First and Third Tuesday
of the month 7:00 p.m.
||Current Selectboard Members
October 29, 2013
Attending: Selectboard Chair Barbara Rainville, members Elwin Isham, Oakley Smith, Bill Finger, & Paul Forlenza; Dept. Heads/Chairs/Town Officials (for Budget Discussion): Road Foreman Tim Thompson, Town Clerk Sally Ober, Constable Will Clark, Jake Orvis (Transfer Station), Brian McDonough (Burnham Hall), Jen Oldham (School Board); resident Katie Banks (TAC Alternate); and Administrative Asst. Lolly Otis.
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM.
- Paul asserted that at next meeting, the Board needs to decide how much money the Town will contribute to employee Health Insurance coverage.
- Add: NO additions.
Remove: Approve Minutes (no opportunity to review Drafts).
- Barb moved to approve the 10/29/13 Agenda as amended; Oakley seconded. Vote called and passed.
Orders and Payroll were reviewed.
- Big items: Mostly payroll and a large People’s Bank payment--$17K (loan principal)
- Oakley moved to approve Payroll Check Warrant Report #17 for $3,136.83, Payroll Check Warrant Report #18 for $3,214.69, and regular Check Warrant Report #18 for $21,390.93. Barb seconded; Vote called and passed.
Gap Rd. Paperwork
- Barb read request to sign an amendment to the original Grant paperwork—a minor addition to “Codes and Standards” section (added: “or lacks infrastructure study”).
- Barb moved to sign the updated Gap Road grant agreement; Oakley seconded. Vote called and passed. Barb signed the amended page.
VLCT Hazard ID Survey
- Letter read regarding the Action Plan the Town was given in May—VLCT never received a response (completion of Action Items form). Barb acknowledged that she needs to send it in (has the form at home); will follow up tomorrow.
Telling & Associates Audit Info
- Barb read the cover letter: Info about what Telling will need for the Town audit (various questionnaires that need to be completed by particular town officials). Paul: Does Audit need to be done by Town Meeting? Barb: No.
- After scanning the paperwork, Barb felt the Board should table this until next meeting, when they can look over the forms more carefully.
- Elwin noted that Jill Fraga should get a copy. Barb agreed that they could start circulating the paperwork.
- Discussion continued about who needs to fill out the questionnaires (Selectboard? Treasurer? Auditors?). Barb: Will make copies at office and send them to appropriate people. To be discussed further at next meeting.
- Barb signed the Quarterly trust payment check—$6,577.47.
- Foundation Chair Brian McDonough requested a brief meeting with the Selectboard before their next meeting—maybe ½ hour early (6:00 pm) at Burnham?
Road Project Updates
- Grimes/County Rds. (BBR grant): Elwin reported that the work is nearly done except some gravel work to be done by the Town. Job went well.
- Truchon Bridge: Barb reported that she’d recently talked with Mark Colgon from [VHB] (engineering Company, Ferrisburg). Needs to follow up and check on status. (Next step was getting ROW approval from adjacent landowners.) Barb thinks it should be completed by now, but may need to press the issue a little.
2014 BUDGET—Preliminary discussion with Town departments
- Oakley recapped the idea of this meeting: An opportunity for each Department/group to share their needs/budget-request expectations, so everyone gets a feel for the whole scope and better understands the Town’s challenges.
Brian McDonough, Burnham Foundation Chair
- Hopes the Hall can stay on Town’s insurance. Bill asked how much support Burnham receives from Town. Brian: Town pays insurance premium, $5-7,000 per year.
- Outside restoration: $5-10,000 will still be needed to complete it, after existing grants. They will be exploring other grant opportunities to try and get some of that covered.
- Bill asked about rental charges. Brian: General Use: $150 for Hall, plus $50 for kitchen (if required). Bill asked amount of Fund. Brian: about $25,000/year.
- Brian reiterates that he’d like the insurance coverage to stay status quo, and hopes the Board can meet with the Burnham Board immediately before the next regular meeting.
Will Clark, Constable & Neighborhood Watch
- Reported that he picks up dog-control duty a lot because incidents happen during the day when Animal Control Officer (Nate Reynolds) isn’t available (Will is his back-up).
- Constable work: Will said they are usually first ones out after storms (often no road crew out), cutting trees, etc. Pay doesn’t always cover their expenses (break chains, need oil, etc.); Sometimes have to use own money for supplies.
- Neighborhood Watch: Will now heading up the Watch (new to this). Said they’ve never asked the Town for money, but need some funding for basics—batteries and radio hook-ups (need to get radios back up); will have to ask Town for money this year.
