Regular Meeting of Monday January 9, 2023 at 7:00 PM
At South Hero Town Hall and via Zoom
Board Members Present: David Carter/Chairman, Skip Brown/Board Secretary, Ross Brown/Vice Chairman, Chuck Hulse, Anne Zolotas (via Zoom)
Board Members Not Present:
Others Present: Kim Julow, Treasurer. Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA. Also see sign in sheet of in person and Zoom attendees. *Attendance SB 2023-1-09-2023
1. Called to Order:
-The meeting was called to order by Chairman David Carter at 7:00 pm
2. Adjustment to Agenda:
-Add Town Health officer to New Business
-Ross Brown made a motion to acknowledge the minutes of December 12 and December 19, 2022. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
4. Public input:
A. Doug Patterson asked about paving for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022/2023. None was done in the fall and he questioned if any would be done before the FY ends June 30. Note that it is possible to carry Road Dept. funds forward, so that the funds can be used in a future FY. Road liaison, Ross Brown, said that he would speak to John Beaulac about this, but would defer to his judgment about when to do a particular job. Note that the Road Dept. budget was discussed with the treasurer and that less paving funds will be included, as money will be in the budget to be used for a future salt shed.
B. Joan Falcao asked about the South Hero meeting house. That discussion is on the agenda and will be discussed later.
C. Robert Fireovid asked about a petition that he presented. That discussion is on the agenda and will be discussed later.
5. New Business:
A. Delinquent Tax collector Jonathan Shaw discussed the fact that 7 properties are over a year in arrears. He suggests that a tax sale may be necessary. Ross Brown made a motion to hire attorney Vaughn Comeau to begin the tax sale process. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
B. Treasurer Kim Julow reviewed the Road and Town budgets. Note that the Road budget will include a line for a future salt shed. The Town budget is still waiting for the school board and final county figures.
C. Ross Brown made a motion to appoint Ashley Williams as the Town Health Officer. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried. Chuck Hulse will resign the position when she is ready for the position.
6. Administrative Assistant Report:
A. See the written report filed with these minutes (Below on the website or in Town Hall).
7. Old and Ongoing Business:
A. Possible articles to include with the Town Report were discussed.
-Petitions from a group of citizens about reducing the size of certain zoning districts were presented to the Board. The Board has reviewed the petitions and has sought legal council from VLCT and is awaiting a determination from the Town attorney about whether they would be binding or advisory. Public hearings before any votes on updates appear to be necessary. Note that the areas mentioned in the petitions speak to the fact that the Village Center Designations as listed in the petition(s) is a State program and not a zoning district. As it states on the Town website: The Vermont Village Center Designation Program recognizes and supports local revitalization efforts across the state with dedicated staff and funding to help designated municipalities build and foster strong communities. Once designated, the community is eligible for several benefits including tax credits & grants. Planning Commission (PC) members Sandy Gregg and Michele Gammal said that this petition has been used as guidance on the work that the PC is doing on the Town Plan, but does concur that the Town needs an opinion from the attorney. Ross Brown made a motion to table the discussion about including this as an article until an opinion from an attorney is final. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
– A discussion about an article for a bond for the restoration and an addition to the Old South Hero Meeting House was discussed. It appears that in order to rehab the building including a foundation, insulation, heat, plumbing, an addition, etc. could cost upwards of $2,400,000. After discussion about the feasibility of this amount of money and what the ultimate use of the building would be until more information could be gotten, Chuck Hulse made a motion to table this discussion until the next Selectboard meeting. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
8. Announcements and Communications:
A. See other business
9. Other Business:
A. Ross Brown made a motion to approve and sign orders 23-13 & 23-14 and 23-14A and to pay the bills associated with the orders. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
B. Town Clerk/Treasurer updates:
-The County Budget is not finalized and the meeting is January 18.
-The State has let the Town know that the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) is now 79.8%. This means that a Town re-appraisal may be necessary, but the legislature may be poised to look into the data. It appears that due to the uptick in house prices in the last 3 years, this CLA is statewide.
-The Audit report for FY 2022 is available.
C. Recreation Commission (RC) update: The Rec. Commission with SHLT wants to apply for a grant. David Carter made a motion that the same letter of support for the previous grant application can be used for this grant application. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
D. Road Department update:
-The Kibbe Point Rd. right of way appears to be 2 rods (33 feet) wide for a portion of it. Note that most public road rights of way in Town are 3 rods (49.5 feet) wide. This will affect if it is able to ditched properly and/or paved. A survey regarding paving or not paving Kibbe Point Road was sent to 77 property owners living on Kibbe Point Rd and roads that originate off it. 47 surveys were returned and the results have been tabulated with 37 respondents favoring no paving and 10 respondents favoring paving. Building up of the road bed and crowning the surface will begin in the spring.
-The Town bought a used equipment trailer. Ross Brown authorized the Road Dept. to buy it with equipment replacement funds.
