Weston Board ponders future ash borer impact

Select Board member Jim Linville. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Weston Select Board member Jim Linville said during the Tuesday, Aug. 14 board meeting that it should be ready on Town Meeting Day in March 2019 to make a presentation on the threat of the emerald ash borer to the town’s ash trees.

“The earlier we start this discussion, the easier it will be,” he said, adding that the policies of Green Mountain Power, cable companies, and the telephone company should all be researched. Linville added, “We should understand our obligations” as well landowner obligations.

Weston resident Donald Hart said he has spoken with a GMP employee who said line crews were told that damaged ash trees will be a problem, so be cautious and aware. Road Foreman Almon Crandall said arborist Raymond Mara has helped him remove difficult trees, but has refused to bill the town for his work. Board Chair Denis Benson asked Board Administrator Cheryl Barker to invite Mara to the next meeting.

Almon Crandall, left, and Donald Hart.

The board voted to allocate $125,000 for a highway emergency fund that Donald Hart said was started with $90,000 remaining from repairs during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Barker will look for the policy that started the fund, some of which, Hart says, has been used by the town on the washed out Shaw Knoll Road. The need to establish an emergency spending limit came up when Barker asked for help in filling out a Local Emergency Management Plan. Benson said the town can spend up to this limit for supplies for three days after an emergency until the state steps in with “red tape.”

Heating oil bids; stormwater mitigation

In spite of receiving bids from Cota & Cota and HB Energy Solutions, the board agreed with Linville that they did not have enough information to sign a contract for heating oil. None was sure whether to accept Cota & Cota’s fixed bid of $2.69 per gallon or take a chance on the spot market with HB. Board member Bruce Downer said Cota & Cota will hold its price until Aug. 31.

From left, board administrator Cheryl Barker and member Bruce Downer.

Barker said the last two years, HB provided separate invoices for oil delivered to the Little School, the library and the town garage. The town then had to bill back these organizations.

The Weston Select Board voted to pay $400 toward a $2,000 total invoice so the town can participate in a Stormwater Municipal Mitigation project. The town has already paid $250 and the remaining $1,350 will be paid in May 2019. The project is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from polluting rivers, lakes and ponds.

Board member Charles Goodwin asked Barker to tell Lister Linda Sherman that the board is not interested in putting the Grand List on the town website, as she had suggested. Goodwin said the Grand List spread sheet has “probably 40 fields,” such as parcel ID and street address, so should the town put up the whole huge list. He said one can search by owner or parcel number already. Benson agreed, saying he has heard of no complaints about people obtaining information so we should “leave it as it is. It is working fine.”

Goodwin will provide Town Clerk and Treasurer Kim Seymour with a list of audit firms so she can get bids for this year’s audit.

Only two dogs, both elderly, appeared on a list of previously registered dogs who have not been registered this year in spite of several calls and letters sent by the clerk’s office. Goodwin and Linville will approach the owners to see what they can learn.

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