Weston board delays vote on Town Office window replacement

Board chair Denis Benson expressed opposition to the new estimate for window replacement. Photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2018-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Approval of a $300 price increase in a new estimate to replace windows at the Weston Town Office building, at 12 Lawrence Hill Road, was delayed by the Weston Select Board at its meeting on May 22.

The large windows in the Select Board meeting room are to be replaced and casements added to the side windows to allow more ventilation, said Town Clerk/Treasurer Kim Seymour.

Still there was a bit of confusion over whether the initial estimate by Ron Prouty of Prouty Builders was just an estimate or a firm bid, as board member Ann Fuji’i said. And board administrator Cheryl Barker was unable to find the original paperwork from the fall of 2017.

Board chair Denis Benson expressed opposition to the new estimate since, he said, Prouty chose to wait until this spring to get the work done. Benson also said sales tax was included in the estimate and should be removed since this is a municipal job.

He said the new estimate without sales tax was about $7,480.  The approval of the work was tabled until the original estimate could be found.

Of flowers, VCLT insurance and moving a savings account

After a long discussion, the board agreed to Joanne Prouty’s request that soil in a concrete urn in the triangle between Lawrence Hill Road and Park Street be replaced so she could plant flowers.

Joanne Prouty suggested that the urn needs new soil for planting.

Barker said Prouty’s three attempts to grow flowers in the urn last year failed and Fuji’i said that no one knows who really owns the urn, the job of maintaining it having been passed between different organizations over the years.

Donald Hart said the urn originally held water for horses and dates to the 1800s. He asked if anyone has tested the soil. Fuji’i said no. Barker said the Vermont Country Store would donate flowers, but only after the soil has been changed.

Duane Hart said Hart’s All Season Maintenance had taken care of the urn and the two triangles on Park Street, paid for by Farrar Park Association.

Also, Pamela Fecteau and Vicky Abare, insurance underwriters from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, came before the board to extoll the advantages of VLCT insurance coverage.

The organization started insuring municipal entities starting in 1985 when commercial insurance companies began dropping cities and towns from their insurance, they said.

Pamela Fecteau, left, and Vicky Abare of VCLT.

Barker said an email has been circulating saying that a commercial insurance company can provide the same service for less money. The VLCT representatives said that it now covers 94 percent of Vermont cities and towns and believes it offers competitive rates. It also provides coverage in flood zones, and the solar panels added to the town’s garage would also be covered.

Also, VCLT has approved a grant that Weston applied for for  reflective jackets for the fire and highway departments.

The board gave Treasurer Seymour permission to close a savings account at Berkshire Bank at holds about $2,200. The account had been held when the town borrowed money from Berkshire Bank, but Seymour says the town borrows from itself now. The money will be put into the money market account at TD Bank.

The board agreed to participate in a Municipal Roads Grant without any particular project in mind. Barker said she will ask Road Foreman Almon Crandall for a list of potential projects. Board member Charles Goodwin said it it the same as in previous years and the letter of intent to participate is due on June 22.

Support for Neighborhood Connections grant

The board approved a  letter of support for Londonderry-based Neighborhood Connections, which is applying for a state grant. Linville, a NC board member, said the letter has been written and states that Weston supports the work of Neighborhood Connections, considering it worthy recipients of the grant.

Treasurer Kim Seymour received permission to close a savings account at one bank to move the funds to another.

After Benson said only some of his comments on GNAT-TV’s appropriation request was included in the meeting minutes of the March 6 Town Meeting, Seymour agreed that she would add Benson’s full comments if he would write out what he said.

But Linville said there is a difference between transcripts and minutes.

GNAT had requested $2,000 from all towns it served, but two years ago, the Weston board had OK’d only $500 for the voters to approve, then kept that amount to $500 in March.

The Telegraph had reported at Town Meeting this past March that Benson likened GNAT to a dealer giving away “dope on the corner” until people are hooked. 

He added that a portion of the money from Weston cable subscribers also goes to GNAT. That amounts to 4 percent of Weston residents. There was no consensus on the board. And voters amended the request to $2,000 and passed it.

In other business

  • Also relating to the minutes of the March 6 Town Meeting, Fuji’i will add that the engineering for the upper dam on Cold Springs Brook includes the permitting process.
  • When asked by Duane Hart the status of two agenda items on May 8 regarding regulating outdoor storage, Barker said she put it on the agenda just for discussion. She said that the VLCT said that state regulations are adequate and no town regulations are needed.
  • A request for a new driveway cut on Old County Road was approved.
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