Weston board continues revising Little School lease; Fire Department seeks safety gear grant

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

At its Tuesday, Aug. 8 meeting, the Weston Select Board worked on a several issues that have been on previous agendas, including the Little School lease and the sale of a 17-acre parcel off Boynton Road.

Board member Jim Linville, center, discusses the Little School lease with members Annie Fuji’i and Bruce Downer. Photos by Bruce Frauman

Board member Jim Linville went over new provisions that have been added to the Little School’s lease of the Annex Building, which is next to the Town Office.

The board discussed what uses could be allowed for the second floor. That space has only one exit, so approval by regulatory authorities like the State Fire Marshal would be needed for use as a meeting room or as a “secondary outdoor space” for students to play during inclement weather.

The lease allows that if fixing deficiencies are projected to cost the town more than $30,000 —  and the Select Board does not approve of the expense — the question will go to a townwide a vote. The Little School can break the lease if legislative or regulatory changes make operating the school no longer viable. At the suggestion of board member Bruce Downer, Linville added a provision that the lease may be terminated by mutual consent. A clean copy of the lease will be made ready for the board to sign at its Aug. 22 meeting. Barker said the current lease expires Sept. 1, 2017.

The town will once again try to sell a piece of property that has been offered for sale – but not purchased – in the past. Board member Charles Goodwin will create an advertisement for 17 acres of land off oBoynton Road that is assessed at $20,000. There are three adjoining landowners with property in the state’s current use program. If this land was to be added to current use, the tax value to the town would decline. Goodwin said a letter will also be sent to the adjoining landowners making them aware of the available property.

In March, the Weston Select Board signed an agreement with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to accept a grant of $14,000 to construct “best practices” structures next to “roads that drain directly on to surface waters” such as ponds and rivers. The purpose is to minimize toxic runoff into the waterways. Linville has been working with Windham Regional Commission director Emily Davis to answer questions he has about the conditions for obtaining the grant.

Also, Linville said the town is not obligated to do anything more than the things they choose to do, and Linville has identified three projects on “hydrologically connected roads.” These are Turner Road, Lawrence Hill Road from Landgrove Road to the Town Office Building, and a place on Lawrence Hill Road near a big box culvert. The board agreed to start the process of applying for the grant. Linville will invite Davis to review his suggestions and prepare to write the grant.

Board chair Denis Benson said Fire Chief Brian Lundberg had found a Vermont League of Cities and Towns grant to help pay for safety gear for the Fire Department. The department chose yellow, hooded jackets with removable liners to use for operations like directing traffic at car accidents. The board agreed to ask for 18 jackets for the fire department and three more for the road crew at $280 each for a total of $5880.

Sara Houghton, of UniFirst Corp., told the board that a buying co-op that offers deep discounts on things from uniforms to road equipment. Houghton said this could reduce the $200 the town spends each month on uniform services. Downer asked for a side-by-side comparison of costs and Houghton will return to the Aug. 22 meeting with more information.

Town Clerk and Treasurer Kim Seymour said that the front door to the town office building has been left unlocked several times and suggested the use of a keypad lock. Seymour will have quotes for keypads ready for the next meeting.

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