Franklin Selectboard Meeting

April 1, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m.
Conference call


Call to order

At 7:02 p.m. Peter Magnant called the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was waived. 


Present: Peter Magnant, Dave Bennion, Brooks Sturtevant, Yvon Dandurand, Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk, Andy Godin (joined at 8:07 pm)


Guests: Pam Greene, Homestead Board


Agenda amendments:  Add to new business: change in meting format with other options such as Zoom.  Add to town clerk concerns: extend/waive the late dog registration fees until a later date; and extension of grand list lodging date as discussed by State PVR. 


Public comment period: Pam Greene, Homestead Board health officer and personal board. 

·       Thanks to Brooks S for providing support to Stacy and herself for contacts for supplies and resources in the past three weeks and the contact to the National Guard. 

·       The Franklin Emergency Mgt Coordinator- Mark Toof has moved out of town now and as he is the resource that we are advised we should be contacting, need to have a local person available for this position.  Lisa advised she was aware and we are needing to update our emergency management plan for May 1st, so will look for another person to fill the spot. 

·       In the past two weeks the Homestead has lost three key staff people who have left due to the Covid-19 concerns; and there are three more that are scared of what’s to come and may leave as well.  We are looking for additional staff and volunteers to assist and cover shifts as needed.  We have 18 vulnerable residents in the Carriage House that have nowhere else to go; have asked family members to take them in during this trying time and no one was willing to do so.  Yvon is surprised about family not being willing to take residents home. Pam states there is no one to care for them outside of the facility, that is why they are here.

·       Have contracted with a staffing agency to assist with finding employees; however their rate of pay is $29.50 for support staff and we currently pay about $14.00.  Can we post the ad on town website and facebook as well?  Board is in agreement with posting for the Homestead.


Approval of minutes: March 18th, reorganizational/regular meeting; Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to approve the minutes as written.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. 


Highway Dept: 

·                   Salt Purchase: Scott Choiniere has asked about purchasing salt as was approved in 2016.  Wants to purchase one loader bucket full, same quantity as he did before at the current price.  The board is fine with it and would like to have him send a weight slip to the town office for an invoice to be sent to him.   

·                   Work duties:  Town Clerk mentioned that she has spoken with the highway guys about distancing and being safe, as well as given them sanitizing supplies.   With the State VTrans putting a hold on all state projects as well as any town projects that are grant funded, we need to be sure they are aware of this.   Andy will speak with them.


New Business:  

·       Water District financing:  Lisa got a new rate from People’s Trust for 20 yr term at 3.75%.  Union Bank will only do a 5 yr at 2.27% or 7 yr at 2.59% as locked in rate, with an amortization of the 20 years, the rate would be reset and adjusted for each of those terms.  Peter states with the economy in flux at this time the People’s Trust rate of 3.75% as a fixed rate is good and will make for a secure future of the project.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to accept the People’s Trust rate of 3.75% for $175,000 for a 20 year term to complete the water district project.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  

·       Covid-19: Town Clerk updated on the VTrans projects on hold; supplies/medical equipment are coming into the State this week or early next according to Governor Scott.  ANR is working through the process of the aquatic nuisance program and if it will be allowed to progress and funding.   Yvon advised that Canada has ordered the closure of their border crossings until July 1st  for public travelers; only commerce is allowed to cross. 

·                   Town Hall ramp: Lisa spoke with Dave about the deficiencies of the town hall regarding handicap accessibility with the ADA.  The concrete pad/landing at the top of the ramp is not large enough; there must be a stopper rail near the floor on either side of the ramp to prevent wheel chairs wheels from falling off the ramp; the door threshold must be ramped/shimmed as it has too high of a rise/drop.  Dave has done a quote and drawings to meet the guidelines needed.  Lisa will include the cost in the VT Arts Council grant for the curtains and sound system. 

·                   Weed harvester operator:  Brooks has spoken with Joe Craig who is on board for 2020 harvesting.  Andy is not interested in working the machine this year, but will be available for Joe for service/maintenance work.  With the uncertainty of the program process due to Covid-19, we will not post to hire another person at this time. 

·                   Bond Bank survey:  VLCT has asked towns to discuss and review the impacts of Covid-19 on revenue and expenses and possible funding that may be needed to operate.  Discussed the worst case scenario of estimates/predictions for the town. 

