TOWN OF RUTLAND
SELECT BOARD MEETING
JULY 7, 2009
The meeting opened at 7:00 P.M. with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Board members present: Richard DelBianco, Joseph Dicton, James Hall and Stanley Rhodes III.
Review of the 6/23/2009 Minutes
Mr. DelBianco motioned to accept the minutes as written. Mr. Dicton seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Howard Burgess, the Town Lister, updated the Board on the 2009 property reappraisal. He said that the town-wide reappraisal has been mailed to property owners and the average assessment has about doubled since the last appraisal in 1998. The CLA (Common Level of Appraisal) was at 58% of fair market value based on sales for the last three years. Mr. Burgess also noted that it is important to remember that when the property value goes up the tax rate goes down so a property that has doubled in value does not mean that the taxes will double. The new appraisal will be reflected in the tax bills that go out in August.
The Listers are waiting for the District Spending Adjustment in order for the tax rate to be set. The per pupil spending at the school will determine the education portion which is the largest part of the tax bill. There will be some adjustments to the Grand List due to grievances and this will affect the tax rate as well.
An informational meeting on the reappraisal will be held at the school at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 14th, in Mr. Bender’s room. Appointments for grievances can be made with the listers and will begin on July 20th.
Mr. Hall asked what would happen if the grievances go to the second or third level. This would mean that the taxpayer would have to go before the BCA (Board of Civil Authority). It is thought that these people, if granted a lower assessment, would probably receive a refund.
Ms. Hyjek asked if the second or third payment could be adjusted rather than having to mail refunds but this is a question for NEMRC (New England Municipal Resource Center) who actually prints the tax bills.
Questions from the Floor
John Paul Faignant approached the Board as a taxpayer and had some questions for Mr. Hall regarding the idea Mr. Hall set forth at the last meeting concerning the possibility of cutting positions on the Town payroll.
Mr. Faignant said he felt the Town was obligated to provide adequate police, fire and highway services to the taxpayers. He reminded the Board that the taxpayers voted on the budget which includes the workers who may be cut. He felt that more research was needed before any cuts were made, if any. Mr. Faignant also told the Board that Rutland Town has the lowest budget of the next ten closest towns with a similar population.
Mr. Hall told Mr. Faignant that the idea of cuts in the Police Department has been put on hold.
Mr. Rhodes said that the budget is based on what is needed and what is affordable. The issue of the cost of running the school came up and Mr. Faignant said he felt this has never really been addressed.
Mr. DelBianco said he felt this issue should be discussed in executive session and Mr. Faignant said that the issue was brought up in front of the public and they have a right to know since they voted on the budget.
Mr. Dicton said he felt it was important to stay within budget constraints but he also felt the will of the people was important as well as the value of the existing services. He said he does not feel that the Town is in a position to lose that value.
Update on the Wester Rail Corridor Study – Susan Schreibman
Ms. Susan Schreibman of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission was present to update the Board on the Western Rail Corridor Study and had a handout for them to read. The study has been conducted by the five regional planning commissions and VTRANS. They also hired a consulting firm. The public has also been involved through public meetings up and down the corridor as well as the mailing of newsletters. She said any recommendations made would be quite general due to the size of the area. The following aspects were studied:
Mr. Rhodes asked what weight the study would carry and Ms. Schreibman said it would help push a project forward as background information.
Mr. Dicton was interested in traffic flow and Ms. Schreibman said a report was available on the VTRANS website on the traffic research page.
Mr. Joseph Zingale Jr., the Town Administrator, said that there is a traffic counter down by the Holiday Inn and a count of vehicles from 1990 to 2006 showed no real increase in traffic flow.
Recreation – Mike Rowe
Mr. Rowe said the pool is open but the rainy weather has caused them to close it on some days which affects revenue.
Mr. Rowe also asked if it was okay for him to give one dollar more per hour to two lifeguards that have completed the WSI training. There was discussion on the issue due to no on else getting a raise except for raising the minimum to $8.06. Mr. Rowe said this has always been the practice and that the lifeguards spend their own money to take the classes.
