SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
120 FIRST STREET
SWANTON, VT 05488
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Monday, November 23, 2020
MINUTES NOT YET APPROVED BY
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reg Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk. Via Zoom: Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator; Shaun Coleman, Northwest Regional Planning; Shawn Kio, Northwest Communications Union District; and Ch. 16.
Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.
- Call to Order:
Neal Speer, Village President, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
- Pledge of Allegiance:
Everyone stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Agenda Review:
Neal Speer stated that Chief of Police Joey Stell can’t make tonight’s meeting so Item #8 will be tabled until next meeting. Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, stated he would need an Executive Session to discuss real estate.
- Public Comment:
- Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, November 9, 2020:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, November 9, 2020 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.
- Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, November 20, 2020:
Adam Paxman made the motion to approve Village Warrants through Friday, November 20, 2020 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Adam Paxman asked about the payment made to Falcon Communications for $4803.51. Lynn Paradis stated they worked on one of the police cruiser radios as well as one of the Village truck radioS. Chris Leach asked about the payment made to Wind River Environmental LLC for $1113.45. Reg Beliveau stated they had to vactor out the Hydro Plant. He said they need to do this about two times per year and said the Highway Department is working on trying to modify their truck so they can do it instead. Motion carried.
- Shaun Coleman, Northwest Regional Planning, Update on joining Northwest Communications Union District:
Shaun Coleman stated he was present tonight to see if the Village Board of Trustees on behalf of the Village of Swanton municipality, would be willing to join the Northwest Vermont Communications Union District. He said the purpose of this district is to establish universal broadband internet service to rural areas in Vermont to ensure those communities can flourish. He said they want to promote and enhance connectivity to communities within the district and increase broadband coverage. He said because of the COVID-19 pandemic it has changed the way our children learn, how we receive health care, how we work, how we participate in our government and how we communicate with our families and loved ones, near and far. He said they are working with state and federal funding sources and private companies to bring universal broadband service to its member communities in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. He said so far 12 communities have joined the district. He said a few of their goals are to work toward universal access to all homes and businesses in our region, to run fiber to the nearest utility pole/vault and provide a 500 ft drop to the premise, bring equal services to all homes and businesses, provide a lifeline service for residents and partner to improve digital literacy. He said per state statute Title 30 Chapter 82 Section 3056, there are no fees or charges associated with any municipality or its residents to join this district. He said he wanted to clarify that so taxpayers know this will not increase their taxes if their municipality joins the district. He said the whole idea is to not burden the tax base. He said Regional Planning is applying for a $60,000 grant to help develop broadband coverage in the region and just went under contract and will be working with Alburg and Isle La Motte to begin with. He said there has been a lot of work done on trying to bring WIFI hotspots to the region as well. Adam Paxman asked if St. Albans City and Town have been approached about this and have they joined the district? Shaun said they have been approached and they are still thinking it over.
Shawn Kio said Shaun did a good job explaining what they have been working on so far. He said they recently received some additional funding from the state and there are specific funds for CUD’s. He said they are working with the state to deploy some WIFI Hotspots and doing a surveying program. He said the funds are attached to the CARES Act so they are running out of time. He said they are working with libraries in every community and would like to have some form of connectivity done before the December 20th deadline. He said they’re looking to bulk order devices for all libraries and that’s something they are working on now. He said these are short term solutions. Shaun Coleman said they are also trying to educate people on internet use because some segments of the population don’t fully understand it. He said especially now with telework, tele education, and telehealth. He said these things are huge right now and it’s nice to not have to drive to a doctors appointment from Richford to Burlington when it can be done in 20 minutes over the internet. He said the unserved and underserved in the far reaching areas have next to nothing and they want to reach out to everyone. Chris Leach said there are a lot of people who don’t fully understand their internet options and it would be nice to do some kind of an educational pamphlet to really focus on what it is, how to use it and how to access it. He thought that would be really helpful. Shawn Kio said they are working on doing some workshops teaching these things. He said their end goal is to build an open access fiber network and to collaborate with municipalities and local utilities. Chris stated that through education that could create more demand. Eugene LaBombard stated that if there were any connectivity issues it would be in the Town of Swanton, not the Village. Shaun Coleman said he believes they had a miscommunication with the Town and are going to revisit the issue with them. Elisabeth Nance stated that the Town wants to opt out for now. Eugene said this is raising havoc with school kids having to learn from home with no internet service. He said this is necessary and asked if they should have a town and village representative. Neal Speer stated they are having a hard time finding representatives now. He said as long as Elisabeth is going to start this off with the Town why doesn’t she represent the Village as well and get a feel for what’s going on and what’s needed. Eugene suggested they table this again for now, have Elisabeth report back and then make their decision. Shaun Coleman also wanted the Board to know that if they do join and decide they want to opt out they can unjoin at any time. Elisabeth asked if there was anyone in the public who has an interest to represent the Town or Village to please get in touch with her. Item tabled until further notice.
- Swanton Village Police Department Update:
Item tabled until the December 14,2020 meeting.
- Approve Village of Swanton COVID-19 Policy:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adopt the Swanton Village COVID-19 Work Policy as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Reg Beliveau asked if he could share this policy with the Town of Swanton and the Board said yes that would be great. Chris Leach thought there should be an end date attached to the policy. Motion carried.
- Sign Loan Documents for Electric Department Bucket Truck:
Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau to sign the Letter of Commitment from Union Bank for a $260,000 loan with an interest rate of 2.20% for 10 years to purchase a bucket truck in the electric department and to also authorize the Board of Trustees to sign all necessary loan documents. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, said the bucket truck should be here by the first of the new year. Motion carried.
- Village of Swanton Ordinance Update:
Dianne Day, Village Clerk, informed the Board that herself along with Lt. David Kachajian have been working on updating their ordinances. She provided the Board with a draft of the parking and noise ordinances. She said they would recommend that if a chicken/rooster ordinance is needed that should be handled by the Zoning office because this can get quite involved. She said in the noise ordinance they are working on, it includes noise complaints from animals so they feel these complaints can be dealt with in that ordinance. She said they plan on revoking all old ordinances and adopting any new ones at the same time and said she would keep the Board updated as they go.
- Any Other Necessary Business:
Adam Paxman stated at the last Selectboard meeting Missisquoi Valley Rescue (MVR) presented their 2021 budget. He said it shows an increase of $4000 but another line item shows an increase of $51,000. He would like Chief of Police Joey Stell to help explain this budget to the Board.
Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard stated there are some intersections in the Village where vehicles are parked on the sidewalks or too close to the intersection and it makes it nearly impossible to see. He said he almost hit a bicyclist a few nights ago because it was getting dark and he had no light on his bike and was wearing dark clothes. He said he is hoping something can be done about the vehicles parking incorrectly near intersections.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau said the Village received their dispatching bill for the Fire Department from St. Albans City and it’s the same amount as last year. He said they didn’t increase their fee and they will enter into a two-year agreement for $19,542.00.
- Executive Session If Necessary:
Adam Paxman made the motion to enter Executive Session to discuss Real Estate at 8:12 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:35 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.
ACTION TAKEN: None.
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:35 p.m. Adam Paxman seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:35 p.m. Motion carried.
Neal Speer, Village President Date
Dianne Day, Village Clerk Date