Franklin Selectboard Meeting
2020 @ 6:00 p.m.
Methodist Church and Zoom virtual meeting
Call to order
At 6:05 p.m. Peter Magnant called
the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. Would like to thank the paster and church
council for allowing the board to use this space to meet.
Peter Magnant, Dave Bennion, Yvon Dandurand, Brooks Sturtevant, Lisa Larivee,
Town Clerk, Andy Godin (joined at 7:45 pm)
Barnum, Highway foreman; Catherine Dimitrik, NRPC; Kim & Adira Gates
Maynard; Rob Evans, John Costa, Peter Benevento, Ruth Ann Krayesky, LCCA board;
Tucker Wehner, Watershed Coordinator; Linda Hartman, Josh Worman, Library;
Wesley Kempton; Paulette Tatro, Rep Lisa Hango; Jenn Wood, GMTA
Agenda amendments: Add to Highway Dept-Hummingbird Circle street
sign; Rte 236 project review; power feed to old highway garage. Add to Town Clerk concerns-Recreation
Director. All members in favor of
amendments as read.
Public comment period: Linda Hartman voiced her concern of the lack
of communication with the board to the towns people regarding the Dick Wright
property and a change to location of the town offices. Peter-no decision made, may look at options
to build new. Dave- this is a 5-10 year
plan that is just getting started with discussions. Linda is concerned with who
will be responsible for the utilities if the space is empty; is it going to be
on the library? Peter states when we
have solid options they will be brought to the townspeople and discussed. Yvon-have so little information to provide to
the folks at this time, there is nothing to communicate. Linda disappointed that the library was not
notified of the change in hours of the town clerk’s office being closed on
Monday and open Wednesday. Lisa
responded that this is a temporary change due to the school schedule and staff
flexibility; it may change again if necessary.
Peter also stated we need to be flexible in the office with these times;
will communicate better with the library of changes. Josh asked about the new sign and didn’t know
about beforehand; could have had discussion and communicated to make just one
sign for the town notices. Are other
groups able to use it? Lisa responded
that any town group can use to post events, ect. Josh asked about a policy for use; he will
draft a policy for the board. Peter
stated this is a benefit to all the town departments to advertise events and
notices. Peter will respond to the
library letter of concern submitted by Sue Clark.
Approval of minutes: Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to approve the minutes of August 19th regular
meeting and Sept 2nd special with Kevin Lothian as written. All members voted in favor 4-0; motion
discussion: Peter stated
the machine has been pulled from the water and did little harvesting this
summer due to engine issues; died mid-summer. This is the third gas engine on
this machine; have decided to replace with a diesel engine. Also will need to replace the trailer to function
with the machine, as it is very rusted and rotted out. Yvon stated to convert to a diesel engine
will need a conversion kit and can be done easily. Engine cost is $5200 for a new kabota engine
and the conversion kit for pumps and hydraulics is $1,800. The current brackets and platform is able to
be used as it is. Trailer with a conveyer belt to off load the weeds are
available similar to our current one or also have one with a wooden bed and
conveyer chain that is more robust and can carry more weight. They both cost $32,000. Need to consider labor to install the new
engine; highway crew can make the change over.
There are trailer add-ons that were removed, hydraulic pump and remote
to unload trailer, can use our tractor; reduces the price by about $5,000. This would be an article presented to the
voters at town meeting. Peter M would
like to hear Rob Evans and Peter Benevento’s input. Peter B asked if the gas engine was not
powered enough to cut the weeds and do the job.
Yvon states old engine is not enough torque to run the machine properly;
the diesel is liquid cooled rather then air and a more robust engine for the
job. Peter B asked about the warranty of
the old engine, is it expired? Yvon
stated yes, the engine is blown due to overheating. Peter B asked if there is any recourse with
Aquamarine as they suggested a gas engine rather than a diesel? Peter M stated we tried to litigate that in
the beginning with the engine troubles and our attorney stated being an
international company it’s very difficult and costly to fight; was more
beneficial to just replace the engine ourselves at that point. Rob thanked Yvon for his many hours of
research of options and fixes to the machine.