Mr. Hall suggested reimbursing the lifeguards for the class and Mr. Rhodes said he would like to see some documentation first. Mr. Rhodes also mentioned the possibility of adding training money in the next budget.
Solid Waste Alternative Communities (SWAC) – Charlie Shields
Mr. Shields reported that about 56% of trash could be recycled and said he hoped that more people would do so.
Rutland Regional Transportation Council – Jim Hall
Mr. Hall reported that most of the last meeting was spent on the steps to take to turn ideas into projects.
Mr. Hall said that State aid for highway projects should be available two to three years before the project breaks ground.
He added that there was nothing new on the priority list and that there would be no meeting in July. The next meeting would be on August 20th.
Rutland Regional Planning Commission – Fred Nicholson
Mr. Nicholson reported that of the 200 million dollars of stimulus money awarded to the State, only thirteen million has been allocated to municipalities.
He said that the Transportation Committee that has been talking to Montpelier was successful in stopping the State’s practice of holding back funds on a project already in progress.
Mr. Nicholson said that his committee asked for increased funding since the other towns were doing so and Rutland wanted to keep up with the other towns. However, he said to be prepared for cuts. Byron Hathaway, the Road Commissioner, is to talk to Susan Schreibman of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission on the impact of any cuts to the Town.
At this point, money from the one percent tax for Rutland Town came up. Mr. Zingale reported that Home Depot and Tractor Supply are not charging the one percent and the State has informed them that they need to do this. If they do not comply, then the State will take further steps.
Mr. Nicholson also said that he felt that VLCT should talk to the local transportation committees concerning their needs.
McKinley Bridge is on the list of projects to be done. There was a brief discussion on towns having to come up with five percent of the project money rather than just getting the stimulus money. Mr. Zingale said at one time it was discussed that since VTRANS trucks use McKinley Bridge the State (AOT) was going to pay for the upgrade to the bridge but it never happened. Mr. Hall would like Mr. Nicholson to talk to the RRPC about the five percent match on the stimulus money.
Mr. Nicholson said that the RRPC has $80,000 of stimulus money for energy saving projects, in particular, for municipal buildings. Mr. Rhodes suggested that two of the Board members make up a list of things that need to be done to the Town Office.
Highway – Byron Hathaway
Mr. Rhodes said that the Hubbard Brothers are adding another truck for plowing.
Mr. Hathaway reported that Creek Road was done except for paving. He said the Town of Mendon is going to do Meadow Lake Drive starting on July 9th using a new “cold” technology. It is cheaper than asphalt and is being done by the Gorman Brothers from Albany.
Mr. Hathaway discussed the McKinley Bridge project and said he felt that the sidewalk could be removed to widen the road as it is seldom used. He added that the Town would have to pay the $450,000 and would then be reimbursed by the State. Mr. Dicton asked if the Project Manager required by the State is included in the $450,000 and Mr. Hathaway said he thought it was part of the five percent the Town would pay. Mr. Hathaway warned that when this project is in progress, McKinley Avenue would be tied up for about sixty days and that the Town should think about how to re-route traffic.
Since the deadline for signing the grant paperwork is July 16, 2009, Mr. Hall made a motion to sign the paperwork and allocate $22,500 for the next budget year as the Town’s five percent match. Mr. Dicton seconded the motion. The vote was three in favor of the motion and Mr. DelBianco voting in the negative.
Rutland Town Planning Commission
Mr. Matteson was not present but Mr. Zingale said that the Planning Commission had voted to approve the new Rutland Town Plan and give it to the Select Board. Mr. Zingale said he would get a copy for the Select Board to review.
Police Department – Capt. John Sly
Capt. Sly said that there is a new scam on the phone from outside area codes. The caller pretends to be calling to verify information for your credit card but only wants to steal your identity. Capt. Sly warned not to give out information without calling the number on the back of your credit card to verify if they called.
