Franklin Selectboard Meeting

August 5, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m.
Zoom virtual meeting




Call to order

At 7:00 p.m. Peter Magnant called the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. 


Present: Peter Magnant, Dave Bennion, Yvon Dandurand, Brooks Sturtevant, Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk, Andy Godin (joined at 7:20 pm)


Guests: Jeremy Barnum, Highway foreman; Bethany Remmers, NRPC; Kim Gates; Seth Willey; Mike Lawyer, Water District; Linda Blasch, NRPC; Pam Greene, Homestead Board.


Agenda amendments:  Add to Old Business: Town hall roof update; Add to town clerk concerns: census map boundary approval, grant to digitize records, town hall use for birthday party.  All members in favor of amendments.


Public comment period: Mike Lawyer was present to update the board on the water district status with several concerns.  The water level maintained at 5.2’ over night in the reservoir; it is at 50% capacity as this point, full is 11.2’.  There is more water coming from the spring after the heavy rains of recent days.  Mike has spoke with Jeff Jewett and St. Albans City about getting water if necessary; cost is $270 load (5500 gal).  Have done three leak tests around town and found no leaks to the system.  LCCA spigot is still on; advised to conserve water as well.  With the opening of school soon and the Homestead use, concerns with trucking water and the need to boil all that is consumed.

          The project is under way; vault is installed, conduit and plumbing have been done, backfill is complete and seeded.  There was a cleanout line that was inadvertently removed by contractor, Marshall stated it has never been used so not an issue.  There was to be a 25’ buffer around the spring not to be disturbed; excavation was done within the area.  Nothing seems to have been affected; but was noted with the contractor if there is a problem in the future.  New control panel is there, waiting for an electrician to install.  There will be some delays as John Kiernan is out of state for a family matter and Ron Desrochers has had surgery and will be out a while. 

          Yvon asked if the water levels have been lower recently then were five years ago?  Mike states appears the spring is not producing as much water.  He has contacted an engineer to discuss establishing a well and options.  This is a large project, different they a household well.  Possible cost of $100,000 to do a public water well; there are grants for 75% loan forgiveness available, not sure on details.  State may mandate a second source.  Peter suggested to Mike to speak to the school about water use with reopening in September.  Mike exited the meeting.

          Pam Greene advised the board that Dwight Tatro has resigned from the Homestead Board, he was the head of the finance committee.  Need to find someone to replace him with financial experience in these tough times. 


Approval of minutes: Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to approve the minutes of July 15th as written.  Peter asked to add a dollar sign on the assessment at line 107.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.


Town Clerk Concerns:

·                   Elections-August 11 update:  Lisa updated on the plan for the election.  They will be conducted outside-weather permitting.  Have plans in place and signage, ect for safety protocol. 

·                   Bike & Ped grant for sidewalks: discussed the grant notice received, due Sept 30th.  Do we want to plan a project for next summer and apply for grant funding?  Board would like to do a section of Main St on west side from Square Rd heading north.  Lisa will apply for grant.

·                   Treasurer checklist:  A requirement of the VT State Auditor, at the end of each fiscal year, town treasurers’ must complete the Internal Controls financial self-assessment and submit to the selectboard for acceptance.  Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to accept the Internal Financial Controls checklist for the Town of Franklin by the Treasurer.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. 

·                   Census map boundaries:  The 2020 census has submitted a boundary map for the Town of Franklin to verify of any changes to town boundaries.  Reviewed and accepted that there are no changes.  All members approve of Peter to sign the request. 

·                   Digitize land records Covid funds:  Lisa reviewed the new grant funding that has been allocated for towns to digitize land records, mapping, ect. in light of the pandemic.  Grants are up to $20,000, due Sept 1.  There is a monthly maintenance fee once software & equipment are installed; still speaking with different vendors on costs and options of licenses. Part of the per document recording fee is allocated to computerization currently; this should cover most of those fees.  Must digitize 5 years minimum records by end of year, covers cost of program license, equipment, staff to scan and index; all costs incurred with this project by December 31st.  Lisa feels the state will soon mandate all records to be on-line, most large towns are currently, may be a good time to move in that direction with this funding.  The board is in support of digitizing the records and gives Lisa the authority to proceed as she sees fit. 

