February 4, 2008
Attending the meeting: Rob Bast, Jon Trefry, Randy Volk, Andrea Morgante, Howard Russell, Jeanne Wilson, Rocky Martin, Mike Weisel, Bobbi Jo Maglaris, Rodman Cory, Tom Ayer, Jennifer Hunter, Ken Brown, Frank Koss, Jean Isham, Del Blanck, Bob Blanck, Al Barber, Wayne Bissonette, Brett Grabowski, Carl Lisman, Lance Llewellyn, Chris Morrell.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m.
Andrea made a motion that the Board go into executive session with Rocky Martin, Mike Weisel and Jeanne Wilson to discuss legal/contract issues. Seconded by Randy and approved.
Howard made a motion that the Board come out of executive session. Seconded by Jon and approved.
Creekside Developer Brett Grabowski / Discussion of Drainage Issue on Farmall Drive and Project Escrow: Rob advised that there is a drainage problem on Farmall Drive that needs to be resolved, and that the Town would not accept the development roads until the drainage problem was corrected. Rob advised that the Selectboard wanted a surety in the amount of $106,980 as outlined in the escrow agreement. Whether the letter of credit that Brett had with the bank had expired was irrelevant. Brett has a contract with the Town.
Brett advised that the roads were built according to the design, and that the Town’s engineer had not indicated that there was a problem with the plans. Rob advised that Brett is responsible for the work of the designers and engineers that he hires.
Brett advised that he had provided the opportunity to correct the issue. He hired ST Paving and spent $15,000 for them to correct several areas in the pavement, however they were prevented from doing repairs to the area in question by Town staff. He advised that it would cost $20,000 - $25,000 to install a catch basin, but would have only been around $2,000 to allow ST Paving to fix the area. Jon advised that the Board wanted the road to drain properly. The Board was not concerned with how the issue was corrected, and if Brett could fix it for $2,000 the Board was fine with that solution. Brett advised that he would come up with a solution that would work, most likely not a catch basin.
Rob advised that there was a problematic situation with Farmall Drive due to the vertical curve of the road. He suggested that the reason Town staff recommended not allowing ST Paving to mill the section in question was because they felt it would not correct the problem and be a waste of Brett’s money. Brett advised that the milling and re-paving was good enough for the rest of the road, and would have corrected the problem. He did not believe the problem was significant and puddles were normally gone by the next day.
Town Engineer Mike Weisel advised that he was present the day the milling was being done. He reported that the operator of the milling equipment convinced him and Rocky that it was a futile effort to mill the area in question because it was too flat. The operator advised them that shimming with pavement was not going to work. He confirmed that they did tell the operator not to mill the area, but it was because of the operator’s recommendation.
Brett said that the road was well constructed, and better than any other road in the Town. Howard said that he was sure Brett was correct that there were roads in worse condition. However, the
difference is that the Town is being asked to take over these development roads. The Town expects roads to be taken over by the Town to meet the Town standards. It would not be fiscally responsible to take over road with drainage problems. Howard noted that maybe the Town needs to up the level of scrutiny used by our engineers to review plans at the developers cost. Perhaps the Selectboard should instruct the DRB to up the level of scrutiny.
Brett advised that there were potential problems with fixing the area. It is very difficult to adequately compact the repaired area to safe guard against future problems. Howard said that the Town just wanted it fixed, and if Brett tried something and it didn’t work he will be asked to fix it again.
Randy asked if the conversation could return to the surety. Randy said it was his understanding that the surety was to stay in place until the end of the warranty period. Brett said that it is the bank’s understanding that the escrow amount is in place to ensure that all the things get done. Rob said he did not understand how the escrow could be set up such that only Brett and the bank decide when the project is complete, without input from the Town. Brett asked why the Town needed the surety. Randy said it doesn’t matter what it is for; what matters is that the agreement states that the surety is to be in place through the completion of the warranty period.
Brett said that there needs to be an understanding of what the surety is for. Howard asked how the Town was supposed to pay to fix things that were not done correctly without the surety. Brett said that is not what the surety is for. The road is naturally going to change; those natural changes are not part of the warranty. Brett advised that he did not have the money to provide a $106,980 surety. He said that if this were the Town’s expectation he would never have signed the agreement. Rob said that if the Board had realized that the Town didn’t have a say in when the surety was no longer needed the Town would not have signed the agreement.
Jon said that the Town needs enough of a surety to be able to fix problems during the warranty period. Brett advised that he would work with Mike Weisel and Rocky to come up with a fix and then come up with an amount of surety that everyone can agree upon. He felt that it was possible to come to some sort of agreement, and a solution that would not cost $25,000. He said that he would work with Mike and Rocky and return to the Board with a proposed solution and cost, plus the cost of other work that still needs to be completed.
