• Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

  • Town of Weathersfield, Vermont

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Select Board

Martin Memorial Hall

5259 Route 5, Ascutney VT

Monday, June 4, 2018

7:00 PM

Regular Meeting


Select Board Members Present: N. John Arrison

Daniel Boyer

Tom Leach

Kelly Murphy

Select Board Members Absent: C. Peter Cole

Ed Morris, Town Manager

Others Present:

Bob Forguites

Nick Stapleton

Dick McCormack

Rick Bates

Darlene Kelly

Macey Shand

Ray Stapleton

David Fuller

Call to Order
Ms. Murphy called the meeting to order at 7:00PM. She said the agenda would be re-arranged a bit to accommodate the number of guests at the meeting and a presentation scheduled for 7:30 PM. (Please note: the minutes do not reflect the order in which the items were discussed. They are in the order of the agenda.)

Comments from Select Board and Town Manager
Mr. Leach commented on the fire that occurred the previous evening. He made an appeal for new volunteer members.

Mr. Morris introduced Nick Stapleton, a recent graduate of Keene State College with a degree in political science. Nick will be interning with Mr. Morris this summer. He will assist with research and land use planning. Jason Rasmussen will introduce him to some regional projects as well. The Board extended a warm welcome.

Comments from Citizens on topics not on the agenda
There were no comments from citizens.

Review minutes from previous meetings – 5/21/2018

Corrections as noted in packet
Motion: Accept as amended

Made by: Mr. Leach Second: Mr. Boyer

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Update on Cell Tower Camouflage (Cont. from 5/7/2018)
Dick McCormack and Bill Forguites were present to hear the board's concerns and inquire as to how they could help. Representative Annmarie Christenson and Senators Alison Clarkson and Alice Nitka are all aware of the Town's concerns, but were unable to attend the meeting.

Ms. Murphy read a letter that had just been received from (?) regarding the previously promised modifications (2016) that had not been done due to “unforeseen circumstances”. The letter claimed that the modifications would be installed by SBA this summer. Copies of the letter were sent to the VT Public Utilities Commission, Judith Whitney as clerk.

Mr. Arrison thanked Dick and Bob for coming to the meeting. He said that the tower that was constructed didn't look anything like what SBA had presented to the Town and despite repeated efforts of the town and the PUC, the tower was never improved as promised.

Mr. McCormack asked if the Town would accept a plain pole if SBA cannot make it look like a tree. Mr. Arrison said they should make it look like what they presented during the permitting.

Mr. Forguites suggested writing back to SBA acknowledging the proposed improvements and stating how much we look forward to seeing them happen this summer. Copying all relevant parties plus the legislators will alert SBA that more people are now aware of the situation. Ms. Murphy agreed and said the presence of Mr. Forguites and Mr. McCormack at this meeting should also be cited in the response letter.

Mr. Arrison voiced his frustration that SBA couldn't co-locate their equipment on the Verizon tower south of Ascutney. He felt the State should be aware of the fact that the two towers are so close together. He acknowledged however that the demand for uniform cell coverage usually drives the proliferation of towers.

Mr. McCormack and Mr. Forguites promised they would help as much as possible. They asked to be kept informed of future developments. The board thanked them for attending the meeting.

Ribbon Cutting
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will held on June 23rd at 1:00 PM.

Use of Reserves
Mr. Bates said there were unexpected expenses during the construction:

Hurricane Irma caused an increase in the cost of some of the supplies;
the foundation was harder to cut through than anticipated;
squaring up the interior for the foundation to create the room wall was more difficult than anticipated;
the contractor thought the basement would be just a basement; the trustees thought they had contracted to have an office created there; additional cost was incurred to make the office;
additional funds are needed to replace the carpeting in the existing library. (Carpeting/flooring in the addition will be paid for out of the fund-raising funds.)
Motion: Release from the library reserves $6889.41 for installation of new carpet.

Note: this is to fund carpet replacement in the main room and the fireplace room.

(There is currently more than $26,000 in the reserve account.)

Made by: Mr. Arrison Second: Mr. Leach

Mr. Arrison asked if there was a contingency on the contract. Mr. Bates said he couldn't answer the question as he could not remember. He said they were withholding final payment until the punch list is done. He said the painters would be in this week to do the touch work.

Ms. Shand said they are very happy with the project and that they had ended up with more room than they had anticipated thanks in part to the reconfiguration of the furnace room. They are thinking of adding a genealogy/historical research room in the basement.

Vote on the motion: Unanimous in favor

Website Presentation and Approval (Scheduled for 7:30)
This presentation did not happen.

Mr. Morris described the process he went through to arrive at his choice of Revise for website provider for the Town.

A complete presentation of the proposal was included in the board's packet.

At 9:30 PM, the following motion was made:

Motion: To carry on with the meeting for 9 more minutes

Made by: Mr. Leach Second: Mr. Boyer

Vote: 3 yes, 1 no

Mr. Morris described some of the features of the Revise proposal - the agenda center which would be a huge time-saver; online applications; online bill pay; simultaneous publishing on the website and Facebook, It will take 12-16 weeks to get the site up and running. The site would be hosted on 14 different servers across the country for security. The proposed cost is within the budget.

