Select Board Minutes 5-5-2020

Select Board 5-5-2020



MAY 5TH, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution around the covid-19 virus, this meeting was held via a conference call line which was made publicly available for anyone to call into.

  • Board members present: Josh Terenzini, Mary Ashcroft, Sharon Russell, Joe Denardo and John Paul Faignant
  • Meeting opened at 6:00 P.M.

Public Comment

  • Joan Jeanette commented on the office being closed. Asked about being able to access town hall and if appointments can be made for residents who have closings occurring in order. Mr. Terenzini stated this is going to be discussed at the meeting tonight.
  • Christina Bordeau commented on some issues within their fire district. She has sent some communication to Mr. Terenzini. Mr. Terenzini stated this could be discussed at a regular board meeting and will forward the documents to the rest of the board.

New Business: Discuss plans to reopen Town Hall and Northwood Park

  • Faignant reported on governors’ recommendations. The original May 15th date was considered to be optimistic but the social distancing rules have kept VT in good shape. We have NOT met criteria by which the May 15th date was set. The established criteria was a 2 week period with no additional cases plus 2 weeks of decline.
  • Faignant recommended taking appointments for May 15th and to start accepting them on May 6th. They should be scheduled by priority. Oldest requests would be scheduled first. It would be reasonable to require anyone entering to have foot, hand and faces covered. Masks will not be provided and additionally access will be denied if no mask is used. Hand and foot covering can be provided by town. People will be held strictly to their time. Going longer will not be allowed initially.
  • As far as the parks, as long as the hoops and nets are taken down plus the playground closed, the parks can be opened for pedestrian traffic but with social distancing requirements.
  • Terenzini asked Ms. Clark if she knew how long a researcher needs and how many people could be accommodated per day. Ms. Clark recommended a 60 min limit per appointment, with 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. There is no record of a wait list so scheduling on priority is difficult. Ms. Clark recommended then being scheduled on a first come first serve basis because they have no way to verify priority and all the precautions must be adhered to. An order for supplies was made last week but the items are on back order. This included masks, gloves and plexiglass for the counter. We may not have the supplies to be able to let people in on the timeline. Mr. Terenzini said people coming in could provide their own masks and gloves if the town does not have them yet available. Ms. Russell said she could provide a box of gloves. Ms. Clark said cleaning supplies were ordered but are on back order as well. Ms. Ashcroft commented on if there is a need for the booties. She asked it not to be one of the requirements. Ms. Ashcroft also asked for some flexibility on the length for searches, given that Vermont requires a 40-year history. Additionally, asked for consideration on only limiting it to two researchers per day. Ms. Clark said that anyone not feeling well needs to hold off and not come in at all. Mr. Faignant said we are trying to locate some remote thermometers.
  • Denardo commented on the appointments being spaced so there is some flexibility to allow for some overage and to allow Ms. Clark and Ms. McGee to access the vault if they need to. He feels everyone should provide their own face coverings as well. He stated that accelerating the reopening timeline before proper supplies are received is not a good idea. Overall, he supports what Mr. Faignant said.
  • Russell commented on thermometers being used to take temperatures, it requires the person taking the temperature to be in very close proximity. Mr. Scholtz said staff taking temperatures at the hospital required people to be within 1 to 2 feet.
  • Terenzini stated he is in agreement with reopening Northwood Park for walking. Would ask the Board to authorize Town Hall to open May 11th based on governors relaxed recommendations. He stated it would not be safe to open the office until the plexiglass guards are in place. He would support Friday May 15th by appointment to start. This could be reviewed June 1st or as needed to update.
  • Faignant recommended Northwood Park be opened tomorrow (May 6th). Mike Rowe stated Dewey Field should be kept closed since there is nowhere but the ball field to use. Keeping it closed would discourage crowds from gathering.
  • Town Road Commissioner Mr. Hathaway asked about the need for department heads to come in to process bills, to limit the number of people in the building. Mr. Denardo discussed having department heads use a different room to process bills.
  • Mike Rowe brought up some concerns on restrictions. Currently cars are not allowed to park by the basketball court or by the baseball field. He suggested opening the lot next to the transfer station only for parking to allow walkers to access the trails. The Board members agreed.