May need to have a professional person to service and maintain the
machine. Yvon stated he tried all the
recommendations of Aquamarine and other vendors to remedy the gas engine. Rob asked about the efficiency of the machine
with loosing weeds to float about the lake, they are an issue. Will the new engine perform more efficiently
to collect the cut weeds? Yvon -it is
likely to be better as the paddles will run more efficiently to collect and
keep weeds on the boat. Peter B is in
favor of the improvements of the machine and need to maintain and control the
weeds on the lake to work with the aeration system and other work being done
for water quality. Peter M- town meeting
will be unknown on how that will look next year; may have votes by Australian
ballot. Will communicate with towns
people all the information before town meeting. Paulette-why after three gas
engines are we deciding to go with a diesel engine? Are we sure it is the right one this
time? Peter M-Aquamarine recommended the
gas and replaced the first one we had issues with; we replaced the second one
with a larger gas engine. Paulette-with
the diesel engine, what will be the warranty if we install it ourselves? Yvon-there will be a warranty, not sure of
the exact specs right now. Paulette-are
there grants available to assist with this cost? Lisa advised there is an aquatic nuisance
grant we get annually to help with harvesting; can add this to that grant in
February when due. There is no guarantee
of course of an award. Paulette says
weeds are bad at the south end of the lake.
Peter M-feel bad of the weed condition, and hates to see another year
with no harvesting. Peter B- if we get a
new engine, can we use the old trailer?
Yvon-yes we could but it is really not safe to transport the machine;
very poor condition and thirty years old.
It would need much repair to use safely.
Rob-water quality is still of concern and can not take our foot off the
gas yet; need to continue to watch and advocate for improvements and if need
help from LCCA group to speak with the public are willing to do so. Peter M-inquired about help with funding of
needs for the harvester to get back on the lake. Peter B-is a conversation of the stake
holders to review together. What happens
from here? Peter M-need to present at
town meeting; reluctant to present as two articles vs. one package as they need
each other to operate. Board agrees that
the machine needs to be out operating to keep the lake usable by early
summer. Peter B-will it be up and
running by spring if funds are approved?
Yvon-engines are available now, but not sure come spring what the status
will be with Covid. Rob would like to introduce Tucker as the Watershed
Coordinator as the point of contact.
Yvon would like to discuss the purchase of the engine now if we can; not
wait until spring as there may be an inventory situation then. Aquamarine only had two and would not sell to
us. Peter B will discuss with the stake
holders and get back to us.
with Green Mt Transit (GMTA) was
present and thanked the board for their time to allow her to join with
Catherine Dimitrik from NRPC. Discussed
transportation options available with their organization and volunteers who are
out driving for GMTA. Funding is from
80%-Federal/State and 20% from town matches.
Franklin share would be $2,200 based on use within community. Petition would be needed with 5% of
registered voters or approx. 50 signatures.
Peter asked about need for signatures at this time. Lisa responded that it is statutory for the
need of signatures; the Secretary of State has been asked the question if this
would be waiver this year. Have not heard of a change yet. Peter M asked about the Homestead use and
option for them to have a service specifically.
Catherine will look into options for them. Jenn thanked the board for their time and
exited the meeting.
Pidgeon Hill engineer-Ruggiano contract: the town committee and Linda
Blasch from NRPC choose Ruggiano for the engineering and design services of the
culvert replacement project. Board
approved at last meeting. Peter reviewed
the contract in the amount of $14,900 to design the project. Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to approve the
contract with Ruggiano for the design/engineer consulting of the Pidgeon Hill
project in the amount of $14,900. All
members voted in favor 4-0; motion passed.
Main St/Morses Line/Lake Rd intersection:
accident recently onto personal property and owner asked if large
stones or something could be put on the road edge to prevent this from
happening again. This creates a
liability to the town in doing this.
Peter has spoken with Bethany from NRPC about options for funding to do
a study of this area and options to make it safer. Linda Hartman is also concerned with safety
as people do not always know the rules.
Andy Godin and
Jeremy Barnum entered the meeting via Zoom.
Street sign: Hummingbird Circle sign has been stollen and residents
would like it replaced. Jeremy will get
ordered and the town is liable for the cost.
Rte 236 project update: Lisa reviewed
the site inspection with engineers from Dave Webb. Concern of the time frame with RFP’s with the
process set by VTrans and federal funding.
