SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
120 FIRST STREET
SWANTON, VT 05488
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Monday, January 14, 2019
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; Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Tim Girard, Fire Chief, Jason Butler and Jason Cross; 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 7:04 p.m.
2. Agenda Review:
3. Public Comment:
Dianne Day, Village Clerk, read aloud the Swanton Arts Council update to the Board.
4. Approve and Accept Minutes from the Monday, December 10, 2018 Regular Meeting:
Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, December 10, 2018 as presented. Chris Leach seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.
5. Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, January 11, 2019:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, January 11, 2019 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Eugene LaBombard asked about the payment made to Municipal Emergency Services for $31,182.63. Lynn Paradis stated that was for the Fire Department. He also asked about the payment made to the State of Vermont. Reg Beliveau stated that was for the railroad crossing at the P-10 site. He said the Village has to pay the state $980 per year to access their P-10 site by crossing the railroad tracks that are no longer being used. Chris Leach stated he would like this brought to Brian Savage’s attention. Chris Leach asked about the NASRO payment for $1285. Lynn and Reg both said they couldn’t remember that one but would look it up. Motion carried.
6. Swanton Arts Council Request Use of the Village Park for September 7, 2019 for Arts Spectacular Show:
Adam Paxman made the motion to approve Swanton Arts Council request to use the Village Park on September 7, 2019 for the Arts Spectacular Show. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
7. Swanton Chamber of Commerce request use of the Village Park for their 10th Annual Car Show to be held on Saturday, July 27th, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve Chamber of Commerce’s request to use Village Park for their 10th Annual Car Show on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
8. Swanton Chamber of Commerce request permission to hold their Annual Memorial Day Parade and Cookout on Monday, May 27, 2019 starting at 2:30 p.m.:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve the Chamber of Commerce’s request to use the Village Park on Monday, May 27, 2019 starting at 2:30 p.m. for their annual Memorial Day Parade and Cookout. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried. Chris Leach also said he wanted to acknowledge Adam Paxman being the new President for the Chamber of Commerce. The Board congratulated him.
9. Missisquoi Abenaki Nation request use of the Village Park for Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 4 to 8 p.m. for Social Event:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve the Missisquoi Abenaki Nation’s request to use the Village Park on Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 4 to 8 p.m. for their Social Event. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.
10. Fire Department Request Coin Drop for Saturday, September 7, 2019; Lions Club Request Coin Drop October 19, 2019 and Swanton Fire Dept. Ladies Auxiliary Request Coin Drop for July 13, 2019:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve Coin Drops for Saturday, September 7, 2019 for the Fire Department; for Saturday, October 19, 2019 for the Lions Club and for Saturday, July 13, 2019 for the Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, all from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried with two yays and one nay.
11. Renew Electric Interfund Due To Due From Borrowing Agreement for 2019:
Chris Leach made the motion to approve renewing the Electric Interfund Due To Due From Borrowing Agreement for 2019. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Lynn Paradis stated the Village’s checking account is run through the General Fund and there are times when that fund will owe money due to or due from other Village funds. Motion carried.
12. USDA RED L&G Program Discussion:
Reg Beliveau stated he received a letter from the Highgate Selectboard saying they were interested in the program that USDA presented to the Village on December 10, 2018. He said they were hoping Swanton Village would be the lender for some Economic Development Projects. Adam Paxman said any money borrowed would need voter approval as well as the Public Utilities Commission. Lynn Paradis said the electric department is already holding $6.6 million dollars worth of debt. She said the Village would be on the hook if they did lend this money out and that company went bankrupt and said the loan has to be paid back in 10 years. She also said a municipality cannot lend to another municipality. Eugene LaBombard stated he wanted it noted in the Minutes that the Village has received this letter from the Town of Highgate at this time.
13. Village of Swanton Request Permission to Write Off Uncollectible Accounts:
Eugene LaBombard stated he would like this moved to Executive Session in case they need to discuss an account or invoice. Moved to #16.
14. 2019 Budget Discussions:
Lynn Paradis informed the Board that this is their 3rd draft and said her previous draft had an increase of 6.5%. She said that information was incorrect and this budget as an increase of 2.04% overall.
ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT: Lynn said she received her purchase power numbers and that came in at $2.9 million dollars. She said it will cost an additional $180,000 next year because the rubber bag was out of service and they are fighting to get their 100% renewable status back. Chris Leach stated that because the rubber bag was delayed this is now costing them $180,000 more per year. Lynn said her and Reg are going to Montpelier on Wednesday to address the Legislature regarding this. Chris said the Village better win this battle because every lick of electricity going over that dam is renewable and if they can’t see that and give the Village credit for that than he wants the Village to sue them. He said the State wants 100% renewable energy by 2050. Reg said from what he can see it’s not the State doing this it’s Green Mountain Power and another utility that are making the stance if you go outside of this you can’t get back in because they’re not allowing anybody back in. Lynn said after the Village got their exemption they weren’t allowing any other utility to do the exemption. Chris asked how the Village moves forward with this. Lynn said VPPSA has been working on this diligently. Chris asked that the Board be kept up to date regarding this. Adam Paxman stated the Village is being punished for something that’s out of their control. Lynn said the fact that this rubber bag only has a 25 year life, in 25 years the Village will be in this same boat again. Chris said if the bag doesn’t fail, the old one can come out and a new one can go in in its place. Lynn said the only other thing that changed in the electric department is an adjustment to the linemen wages and the offsetting additional Social Security and retirement on that. She said the other change to the electric, water, sewer and highway funds were the change in pay to the Trustees and Clerk pay. She said that pay hasn’t been changed since before she started working for the Village 14 years ago.