·                   Town hall use:  We have had a request to use the town hall on Sept 19th for a birthday party of about 20-30 people.  Discussed the protocol for cleaning after use; there is a blood drive on Sept 23rd, so need to be sure it is a safe environment for that.  Lisa will discuss with the requested party what they will need to follow to use the space. 


Highway Dept: 

·                   Yield sign Richard Rd/Gallup Rd:  Bethany from NRPC has visited the site and made some recommendations.  Discussion of changes to the area and spoke with residents.  She is not an engineer but feels the road geometry would work-to remove the island and road area to the east side.  Add curve warning chevrons as warning of the sharp curve and a yield sign coming off the dead-end of Richard Rd.  Andy has also spoken with area residents and feel there is really no issue; Jeremy has seen no issues and feels the removal of the east leg would make winter plowing more difficult on the tight corner onto the dead-end road.   Yvon suggests removing the tree and shrubs to make a clear line of vision and install a yield sign off the Richard Rd dead-end.  Peter agrees and states there needs to be two yield signs; on each leg; let’s start with this process and will continue to monitor the situation.  Peter thanked Bethany for all her help and input on this matter. 

·                   RFP for design engineer-Pidgeon Hill Rd:  Linda Blasch welcomed to the meeting.  Lisa reviewed the ranking of the six RFP’s that were received for technical merits by each member of the committee, and Peter Pochop with VTrans.  We narrowed down to the top four firms; then discussed the technical details of each with price included as a comparison.  Linda stated they were all good candidates for the job and Mr. Pochop’s input was valuable in making a decision.  Ruggiano Engineering was chosen for the contract by the committee.  Andy G/Brooks S made a motion to hire Ruggiano Engineering for the engineering and design of the Pidgeon Hill culvert project.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  Linda will put together the contract and confirm with Peter Pochop.  The next step will be to plan a kick-off meeting with Ruggiano, Peter Pochop, herself and the committee.  Yvon advised need to check the alignment; Linda stated the river experts will be involved in the design. 

·                   Weed harvester update:  Andy advised the motor in the machine is shot; has many issues and damage due to overheating.  Will need a large tractor to pull it from the lake with hydraulics.  Need to price the cost for a new motor for next summer; will be pulled from the lake for the season.  The highway crew will reinstall the old, original motor so Yvon can do some hydraulics tests as recently suggested by Aquamarine. 

·                   Line stripping: Jeremy and Andy discussed the park and ride line stripping; no equipment to do this ourselves.  He spoke with a vendor about the cost; $300 to do and they can be here this week.  Peter asked about Hanna Rd and Stanley Rd.  Jeremy stated the state will not due Hanna because it is a class 3 rd.  Lisa will check on and get a price to have it lined.


Review and approve bills: Three board members will come into the office to review warrants.






Old Business:

·                   Dog complaint/ Middle Rd: Seth Willey attended the meeting to discuss the dog issue.  Lisa updated-the dogs have been registered and need to discuss the fines/tickets to date.  Seth stated he had not gotten the letters from the town until he got the 3rd letter with the $500 fine.  He has anti-bark collars to keep them from barking and has done what he can to stop the issue.  Dennis has been there and they did not bark while they visited.  Peter stated he is glad Seth could join us tonight and appreciated his taking care of the problem; there have been no other complaints.  The board will discuss the fines and how to handle them.  Seth advised his dogs do not bark at night; these are other dogs that are coon hunting in the area.  Lisa will call him with a decision and send a letter. 