·                   Red Cross blood drive:  There was a drive scheduled at the Homestead on May 20th; due to the issues at hand they are not able to hold it there.   Dave was asked if it could take place at the town hall as there is a large need for blood supplies.  The board is in agreement of this event.

·                   Meeting format:  with the current conference call format there is a large cost to individual board members for the toll call to connect.   Brooks has looked at other options such as Zoom.  The cost is $14.95/month for the pro license.  This would allow everyone necessary to access with incurring a cost.  There is a “waiting room” of sorts for guests to access/participate.   Brooks will set up the account with Zoom for our next meeting.  Discussed the costs to board members to date for the two meetings; agreed to submit to the town for reimbursement.  Will submit with the FEMA claims for disaster costs to municipalities.


Town Clerk Concerns:

·                   Grand list extension:  The grand list needs to be lodged by the Listers by June 4th.  PVR has sent notice that due to the current situation they have issued an extension to August 15th.  This would also push back the date of receiving the education tax rate and issuing of tax bills.  Lisa will speak with the Listers and get their input on the timeline needed to complete their work.  PVR wants towns to notify them if they are in need of the extension. 

·                   Historic Preservation grant:  grant award of $16,500 for the town hall roof project that needs to be signed to proceed with the contract for work.  Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to approve the Historic Preservation grant award of $16,500 as the 50% match for the roof replacement by Oct 31, 2020.   All members voted in favor; motion passed.   Dave was in the town hall recently and there was water on the floor from the roof leaking again; he will contact the contractor to inspect the current situation. 

·                   MVP-HRA plan resolution:  Lisa explained in brief the details of the HRA plan with the health insurance and the town’s match of 50% of the OOPM as previously budgeted and agreed.  Brooks S/Andy G made a motion to approve the Certificate of Resolution and authorize Peter M to sign.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  

·                   Budget concerns:   Reviewed the general and highway budget to date.  With some of the highway lines being over expended; need to caution them of spending at this time and holding off on large expenditures.  Lisa advised the general misc. line is where the Covid-19 supplies have been coded; hope for reimbursement of 75% with FEMA funds. 

·                   Office closure and compensation:  Discussed the closure of the town clerk’s office as non-essential to the Governor’s recent orders and the compensation for Sara and Lisa to maintain the same current pay as long as the Governor’s order is in place.  They will continue to do the essential tasks two mornings a week, Monday and Friday as necessary, Lisa is monitoring emails and working from home as able. Peter M/Yvon D made a motion to maintain the current salaries during the close order.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. 

·                   Dog registrations:  Town office has requested a waiver of the late registration fee for dog licenses to be extended to June 30th due to the office closure.  It is currently $2-3 dollars per dog.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to waive the late fees until June 30th.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.


Old Business: 

·                   Town hall roof contract:  Reviewed the contract for R&A Enterprises as written with details of work.  Make completion date as October 31, 2020.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion for Peter M to sign the contract for R&A Enterprise in the amount of $33,000 with a completion date of October 31, 2020.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.

·                   Dunphy dog complaint:  The dog of Adam Bower has continued to be a nuisance and aggressive to Dunphy neighbors, knocking over a 2 yr old and causing a head bruise.  As this is the second notice/complaint and they have not followed through with the previous requests; they will be sent a second letter and a civil fine as stated in the ordinance.   Lisa will contact Animal Control for delivery of the ticket. 


Selectboard Folder: none


Member Concerns:

·                   Brooks – with the power out last week, the school generator is still of concern with needing to have anti-freeze added regularly.  Steve, janitor, feels it is a head gasket leaking it into the system. Yvon would like to test further first as he sees no sign of leaks from his recent visit.  Repair would be much cheaper then complete replacement of the unit, it is in good condition otherwise.

·                   Andy – would like to meet in person at the town hall to be able to split and distance from one another.  Peter advised for the next meeting the board would like to try the Zoom option.

·                   Yvon – for the sign at the town clerk’s office, what size would we like?  Lisa will look into and advise.

·                   Peter – Brooks-thanks for your support of the Homestead community; and thank you to Brian Marchessault, National Guard, for his help with supplies.  Need to advertise for an Emergency Mgt Coordinator and Homestead employees/staff.



Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:54 p.m.


Next meeting will be April 15th at 7:00 pm via Zoom conferencing.


Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

April 2, 2020


These minutes are not official until approved at the next regular Selectboard meeting.

These minutes were approved at the April 15, 2020 regular Selectboard meeting.