Franklin Selectboard Meeting

December 5, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Homestead Felco Room

 

Call to order

At 6:02 p.m. Peter M called the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

 

Present: Peter Magnant, Yvon Dandurand, Andy Godin, Dave Bennion, Brooks Sturtevant, Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

 

Guests: Perry Thomas, DEC; Rob Evans, LCCA; Pam Greene, Jay Denault, Westley Kempton; Bob Berger, Devin Bachelder, Jon Gates, Franklin School Board; Corey Parent & Charen Fegard, State Reps

 

Agenda amendments:  Peter requested to swap #5 and 6 on the agenda; add to Town Clerk concerns Silva Estate update and Larose tax appeal update.  All members are in favor of changes.

 

Public comment period:  Jay Denault wants to share a significant development of Act 46 regarding statutes for the sale of school property.  Peter wants to acknowledge the memorial of President George W Bush and the services that took place today and sharing our respects with his family.

 

Perry Thomas-State DEC:  Perry discussed the work that has been done in the Franklin Watershed with all sectors as noticed to date.  There has been expanded monitoring since 2016 which lead to the current plan of action.  Perry presented the design/system options that bids are being sought on.  Bids are due by January 10th.  Peter asks if the line diffuser is the best option- Perry states the RFP was put out for all methods as long as it achieves the needs of the plan.  Brooks asks how these systems will affect the fishing- Perry states fish will thrive with more oxygen , the only species that may be affected are the Walleye during spawning, Fish & Game are also involved in the decision making process.  Yvon asks who is in charge of the maintenance – Perry advised Parks and Rec will be charged with that function.  Yvon-is this a pilot program and will it end. Perry-we are committed for 10 years, Army Corp of Engineers is involved; cannot promise more but it may continue.  Peter-what is the confidence of success. Perry-the cyanobacteria blooms and toxins will be controlled, the green (good) algae may increase, and vegetation will still need to be controlled with harvesting.  UVM will continue to monitor oxygen and temperature with sensors as they have been last summer.   DEC will continue to test for phosphorus at inlet tributaries.  After 10 years may do an alum treatment if decided to be appropriate.  Ground water sampling will happen next summer.  Rob Evans advises the implementation of the system is planned for early June 2019.  Need to educate campers as to what they see along the shore as good green algae vs. bad.  With looking at budgets now, what should the town expect to budget for town meeting approval?  Perry-will know more after the bids are reviewed in January.  Peter-need to know what the 10 year financial commitment is; need to advise the tax payers of the project and successes.  Yvon-there are varied costs, who will decide on the final equipment.  Perry-bids are due January 10th and will have a week to review and decide, we are welcome to be involved in this discussion.  Rob Evans states this size project scares him and it is a great opportunity to fix the lake with a joint commitment of all parties involved.  Perry and Rob were thanked for updates and exited the meeting.

 

School Act 46 lawsuit:  Peter welcomed and congratulated Charen Fegard and Corey Parent to their elections.  Randy Brock could not attend but sent a message of his work for the next legislative session; to postpone the forced mergers and amending Act 46.  Charen advised that the AOE has looked at debt load of one school being transferred to another in mergers and the equity of each.  Corey feels Act 46 is an issue of Urban vs. Rural schools and does not work for all.  Bob Berger states Act 46 is not the problem but the way it is implemented and upheld is what is wrong.  The State Board of Education should be removed.  Jay Denault has been working for years to stop Act 46.  November 28th the State approved the merger plan and a unified board needs to be formed and create articles of agreement within 90 days.  If an agreement is not created the district must default to the State agreement that is written. Jay advised the electorate needs to vote on and approve the sale of property to the unified school district and he does not see the approval in Franklin.  Bob states he will not take part in creating this unified board, as he feels the will of the town which elected him has spoken against the merger and he will not participate against his obligation.  Peter asks about legal fees for this lawsuit.  Bob advised the attorneys are working pro bono and there has been a funding page started for donations to assist in costs.  Jay advised to date there has been about $10,000 raised.  Bob has not spoken with Highgate or Swanton  since the merger decision, Sheldon will stay part of FNWSU if the  injunction passes to stop the merger.  Jay advised they have 36 members of the House and 12 members of the Senate in support of our cause.  Corey and Charen are committed to assisting to change Act 46 to save the small schools from forced merger.  They will work with constitutes in Montpelier to get more support.  Yvon would also like to see a push for cell phone towers in Franklin and keeping people from leaving the State, a growing, not declining population is important to VT.   