Motion: To approve the Town Manager signing a 5-year contract with Revise in the amount $5750 with the costs to be broken over two years with a continuing $1800 a year service contract.

Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Arrison

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Request Large Gathering Permit/David & Candy Fuller (Cont. from 5/21/2018)
Mr. Fuller had continued to work on developing the plans for the event. He discussed with the board a list of proposed conditions.

Chief Daniels suggested contacting CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to assist with traffic control. He recommended that all traffic enter and exit the event via Lottery Lane and Route 106.

It is still unknown how many people may be attending this event.

Local and regional law enforcement will be available as needed. CERT can assist with this as well. The State Police will be notified.

Motion: To approve the Large Assembly permit for Dave and Candy Fuller for their event to be hosted on July 28, 2018 with the following conditions (as outlined in Dave's letter) (Ed will forward conditions):

$20 per car admission fee

2 or 3 security people walking around with authority to address a potential problem

parking attendants directing cars

roped off fields to contain cars

fire/ambulance lane at junction Lottery Lane--Little Ascutney Rd---
field entrance entrance/exit sign

trash containers
some kind of stage/tent for shade

public encouraged to have their own lawn chairs

no alcohol served

4 regular porta-pottys 1 handicapped

entrance/exit to event at location on map

Made by: Mr. Arrison Second: Mr. Boyer

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Fire Department Matrix (Cont. from 5/21/2018)
A new column was added to the matrix entitled, “Select Board designates entity initial discussion and/or action for completion”. The board was asked to determine where a discussion on each item would start – select board, fire commission, or fire departments.

Fire Departments. Create response guidelines and mutual SOGs that include OSHA guidelines and NFPA recommendations.
Select Board and Fire Commission, with Fire Commission facilitating. Good inventories from both departments are needed. The board should get the Fire Commission to push this. Mr. Morris said he wanted to see plans created addressing fire services for a town our size and geography in accordance with NFPA. The process should think of the town as a whole and not as individual departments. The boards should meet simultaneously.
Select Board.
(It was agreed to combine #4 with #1.)
Fire Departments. Quarterly training was suggested as well as joint trainings at the school, on the interstate, and at a house fire. It is important to learn each others personalities in a non-emergency situation.
Select Board, Fire Commission and Departments. Combine this with #2 and get buy-in from the Board and Fire Commission. Ask for input from the departments.
Select Board. A purchasing policy revision will be discussed at the next meeting that may address this. This can only address purchases made using town money. The two private non-profits have their own assets and can make purchases as they see fit. However anything purchased with non-profit funds can be addressed by the town if the purchase must be maintained or insured by the town. Communication needs to be stressed throughout this process.
Either decide to have a full municipal department or a contract for services that does not involve town management beyond an annual check. Ultimately it will be the townspeople who make this decision. There is much data that must be provided to allow for an informed choice. The townspeople will want to have service that meets their expectations, but that may be difficult to define and beyond what can be afforded. The definition of level of service must be determined by the Select Board. The desired level of service must then match the funding the town can provide – a pertinent discussion for every department in town.
This was combined with #1.
Fire Commission as redefined.
Fire Commission
Select Board
Select Board
Select Board. This has already been done. Improvement to the ISO rating is dependent upon the town's water supply. The town needs to find the level that's right for the town.
Ms. Murphy will turn these points into action steps. She said she didn't want to present this matrix to the Fire Commission on her own. She would rather representatives of the departments come to a Board meeting. The other members of the Fire Commission would be welcomed to attend as well. The Board would go through the matrix and explain the Board's rationale behind each decision. The Board should clearly define the purpose of the meeting.

There was much discussion as to the role of the Fire Commission and what it is being asked to do. Mr. Morris said the Commission works for the Board – they are doing work for the Board. They need guidance from the Board as to what the Board wants to have done.

Ms. Murphy asked for input from the Board as to what should be done first. Mr. Leach wants to see the SOGs “across the board” to start. Mr. Morris said this was a good topic to start the fire departments on. Mr. Boyer said the Select Board could start on redefining the role of the Fire Commission. Mr. Arrison suggested having the Fire Commission start on the single report per incident task.

The next meeting of the Fire Commission is set for June 11th at 7PM at WWVFD.

Mr. Morris said the board should decide on the level of service and what it wants to do before it redefines anyone's roles because the decision will affect everything else. He said he felt this was the number thing the board needed to do.

Compensation Plan Introduction (Cont. from 5/21/2018)
The purpose of a compensation plan is to:

show that the Town of Weathersfield values their employees;
attract qualified employees;
reduce the cost of recruitment;
ensure direct benefit to the Town through annual performance reviews;
motivate and recognize employees for their performance, and
maintain fair and equitable treatment of employees (anti-discrimination).
Cost of Turnover is 1.5% - 2% of the employee's salary (Huffington Post) and is not shown in the budget. There are multiple additional “costs” to the workforce and the institution resulting from a high turnover rate.

