Weston board OKs radio service, new windows for Town Office

Town Clerk Kim Seymour told the board it could be difficult to contact town road crews from the Town Office.

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

At its Tuesday, July 11 meeting, the Weston Select Board approved the purchase of a radio base station to be installed at the Town Office building. The radio will be used to keep in contact with the road crew.

Both Town Clerk Kim Seymour and Town Administrator Cheryl Barker have said that at times they were unable to contact the road crew when needed. And the recent addition of an AT&T cell tower seems not to have helped improve cell service, at least for some phones tested during the meeting.

Carl Noe of Putney will install the radio for about $1,230 and Road Foreman Almon Crandall will supply an antenna, as he did for the base station at the Town Garage.

Tax rate set, Town Office to get new windows

In other news, board member Charles Goodwin noted that the state education tax rate went down, as he predicted it might and the board set the homestead tax rates at $2.0807 per $100 of assessed value and the non-resident tax rate of $2.2247. 

From left, Denis Benson, Cheryl Barker and Charles Goodwin.

After Seymour told the board that it has $17,000 in the budget for Town Office maintenance, the board approved the purchase of four replacement windows for the building from rk Miles. Two larger wood Marvin windows will cost about $2,508 each plus about $1,250 for installation.

Two smaller windows will cost about $1,033 each plus about $515 for installation. The board also decided that the size of the replacement windows be confirmed so the existing R-value curtains will still operate, the interior and exterior painting specifications set, confirmation of the price for installation, and to paint the front porch railings at the same time as window installation.

 Conflict of interest policy tabled

After some discussion, the board tabled the adoption of a conflict of interest policy since member Bruce Downer was not in attendance. Goodwin said some people had questioned the ability of the board to dismiss a public officer, admitting that it would be an “extreme situation.”

Board member Jim Linville has been working with the Little School on its lease.

Board member Jim Linville said that if an officer refuses to recuse himself when others see a conflict of interest, after deliberation the Select Board can request that the officer resign. Board member Ann Fuji’i said this policy has been “approved and vetted by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.” But Benson said, “That doesn’t make it right.” This policy is not required by the state until 2019.

The Little School had requested installation of gutters on the town-owned Annex Building, which it calls home. But Select Board Chair Denis Benson asked, “Who is going to maintain them?” Goodwin suggested a dry well and ditch instead. The board agreed to get “two or three” prices for drainage ditches.

Also, Little School Treasurer Christine Falango continues to negotiate with the town on the lease of the Annex Building, and recently sent Linville a note asking the board to “do something” about it. Linville distributed to the board suggested lease changes that he and Falango came up with.  One change would extend the five-year lease to 10. The discussion centered on the terms under which either party may terminate the lease due to the cost of complying with state regulations, which the town would have to pay for. Linville suggested a cap of $30,000 and that if cost ever comes up, that it be voted on at Town Meeting. The board will take up the lease at its next session.

And finally, the board followed up on the June 19 board meeting, where Seymour told the board that auditors wanted more history on each fund managed by the Trustees of Public Funds. Goodwin and Bruce Downer then formed a working committee to look for this information.  Goodwin told the board that they had discovered, much, if not all of the information requested by the auditors.  He said he no longer felt it necessary to ask trustees to report to the board, as previously expected.  Fuji’i will join with Goodwin and Downer on this working committee. The board assumed that a working committee would not be subject to the open meetings law, but the Vermont League of Cities and Towns counseled the town that if a quorum of the Select Board is on the committee, all meetings would have to be warned.

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