SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
120 FIRST STREET
SWANTON, VT 05488
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Monday, September 13, 2021
MINUTES NOT YET APPROVED BY
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Chris Leach, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau Jr., Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator; Chief Leonard “Joey” Stell; Ron & Sandy Kilburn; Gordon Winters; Mark Rocheleau, Town Selectman; and Ch. 16. Via Zoom: Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; and Janet Dimick Savoi, Swanton Arts Council.
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:
Village Clerk Dianne Day stated Customer Accounts should not be on Executive Session. Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, stated he needed an Executive Session for personnel.
- Public Comment:
Janet Dimick Savoi hasn’t connected to Zoom yet so will go back to Public Comment as soon as she gets on.
- Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, August 9, 2021:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from Monday, August 9, 2021 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.
- Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Thursday, September 9, 2021:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants #75-87 through Thursday, September 9, 2021 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Chris Leach asked about the payment made to VT Panurgy for $3199.06. Reg Beliveau stated that was for computer equipment and support. Motion carried.
- Economic Development Coordinator Elisabeth Nance to Discuss Transportation Alternative Grant:
Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator, stated that the Village of Swanton Downtown Scoping Study was approved back in May. She said she would like permission to apply for the VTrans Fall 2021 Transportation Alternatives Grant for up to $300,000 with a $75,000 match from the Village. She said she has marked some items from the Scoping Study that she would like to have done with the grant funds. Those projects are Marble Mill Park: Install crossing and formalize entrance to parking with curb extension, align with efforts on Marble Mill Park master planning. First Street Intersection: Implement an all-way stop. Church Street: Stripe bike lanes on Church Street to formally accommodate the north-south bicyclists and add sharrows to the segment in front of Merchants Row. Merchants Row Area: Install sidewalk and curb ramps along frontage of commercial block; relocate the midblock crossing at the north corner of the buildings. She said she also included shortening the crosswalk at the north end of the park. She said she is asking permission to apply for this. Reg stated the Village would have 3 to 4 years to complete these projects. She said this would include design and construction for each of these projects. Adam Paxman asked if the Village had 3 to 4 years to come up with the match of $65,000 to $75,000 dollars and Elisabeth stated yes. Chris Leach wondered if there was enough room at First Street and Grand Avenue for large tractor trailer trucks. Elisabeth said yes they accounted for that in the measurements. Chris said they need to keep mentioning a truck bypass. Adam asked if there were issues with VTrans about putting up an all-way stop on First and Grand. Elisabeth said the Village could go ahead and do it but they need a design and construction study done first before they would step in and give guidance. Chief Stell stated that US Route 7 is a state highway and they would need VTrans involved in order for law enforcement to have any authority. Gordon Winters stated these short term and long term projects are coming from the Scoping Study and were approved back in May. He said they are now looking for the design and construction phase to get these projects done. Adam Paxman asked if it was possible to use some of the CBDG funds. It was determined that these are federal funds and cannot be used. Adam asked if it was possible to make a decision at their next meeting. He said he was for the projects he just didn’t know where they were going to get the $65,000 to $75,000 from. He said he wanted to sit down with Lynn and see what this would do to the tax rate. He said he wanted to be comfortable with coming up with this money and if Lynn says we can do it over a 4 to 5 year period that would be great. Eugene stated they may need to ask for voter approval for these funds. Gordon Winters stated they are just asking to apply for the grant at this point. Chris Leach said adding $15,000 per year sounds doable. Gordon said projects are coming in front of them all the time and said if the Village can’t come up with $15,000 now what will they do when the more expensive projects need to be done. He said they’ve been talking about these improvements for years now and there will come a time when they need to say they will do it or just pass on these grants. Adam said Lynn is good at what she does and he just wants to know where the money is coming from and how it will be paid. Elisabeth said they should apply now and if they are awarded it and can’t come up with the money they can decline the grant. Mark Rocheleau stated this is a great opportunity for them to take the next steps. More discussion took place about the ability to secure the funds necessary for the grant match. Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve the grant application process pending financial approval by Lynn Paradis, Swanton Village Controller. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.
Elisabeth also informed the Board that they have applied for Brella funds for clean up of the Riviera Hotel property. She said Phase I has been completed and these funds will be used for Phase II. She said she was notified that they are in favor of funding part of this but the issue is they won’t have the funds until October. She said Northwest Regional Planning will be able to fund the rest of Phase II so it won’t cost the Village anything. Eugene asked if the timeline could be accelerated because of the safety issue of the building. Elisabeth said she would ask about that but it looks like it will be next year sometime before the building comes down. Neal Speer said the tree trimming and yard clean up will take place in the near future.