Capt. Sly said there had been a couple of dog complaints where one dog had attacked a man at Hannaford’s and another had attacked another dog. The incident at Hannaford’s was responded to by the Sheriff’s Department but the Town Constables should be getting the calls in the future. He said he is researching some legal aspects concerning these cases. According to the State’s Title 20, towns can develop their own regulations. He said it is possible the Town may want to have another ordinance regarding dogs. A Select Board committee will review the current ordinances and then bring their finding to the whole Board.
Town Clerk/Treasurer – Marie Hyjek
Ms. Hyjek said she had ordered and received the envelopes and paper for printing the tax bills but is waiting to get the tax rate before setting up an appointment with NEMRC.
The grievance date for the new appraisals has been posted in three public places and the warning for the School vote will be in the Rutland Herald.
Ms. Hyjek said she has been working with the Rutland Herald in an attempt to cut costs for ads. Currently the Town is paying $20.25 per column inch. Mr. Rhodes asked if Ms. Hyjek could make up a synopsis on this issue for the next meeting.
Ms. Hyjek reported that West Rutland and Proctor accepted the Johnson Fuel’s bid of $2.19 per gallon.
The Highway Department is going to take the cardboard from the new lights and light covers from the old lights to the transfer station.
Ms. Hyjek said the Board has a new liquor license to sign since the Ponderosa was sold to a new owner. Mr. Hall motioned to approve the new license for the Ponderosa. Mr. Dicton seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Town Administrator – Joseph Zingale Jr.
Mr. Zingale said that he had pinpointed some changes that need to be made to the Disaster Mitigation Plan. He has talked to Joe Denardo, the Fire Chief. If the Select Board approves the changes, he will forward them on to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.
Mr. Zingale said that West Rutland listers did lower the assessment of the property the Town owns in West Rutland. He misspoke at the last meeting and apologized.
The North End pump station is having problems and is down to only one pump running. A1 Sewer is to provide a report on the problem.
Mr. Zingale asked that the Board bring in their codification books as he has updates to add to them.
Mr. Zingale had an overhead display of the Airport Park in Clarendon as a visual aid to show added businesses who have not been paying for sewer allocations. He said that in 1984 an agreement was signed with REDC that allowed the businesses to pump sewage into the Town’s line on Windcrest Road. They paid for 24,000 gallons of capacity. Mr. Zingale has asked the City to give him records so he can check usages as the City has been billing the Park directly and the Town has not been getting any revenue for O&M costs. The City is going to start sending the Town the bills. He said that he didn’t know if the Town should try to recoup lost revenues. He also said that the Town could gain more capacity for new businesses from companies that are no longer operating such as Metro Group. Vermont Law allows the review of allocations vs. usage and appropriate changes after four quarters.
Mr. Dicton informed the Board that the Transfer Station is in need of renovations. Mr. Zingale showed some overhead pictures that were taken at the Transfer Station to depict problem areas.
Mr. Rhodes suggested that any safety issues be fixed with the $2,000 in the budget and the rest would be budgeted for next year. Mr. Dicton and Mr. Terenzini are to make up a list of items in need of repair.
Mr. Rhodes said that he had received some nomination forms for service awards from VLCT.
Mr. Hall did a graph on possible savings for the Town.
The Board received two thank-you letters from two scholarship recipients.
Kevin Brown sent a letter to the Board concerning the Child Safety Ordinance.
Ms. Hyjek asked what was being done about the taking of the minutes. She said she felt that Ms. Godette only wanted to be a back-up. Mr. Rhodes said that he would like her to continue doing the minutes. Mr. Zingale suggested paying $25 per meeting hour.
It was noted that the Constables neglected to put up NO PARKING signs for the Town fireworks display. All events at Northwood Park require posting surrounding streets.
Mr. Dicton motioned to end the meeting. Mr. Hall seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting ended at 9:35 P.M.