- Bill asked Will how much money he currently gets; Will: $1,200/year. Said he works around 250 hours/year sometimes. Oakley asked Will if he’s got any numbers (for what he needs). Will said he had no idea. Paul: Any idea how much money you’re out right now? Will “No idea” (repeated). Oakley asked him to come up with some rough numbers for next week’s (Nov. 5th) meeting.
Sally Ober, Town Clerk
- Reported that she had no part in last year’s budget discussion (doesn’t even know how it was created), so can’t really speak to that/compare numbers and, admittedly, hasn’t spent much time evaluating it.
- Town Office: Bill reported recently visiting Shoreham’s new Town Office and encouraged anyone who’s traveling in that area to go see it (if on 22A, side detour on 74). Bill shared the following information: $450,000 spent (less than he expected); Architect-designed, built by Brandon Construction Company, Naylor & Breen (quality work); A/C throughout, pretty well done; Shoreham had money built up in a fund ($250,000?) beforehand to put toward project.
- Sally stressed that a new Office isn’t for her (“Clerk’s palace”); the Town Office serves many functions/many people. She’s glad the Board initiated this project and it’s coming from them. Paul: They were very particular on the grant paperwork about listing all the various functions the Town Office is used for. Paul explained that this is a “Planning Grant” (first phase): Project was divided into two phases; given (cost) numbers and award probability, they had decided to go for 1st phase only this year, then will go for second phase next year.
- Katie Banks assured Sally that this is definitely not just for her, saying the Town Office is “crappy” and needs to be replaced. She reported that people well outside of local area talk about the condition of Lincoln’s Town Office.
- Discussion about different cost-scenarios: using same location vs. finding spot for new location. Barb recollected that Findings from a previous Town Office Committee were that it would be better to work with the existing location—build out both ends then renovate the middle—rather than seek an alternate location. Bill felt everything should be looked at again, from scratch (many changes since then).
Back to Sally (Clerk’s budget concerns).
- Vital Records: Have no general Index; they’re put into binders, which have individual Indexes at the front. Searching records is difficult. The Land Records software Town uses has indexing software for vital records too—maybe in the $1,000 or less range. She needs to do more research of cost and scope (might be more than the Town needs). Bill wondered if Land Records are digitized? On-line? Sally: Records since 2011 (when software purchased) are digitized, but not on-line; only few in State that are on-line. Clerks have concerns about putting records out in public—some contain confidential information, e.g., social security numbers. Also, there could be conflicts with State laws regarding cost of land record copies.
- Pay raises for Town employees. Feels it’s important to take a look at how raises are given (some get $1.00/hr raises, while others get significantly less). Sally would like to see some kind of consistent method being used.
- Treasurer’s salary: Needs to be re-worked/re-evaluated; it’s out of whack—what Treasurer does vs. what she gets paid. This is a very important job, and Sally feels the Treasurer is not currently getting paid as a professional (look at Treasurer’s pay vs. Dump Attendant’s pay); this needs to be revisited. Barb gave some history about how Treasurer’s salary got skewed (previous Treasurer took pay cuts for years, which put the position’s pay out of step with what it should be); relays that the Treasurer requested an increase last year, but the Board felt the percentage increase was too high. Bill: Need to look at all salaries being paid, to eliminate inequities (e.g., the “Treasurer’s vs. Dump attendent’s pay” example Sally gave) and make sure people are at least on the right track. Sally suggested the Board look at what Treasurers are being paid across the State, noting that the 2013 VT Municipal Compensation Report is out; Barb responded that can’t really tell anything from that report, because too many reporting variables. Bill: It comes down to Lincoln’s decisions, what Lincoln can afford and what we’ll pay people. Should review all employee salaries at once, looking for discrepancies and inequities.
- Paul asked Sally if she’s going to submit a number (for Clerk’s budget). Sally: Yes, but what format should be used for Budget request? (different format was used last year.) Barb: Do whatever you’ve done for past few years. Paul to Board: If going to put Town Report in NEMRC format, then should ask people to submit budgets in that format.
Jen Oldham, School Board
- Reported that State is saying “Don’t want to see any increases in your budget.” Last year: 5% increase; Jen doubts it will be that high this year.
- New Teachers’ pay set for this year. It will be one year out (’14-’15 Budget) that new teachers’ salaries will significantly increase (new contracts).
- They don’t yet know how insurance costs will pan out (Exchange transition), so no specific information about that. Nothing big anticipated for this year.
- Oakley asked when the renovations to the school were completed. Jen: Last June; still keeping left-over funds (have for 3-year period), to see if needed for anything (have one $1,500 item in mind). Oakley: Not applying remaining money to debt? Jen: Not yet; that would require a special process—not simply deciding to do so—but may end up doing it. Discussion of what the cost-savings might be as a result of renovation work. Jen: Won’t know until going through this Winter.