4. Public Comment:
Janet Savoi stated she is asking permission to hold their Holiday Craft Show on Small Business Saturday, November 27th, at the Village Complex. She said they would use Covid guidelines as well. She said they would create a map detailing where the artists are set up so that they are spaced out at different business locations. Reg said the Village hasn’t allowed anyone in the hall other than Village and Town business. He said they’ve been hesitant to open it back up to the public after seeing all the damage when it was remodeled. He also said the Department of Health may need the space again for Covid testing. Chief Stell said the State lifted the State of Emergency so the guidelines are all over the place. He said spreading out the vendors would definitely be safer. Adam stated he didn’t want anything on the walls. Village Clerk Dianne Day stated that the Village receives several calls asking to use the hall and if they allow one they should allow everyone. Reg stated the Auditorium Policy would need to be updated as well. Neal stated they would let the Arts Council know their decision in the near future. Janet said each vendor would have their own walls in their display so wouldn’t be putting anything on the hall walls. Neal said they would let her know at their next meeting. Janet thanked the board for their time.
- Swanton Village Police Department Update:
Chief Leonard “Joey” Stell stated the Village Police Department responded to 185 calls for service during the month of August. He said 18 traffic warnings were issued with most offenses taking place on Spring St., Canada St. and First St. He said they issued 6 traffic tickets totaling $1640. He said the police department is now using a new records system from the state. He said they will now be able to print much more robust reports and be able to track officers time better. He said this will show how much time they spent on scene, time spent on paperwork, etc. He said they will be able to use this information to see where improvements are necessary. Chris Leach said he fully supports the police department but said his constituents would like to see what crimes are being committed, are they catching the perpetrators and what are the sentences. Ron Kilburn said that conviction information can come from the State’s Attorney’s office. Chief Stell asked the Board where they would like him to install their new solar powered speed display sign. It was decided to put it on Canada Street. Gordon Winters stated out of his 6 Ace Hardware stores, his Swanton store has been hit the hardest with retail theft. Sandy Kilburn asked Chief Stell about the junk cars on Fourth Street. He said he would make a phone call regarding those tomorrow.
- Sign Loan RF3-404-2.0 Loan Approval:
Reg Beliveau stated this loan for $63,800 for the engineering of the new water main crossing the Missisquoi River. Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and sign the Vermont State Revolving Loan # RF3-404-2.0 for $63,800 for engineering services for the new water main crossing the Missisquoi River. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
- Any Other Necessary Business:
Mark Rocheleau stated the bridge is really clunking again. Reg Beliveau stated that on November 21 they will do more repairs. He said the Village will have to do a bond vote in the spring to complete the major repairs necessary. He said they did receive a structures grant and that will help do work in the spring.
Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated the Boy Scouts have asked permission to put signs in the park looking for scouts to join. The Board approved this request. Adam asked if there were any updates on the FERC relicensing at the Hydro Plant. Reg stated the Agency is causing some issues trying to wrap the Swanton lower dam into the license. Neal Speer stated they didn’t last time so why would they try and do that now. Reg stated he feels they no longer want dams in the State of Vermont. Adam said they approve all of them in Chittenden County. Adam stated he would have an update at our next meeting from the Chamber of Commerce about Halloween in the Park and Christmas in the Park.
Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard stated Highgate will hold their vote tomorrow on their airport expansion project. He said he supports what they are proposing and said the Village has the capacity for that project. He said he hopes it gets approved. Eugene also said he noticed the job ad for the Police Chief and said it was very well written. Reg said so far he has received 3 local applications and 3 from the New Jersey area.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau informed the Board that he has a proposal from McFarland Johnson for design services necessary to replace the deteriorated bridge joints on both sides of the bridge, not to exceed $74,316. Adam Paxman made the motion to authorize Reginald Beliveau Jr., Village Manager, to sign the proposal/agreement from McFarland Johnson not to exceed $74,316 for engineering services for bridge repair. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated they attended the NEPPA conference in August and it was very good. He said Neal Speer was awarded the Commissioner of Community Service Award. He said some of the conferences were very informative and covered offshore wind, small nuclear, and hydrogen powered vehicles. Eugene agreed and said it was very informative and said in the next 10 to 20 years there will be a lot of changes. Neal said there were great speakers and he appreciated the award. Reg also said he heard that there were sales from the energy committee ride and drive event they held. He said they will be holding another one on heat pumps for residential homes and the rebates offered. Gordon Winters said the rebates on electric lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. was very successful.
Any Other Business: Sandy Kilburn congratulated Neal on his award. She also stated she would like it if joint board meetings were held again.
- Executive Session If Necessary:
Adam Paxman made the motion to enter Executive Session at 8:43 p.m. to discuss personnel. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
Chris Leach made the motion to exit Executive Session at 9:15 p.m. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
ACTION TAKEN: None.
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 9:15 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m. Motion carried.
Neal Speer, Village President Date
Dianne Day, Village Clerk Date