As this is a CWRSF funded project, the process should be easier, Dave
will confirm that with VTRans. The other
question asked was on the culvert material the town wanted used. Andy suggested a concrete box culvert vs. a
corrugated steel pipe. Peter states as
this is a State highway it should be what they want and approve of, not on the
town to decide. Lisa with check with
Dave to speak with VTrans.
Power line at old garage: Gerald Gates
spoke with Peter about the live power feed still at the old garage site; it is
a safety hazard. Peter advised to
disconnect and remove as a safety issue.
Cemetery fence: Mike from MMT
lawn care as suggested to trim back the trees along the back of the cemetery
fence to keep them off the stones. Would
like to cut about five feet back and haul away the materials for $350-$450 and
trim the bushes in the front of the church.
Lisa spoke with David Kelley and he is fine with that. The board approves of the trimming back and
haul away as quoted.
Apple trees-walking trail: Recreation
committee is concerned of the safety hazard of the apples on the path for
people walking. Would like to trim them
back from the trail and there is a tree that has fallen on the trail. Jeremy will be asked to go with Jason
Johnston, who mows, to look at what to cut back from the path. Joyce has praised Jason for a job well done on
mowing this summer.
Town inclusion statement: Brooks read the statement aloud. Peter asked for discussion, other boards have
supported the efforts. Kim feels it’s a
very good step and appreciates it.
Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to accept and adopt the Town of Franklin
Declaration of Inclusion statement. All
members voted in favor 5-0; motion passed.
Review and approve bills: all members present reviewed and signed bill
Rep Lisa Hango spoke about
frustration with budgets and current status of the state. The budget is almost complete, no big cuts to
programs this year and no new taxes.
Next year will be a bigger issue and will need to tighten our belts
up. Climate change bills will be an
issue if passed and future laws that may occur as a result.
Town Clerk Concerns:
Treasurer’s Report: Lisa presented
the board with the current year financial report for the first quarter. Property taxes are coming in well and not too
many complaints of increase due to the education tax rate. Inquired about the status of the new truck,
still end of October; need to get the loan docs ready for the Oct 21 meeting.
Political signs in ROW: inquires about
if the political signs are allowed in highway ROW. The State does not allow them by statute in
their ROW. The town has no policy and
the board does not want to have to police them either.
Digitizing land records-Covid funding:
Lisa applied for and has been granted funds of $18,840 to digitize the
land records to be able to search and retrieve them on-line. They will continue to use the NEMRC program
we already have with a new feature of an on-line portal. Need to get back to Nov 2015 done by Nov 1st. A vendor will be scanning documents to upload
to the portal. They will continue to
scan back 40 plus years after to complete the project by December as required
by the grant. The cost going forward is
$100/month for access to the web portal which is a very reasonable price, many
vendors were much more expensive. This cost will be covered by the recording
fees that are received and reserved for this purpose. We currently have approx. $50,000 in reserve
Recreation Director: The Rec board
has recommended to hire Jenessa Gervais as the new Director. The board would like to meet with them at the
next meeting on Oct 7th to approve.
Cemetery policy: tabled
Andy- discussed weed harvester issues; should check with a local guy who could
fabricate a trailer to meet our needs for a much better price.
Dave- Town hall ceiling needs to be repainted now that the roof is done.
Yvon-surprise with concern of transparency of board with comments that were
made. We always try to be as transparent
as possible and not hiding anything.
Peter-appreciates the public keeping us straight and wanted to be
informed. Have talked a lot about the
sign since town meeting; thank you to Yvon and his dad for building the sign
for public notices. Appreciate Josh
wanting a policy and willing to draft something to present to the board. Elections-a notice of instructions for
absentees should be done; Lisa advised the state is sending the ballots and
there are instructions. Concern of
people wanting to come to the polls to vote in person; Lisa stated they should
bring there unvoted ballot back to the polls and will be allowed to vote or
will need to sign an affidavit that they have not yet voted, and will be given
ballots to vote.
Kim thanked the
board for the ability to join on Zoom, this has been an easy way to keep
Brooks S/Dave B made a motion to
adjourn the meeting. All members voted in
favor; motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.
Next meeting will be October 7th
at 7:00 pm.
Larivee, Town Clerk
These minutes are not official until approved at the next regular Selectboard
minutes were approved at the October 7, 2020 selectboard meeting.