- Challenges/Biggest expenses: 1) 80% of Budget is Salary + Benefits (this part out of their control); 2) Special Ed: Never know exactly what the cost will be for a specific year, or how much money they’ll get back from the State until the following year; 3) Subs.
- Jake Orvis asked about the school playground—updating soon? (feels it needs to be.) Jen: No imminent plans for this.
Jake Orvis, Transfer Station
- Reported that they find electronics, scrap metal, hazardous waste, and other items Dump doesn’t accept stuffed inside things they do accept. Wants to contact Casella to see if they could bring a small dumpster to the Dump, at least for electronics. Doesn’t know how much it would cost, but will ask how much to have it up there and get it emptied, probably 3 or 4 times a year. Feels this is important to address because there’s a reason these things (e.g., electronics) should stay out of the way stream.
Tim Thompson, Highway Dept.
- Looked at last year’s budget; doesn’t think there will be much change. Just a couple of items, e.g., repairs on equipment (some getting old, needing maintenance/repair work).
- Tires: Even though have new trucks, tires are expensive; might need to increase that item.
- Paul asked Tim if he would submit numbers. Tim & Elwin: Yes, working on this and should have it done soon.
- Excavator: As previously discussed (with VT Local Roads rep, Dave Antone), would be good for the Town to have one at some point. Elwin: Could come out of Equipment Reserve Fund.
Katie Banks, TAC Alternate/resident
- First wanted to say that Gap Rd. project going well; she’s impressed with the work being done, both by the private Contractor and the Town. Doesn’t want Town to do any work on her driveway (building up a bump), as had been previously mentioned; Town shouldn’t spend money on it, and Contractor said it wouldn’t help her property anyway.
- TAC front: Katie reported that recent meetings suggest that small rotaries (not complicated ones, like new one in Middlebury, but small, simple rotaries) are the way of the future for controlling pedestrian/bike/car traffic. Going to become commonplace.
- Barb asked if there was any word from them. Sally reported that they were having an officer’s meeting tonight, so couldn’t be here, but had passed on word that they will be requesting level-funding, as they have been doing. They’re using existing funds to work on getting a computer.
- Jake (member of Fire Co.) reported on recent maintenance/repairs done on equipment.
- Barb reported that the Assoc. will be asking $5,000 (had just sent an email).
- Barb: They’re meeting not this Monday but next; doesn’t think there will be any increases.
Lincoln Sports: Sally doesn’t believe they’ll be asking for an increase.
Paul asked if Board could set up a specific date to discuss the Road budget. All agreed; after checking with Tim on possible dates, members decided to meet early (6:30 pm) at the November 19th regular meeting to discuss Highway budget for the first half-hour. Also discussed the idea of starting all meetings early for awhile (a lot on their plate).
Oakley pointed out that the next meeting (Nov. 5th) would be primarily for Health Insurance discussion and the business they didn’t cover tonight.
Recap of Sub-committees.
- Oakley and Bill: Budget Discussion/Prep
- Paul: Health Insurance coverage
- Elwin & Tim (Thompson): Highway Budget
Barb: Shooting to have Budget discussion with Town on week of January 6th, 2014. Would like Social Services solicitations to be due by December 5th, 2013 (initial requests), so have time to vet them out/do petitions, if needed.
Paul reported that he will miss the next meeting (out of town Nov. 4th-6th for business). If that meeting is designated for Health Ins. decision, they need to come up with a number of what the Town will contribute, then give that number to Shawn Oxford so he can tell them what they’ll get for that.
Nov. 5th Mtg: Members will first meet at Burnham Hall at 6:00 pm, for ½ hour meeting with the Burnham Board; then will move to Town Office at 6:30 pm to start regular meeting (Exec. Session 6:30-7:00, with Shawn Oxford; Re: Health Ins. coverage).
Bill: Should we change start time of all meetings to 6:30 (to avoid confusion)? Barb suggested making it until 1st of the year. All thought this a good idea. Barb moved to start regular Selectboard meetings at 6:30 pm, effective Nov. 5th, 2013 to January 1st, 2014; Oakley seconded. Vote called and passed. Lolly will warn the time-change.
Bill brought up the recent request from HRRR (grant for road signage throughout town) for a meeting with the Board to re-evaluate one action-item the Board had rejected (Re: Creamery St. signage). Feels it’s a waste of time to blow this up (community meetings, etc.). Said the Board had already considered the action list and submitted a response; now HRRR should just do what they need to. If signs are put up on homeowners’ lawns who don’t want it, can take them down later. Feels Board’s got more important business to take care of. Barb said there had been some email miscommunication, but she agreed and had already responded to HRRR accordingly.
Meeting adjourned at 8:23 pm.
Minutes taken by Lolly Otis
All referenced attachments may be
found at Town Office
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