Frank Koss asked for a timeline on the process, and Brett advised that he would start the following day. Frank advised that he viewed the $106,980 as an insurance policy for the Creekside residents and he thanked the Board for protecting their interests.
Wayne Bissonette / Discussion of Wastewater Treatment Capacity for Potential Development by Blodgett Oven / SW Corner of Shelburne Falls Road and Route 116: Wayne advised that Blodgett Oven had approached him about the possibility of building a 250,000 square foot facility on his parcel on Shelburne Falls Road. Blodgett Oven needs to sell their current property first, so these are just preliminary discussions. Wayne does not know at this time what amount of wastewater treatment capacity would be required. Rob said he felt it would be a good fit for Hinesburg, but there is currently not adequate capacity. It would need to be determined how to make it work.
Andrea stated that this type of development would substantially change what was envisioned for
the expansion of the zoning district. Therefore, the Town may not need as much capacity as earlier projected – this industrial development would likely use less treatment capacity than an equal area of residential development.
Jon said he was eager to support such a project. Rocky advised that the collection system would need to be upgraded. Howard said it was important to have discussions with the Planning Commission, since their input would be wanted. This type of development would be a reduction in the amount of residential development, but people need a place to live. Where would that required residential development occur?
Randy said that Blodgett should meet with the Planning Commission. Rob said, while he thought this was a great idea, the Town would not want to introduce unanticipated problems, so it needs to be approached cautiously and in a well-thought out manner.
Wayne asked if he should arrange for someone from Blodgett to meet with the Selectboard. Andrea suggested that a joint meeting with both the Selectboard and the Planning Commission would be best.
Howard said that the Town needs to consider the implications if Blodgett does not stay in Hinesburg. That is why it needs to be thought through carefully and why the Planning Commission needs to be involved. The Town would want restrictions on what the facility can be used for in the event that Blodgett does not stay, to ensure that the development continues to meet the goals of the Town Plan.
Correspondence from Wayne Bissonette / Waiver of Fee for Hines Cemetery Lot Subdivision: The Board received a letter from Wayne Bissonette asking the Board to consider waiving the $200 fee to be paid by the Trust for Public Land associated with the subdivision that adds a parcel of land to the Hines Cemetery. Andrea said she is supportive of the idea, but is concerned that it sets a precedent. Will this action potentially obligate the Town to always waive the portion of a fee for anything that is to become public? Howard felt that it needed to be clearly articulated under what circumstances the Board would consider a waiver of fees – for only the part of the project that fills a Town need or meets a Town goal, not for entire PRD’s. Howard made a motion that the Board vote to waive the subdivision fee for the parcel to be added to the Hines Cemetery on Gilman Road. Seconded by Randy and approved.
Approval of Warrants: Jon moved that the Board vote to approve the warrants (including payroll warrants) for bills payable as presented by the Town Treasurer. Seconded by Andrea and approved.
Minutes of January 21, 2008: Howard moved that the Board vote to approve the minutes of January 21, 2008 as corrected. Seconded by Jon and approved, with Andrea abstaining.
Trial Balances for Water & Wastewater and General Fund Accounts for Period Ending 1/31/08: Howard moved that the Board vote to acknowledge receipt of the trial balances for the Water & Wastewater and General Fund accounts for the period ending 1/31/08. Seconded by Randy and approved.
Discussion of Vermont Education Finance & Property Tax Reform Resolution: At the 1/21 meeting, the Board reviewed a resolution supported by the VLCT Board of Directors regarding Vermont Education Finance and Property Tax Reform. The Board was not inclined to adopt the resolution as presented, and Jeanne reported that the Towns of Manchester and Winhall had adopted a different version of the resolution and provided the Board with the revised version, as follows:
Vermont Education Finance and Property Tax Reform Resolution
WHEREAS: Vermont’s hybrid system of State- and locally-controlled education finance is not working, proven by the complicated and expensive changes enacted almost yearly into law;
WHEREAS: Each year more State control of the education system is either enacted into law or discussed under the guise of controlling costs, hoping to make the system work better or making it less complex, and this process will continue each year under our current education funding law, without ever producing any meaningful reform;
WHEREAS: The complexity of Act 60/68 and the associated lack of clear accountability are the ultimate drivers behind the explosive growth in the education costs;
RESOLVED: The Administration, Legislature and Vermonters should identify and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of breaking from Act 60/68;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: There needs to be public discussion and a meaningful debate with the goal of moving to a new model while maintaining our commitment to a substantially equal educational opportunity for all Vermont students
I move that the Board vote to adopt the resolution on Vermont Education Finance and Property Tax Reform as presented above, with copies to be sent to our legislators, the governor and VLCT.
