MINUTES OF FRANKLIN SELECTBOARD
MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2008, AT 7:00 P. M.
FRANKLIN CENTRAL SCHOOL LIBRARY
PRESENT: Peter Kittell, Wayne Fiske, Scott Choiniere, Lynn Paradis and Lisa Larivee, Franklin Town Clerk.
Peter called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.
TOWN CLERK’S CONCERNS:
Safe Route to School Grants: Lisa advised that she received an e-mail regarding the sidewalk grant wanting to know if the Town was going to stay with their engineers or go with our own. Lisa responded that we will use one they suggested and they then asked for a Certificate of Insurance which Lisa obtained and provided to them.
Solid Waste Grants: Lisa stated that in response to an inquiry from Peter she checked to see if the funds obtained through the solid waste grants can be used toward the fees to join the solid waste district and she found they can be used for that purpose. She explained, however, that the current funds cannot be used and we would have to apply for a grant next year. Current funds can be used for household hazardous waste days.
Weed Harvester Grant: Lisa advised that we have the weed harvester grant which needs to be completed and submitted by March 3, 2008. Lynn agreed to handle the grant.
Budget/Tax Rate: Discussion was held on budget items and setting of the tax rate. Lisa informed the Board that she has sent an inquiry to the Secretary of State seeking guidance on the wording of the warning regarding the budget request from Franklin Rescue. She stated as soon as she receives a response, she will contact members. Scott noted that Rescue is not asking that these funds be given to them now, but that they be set aside and held in abeyance in the event they need to seek outside coverage through Enosburg. Concern was expressed over the fact that the Board does not know how much money Rescue has on hand right now, who will determine when the money is needed and whether to include the request at this time or at a special meeting if and when the funds are needed.
Peter asked if Lisa had anything further and she did not. The Board thanked her and she exited the meeting.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Peter advised that the Board needs to approve the December 10, 2007, January 3, 2008 and January 7, 2008 minutes. Motion by Scott/Wayne to approve them. Peter asked for discussion and/or any changes and there were none. All members voted in favor/minutes approved as presented.
BILLS AND ORDERS:
Reviewed and signed.
Culverts: Peter informed members that he checked out the culvert concerns discussed at a previous meeting. He explained to members that the town did provide a few feet more of culvert than it would ordinarily do, however, the property owner paid for all the excavating some of which would have been the town’s responsibility. After discussion the Board decided the situation was a “wash” which benefitted both the town and the property owner.
Construction: Wayne noted that there is some construction being done on the Messier Road and during the recent thaw trucks were really tearing up the road. He had to ask that they hold off until the road firmed up again.
TH#3: Peter informed members that Northwest Regional Planning has radar that can be used in the highway study needed to set the speed limit on this road. They do not have the manpower to run it at this time. Discussion was held on the present speed limit on the road and what the Board feels should be the speed limit on the road. Peter noted there is another accepted way to set the speed limit and explained it to members. Lynn, Scott and Wayne all expressed their concern over the three-way stop at the intersection of the TH#3, Barnum and Durkee Roads. Drivers are speeding, failing to stop at stop signs and the intersection has been very icy this year. Discussion was held on warning signs/flashing lights. Matter tabled until additional information regarding options/cost is obtained.
HASTON LIBRARY TRUSTEES:
Jennifer Ploof, Linda Barnum Hartman, Corinna Stanley, Melissa McKinstry and Maureen Sodaro entered the meeting. Jennifer spoke on behalf of the trustees and thanked the Board for seeing them and stated they were there to answer any questions the Board may have regarding their budget. She provided each Board member with an informational packet. Peter spoke on behalf of the Board members. He reminded those present of the amount authorized last year. He then questioned what appears to be a rash of expenditures in the last few weeks of the year. The Board feels that the library should expend their funds before asking taxpayers for funding. It was explained to the Board that it actually was not a rash of expenditures, but rather they had been waiting for the receipt of new equipment and were waiting to purchase books/materials that were compatible with the new equipment. They explained the new bar code system and the fact that books purchased need to be compatible for the system to work. It was noted that Melissa has done a lot of the work on her own and it has taken her time to figure it out. They noted that they spent the whole budget except for $60.
Jennifer asked to read the following to the Board, “Each year the town of Franklin pays for a large portion of the operating costs of the library listed below. However each year there are a number of operating costs ranging from $5000 to $6000+ that are not paid for by the taxpayers, but are absolutely vital to the operation of the library on a daily basis. In order to pay for these costs, the trustees must complete several fund raisers. The extra money currently sitting in our checking account reflects grant money that is earmarked for summer reading, gifted money from the Franklin Telephone Company recently received and past fund raising dollars that have been saved to be used during years when we are not able to reach our fund raising goals.
