SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
120 FIRST STREET
SWANTON, VT 05488
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Monday, July 9, 2018
MINUTES NOT YET APPROVED BY
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Chief Leonard “Joey” Stell, Lt. David Kachajian, Kyle Gagne, Swanton Village Police Department; and Ch. 16.
Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.
1. Call to Order:
Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Regular Board of Trustees meeting and called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. Agenda Review:
3. Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, June 25, 2018 Regular Meeting:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from the Monday, June 25, 2018 meeting as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.
4. Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, July 6, 2018:
Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, July 6, 2018 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.
5. Lt. David Kachajian – Swanton Village Police K-9 Program Proposal:
Lt. David Kachajian began this discussion by saying Swanton Village Police Department needed a force multiplier. He said purchasing a dog and using it for tracking and drugs would be an asset to the Village. He said this dog would be trained to find drugs, needles, crack pipes etc. It could also be used to track missing people. He said when the Police Department he worked for in Cape Cod purchased a K-9 for their unit there was a 30% reduction in crimes involving drugs and burglaries. Lt. Kachajian said that Officer Kyle Gagne is interested in working with the K-9 and said he and his wife have extensive experience with dogs and with fostering dogs before they are adopted. He said he spoke with VLCT and there will not be an increase in their insurance policy. VLCT would also cover the cost of the K-9 should it die. He also said he has been working with a dog breeder and they normally sell these dogs for $4500. They have agreed to sell one to the Village for $1500 and they have some grant funds they could use for this purchase. He said where they will see an increase is in outfitting the cruiser that the dog will ride in. He said they are willing to keep their oldest cruiser and set it up specifically for the dog. Officer Gagne stated they could still use this vehicle if needed. Chris Leach stated he is all for this dog but said every year he looks at the police budget and how high it is. He said he would like to look for ways to minimize this budget but doesn’t want to jeopardize officer safety. Officer Gagne said he patrols alone part of the night and having a dog would be a great asset for his safety. Lt. Kachajian said that having this K-9 could also benefit the Village financially. He said if the K-9 is used by another agency for a search and finds cash the Village would get a percentage of that cash. Chris Leach asked if other agencies would request the use of this K-9. Officer Gagne said there isn’t another one on duty so that may happen. They said coverage wouldn’t be compromised because they would swap for coverage. Adam Paxman asked about how much training was needed for this K-9. Lt. Kachajian said that after the dog’s full training they still need to do at least 16 hours per month to keep the dog up to date. Adam asked what would happen if Kyle Gagne decided to leave the Village. Kyle stated the dog belongs to the Village and said he has no plans on leaving the Swanton Police Department.
Lt. Kachajian informed the Board that Poulin Grain has graciously offered to supply dog food to the Village at no cost for one year. He said he is hoping they would continue to do this for the career of the dog. He also said Paws for Thoughts veterinarian in Highgate has agreed to vaccinate and treat the dog for $500 per year. He said they would need to purchase some things for the dog such as leashes, crate, beds, bowls and plans on doing some fundraising events for these expenses. Reg Beliveau stated there will be some upfront cost but it would be minimal. Chris Leach stated he may complain about the cost of the police budget but not about the service provided. He said as long as coverage isn’t compromised he is all for this. Chief Stell said there are some things to work out such as policies and not shorting the Village or the Town but said they are up for the job. Reg stated they should have a “Name the Dog” contest. Lt. Kachajian said they have discussed that but have decided to name the dog “Roscoe” in honor of the dog cruelty case on Depot Street. He said that case really upset the community and that dog received a raw deal in life and this is their way of honoring him. The Board agreed that this was a great way of honoring the dog that was killed. Adam Paxman asked if any other agencies had K-9’s and Officer Gagne stated VSP has one as well as St. Albans City and Grand Isle. Lt. Kachajian stated they have the money now to buy the dog and said they will start working with local businesses for donations. He said the dog wouldn’t be ready for training until the fall of 2019. Eugene LaBombard asked if the