SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
120 FIRST STREET
SWANTON, VT 05488
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INFORMATIONAL MEETING & PUBLIC HEARING
Monday, February 22, 2021
MINUTES NOT YET APPROVED BY
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Village Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Leonard “Joey” Stell, Chief of Police; Jason Butler, Fire Chief; Jason Cross, Assistant Fire Chief. Via Zoom: Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator; Brian Savage, Town Moderator; Heather Buczkowski, Selectperson; James Guilmette, Selectman; Mark Rocheleau, Selectman; Nicole Draper, Selectman; Ed White Sr., Selectman; Cathy Fournier, Town Clerk, David Jescavage, Town Administrator; County Courier; Joanne Parah Reiter, Rich Kelley, Janet Sovoi, Betsy Fournier, Darci Benoit, Harold Garrett, John & Debbie Lavoie, Macy Dupont, Joel Clark, Marie Speer, Marcel Moreau, Nick Brosseau, Peter Prouty, Michelle Nordberg, Susan & Don Collins, Ron & Sandy Kilburn, Rene Bourdeau, Gordon Winters, Chris Sweeney, Oliver Manning, Jeanice Micheli, Lynn, Sally, Janine, Chris, Linda, Smith’s, Jay, Betty, Linda and Ch. 16.
Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.
1. Call to Order:
James Guilmette, Town Selectman Chair, called the Town Informational Meeting to order at 7 p.m. Neal Speer, Village President, called the Village Informational Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. Pledge of Allegiance:
All stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Agenda Review:
4. Reading of Village of Swanton’s Annual Warning – Village President Neal Speer:
Neal Speer, Village President, read aloud the 2021 Annual Village Warning. Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, presented a power point presentation.
5. Power Point Presentation and Discussion of Village of Swanton’s Proposed 2021 Budget:
Reg Beliveau presented the following power point presentation:
Reg Beliveau informed everyone of the correction in the Village Report in the police budget on pages 22 and 23.
Tax Rate 2020 Actual vs. 2021 Proposed
- General Fund 2020 Tax Rate = $0.0811 vs 2021 Tax Rate = $0.0931
- Fire Department 2020 Tax Rate = $0.0497 vs 2021 Tax Rate = $0.0498
- Police Department 2020 Tax Rate = $0.4228 vs 2021 Tax Rate = $0.4228
- Highway Department 2020 Tax Rate = $0.3186 vs 2021 Tax Rate = $0.3186
- 2020 Tax Rate = $0.8722 vs 2021 Tax Rate = $0.8848 for a change of .0121
Taxes 2020 Actual vs. 2021 Proposed
- 2020 Actual on a $150,000 House = $1308.30; $200,000 House = $1744.40; $250,000 House = $2180.50
- 2021 Proposed on a $150,000 House = $1326.45 for an increase of $18.15; $200,000 House = $1768.60 for an increase of $24.20; and
- $250,000 House = $2210.75 for an increase of $30.25
Proposed 2021 Taxes by Department
- $150,000 House = General $139.65, Fire $74.70, Police $634.20, Highway $477.90 = $1326.45
- $200,000 House = General $186.20, Fire $99.60, Police $845.60, Highway $637.20 = $1768.60
- $250,000 House – General $232.75, Fire $124.50, Police $1057.00, Highway $796.50 = $2210.75
2020 Year in Review
Wastewater Treatment Plant
- TMDL standards and Phosphorus reductions underway
- 3 manufacturers demonstrated 3 different phosphorus removal methods.
- We will continue the 20 year evaluation of the wastewater plant.
- We continue to perform routine maintenance
- Flushing of Disinfectant Wipes are causing issues with our pump stations.
- Change in staffing with Jason Starr moving to WWTF.
Water Treatment Plant
- Performing well – continue to perform preventative maintenance.
- Repaired both filters this year – done in house
- We have begun the process to engineer a new water line across the river as a redundant source of water from our water plant
- Change in staffing with Brian Bishop retirement and Tod Jones taking over plant operations.
- Paving Project 2020
- Completed small projects on Church St, Furman Place, Dunning Street
- First Street and York Street sidewalk and curbing
- Replaced waterline –
- Old 4inch to an 8inch on Depot Street
- Adding 2 part time summer help for our Parks
Electric Department - 125 years old
- We provided mutual aid to our neighboring utilities.
- Continue to keep up on tree trimming in order to reduce outages during high wind and heavy snow events.
- Performed line extensions for customers and upgraded some of our poles and lines.
- Received a new Bucket Truck replacing a 15 year old truck
- Tanner Benoit –
- Graduation from Lineworkers College – 1st Class LineWorker
- Darcy Scott – Jay Speer retirement
- Marc Longway moved into meter-reader slot to help with the transition to AMI metering and programming.
- General repairs continue – E-maintenance program
- Started the process of re-licensing, hope to be completed in 2023 (2 years out)
- Performed repairs to the rubber bladder caused by the October flooding event in 2019.
- Change in staffing with the hiring of Avery Mitchinson into maintenance and Hydro coverage.
- Over 1500 individual assets throughout the Village
- All entered in a preventative maintenance program
- Ensures equipment is being visited and maintained per mfg specs.
Avery Mitchinson hire
Repairs to Bladder, Water Filters, turbines and other Village assets.
- Continue to provide top notch customer service while providing accounting, grant management, billing, accounts payable, human resources, IT support, job estimates and payroll to all the departments.
- The staff improves their skills through continuing education by taking courses in accounting, customer service and general courses relating to the Public Utilities Commission, State Law and Efficiency Vermont.
- Office closed due to COVID – modifications to the front office
- Welcome Laurie Belisle to the front office billing staff.