Andrea advised that she was not comfortable with putting all the blame for the “explosive costs in education costs” on Act 60/68. Howard said that the resolution as revised only stated something that the legislature is already aware of. He felt the resolution does not do anything. Rob said that the resolution did acknowledge that there is a problem and that it should be discussed. Rob said that it is difficult to understand Act 60/68. Jon said they are very complex laws, and that is unfortunate. It would be nice to have a simple method that provided equitable education funding. Jon said that he would not discourage trying to find a simpler methodology, and he would be supportive of writing a letter instead of adopting the resolution. The Board decided not to take any action at this time.
Discussion of Regional Dispatch Investigation / Draft MOU: Burlington PD has spearheaded an effort to discuss regional dispatching for police and emergency services within Chittenden County. A Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted, which asks each participating community to contribute an amount of $.50 per capita as their portion of the study. Al Barber advised that the County Sheriff’s Department was the only entity who was enabled to provide county-wide dispatch. He noted that this issue has been looked at twice before without resolution. He questioned why Hinesburg should pay to help Burlington PD solve their problems.
He advised that Hinesburg was already a part of a regional dispatch through Shelburne dispatch. The Board determined that it was not clear that this expenditure would result in any benefit given past history, and that participating was not in the Town’s best interest at this time.
Discussion of Meeting Date for PD Strategic Plan Review: The Board decided to schedule a discussion of the PD Strategic Plan for the February 18 meeting.
Request to Serve Alcohol at Fire Station / Kim Conant for Wedding Reception on June 14, 2008: Andrea moved that the Board vote to approve the request by Kim Conant for permission to serve alcohol at a wedding reception at the fire station on June 14, 2008 from 3:00 pm to midnight, subject to the following conditions:
A responsible person over 21 years of age will be designated to be “in charge” of the event and to monitor alcohol use at the event to ensure theat there is not underage drinking and that intoxicated persons do not drive; and
A “Don’t Drink and Drive” poster shall be posted at the entrance to the event, naming the responsible person and offering the services of the responsible person to arrange safe trips home.
Motion seconded by Jon and approved.
Police Chief Chris Morrell / Personnel Discussion: Andrea moved that the Board go into executive session with Chris Morrell to discuss personnel issues. Seconded by Jon and approved.
Andreas moved that the Board come out of executive session. Seconded by Jon and approved.
Discussion of Zoning Appeal / Representation for Mediation: The Board discussed the Bedard zoning appeal to Environmental Court, specifically preparations for mediation. The Board decided that Alex Weinhagen should represent the Town in the mediation, but that Alex will need to keep the Board apprised and communicate so that the Board can make decisions. The Board further decided that the Town was agreeable to paying for half of the cost for a mediator.
Declaration of “Douglas Lantman Day” / February 10, 2008: Hinesburg resident Douglas Lantman turns 80 years old on February 10, 2008. His relatives have asked the Board to consider approving a motion to declare this day “Official Douglas Lantman Day”. Andrea moved that the Board vote to sign a resolution declaring February 10, 2008 the “Official Douglas Lantman Day” in Hinesburg. Seconded by Jon and approved.
Other Board Member Items: Howard asked whether the Board would be agreeable to dividing up department budgets for Town Meeting, so that each Board member could become well versed in a portion of the budget, instead of attempting to be experts on everything, and instead of deferring to Jeanne for information. Randy questioned whether the current method was broken.
Andrea stated that she felt it should be a future goal to complete a strategic plan for the Highway Department, similar to what has been completed for the Police Department. This process can begin with the work that is in the budget for Mike Weisel to begin an evaluation of the gravel roads.
March Meeting Schedule: Due to Town Meeting on March 3rd, the Board agreed to hold a regular Selectboard meeting on March 10th and to hold March 24th as a tentative meeting date, if necessary.
Legal / Contract Discussion: Howard moved that the Board vote to go into executive session to discuss legal and contract issues. Seconded by Randy and approved.
Howard moved that the Board vote to come out of executive session. Seconded by Randy and approved.
Outgoing Correspondence: The Board signed a letter to VTrans Secretary Neale Lunderville regarding funding for the Recreation Path Project.
Jon made a motion that the Board vote to adjourn at 10:45 pm. Seconded by Howard and approved.
Jeanne Kundell Wilson