Franklin Selectboard Meeting

November 18, 2020 @ 6:00 p.m.
Zoom virtual meeting




Call to order

At 6:05 p.m. Peter Magnant called the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. 


Present: Peter Magnant, Dave Bennion, Yvon Dandurand, Brooks Sturtevant, Andy Godin (@ 7:00), Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk.


Guests: Jeremy Barnum, Highway foreman; Kim Gates Maynard; Rep Lisa Hango; Kyle Lothian, Highgate Selectboard; Bryce Bachelder.


Agenda amendments:  Add to Town clerk concerns:  library trustee resignation; nativity drive-thru; town hall ramp update.  All members in favor of amendments as read and agenda set.


Public comment period: Kyle Lothian present on behalf of the Highgate Selectboard; the Machia Rd has four major slides around the area of the Morey Rd that are of concern, that in time will let go and take the road out.  The board is requesting letters of support from area towns to write to our legislatures and senators to get financial aid to fix these slides to protect the road.  This will hurt many surrounding towns if we lose access over the road due to closure.  Have been in touch with Army Corp of Engineers, FEMA and the State for funds.  Have secured some money but need more to complete the entire project.  Need to get federal funds as well.  Yvon-reach out to area farmers and agricultural folks for support letters as well.  The board is in support and will get a letter to the Town of Highgate.


Approval of minutes: Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to approve the minutes of October 21st regular meeting as written.  All members voted in favor 4-0; motion passed.


Highway Dept: 

·                   Zero Turn mower:  Jeremy spoke with Bridgett and they have made room in the shed to store the mower for winter.  Peter advised the school has purchased their new tractor and will sell the old one to the town for $1. Warn for board approval at next meeting.

·                   Rte 236 project engineer contract: The contract has been approved by Dave Webb at the State; reviewed and signed by Tyler Mumley of Ruggiano.  The board reviewed the contract.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to approve the contract with Ruggiano for $13,460 for the Rte 236 culvert design and Peter to sign the contract.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.

·                   TAP grant-Morses Line Rd:  board approved of the application; due Nov 27th.  Jeremy is waiting for a quote and scope from a local contractor.  Lisa is working on the grant application. 

·                   Jeremy advised the new truck should be here the first week of December. Lisa brought up the need for a Covid support plan if needed for the highway crew.  Jeremy states they currently only have one spare driver; Lisa will inquire about another.  The dehumidifier seems to be working well. Need to put a humidity sensor switch on it to shut off when not needed, it runs all the time; spoke with Corey Bertrand for a price.  Needed to install a sump pump and barrel to get rid of the water. 


New Business: 

·       Wendy-ZA report:  reviewed the November activity of the zoning office.

·       Sheriff report:  reviewed October activity

·       VAST landowner permission:  permission sought to cross town roads for snowmobile trail as listed on form.  Brooks S/Yvon D made a motion to approve the landowner permission to VAST for roads listed and Peter to sign.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.

·       St. Albans Central Dispatch: reviewed the contract for no increase for the next two years 2021-2023.  Peter advised he would like to send to Mike Lawyer, FFD for comments or concerns.  Will review and approve at the next meeting.


Review bills for approval of warrants: three members will come into the office to review and sign warrants.


Town Clerk Concerns:

·                   Crab apple tree:  would like to remove the tree as it has become an issue with the berries on the sidewalk, bees, and the mess tracking into office.  The board is fine with that, notify the library trustees as well for comments.

·                   Cat Crusaders:  do they need to do a petition for assessment requests this year?  They were approved last year, so the board is waiving the need for petition signatures this year due to the pandemic.  They are also looking for volunteers to foster cats that are in need to temporary shelter. 

·                   Library trustees:  Maria Studebaker 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.

·                   Church live nativity drive-thru:  The church has asked for permission to use the town hall driveway to have a drive-thru live nativity in December.  The board is in agreement.