- Marc Longway moved into Meter-reader
- Built in 1978
- Village Complex houses the administrative offices, public works, electric, fire, police and Missisquoi Valley Rescue departments.
- Several of the departments have outgrown their space.
- The Village hired Wiemann-Lamphere, Architects to do an evaluation of the Complex.
- A review of the plan shows the need to adjusted and change due to COVID-19 needs. Although this outbreak may not be with us forever, the need to improve our workspace and prevent any spread of colds or flu are important.
2020 Year in Review
- Emergency Services – Police Dept
- We were able to acquire a patrol boat and a new cruiser at no cost to taxpayers – Stone Garden Grant.
- Special thanks go out to our First Responders for the “birthday parades” during our “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order during the COVID-19 outbreak. Also special thanks to TDI and Public Works for being a great community partner and joining in on the parades.
At this point in the presentation Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, gave some department highlights. She said she does not anticipate a rate increase in the electric, water or sewer departments. She said the Village saw a 1% increase this year in health insurance, her financial audit was now complete and the front office is closed due to Covid. She said they have done some building updates such as installing plexiglass in the office. She also said they are hiring an additional person for summer help to help with the Village parks. She said last summer the bath house at the beach was remodeled but then Covid hit and the bathrooms were closed to the public. She said in the fire department they purchased their final airpacks and are now putting those funds in an equipment savings account. She said they were able to level fund the fire department. Lynn said in the highway department they will make their final payment on the sidewalk plow and plan on purchasing a plow truck with savings account funds. She said she level funded this department as well. She said they haven’t seen any growth in the electric revenue and purchase power is going up. She said they will be going with AMI meters, have GIS mapping of their poles and lines and their trucks will have tablets in them to help pinpoint outages and look up poles. She said they will also be able to take pictures during accidents and storms. She said in the water department they have engineering for the new water line and have some grant money in this department. The sewer plant has been working on their 20 year evaluation and will continue to do so. She said the police department needed more room because of Covid and so they turned the board room into a patrol office and received grant money to do that.
25 Years of Service
Neal Speer, Village President and Chris Leach, Village Trustee, presented Wanda Sloan, Hydro Plant Operator, with a plaque for 25 years of service with the Village of Swanton.
- Village President 1-year term - Neal Speer: Thanked everyone for their past support and asked for their continued support.
- Village Clerk 1-year term - Dianne Day: Thanked everyone for their past support and asked for their continued support.
- Village Trustee 3-year term – Chris Leach: Thanked everyone for their past support and asked for their continued support.
- Collector of Delinquent Taxes 1-year term - Betty Cheney: Thanked everyone for their past support and asked for their continued support.
Neal asked if anyone had any questions. Heather Buczkowski stated she appreciates the Village hiring an extra person for the parks. Don Collins said he was pleased with all the level funding this year and asked why the general fund budget increased. Lynn stated this was for hiring an additional person for the parks and for the additional funds she put in the parks maintenance line item. Neal Speer stated there are some very enthusiastic residents who want Swanton Village to increase maintenance in the parks to make them more inviting and they are happy to do this.
6. Chamber of Commerce to Announce Citizen of the Year Award:
Adam Paxman said they received many great nominations this year for the Citizen of the Year award. Nick Brosseau, Chamber Vice President, said he would like to thank everyone for the nominations and said this year their award is going to Debbie Dubois Lavoie, previous owner of Flowers by Debbie. Adam congratulated her and said she is a true staple to the community and has been for 40 plus years. Neal Speer congratulated her and the legacy of her family.
7. Reading of Town of Swanton’s 2021 Annual Warning – Moderator Brian Savage:
Brian Savage read aloud the Town of Swanton’s 2021 Annual Warning. See Town Minutes for their power point presentation.
8. Public Comment:
Michelle Nordberg asked if they could explain how the Village and Town budgets are figured and taxed. Cathy Fournier, Town Clerk, said the tax rate is figured by the grand list. She explained how the grandlist is used to figure the General Fund and Highway Fund for the Town and how the Village uses just the Village grandlist for their tax rate. Lynn said the Village grandlist is only used for general, fire, police and highway. She said if you live in the Village you will get a tax bill from the Village and the Town. She said electric, water and sewer customers are billed monthly and that is not part of their taxes.
9. Any Other Necessary Business:
Nicole Draper said she is running for Selectboard again and looks forward to serving the Town of Swanton. Ed White Sr. said he is also running and has been appointed for the last four months. He said he hopes to be elected as well. James Guilmette said he appreciates everyone’s support and votes. Heather Buczkowski said she enjoys serving the Swanton Town community as a selectboard member and enjoys people calling and hearing their perspective on things. She looks forward to helping solve more challenges in the future. She said your voice matters and thanked everyone for their support. Harold
Garrett thanked everyone for the opportunity to run. He said he has a lot to offer and looks forward to getting peoples votes and said there is a great group of candidates this year and said he will support whoever wins. Michelle Nordberg said she isn’t known by many people but has learned and studied Swanton for the last six years. She said she appreciates the people running for Selectboard and not settling for status quo. She said she thinks she can do a great job and thanked everyone for their support. Chris Leach said he has been a Trustee for many years and enjoys being part of this team and looks forward to another three year term. Neal Speer said he has been Village President for many years and thanked everyone in the Town and Village for all that’s been accomplished in Swanton over the years. He said he hopes they can continue and said it’s just the beginning and he wants to keep the momentum going and said get out and vote because your vote counts.
10. Executive Session If Necessary:
11. Adjournment by both Boards:
Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Board of the Trustees Informational Meeting and Public Hearing at 8:19 p.m. Adam Paxman seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:19 p.m. Motion carried.
Neal Speer, Village President Date
Dianne Day, Village Clerk Date