WATER DEPARTMENT: Adam Paxman asked if Lynn expected water sales to go up. Lynn said she based that on the revenue received this past year. Adam asked if Lynn knew what drove that number up and she said it’s just consumption because there hasn’t been a rate increase since 2017. Lynn said she doesn’t anticipate a rate increase in this department for 2019.
SEWER DEPARTMENT: Lynn said the only change in this fund was the Trustee and Clerk pay. She said she will need a rate increase in this fund for 2019. She thinks she’ll raise the fixed rate a little bit and leave the variable rate where it is and said this should cover their revenue needs. She said she has some special sewer accounts that can be very unpredictable from year to year and that’s hard to calculate in her rates.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Lynn stated the only thing she adjusted in this department was the equipment replacement fund so there’s a minimum impact on the taxpayers. She wanted to keep their tax rate as close to last year’s as she could because last year it went up more than she wanted. She said she was able to put $40,000 towards their next plow truck. She said the one they’re using is a 2005 and they’re hoping to get a few more years out of it but need to start putting money away for a new one.
GENERAL FUND: Lynn said all she adjusted in this fund was the Trustee and Clerk pay and she said she didn’t adjust the fire or police budgets at all.
FIRE DEPARTMENT: Adam Paxman asked if once the fire trucks were sold he’d like to make sure the money goes into the Fire Department because he knows there’s a need for a compressor. Lynn said the fire trucks are an asset in the Fire Department so that money would go in their fund. Tim Girard, Fire Chief, asked if his budget has been cut. Lynn stated the Fire budget has stayed the same since the first draft. He asked if draft #2 was null and void and Lynn said the fire budget has remained the same for all three drafts. Tim said he hasn’t seen a draft of the fire budget and Lynn stated drafts 1 and 2 were emailed to him and draft 3 is what was printed for this meeting and the fire budget hasn’t changed at all.
COMMERCIAL BUILDING FUND: Adam Paxman asked if this fund could be deleted and Lynn stated no because she runs a CBDG grant through there. She said she might change the name of the fund but can’t get rid of it. She said the Village receives a $6000 payment each year which is from a 0% interest loan that was done prior to her working here. She said they have to revolve a portion of $67,000 that they have in that fund and the State has been on her about it. She said they haven’t revolved any of it since the Blake Commons project but in the last two years they’ve had three projects they thought they could revolve to but they received financing elsewhere. She said she can use some of those funds for sidewalks, water and sewer line replacement so there is an opportunity that the Village can do that. She said she would have to go to the voters for approval on that and revolve it themselves. She said she has a fair amount of money in the Highway Department for sidewalks because they also received a grant for sidewalks on First Street. Lynn said if the State wants they can take that money back. Adam Paxman said they should make a point to use those funds. Lynn also said the funds could be used in both the Town and the Village.
SUMMARY: Lynn said her projected tax rate for 2019 is .8436 which is a 2.04% increase from 2018. She said the increase is coming from the Police and Fire budgets. Adam Paxman stated this is an acceptable increase. Lynn said the general fund (Complex) and parks are staying the same and the highway department is up about a quarter of a penny. On a house valued at $200,000 there would be an increase of $33.77. Eugene LaBombard stated this is lower than previous years. The Board thanked Lynn and said 2% was a very acceptable increase.
PURCHASES: Lynn provided the Board with a list of items that need to be purchased in 2019 for each department. Those items are: snow pusher, insertion valve for Fourth St., aerator, sidewalk plow, insertion valve for First St., lagoon curtain, HVAC for Complex, dog kennel, air switch mitigation project, Village car, motor operator switch – SV 48M, lighting on Canada St., two distribution air switches, inventory, bucket truck (2020), Scott air packs, and gear. Also electric upgrades will be needed on John Drive, Parizo Road and St. Armand Road. Adam asked if a generator could be added for the Fire Department. Lynn stated this is the first she’s hearing of a generator, no one in the Fire Department asked that one be put in the budget.
Lynn said she would take another look at everything with Reg and will present the budget for approval at their next meeting. She said her audit starts on Monday, January 21 and she has been sending them information up front over the last couple of weeks.
9. Any Other Necessary Business:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to identify what it would cost to replace the water line that runs under the bridge and bore it through the river instead. Chris Leach seconded. Discussion: Reg Beliveau said he has talked with the Village’s engineer regarding this. He said they are also working with Regional Planning on their Hazard Mitigation Plan for Swanton and because of the flooding and how close it came to the bridge, there may be a grant opportunity to get this replaced. He said he’d like to investigate that option. Eugene stated someone should contact VT Gas regarding this as well because they were close to losing that line as well during the flood. Lynn said this didn’t need to go on the Warning at this time because they are not asking for a bond for the project yet. Motion carried.
Any Other Business: Chris Leach stated he really liked the new skating rink in the Village Green and said it would make a great cover for the Annual Report.
Any Other Business: Adam Paxman wanted to remind everyone about the Legislative Breakfast being held here at the Village Complex on January 28th at 8 a.m. He said come out and meet your new representatives. He also said the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year dinner is Friday, January 25th at the Holy Trinity Hall from 5 p.m. social hour and 6 p.m. buffet dinner. He also stated the Memorial Day parade is on May 27th and if you’d like to help organize contact him.
11. Executive Session to Discuss Personnel and Customer Accounts:
Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session at 8:09 p.m. to discuss Personnel and Customer Accounts. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.
Adam Paxman made the motion to exit Executive Session and re-enter Open Session at 9:15 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
ACTION TAKEN: Adam Paxman made the motion to approve the Village of Swanton’s request to write off uncollectible accounts in the amount of $8051.05. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.
Adam Paxman made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of 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