Select Board/Finance Committee

Tuesday, February 15, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
9 Montague Rd.
A meeting of the Select Board

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Meeting of Select Board

Members: (Quorum)

  • Present: Tom Hankinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Julie Shively, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Melissa Colbert, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Margie M.
  • Lisa S. in person for the Select Board. For the Finance Committee: Phil C. and Nancy G.
  • in person and Jed P.
  • and Steve N.
  • remotely. Also present: Matt B.
  • Brian C.
  • Amy F. Annette H.
  • Tom M.
  • George B. (in person) Rich N. (remotely).

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:00 PM

Meeting closed: 8:55 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Appointments

    • 7:00: Transfer Station Budget Hearing

      General Discussion...
      Transfer Station Budget Hearing: Annette Herda presenting
      Annette presented a budget requesting a 25.5% increase in expenses. Annette noted increases in bulky waste (59%) and trash hauling (37%) that are out of her control. There was a discussion about if the Transfer Station should be self-sustaining or not. Suggestions were made about increasing the sticker fee and bulky waste fee. Annette was agreeable to both. A scale would make bulky waste disposal more accurate but was decided to not be worth the investment.

    • 7:15: Assessors Budget Hearing

      General Discussion...
      Assessor’s Budget Hearing: Jim Staros presenting
      The Assessor’s have been discussing the need for new maps for a couple of years. Jim presented a budget that includes a one-time capital purchase to have the maps made for $3475. The Assessor’s have contributed their stipends to off-set some of the cost. Additionally, there will be a $1300 annual map maintenance fee and a $3,000 annual GIS fee. The board was supportive of the request feeling like it was past time to make the investment.

    • 7:30: Fire Dept. Budget Hearing

      General Discussion...
      Fire Department Budget Hearing: Brian Cook presenting
      Brian re-arranged the line items and categories within them to better reflect expenses. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was the largest increase. For the past 2 years PPE was paid for with a special article. PPE needs to be replaced every ten years and purchased as new members join or firefighters lose or gain weight. The addition of 2 new sets of PPE per year to the Fire Dept. budget makes for a 22% increase. Other categories of the budget were within the 3% guidance.
      The Fire Dept. and Highway Dept. are discussing the handing down of a one-ton truck from the Highway Dept. to the Fire Dept. to be outfitted as a brush truck after 5 years of Highway use with the Capital Planning Com. The two departments are also considering having the Highway Dept. employees be trained as firefighters to help assist the fire department for daytime fires.
      Brian met with the Personnel Board to request an increase of hours from 19 to 25 per week. He is also actively recruiting new members.
      The Board signed a $8700 grant for struts for car rollovers.
      Julie updated the board on the Regional School’s 4-town meeting that was held last week.

    • 7:45: Natalie Blais--check-in

      General Discussion...
      Jo Comerford and Natalie Blais
      Jo and Natalie attended virtually for their annual check-in. Julie reported that the funding formula for school districts isn’t working. At the recent 4-town meeting Amherst recommended using a 5-year rolling average using the state rate. The state rules for regional schools allows one town to decide the fate of the other three. Jo and Natalie answered questions about dirt roads, mosquito control, the Vote Act. etc.

  3. Business

    • Approve minutes of February 7

      General Discussion...
      The minutes of February 1, 2022 were approved.

    • Jim Field--resignation letter

      General Discussion...
      The board accepted Jim Field’s letter of resignation with regrets and agreed to offer the salaried position to Brian Cook beginning 7/1/2022 for $1,500/year.

    • Personnel Board update

      General Discussion...
      Personnel Board Update:
      Town Clerk, Lisa Stratford, met with the board to request an increase of 3-5 hours/week. She outlined changes in election law and procedure and town hall staffing changes as well as maintaining equity with the hours allotted to area clerks. The Personnel Board has recommended an additional 4 hours/week.
      Isaiah Robison discussed the possibility of a shared Conservation Commission Agent. He also asked to have the rate increased to $20/hour and the hours increased to 8-10 hrs./week which the Personnel Board recommended.
      The Personnel Board also recommended that the Fire Chief be a 25 hour/week benefitted position.
      The Personnel Board recommended a COLA increase of 3%. The vote was not unanimous and Phil C., explained that he thought it should be 5.9% based on inflation. Margie shared the chart used to calculate a suggested COLA, based on a year’s average inflation by month. There was a desire to give a 4% COLA. But due to budget constraints a 3% was voted.

      MOTION, moved by Julie Shively, seconded by Tom Hankinson: Motion: To give a 3% COLA to town employees. Vote: 3-0 in favor.

      Pass: Aye: Julie Shively, Tom Hankinson, Melissa Colbert.

    • Sign Cultural Council Grant

      General Discussion...
      The Cultural Council Grant and thank you’s were signed.

    • Sign thank you's

      General Discussion...
      The Cultural Council Grant and thank you’s were signed.

  4. Mail

    • ATLAS Monitoring for landfill

    • Delta Sand and Gravel Letter

    • Elections Division--single precinct approved

    • Eversource Veg. Mgmnt letter

    • HRA Annual Report

    • MDAR-- ACO behind in continuing ed. classes

      General Discussion...
      Lisa has received two notices from MDAR stating that Roberta Bryant has not kept up with her re-certification as ACO. Lisa will write to let her know she has 3 weeks to complete the coursework or she will not be reappointed.

  5. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Lisa Stratford

Minutes approved on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022

Posted to: Select Board