            Discussed with sale of school property to town, Bob advised Ms. Regimbal was  going to contact the surveyor to do new property lines, Lisa has started the subdivision application and will discuss with the Zoning Admin the need for a ROW. 

 

Approval of Minutes:  November 14th  minutes-Brooks S/Andy G made a motion to approve the minutes as written.   All members voted in favor, motion passed. 

 

Highway Department: 

·        Budget discussion – discussed the request from the highway dept. for a sand pusher attachment, $3,000; forks attachment for loader, and snow pusher attachment, $7,000.  The board feels the snow pusher can wait as this is primarily for the school lot, with the uncertainty of the school at this time.  Health insurance rate increases are approx. 1.25%. Need to increase mileage reimbursement to $2,300.  Discussed the need for new lower overhead door panels on the garage, Andy will check them.  Talked about the need for a newer computer at the garage for tracking road work, emails, trainings, ect. 

 

Review and sign bills:  Members reviewed and signed bills.

 

Town Clerk concern: 

·                       Scoping study Main St sidewalk-Lisa is waiting to hear from Peter Pochop at VTrans regarding the signed grant to begin the bid process.  There is a simplified bid process with the State for these scoping projects. 

·                       Drama request & schedule- Librarian, Molly has started the Drama program again and requesting to use the town hall for a production of “Treasure Island” in March.  Board is happy to see it used and approves the request.

·                       M. Silva estate- the estate has been finalized and Lisa has received a check for $1164.  Peter needs to sign a receipt of the funds to be returned to the court.  The funds are required to be turned over to the school by statute, the board has asked for the money to be used toward the purchase of the new playground. 

·                       Larose tax appeal-  the tax appeal of the BCA decision that was submitted to the State Dept. of Taxes by David & Diane Larose has been withdrawn. 

·                       Budget- Health insurance rate increase of 1.25%.  Need to budget for mowing of the ball fields and trail.  Lisa will contact the Sheriff’s office regarding the 2019 rate.  Need to budget funds to care for the town cemeteries.  Discussed the Lake Quality funds of $10,0000 approved at last town meeting.  Board discussed opening a separate acct for the money to keep the cost of the aeration project transparent over the next 10 years.  There will need to be town funding committed for electrical and maintenance cost sharing.  Lisa will look into accts.  Discussed articles for town meeting.  1. Town hall sound system -$8,500 and curtains for $9,500 to be offset by potential grant funding; 2. Lake quality $10,000; 3. Pidgeon Hill Rd culvert $55,000 match if grant awarded. 

 

Old Business: 

·                       School land purchase – discussed with school board previously.

 

New Business: 

·                       Intersection Rte 120/Middle Rd/Morses Line Rd letter to VTrans regarding recent accident and the need for a change in design to this intersection.  Peter read the letter aloud, all members in favor, Peter signed. 

·                       Act 46 lawsuit-  The board discussed the lawsuit of the forced school merger and the pending litigation.  Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to pursue litigation and join the lawsuit in support of the Franklin Central School, approved Peter M to sign the letter of understanding and engagement on behalf of the Selectboard. Vote taken, all members voted in favor, motion carried. 

·                       Generator inspection- Lisa discussed the need for the generator to be inspected at the request of Joyce Hakey.  Dana Stetson has been doing the annual maintenance and service of the machine, but want to be sure that it meets specs for the emergency shelter designation in case of an actual emergency need.  Milton Cat has done it in the past, Yvon suggested calling a local vendor, Vaillancourt’s to do the inspection.  Lisa will contact them and also check if an actual inspection sticker needs to be acquired for the machine. 

 

Selectboard folder:  Thank you letter from Home Health and a request for funding for FY20.

 

Member concerns/other business

·        Dave – the clock tower lights need to be changed as there is only one working.

·        Brooks – thank you to the State Reps for attending tonight to assist with town needs and keeping us informed of what is going on.

·        Andy – Road commissioner report, is there anything to be added other than the usual.   Don’t believe so.

·        Peter – status of weed harvester? Has been taken to storage.  December 19th gathering – Lisa will order pizza, board members will bring drinks and sweets.

 

Next meeting date is December 19th @ 6:00 pm at the Felco Rm-Homestead.

 

Adjournment

At 9:47 pm Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Vote taken; all in favor; motion carried.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

December 6, 2018

 

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

These minutes were approved at the December 19, 2018 Selectboard meeting.