Minutes for monthly public meeting
January 8, 2009
Dining Room, Franklin Homestead
Officers Present: President - Jim Cameron
Treasurer – Sue Clark
Others present: Dick Benton, Lucille Rainville, Dan Larivee, Peter Kittell, Jim Dewing, Rolland Rainville, David Breed, Heidi Britch-Valenta
Meeting was called to order by Jim Cameron at 7:05 P.M.
Treasurer Report -Susan Clark gave the treasurer’s report. It was accepted.
Grant Budget- Cameron led a discussion on the details of the 319 grant and the guidelines for funds. Cameron reviewed the budget for this year and mentioned that 58% was to go to agricultural projects. Other required work included septic surveys, outreach and education, stormwater runoff reduction and stream bank surveys.
He discussed the necessity for workers compensation coverage for the Coordinator position. He noted that the cost of insurance for the group was significantly lower (approx $1,000) than anticipated and asked if the group felt comfortable funding the $400 cost of the workers compensation coverage. The group agreed with this idea.
Clark made a motion to approve the expenditure of approximately $400 to secure an insurance policy for the coordinator. Dick Benton seconded the motion. Motion carried.
501C3 application- Cameron then discussed the progress on the 501C3 application. He noted that the packet is complete and ready to send out. Filing this application would require a $750 check. He made the group aware that the main reason for beginning the process to become a non profit was to reduce the cost of the group coverage. This was no longer the main reason for filing since the insurance cost was well below the anticipated amount. He asked the group if they still felt the application was worth filing, considering the cost. The group felt the application should be filed as it would be a benefit to the group in the long run for solicitations. The application was expected to take 6-10 months for approval. Heidi Britch-Valenta was attempting to contact US Senator Bernie Sander’s office to request assistance in the approval process.
Clark made a motion to approve the expenditure of approximately $750.00 for the application to file for 501C3 status. Benton seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Water Testing- Benton reported that no new information was available. The state representatives have been slow to assist the group due to restructuring of positions. Neil Kamman has been reassigned and he has not been available to interpret the reports. Communication with Peter Benevento is also slowed while he is at his winter residence.
Benton was asked to check with Peter Benevento for an update next month.
Lucille Rainville asked why samples were not taken at the south end of the lake around
the State Park. Cameron thought this was a technical decision which had been made by Neil Kamman when initiating the testing. Lucille Rainville asked to be informed of progress as it occurs. She is particularly interested in information regarding Dicky’s Brook that runs through her property. She also offered to assist with the testing in the summer of 2009 and offered to use her kayak to test in areas that were difficult to access by land.
Mulcher update- David Breed said he had nothing to report on the concept of purchasing a mulcher for conservation enhancement projects. Cameron asked if he still wanted to pursue the topic. Breed stated that he did want to continue to investigate this option and that is should be put on the agenda for February.
Septic Planning Session- A meeting is scheduled for Saturday the 10th of January to discuss Septic Systems. Britch-Valenta gave an outline of the speakers that would attend and an estimate of between 20-25 people expected to attend. Representative from the DEC, engineering firms, and equipment distributors, were prepared to talk on options for municipal systems, smaller community systems, and current regulations.
COORDINATOR’S REPORT- Britch-Valenta gave an update of her work for the month of December.
Hours- Britch-Valenta said she only had 54 hours for December due to holidays and school schedules. These extra hours will be useful later in the work season.
Flex-incentives- There is a UVM program to reward farmers for phosphorus reduction techniques. This program has been successful in Missisquoi Basin. Jon Winston will speak on the topic at Feb 7th meeting.
Cover Crop meeting- She handed out a flyer on a meeting on cover crop program Jan 16 in Swanton.
VYCC- She reported that David Breed and Brendan O’Shea have been guiding her through a process to apply for volunteer assistance from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corp. The grant deadline Jan 15.
TMDL- There is no progress to report on the TMDL. The EPA is still reviewing it.
Megan Moir- Stormwater reduction specialist- Britch-Valenta had met with Moir to discuss projects for the lakeshore region. During the summer an open house will be organized to highlight simple stormwater reduction techniques that can be employed by all landowners, including rain barrels, rain gardens, shoreline buffers, etc. Cameron offered his camp for this purpose.
Moir also offered to be a non regulatory point person for complaints, questions from the group. This step may keep complaints from being filed with the state and would allow us to receive an opinion on a situation before contacting inspectors.
Moir also had bylaw revision suggestions to reduce runoff. These may be a useful tool to require compliance with best environmental practices. These will be shared with the Planning Commission.
International Joint Commission Meeting- Britch-Valenta gave an update on the meeting of the commission responsible for overseeing environmental issues that occur on the international line (Missisquoi Bay). Copies of the resulting news paper articles and sections of the power point from the meeting were distributed. Public opinion at the meeting was overwhelmingly that the money should not be used for study but rather for implementation.
Website- The website has been updated but copies of meeting minutes form Jan, March, April and May of 2008 are still needed.
Town Request- Britch-Valenta was preparing a letter to the town requesting annual funds and asked the board for the amount that should be requested. Much discussion followed.
Clark made a motion that $1,000 be requested from the town. Benton seconded the motion. Motion carried. Many agreed that the request would be more likely to survive a town meeting day vote if representatives were present at town meeting day to explain our efforts. The group decided to put the issue on the February agenda for discussion so a plan for Town meeting day could be decided upon.
Seeing there was no other new business, Cameron adjourned the meeting at 8:45 P.M.
Respectfully submitted Dick Benton and Heidi Britch-Valenta