  • Town Lister Mr. Howard Burgess asked if town employees should be using masks if visitors are coming in and asked about cleaning the surfaces researchers interact with. Terenzini commented that face coverings are required if the public is going to be in the building. After researchers are finished, points of contact need to be sanitized and cleaned. Mr. Faignant said gloves should minimize exposure, but surfaces should still be wiped down. Mr. Terenzini asked about accessing listers cards. Mr. Burgess said they can look them up and provide them electronically. Mr. Faignant asked if the researcher could email or call in the request and have it scanned and sent; Mr. Burgess replied they could be. Mr. Burgess asked if Ms. Clark and Ms. McGee need to have masks if they are alone in the office. Mr. Faignant said they do not have to as long as they do not violate the 6-foot rule. Ms. Ashcroft asked again about eliminating the foot covering requirement. Mr. Faignant said it came up as the 4th most common transmission method. Ms. Ashcroft said she felt it would create more problems than it would solve. Mr. Terenzini asked if the board would be ok eliminating the foot covering requirement. They were in favor of eliminating it.  Ms. Clark asked for the requirements be written up and posted so the public is easily aware. This will be posted on all doors and online. Mr. Denardo commented that the appointments should be in the hands of Ms. Clark and Ms. McGee to allow them to manage the flow.
  • Ashcroft commented on the variety of surfaces that a researcher would touch. Mr. Faignant stated this is what wearing the gloves are meant to address. Ms. Clark said they could ask each person making an appointment about the intended need for a lister card, and that this can only be obtained electronically. Mr. Denardo commented that Ms. Clark and Ms. McGee have the authority to deny them access to the building. Ms. Russell stated that they need to put a clean pair of gloves on when they come in and not bringing in gloves they already have. Mr. Denardo commented that proper technique of putting them on and taking them off is very important. Ms. Bordeau asked why require the use of gloves and not hand sanitizer. Ms. Clark said both would be available.
  • Bill Cunningham asked about the transfer station hours. Mr. Terenzini stated it is open regular hours.
  • Discussion a motion to open Northwood Park tomorrow with precautions and discussed and to open Town Hall May 15th by appointment with precautions as discussed. Ms. Russell asked if we do not have the supplies, do we open. Mr. Terenzini stated we need to be creative in coming up with a plan. Mr. Scholtz asked if supplies could be donated to help get through until the orders are received. Mr. Denardo moved to reopen Northwood Park in compliance with Mr. Faignants restrictions and Mr. Rowes recommendations and to open Town Hall with appointments and guidelines. Ms. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0 with Mr. Faignant abstaining.
  • Terenzini discussed the May 10th tax due date and how taxes can be paid on time covering various methods. Ms. Clark commented that the information is on the phone greeting at Town Hall also. There are 3 ways. Traditionally through the mail lots of payments have been received and receipts can be sent back via mail or email. Just let us know. Option for online payments, through our website. E-check with a flat charge or a credit card with a fee based on amount paid. There also is a drop box at the front door available during normal office hours only. It is checked frequently. Receipts can be requested by this method as well. USPS postmarked payments by May 11th, because May 10th is Sunday, is acceptable as well. About 69% of taxes have been received for the 3rd installment so far. Mr. Scholtz commented that putting it in the mail is not a guarantee of an on-time post mark. He recommended going straight to the Post Office to get it hand stamped or hand canceled.
  • Rowe asked Town Police Chief Ed Dumas be notified on the update for Northwood Park.  The Town Police drives through the park often to ensure no gatherings are occurring to ensure there is no abuse.
  • Scholtz said some thermometers which have a longer range are not designed to read body temperature correctly.

Ms. Russell moved to enter executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0 and the board entered executive session at 6:53 PM. The board used a separate conference call line for executive session purposes.

The Select Board came out of executive session at 7:14.  No action was taken.  The Select Board then re-called the public phone number 712-770-4598 to reconvene.  No action was taken at that open meeting. Upon motion by Ms. Russell, seconded by Mr. Denardo, and unanimously voted, the meeting was adjourned at 7:15.

Respectfully submitted, Mr. Bill Sweet


Joshua C. Terenzini, Chairman
Mary Ashcroft, Clerk
John Paul Faignant
Joseph Denardo
Sharon Russell


Center Rutland, VT.