dog would be on duty 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week. Officer Gagne said yes the dog would be on duty with him at all times. Eugene asked what would happen if Officer Gagne was on a K-9 call and another call came in. Chief Stell said routine, non-drug problem calls could wait but said a missing child or a serious drug call would take precedent. He said coverage for the Village and Town wouldn’t be jeopardized. Eugene asked what the useful life of a K-9 dog is and Officer Gagne said between 6 and 8 years but said they have seen as long as 10 years. Once the dog is no longer doing patrol work departments usually offer the dog to the handler for $1. Chief Stell said there are reports out there that say officers who work with K-9’s are happier and tend to stay with that department. Eugene asked if the rest of the department was on board with this. Lt. Kachajian said yes they are. Chris Leach made the motion to authorize the Swanton Village Police Department to move forward with this K-9 program. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
Chief Stell said he wanted to mention that in today’s St. Albans Messenger there was an article about the Trustees complaining about speeding and crosswalk issues in the Village. He said for the month of June the Village issued 14 speeding tickets and 8 warnings. He said he has some traffic study results and they are targeting the problem areas. He said they ticketed someone for going over 50 mph on Canada Street and 60 mph on Spring Street. Eugene LaBombard said this is not just a problem in this community but the whole state of Vermont.
6. Any Other Necessary Business:
Chris Leach mentioned the rubber bag installation at the Hydro Plant and said he wasn’t able to print off the schedule that Reg sent them. Reg Beliveau said the old rubber bag is being cut off today and will be re-purposed for area farmers. He said they will use it as comfort mats for their cows to stand on. He said the new bag will be delivered to the dam site this week.
Any Other Business: Chris Leach asked if the Village reached a new peak power demand yet because of the hot weather. Reg Beliveau said that report isn’t in yet.
Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated the Car Show will be held on July 28 and urged everyone to stop by the park and check it out. He also mentioned as a follow up to the article in the St. Albans Messenger that he will continue to ask people to slow down. He said there has already been one death and one injury and it’s not worth it. He said people need to use common sense and slow down. Adam also asked the Board to consider meeting at 6 p.m. during the summer months instead of 7 p.m. The Board asked if the Village’s meeting time was in the Village Charter. Dianne Day, Village Clerk, stated she would check the Charter.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated he received the 2018 December Transco Equity Offer/Purchase from VPPSA and is requesting permission to go ahead with this request. Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau Jr. to sign all necessary documents and to assign the equity offered to VPPSA on the Village’s behalf. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau informed that Board that some years Village employees are paid for 51 weeks per year and other years it could be 53 weeks, depending on how the year ends. He asked the Board if they were ok with Village employees earning vacation/earned time on 53 weeks when the year ends that way. The Board stated they were fine with that, since they only earn it on 51 weeks when the year ends that way. Chris Leach made the motion authorizing the Village employees to accrue vacation/earned time by the number of weeks per year. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau informed the Board that the MVUHS water line pre-construction meeting will be held on July 10th. He said this job should be done before school starts in the fall. Adam Paxman asked if the work on Canada Street has begun yet. Reg stated it has and they are working on manholes and risers. He said they also have paving to do.
Any Other Business: Neal Speer, Village President, stated the Town is shutting down South River Street during the week of July 22nd to do culvert work. He said there are signs up today notifying people about this. He also said there is a tree that came down behind Merchant’s Row on top of a transformer. He would like the electric crew to check it out. Reg stated he would have them check it.
7. Public Comment:
8. Executive Session (If Necessary):
Chris Leach stated he needed an Executive Session to discuss real estate. Chris Leach made the motion to enter in Executive Session to Discuss Real Estate at 8:16 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
Adam Paxman made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:50 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
ACTION TAKEN: None.
Chris Leach made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:50 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m. Motion carried.
Neal Speer, Village President Date
Dianne Day, Village Clerk Date