·                   Sidewalk policy: reviewed the changes made to the parking concerns for temp parking for short periods only.  Yvon D/Dave B made a motion to approve and adopt with changes added at last meeting.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  Members will be in to sign the policy.

·                   Town hall roof update:  Dave advised the south side was finished today; north side will be finished by Friday.  Trimmed trees on the south side to get off the building.


New Business:

·                   Rec board member resignation:  Bridgette Favreau has submitted a letter of resignation from the board.  Yvon D/Dave B made a motion to accept the resignation.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  New member recommended by the Rec board of Lissy Bachalder.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to appoint Lissy as a new member of the board.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  The board would like an update on the ball field use and other business at the Aug 19th meeting.

·                   Class 4 road policy: section 3-maintanance; add “to include private roads”.  Discussed the application of chloride to camp roads; Andy feels we should not be doing any work on these roads with our trucks or men.  We can sell them chloride at cost and allow use of our trailer to spread on their own. 

·                   Franklin County sheriff contract:  Reviewed the contract for July 2020- June 2021.  Lists the total hours as 106 at a rate of $50/hr for a total of $5300.  There are no July hours listed, Lisa will check into with.  Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to approve the contract with the Franklin County Sheriff for the upcoming fiscal year.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.

·                   VT State Police (VSP) services:  letter received from VSP regarding continued service to the public and communities.  Requesting input from town boards on police services and changing climate to represent priorities, concerns and ensure a safe environment.  Brooks will call Lt Partin to discuss our community support.

·                   Broadband CUD -NRPC: Yvon states they have had discussions at NRPC on broadband and the NRPC board has approved using the Covid grant funding to expand coverage areas.  Kim states the Communications Union Districts (CUD) are a competitor of Franklin Telephone.  Towns have to be involved with the extensions with other companies within the CUD; have to be bonded with this federal funding.  Need to look into further before making any decisions to join a district. 

·                   Town racism:  discussion had on the proposed statement written by Brooks; wanted the town to make a symbolic measure of our response to racism and how to handle if an issue were to arise.  Kim-discussed the wording of the statement and how it effects the public.  Discussed employee protocol; intent is well meant.  Peter-need to modify language a bit and share with all town committees & board for input. 


Dog issue – discussion on the issue and of fines that have been issued and waiver of any.  Lisa will check on waiver with the Judicial Court system.  Need to pay $150 of first fine by August 15th for having to deal with concern for months.  If no other complaints or issues arise by Sept 30th the second fine will be waived.  Lisa will contact Seth and send a letter of decision. 





Member Concerns:  

Brooks-thank you for the racism discussion, it is a start.

Dave- Blood drive last month went well; they are happy to come to Franklin and have one planned for Sept 23 and one in December.

Yvon- Homestead board member-will think of candidates; Dick Wright property-need to continue to discuss with Kevin Lothian; Plexi-glass for town sign, availability is difficult to find and costs are high.  Lisa advised had budgeted $2000 in March for the sign, Yvon states costs are about $450 so far, board approved of plexi-glass purchase as needed.

Peter- need to contact Kevin for next meeting on Aug 19th to continue discussion; look at options to build at highway garage site for a new office.   Need to get prices for new weed harvester engine; Yvon has spoken with Aquamarine and Champlain Valley Equipment, for a price on the same model Kabota diesel engine.  The mounting bracket is about $1500.  Also need to look at a new trailer.  Lisa will look for grants for possible funding assistance.  Town highway truck still on schedule? Yvon states yes, delivery is expected around Aug 20th to Clark’s and then will go to have equipment set-up done.  Completion is expected by mid October.  Dehumidified set-up with sump pump-Jeremy states it has a built in pump that pumps out every four minutes to empty the tank.  Dave will come take a look at set-up.



Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 10:06 p.m.


Next meeting will be August 19th at 7:00 pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

August 7, 2020


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

These minutes were approved at the August 19, 2020 Selectboard meeting.