ: Notch, South Poor Farm, Williamstown, Stellar, MacDonald
Fred: there’s a picture of a woman in Stellar and it’s over her head, 7 feet deep
Ben: explained an iPhone app that will add GPS coordinates and a title block on each photo taken
Dwayne said drone photos have those options.
Chair: board will reach out to Brandon and see about him doing drone pictures.
4.6 McDonald Road:
Chair: Michelle Redmond (AOT) said we should use FEMA funds to repair this instead of proceeding with our grant project. She said we could use the grant funds for other places potentially, and she also asked are we requesting a temporary bridge.
Fred: is she saying we put the big pipe in with FEMA funds?
AJ: doesn’t think they (FEMA) will pay for that or the headwall
Fred: we can fix it with FEMA stuff and then have the job done in about a month
AJ: they are still going to pay out the grants so the only thing we are lacking is extra road material, is thinking do the grant and have something that will make it through the next flood.
Chair: proceed with pre-bid meeting?
Discussion re: temporary fix vs doing the grant work on culvert, separate the work, have contractor who wins the bid to put temporary culvert in with gravel over it, then use FEMA funds (gravel) and culvert, then the project proceeds after that with all the gravel paid by FEMA. Sounds reasonable to Carl. Pre-bid meeting will be on as scheduled.
4.7 Bridge inspections: Chair had requested (on Tuesday) the inspections of bridges at intersection at Hands Mill Dam (West Corinth and Woodchuck Hollow), Johnson Lane, South Poor Farm RD. Hands Mill bridge does not need tagging.
Fred: want to put guardrails back up at South Poor Farm Road? AJ and Fred agreed to put back up due to drop there.
4.8 Hydraulic Study: Chair requested on Tuesday hydraulic study (Page 5-Draft)
(to Keith Friesland) on bottom of Sky Acres, bottom of South Poor Farm Road, Williamstown Road, Notch Road, bottom of Stellar Road.
AJ: Natural Resource Atlas will pull up coordinates.
Dwayne: is there a plan for permanent fix.
AJ: yes, hydraulic study (and bridge study: Chair)
Chair: the culverts replaced after Irene held up mostly well, with updated standards the next new ones should hold up. Keith will be in town tomorrow, Fred will meet up with him to look at different roads
Anna: explained about ERAF (Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund) and feels we will have to incur lots of expenses.
4.9 Federal government payout: discussed in 4.5
4.10 Hands Mill Dam: Casey, the point person for the dam work, was at the dam with her crew, (Tuesday) and had met up with the town group and will get back to us with their recommendations. She will send her information back to Harry.
4.11 Road Commissioner:
AJ: Fred made motion to appoint Jesse Lambert as road commissioner, 2nd by AJ.
Chair: reservations not about skill or knowledge, road commissioner represents the town and has to have positive relationship with residents even in very difficult situations. Asked him if he is up to it.
Jesse: will do his best, can’t guarantee anything in life.
Chair addressed his professional skills as being top notch, relationships with community are just as important, Jesse agreed.
Jesse: what do duties entail, AJ said go through the applications, he’s hired someone already to drive truck. He’s (the driver) updating AJ every night, town won’t have a foreman for a while.
Peter read the state duties of the road commissioner.
Jesse: road commissioner is like middle man between selectboard and the road crew and the public, level out the edges and keep things moving and organized.
Fred made motion to appoint Jesse Lambert as road commissioner, 2nd by AJ, carried by ayes.
Andrea Poulin: a town official needs to sign Servpro’s paperwork, they are at the library right now. Chair will do so after the meeting.
4.12 Road crew applications:
Chair: AJ as highway supervisor and Jesse have the authority to go through the applications and make offers of hire.
Billy; what is typical size of road crew?
AJ: 2.5 = two full, one part time, thinks should look at 3 full time when they (the board) does the re-budget.
4.13 Credit card for town:
AJ: for garage and maybe one for the office, simplify all the credit apps, can get a business card with rewards.
Anna: town doesn’t have one, could do debit or credit.
Harry: right now, we show our tax-exempt number, (however) for Amazon we would have to pay sales tax.
Anna: can fill out S-3 online (to be exempt from sales tax)
4.14 State surplus flatbed trailer in PA:
AJ: this is to put the chloride tank on instead of rotting out a dump body, should be purchased for the cost of paperwork (@$500), Lois to call Bellavance to see if can bring it on a load back, and call the surplus place to see if it’s still available and get the final price.
4.15 Bernard Levesque: had shared concerns with Lois regarding 725 Creamery Road, AJ suggested a site visit with Fred and Mr. Levesque.
AJ: met with the state, need to get the next flood measure permits, he will work on it with his contact, needs for FEMA reimbursement, allows town to do the initial work. (Department of Conservation.)
Peter: per Myers a 5-day rental is $895.00 and covers up to 2000 pounds of trash. Anything above is $225/ton.
Jennifer suggested Giroux in Orange.
Peter: recommends finding somebody, Myers is about sixty 30 gallons bags/ton. We could pay the garbage to go in (for example Tiny’s). Need to advertise it, have set hours, just storm debris.
Dwayne offered as option Thad Blaisdell in Barre Town.
Should be covered by FEMA, Lois and Peter will look for local people and more reasonable prices.
Billy: when they did the walk around, did they go up Notch Road? Chair: absolutely. Billy: …could talk about doing some cost-sharing (for work done by land owners) at end of Notch Road. In talking about planning/oversizing culverts, can this be worked into our thinking.
AJ: FEMA pretty strict, can replace same but not better (re: culverts)
Peter explained that we would likely pay the entire bill if we don’t go by FEMA specs.
Billy: what was source of failure on Williamstown and Notch.
Fred: the beaver dam broke, plugged culverts
Harry: grand list book – state generated non-homestead school tax rate = $1.58.18. Homestead school tax rate = $1.34.16, veterans’ exemption = .0013, municipal = 61¢.
Last year municipal was 69.16¢. Veterans was .003, we lost a couple of disabled vets last year. Overall municipal tax rate dropped 8¢, state tax went up but was expected. State on homestead last year was 1.16, this year 1.34. Non resident last year $1.59.87, this year is $1.58.18, overall the tax rate is less than last year.
Harry asked board to approve tax rates for municipal at 0.61¢, and veterans’ exemption of .0013¢.
Fred made motion to adopt municipal tax rate of 0.61¢ and veterans’ at .0013¢, 2nd by AJ, carried by ayes.
AJ made motion to adjourn at 7:47 pm, 2nd by Fred, carried by ayes.
Lois Deberville, Town Clerk