·                   Town hall ramp update:  the ramp replacement has been completed to meet the ADA regs.  The Civic-Tech pandemic grant funds will be used to pay for the costs.  Dave also advised the front door knob hardware needs to be replaced, it is not closing properly.  He has gotten a quote of $960 to replace. 

·                   Cemetery policy:  tabled until next meeting when the Cemetery Commission is present.


Old Business: 

·                   Town meeting-Australian Ballot system use:  Peter advised the school has mandated no outside use of the buildings for any meetings or elections.  Would have to use the town hall for any necessary meetings.  With town meeting being voted on by Australian ballot, there needs to be an informational meeting 10 days prior which will be via Zoom; intend to mail to all voters the warning, details, budget information and details.  Ballots need to be printed before, will need consent of candidate for all offices that are elected to be put on the ballot.  Lisa is working on a time-line of when things need to be done with this new process; ballots available, finalize warning; informational meeting, etc.  Brooks S/Dave B made a motion for town meeting to be held by Australian Ballot for 2021 rather than a floor vote and mailing of into to voters.  All members voted in favor; motion passed.  Peter suggested breakdown of budget by department on the ballot.  Lisa will speak to other towns on how they list items.  Kim-feels with individual line items within the budget over the regular items seems to make it skewed to the total tax rate over the past several years; on a tax payer’s perspective.  Peter advised they have done it this way to be more transparent to have these extra items stand out for people to see rather then hide them in the budget.  Lisa states the tax rate is always calculated on the spreadsheet to include all items if passed for a total tax rate. 

·                   Weed harvester update:  Lisa advised the new motor from Kabota should be here around Dec 3rd.  Yvon has gotten a quote from Aquamarine for the conversion kit, but there are items that are already coming on the motor, so they are not needed.  Needs to speak with them again for a new price. 


Budget Review:

·                   General- first rough draft of budget for FY22: salaries increase of 2%; office expense-new copier, Lisa looking at pricing; sidewalk project-$5,000 for reserve account; building maintenance-paint inside town hall, new flag pole.

·                   Highway- salaries increase of 2%; gas and fuel-costs expected to drop, budget $20,000; pavement sealing-drop to $4,000 as are caught up with work; Jeremy suggested with the repair & maintenance line to break out for each piece of equipment to see the needs, may make more transparent.  Jeremy advised the grader needs to be replaced.  Currently it needs to have the center circle replaced at a cost of approx. $10K.  Trade value of our grader is about $15K.  New one costs about $270K but the municipal deals are much better.  Yvon states we should check prices to buy, lease, extra warranty on a used; all options.  Jeremy has gotten a price on a Case, will reach out to John Deere and Caterpillar.  Need to have a new trailer to transport the weed harvester, the current trailer with conveyor is ok for such, but not large enough for the new machine.  Andy asked if the new trailer can be beefed up to work; get price quote to make modifications to the current trailer and a new one.     


Member Concerns:  

Dave-the Declaration of Inclusion was presented to the Town of Pittsford by a member of their board; they adopted and thought it was well written.

Yvon-do we have enough spare drivers for winter if needed? Jeremy-only have one at this time.  Are we taking temps, what is the protocol?  Jeremy states they are being careful and have spoken about the concerns.  Lisa advised she has plenty of supplies at the office if they need anything, will also reach out for extra drivers.  Thank you for the gift cards for he and his dad for building the sign, very appreciated.  Thank you to Lisa Hango for all her work and congratulations of re-election. 

Peter- he and Dave attended the Enosburg Ambulance meeting for the regional service.  Not sure what the answer it to this issue, but it is a difficult situation.  ZBA hearing for Hutchins; board would like to be involved in discussion with attorney.  Advised he will not be running for re-election to the Selectboard again in March, so there will be a position open. 

Yvon- Advised he will not run for re-election to the Selectboard in March as well.  Another seat will be open.



Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  All members voted in favor; motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.


Next meeting will be December 2 @ 7:00 pm via Zoom


Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

November 20, 2020


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

These minutes were approved at the regular Selectboard meeting on December 2, 2020.