Cavendish Select Board Meeting 5/14/18

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

Telecommunications: Scott Brooks of TDS was invited to the May SB meeting, to explain what TDS was planning to do in Cavendish. Brooks sent an e-mail to Brendan McNamara, town manager, which stated I did not respond right away to your request because I needed to find out what, if any, plans TDS has regarding broadband improvements for Cavendish. As you may or may not know, last year TDS invested about a half million dollars to upgrade the equipment in the Proctorsville Central Office to provide faster and more reliable speeds to the customers served out of that location.  We also increased our backhaul out of Cavendish to the New York City POP by increasing the capacity of that pipe ten-fold.  TDS was also the recipient of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) funds that were given out by the FCC. ... TDS will receive federal dollars over the next 10 years to upgrade our networks to improve speeds and offer more reliable service to the most rural parts of America,  which are the communities we serve.... I don’t have an update to share with you specifically for Cavendish today.  We are still working through the thousands of sites we have around the country and prioritizing them, but as we continue to improve our network that priority lists continues to ebb and flow.... as we move towards the 3rd quarter of this year plans for 2019 will crystalize and I will then reach out to you to see if I could come to a Select Board meeting then once we have firmer plans.

 Various phone calls and e-mails to Comcast have gone unanswered. While Comcast received a grant in August 2017 from the state to wire the most unserved area of Cavendish-Tarbell Hill/Knapp Pond, they have not acted on the grant. This inactivity may be tied directly to Vermont having enacted legislation to maintain net neutrality in the state. Comcast deleted a "no paid prioritization" pledge from its net neutrality webpage on the very same day that the Federal Communications Commission announced its initial plan to repeal net neutrality rules.

The state’s Dept. of Public’s Service’s Telecommunications division is recommending that Cavendish look into becoming part of a Communications Union District (CUD). This is basically a group of towns that join together to install high speed Internet. To that end, Cavendish will be part of a meeting on May 23, with Ludlow and Weathersfield, to begin exploring the formation of a CUD. It should be noted that significant funding for CUDs is now available from the federal government via USDA Rural Development.

 53 Depot Street

53 Depot Street

Derelict Building 53 Depot Street: Since 2003, condo owners and neighbors have come before the SB begging them to do something about a building that’s collapsing and has resulted in homeowners not being able to obtain fire insurance. After considerable discussion, the board voted to have McNamara speak to the home owner, who must respond by June 1, about what they plan to do with the building. Depending on the response, the SB will determine if they need to continue to move forward with the steps outlined in the town’s “Derelict Building” ordinance.

Approved the following:

• A promissory note with Mascoma Bank in the amount of $400,000 to fund the Town Highway Garage Project.

• Acting in capacity as Board of Sewer Commissioners, approved inactive status for wastewater for two properties on municipal water.

• The reissuing of a property tax refund check to Elizabeth Treitter for $356.43, which was originally dated 2/28/13. Treitter had misplaced the check and just recently found it.

• Begin a search for a used town utility truck replacement as the current one will most likely not pass inspection.

• Use of the Proctorsville Green for the Summer Wednesday Night Concert Series (begins July 11); CTES graduation (June 19); and the retirement party for George Thomson (June 22)

• A permit to Singleton’s Store to serve beer at a private pizza party, which will be held next to the store in Proctorsville on June 2 from 5-8 pm. This is a catered private party.