Process: Mr. Morris identified 14 towns that are similar to Weathersfield. He emailed each of them and received responses from six of them. These six towns became “peer towns” with whom Mr. Morris has been regularly communicating (Windsor, Putney, Hartland, Pittsford, Hyde Park and Westminster).

He built a spread sheet matrix based on the VLCT compensation study, confirmed numbers received from the peer towns, and Mr. Morris's personal experiences.

The matrix is designed to incorporate the annual COLA, which is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for the Northeast Region. It is based on the Town's fiscal year using data that's available at the end of June each year. Mr. Morris suggested capping the COLA at 3%.

Once a plan is in place, it should be adhered to consistently. Any deviations from it should be discussed by the board.

The matrix is designed to call for a full compensation study and consequent update every five years.

Mr. Morris wants to create a positional ladder system in the Highway Department.

At 9:00 PM, the Board motioned the following:

Motion: To continue the select board meeting to 9:30

Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Leach

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Mr. Morris presented a matrix that he said he has been unofficially working with.

Grades are broken down by average pay for each position. Wages are fairly close to where they should be for most positions.

It takes close to seven years to bring an employee to their best potential.

Steps will be used for annual raises.

There needs to be a way to elevate those who do exemplary work, possibly a double step raise. It's not something that will happen very often.

Annual Evaluation Process: Employees will be evaluated annually and the results will be submitted to the employee, the employee's supervisor and the Town Manager and become part of the employee's personnel file.

Purpose of Annual Evaluation: The real purpose is to open up communication on a variety of topics and to strengthen the relationship.

Rating System: Mr. Morris expects the employees to be at the “Meets Expectations” level most of the time. There needs to be ample documentation to support variations.

Goals: setting reasonable goals with measurable time lines;

SMART – Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Results-Oriented; Time-bound

Scoring and Performance Raise: goals have assigned point values

Mr. Morris will distribute the power point presentation to board members for further discussion.

Award FY2019 Crushed Gravel Bid
Five bids were received in response to the RFP. The bid opening was held on May 24th. Butch Wilson had the lowest bid.

Motion: To award the contract to Butch Wilson for the FY2019 gravel contract at a price of $14.45 a yard delivered.

Made by: Mr. Boyer Second: Mr. Leach

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Discuss Town Manager - Selectboard Communications
Ms. Murphy said this was prompted by a “heads-up” that one of our select board members got after the fact from the community. She called for a brief conversation about what “filters through - what the select board members want to be able to hear immediately from the town manager without bogging him down”. She asked each board member to state what it is they would like to hear – events, examples of what they want to be notified of.

Mr. Arrison: said he was uncomfortable when a citizen asks him about something that seems relatively important and he hasn't yet heard about it. Examples: hirings, firings and people that have quit; injuries on the job with lost time; accidents involving town vehicles; use of force by the police department; high speed chases.

Mr, Morris said he calls when it's something “big” (high speed chase that involves a crash) otherwise he will email.

Mr. Boyer: Dog bites

Mr. Morris said there are lots of dog bites. He'll alert the board if it is particularly vicious or something the board will have to act on.

Mr. Morris asked the board members to tell him when they hear about something, because he doesn't always know if something has happened.

Ms. Murphy commented on the vagaries of the community rumor mill. She said she did not want to see an article in the newspaper about something she knows nothing about. She said if a reporter calls and a board member says, “No comment”, that reporter is likely to call other board members looking for information.

No appointments were requested or were made. Ms. Murphy read the list of vacancies.

Approve Warrants
Motion: To approve the warrants for June 4, 2018 as follow:

General Funds Operating Expenses $21,092.27

Payroll $14,694.23

Highway Fund Operating Expenses $7,350.78

Payroll $7,320.15

Solid Waste Management Fund

Operating Expenses $9,962.54

Payroll $1,388.23

Library Operating Expenses $362.21

Payroll $1,559.37

Grants Operating Expenses $200.00

Agency Monies Operating Expenses $0.00

Reserves $0.00

Long-Term Debt $0.00

Grand Totals Operating Expenses $38,967.80

Payroll $24,961.98

Made by: Mr. Arrison Second: Mr. Boyer

Vote: Unanimous in favor

Future Meeting Agenda Items
June 18, 2018/Weathersfield Center
a.i. Fire Commission Update
a.ii. Approve Line of Credit for FY19 Cash Flow (as per Steve's request)
July 2, 2018
b.i. Set 2018-2019 Property Tax Rate
b.ii. Set Property Tax Due Dates
Future Agenda
c.i. Budget Calendar
c.ii. Town Policies
c.iii. Finance Policy
c.iv. Return to Work Policy
c.v. Ordinance Review
Child Safety (Cont. from 5/21/2018)
Fire Services Reimbursement
HazMat Materials Response

Motion: To adjourn the meeting

Made by: Mr. Arrison Second: Mr. Leach

Vote: Unanimous in favor

The meeting adjourned at 9:44 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

deForest Bearse



N. John Arrison


Daniel E. Boyer, Selector


C. Peter Cole, Vice-Chairperson


Tom Leach, Selector


Kelly Murphy, Chairperson