-If the Road Dept. begins work on the salt shed property, they should apply for a building permit first.
E. Old South Hero Meeting House (OSHMH) project: see above
F. ARPA fund updates: Ross Brown made a motion to use up to $500.00 of ARPA funds to pay for training and data updated for a new NEMRC module. The motion was seconded, all in attendance at the meeting so voted and the motion carried.
G. Wastewater update: Letters have gone out to see if test pits can be dug on certain properties to see if there are areas for small community septic capacity.
-Chuck Hulse made a motion to adjourn 9:10 pm. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
Respectfully submitted, Approved by,
Graham Brown, Secretary David Carter, Chairman
Administrative Officer’s Report to Selectboard January 9, 2023
1. I have attempted to download the application for a 2023 Transportation Alternatives grant for a pedestrian study for crosswalks in the area of Apple Island Resort, Featherbed Lane, and the new development at the Sandbar area. However, all the information still references 2022. I have contacted Scott Robertson of VTrans to ask for the appropriate application and a 2023 Guidebook to the process. I hope to have updated information for the Board at the Jan. 23 meeting.
2. I had a demonstration of NEMRC’s zoning module in early December and I think it could increase the efficiency of the Zoning Office. I realize that it is on the agenda for this evening’s meeting but did a little additional research with Kim. The Vermont ZA’s List Serve had a conversation later in December about programs that other VT Towns use. These modules include CitizenServe (used by Barre City and St. Albans), and a program called Townview used in Dorsett. We looked them up and they were quite expensive, and appeared to be for larger towns and cities with many more employees. The benefit of using the NEMRC model is that since the Town already pays an annual service contract for existing NEMRC programs we use and there would not be an additional fee. The one-time charge for the module is $1795. Estimated costs to convert data will be $145. Additional training of 1 to 2 hours will be $145 to $290. NEMRC told me that the training and data conversion could be paid now and the cost for the module billed in July 2023.
3. VHB technicians were at the landfill site on Dec. 5 conducting groundwater sampling for PFAS from the existing wells at the site and returned to complete the sampling on Friday (12/9). There were still 3 out of a total of 10 properties that they had not been able to contact for testing. This is anticipated to be later in the month or in early January. Results from these rests are anticipated to be complete in February. After evaluating the results of the 12/5 tests and those later this month/early January, a formal workplan may include installation of strategically located deeper bedrock wells and additional monitoring of key wells to better define the source and extent.
4. There was an initial administrative meeting on January 5 for the Planning Commission’s sidewalk scoping study. The award is for $40,000, with Town matching funds of $10,000. I have been designated the Municipal Project Manager. This is a federal grant, through VTrans, making the Town a subrecipient of the grant. VTrans’ project supervisor is Ashley Andrews. The Planning Commission has requested that NRPC be the coordinator. I will receive a draft contract from them this week and it will need to be signed at the next SB meeting (put on the agenda for 1/23?). Once the contract has been signed the Town will need to procure a consultant (VTrans has a pre-approved list of engineering consultants who understand the requirements for this type of study). Ashley Andrews sent me a flowchart and a scoping report checklist to help keep track of the grant requirements. The timeline of the study is expected to be the end of 2023 or early 2024, allowing time to apply for a VTrans Bicycle/Pedestrian grant in spring 2024.
5. There will be a virtual On-Site Monitoring for the South Hero Bayview Crossing Implementation Grant that I will be attending in February (no confirmed date yet). This is a final meeting to make sure that all policies and procedures pertaining to VCDP Grants have been fulfilled. The Town’s responsibilities include policies related to Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity Employment, and Fair Housing. Also included will be Financial Management policies, including Internal Control, Cash Management/Draw-down Procedures, Accounting Records for CDBG expenditures, Accounting records, and audit reports. I believe that these policies are all included in the Town’s Financial Policies?
6. I have placed classified ads for the Town Administrator position in Seven Days (2 issues – Dec. 21 and 28 – will remain on the newsstand until Jan 11), in the on-line classifieds for VLCT News, and in the Islander or Jan. 4, 11, and 18. I have received 3 resumes so far and a couple other inquiries, to which I sent an expanded job description. The Town will be accepting letters of interest and resumes until Feb. 1st.
7. I received an email referencing an amendment request for the Old Meeting House Planning Grant from VCDP. The MAO needs to certify the amendment so I can change the status of the grant.
2023 Town Plan discussion – NRPC presented a draft proposal for the Village Zoning Districts that would split the districts into a “village core” and “village neighborhood” districts. These proposals were in response to feedback from participants at a Village Vision workshop held at the library in September 2022. The Planning Commission’s Dec 21 and Jan 4 meetings included discussion on these proposals and will continue at their January 18 meeting. Public participation is encouraged. NRPC expects to spend part of the winter writing the draft 2023 Town Plan, with public hearings expected to begin in late February or March.
Development Review Board Respectfully submitted,
There are no hearings scheduled for the month of January. Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA and SB Asst