Select Board Meeting Report 6/12/17

Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by LPC-TV and are available at their website and on Comcast Television.  Written minutes are available at the town’s website.  The following action was discussed/taken at Monday night’s meeting:

A. Telecommunications: A homeowner on Chapman and Twenty Mile Stream expressed frustration with the lack of services with TDS, particularly as the promised upgrade has not resulted in the service as advertised. Could some type of legal recourse be taken? What about funding to get Comcast to extend service out that far?

Margo Caulfield, who is a member of the Cavendish Telecommunications Committee explained that they are working with Comcast on a State grant from the VT Department of Public Service’s Telecommunications Division, which was submitted in December.  The grant would extend service from Tarbell Hill through and around Knapp Pond. The state has asked representatives from Cavendish to come to the June Telecommunication Board to discuss the situation in Cavendish and why we deserve to be funded. Caulfield and another committee member will attend. Further, the state asked Caulfield to serve on their board, which she has agreed to do but only after the entire town of Cavendish has been wired with high speed Internet. Note that a report was given to the SB in December about the proposed grant, which can be downloaded in PDF format.

TDS has received Connect America Funds (CAF) in order to expand high speed Internet in rural communities. This year’s allocation went only to Northfield, VT. The earliest an upgrade would be done in Cavendish would be 2018 and then it’s only for 10Mbps, which is well below what Comcast currently offers.  There are 17 junction sites in the Cavendish/Proctorsville/Ludlow area that need to be replaced with fiber. In the mean time, the degradation of TDS Internet services continues.

B. Ludlow Solar Project: The SB was asked to approve a Coolidge/Ludlow Solar road crossing agreement on Quent Phelan Rd. Due to the length of the agreement and materials submitted at the meeting, this was tabled until the July meeting.

C. Quarry Tierney Rd: The SB discussed a possible response to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) regarding an Act 250 permit for less than an acre mining operation, which is allowable under the Cavendish Town Plan. (See Cavendish Update 6/9/17 for information on this project). Several Tierney Rd homeowners spoke strongly against the project, which is very different than what was proposed by McLean back in 2003. That resistance resulted in the formation of the CCA, now known as Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA). This group, not the town, raised $150,000 to pay the legal and other fees associated with the Act 250 process, in addition to the donation of thousands of in-kind hours.

CCCA’s position is that they’d like to see a binding agreement with all parties involved as they recognize the scope of the project is very different than what McLean proposed. Unfortunately, no documentation was provided that compares the McLean project versus what Savage/Snow plans on doing.

After considerable discussion, the board voted to ask for an extension on the filing (NRB had asked for a submission by June 20) in order to hold a special informational meeting where all sides can present their viewpoints and hopefully come up with a binding agreement. This meeting should take place as soon as possible. Town manager Brendan McNamara noted that being born and raised in the town, he understands the rights of landowners who want to use their property versus potential homeowners who could be impacted by that use. He will call NRB first thing in the morning to request the extension and to arrange for a meeting, which will be advertised via the Cavendish VT Facebook page and the Cavendish Update.

D. Town Website: The board approved hiring Katie Hamlin to redo the town’s website using Square Space, teach staff how to use the site and provide yearly maintenance. The contract will be up to $1,500. Money has been budgeted for this activity since 2011.

E. Town Garage: A design build for replacing the town garage, which was heavily damaged by fire in February, would not result in a town garage by the time snow flies. However, doing a fabricated building could meet that deadline as it takes 6-8 weeks to build and five days of construction. The town would act as their own construction manager, and have already discussed this with Randy Shemp, current head of Municipal Water and who has served as Clerk of the Works on a number of projects. Ultimately, the prefabricated structure, which comes insulated, will need to be plumbed and wired. According to assistant town manager Bruce McEnaney, this is a straightforward process. That noted, McEnaney explained that things are taking longer that anticipated, particularly with the asbestos removal.

F. Summer Concert Series: SB approved the CCCA’s request to use the Proctorsville Green for the annual summer concert series, which will be on Wednesday nights from 6-8, starting July 5th and ending on August 16th.

G. Resignations: Jill Flinn had planned on resigning as Animal Control Officer but said she’d try to continue to serve in that capacity as Seth Perry needs to step down as both Animal Control Officer and Town Constable. The board will need to decide if the Town Constable position is necessary. The state police want to see towns eliminate this position. The board accepted Perry resignation with regrets.

H. Wastewater Treatment Plant: Approved the VT Municipal Bond Bank Loan Agreement for the replacement of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Aeration System, which was approved by town vote in March.

I. Flashing Beacons for School Cross Walk: The town has an opportunity to seek grant funding to install blinking lights at the school cross walk. The town’s cost would be $3,962. The SB gave approval for McEnaney to file the grant application.