Fund raising takes up a large amount of trustee time, talent and efforts and results in continual turn over on the board because people just do not want to give up that much time to a public role with no pay. It is this time that could be better spent by the trustees in guiding and advising the librarians, assisting with programming, writing grants, keeping library policies up to date with current privacy laws, overseeing the maintenance needs of the building and such. Citizens of the town of Franklin do not realize that when they choose to become members of this board that they will primarily fill the role of a fund raiser. In no other part of the municipal organization of the town of Franklin do employees have to sell cupcakes in order to be able to do their job.
We, the current trustees of the Haston Library Board, would be happy to spend this money to pay for long overdue items including computer upgrades, window blinds, equipment upgrades and other building maintenance needs, however, we acknowledge and recognize that it would be foolish to do so, unless a promise was secured by the town in writing that they would in the future cover the full operating costs of the library. Otherwise, we request that the Selectboard understand that we do not carry this large balance in foolishness, but out of foresight and consideration for the future members of the Haston Library Board of Trustees.”
Scott questioned why the library cannot provide the Board with the number of people and residence of those people who utilize the services of the library. For several years, the Board has requested this information and it has not been provided. It was noted that the data provided gives the total number of contacts (if one person visits the library ten times, it is counted as ten contacts), but does not accurately reflect the number of town residents who actually utilize the library services. Scott stated he feels it would be helpful to the Board to know exactly how many residents of the Town of Franklin utilize the library and how many of the persons who utilize the library are non-residents. He feels this information together with the numbers of materials taken out, etc., would provide the Board with a clearer picture of library activity. He also asked about a nominal fee being charged for non-residents. The trustees acknowledged that some libraries do charge such a fee, but people tend to utilizes libraries where there are no fees charged. Corinna Stanley stated that she is the librarian at the Berkshire School and Berkshire has no public library. She refers people to Franklin and Richford and feels that people will not utilize the services if they are charged.
Peter asked if the Board had any further questions or comments and there were none. He informed the library trustees that the Board would look over the material given to them and would let the trustees know their decision. Board thanked the trustees and they exited the meeting.
Discussion was held on the wording of portions of the personnel policy. Proposed changes to clarify payment of overtime were discussed. Motion by Lynn/Scott to approve. All members voted in favor/motion passed.
SOLID WASTE PROGRAM:
Board noted application has been submitted for another $2,000 grant which can be used for household hazardous waste days and toward paying the fee to join the solid waste district should the town decide to do so. It was noted that there are still some questions we need to have answered.
Scott stated he spoke with Polly after the recent meeting with the auditors and she clarified some questions and he now understands what the auditors are trying to accomplish.
The Board reviewed and discussed proposed budget items for the 2008 budget. Peter expressed his concern that the Board keep the tax rate as near to last year’s rate as possible. The Haston Library budget was reviewed and set and Peter will get back to the Trustees with the Board’s decision.
Development Review Board: Members were provided with information on Development Review Boards. Peter asked that members review it and it will be discussed at the next meeting. He noted that with the recent subdivisions/development, the Planning Commission has been kept busy and it might be a good time to review this option. That would then leave the Planning Commission with time to review/revise the Zoning Ordinances and Town Plan when required.
Zoning Administrator: Monthly report of permits issued.
Correspondence: From Transportation Department regarding grants for paving and culverts on Class II Roads. Grant due March 14, 2008. Materials given to Wayne.
Correspondence: From State of Vermont concerning community development grant used to build Franklin Homestead and Carriage House.
Correspondence: Regarding fire coverage for Town Hall curtain. They want us to put certain safeguards in place (no open flames or light bulbs near curtain).
Correspondence: From Northwest Regional Planning offering assistance with the sidewalk grant if we need it.
Workshop: To be held on January 30, 2008 on erosion, flood damage and roads. Wayne will provide Howard with information.
Report: Fire alarm report for Town Offices.
Correspondence: From Northwest Regional Planning regarding Town Plan. It will be going to the next step.
Correspondence: From Vermont League of Cities and Towns regarding round table series.
Correspondence: From State of Vermont regarding completion of road project in East Franklin near the Benjamin property.
Correspondence: From Vermont Coalition of Municipalities regarding Education Acts 60 and 68. Board will table the matter at this time.
Correspondence: Regarding Franklin County budget meeting in Superior Court on January 30, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.
Salt Shed: Wayne informed members that the shed is now completed. Discussion held on
steps to be taken to prevent birds from roosting and causing damage to items stored in the other side.
Town Garage: Discussion held on frost problems and loss of heat through the fans. Possible solutions discussed.
Motion by Scott/Wayne to adjourn. All members voted in favor.
January 15, 2008 Barbara M. Varin
NOTE: These minutes are not official until approved by the Selectboard at their next regular meeting which is presently scheduled for February 11, 2008. These minutes were approved by the Selectboard at their February 11, 2008 meeting.