This page is maintained by Swanton Village, Inc and is intended to be the official online posting of public meetings and minutes in accordance with Vermont’s Open Meeting law (Amended July 1st, 2014).

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

April 10, 2017

SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

120 FIRST STREET

SWANTON, VT 05488

 

 

 

REGULAR MEETING

Monday, April 10, 2017

7:00 PM

 

 

PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Kathy Kneebone, Brian Barratt and Ch. 16.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.

 

1.      Call to Order:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Regular Board of Trustees meeting and called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.

 

2.      Agenda Review:

 

Dianne Day, Village Clerk, informed the Board that Brian Savage came in the office today and informed her that he was unable to attend tonight’s meeting. She also informed them that MVUHS came in on Friday, April 7th and asked that MVU Football coin drop request be changed to MVUHS Substance Free Committee coin drop request.

 

3.      Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, March 27, 2017:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from Monday, March 27, 2017 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Chris Leach asked if there was any further information on the sale of the Highgate Converter Station. Reg Beliveau said he had sent the Board an email with some legal issues regarding the sale. Motion carried.

 

4.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, April 7, 2017:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, April 7, 2017. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Eugene LaBombard stated that his packet of warrants was dated March 23rd through March 31st. Village Clerk Dianne Day explained that she listed the date of April 7th in case anymore warrants came through up to that point. Motion carried.

 

5.      Brian Savage Representing Star Hose Co. Regarding the Possible Sale of the Pirsch Pumper Truck:

 

Item tabled until next meeting.

 

6.      VT State Revolving Fund Loan Agreement for Contract #3 (Second St., Fourth St., Canada St. and Transmission main from Robin Hood Dr to the Reservoir) for $3,062,559.50 with a -3.00% Interest Rate:

 

Dianne Day, Village Clerk, stated that Assistant Village Manager Lynn Paradis told her now that the water line project is complete the State has finalized the loan documents and the Board just needs to sign them. All Board members signed the necessary loan documents.

 

7.      MVUHS Substance Free Committee Requesting Coin Drop for Saturday, May 6, 2017:

 

MVUHS Substance Free Committee came in on Friday, April 7th and requested they be put on the Agenda for a coin drop in May instead of the Football Team. They are requesting Saturday, May 6, 2017 with a rain date of Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Chris Leach made the motion to approve MVUHS Substance Free Committee’s request to hold a coin drop on Saturday, May 6th from 9 a.m. to 12 noon with a rain date of Saturday, May 13th from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried with two yays, one nay.

 

 

 

 

8.      Any Other Necessary Business:

 

Chris Leach asked if the Police Department received any responses from the drug competition form they put on Facebook. Village Clerk Dianne Day stated that they received one in the mail today.

 

Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated he wanted to make sure that when coin drops are held the proper signage is put in place at the corners of Pine Street and First Street and Brown Avenue and First Street.

 

Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard asked if there was any action taken on changing banks. Reg Beliveau informed the Board that Lynn is having a meeting with Union Bank on Tuesday, April 11th.

 

Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard asked how the sidewalk study meeting went. Chris Leach stated he felt this was a very expensive project and said a decision was made to go up Route 78 to MVUHS. He said there are issues with drainage and trees. He said they discussed running the sidewalk behind some houses and the town garage but some students said they would walk up Route 78 anyways. Chris also said they are looking at a 4’ extension on either side of the road down on South River St. He said they were told there is grant money available for sidewalks so they are hoping to get one.

 

9.      Public Comment:

 

Kathy Kneebone said she was present tonight because she heard there was the possibility of the Teen Center closing because the Memorial Auditorium building might go up for sale. Reg Beliveau stated that the Trustees are considering selling the Memorial Auditorium building but they wouldn’t close the Teen Center. He said if anything happened they would relocate the Teen Center elsewhere. Chris Leach said they have no intent on closing the Teen Center. Kathy asked if there was anything they could do to help relocate the Teen Center. Chris Leach said with permitting issues this could potentially take months to sell. He said they have nothing but kudos for the Teen Center. Kathy asked if they were selling it to bring business into the Village. Brian Barratt asked if this was the reason for selling the building. He asked if this building was costing us money and said he knows renovating is very expensive. Chris Leach said they are trying to keep the nature of the building in mind because it is a “Memorial Building.” Kathy asked if the Teen Center was the only thing in that building. Chris said no that a business called BMTM is in there also and employees approximately 26 people. He said they would like to relocate them in Swanton also. He said it is their incentive to have something great downtown. Neal Speer stated regardless of what happens it will be best for the community. Reg thanked Kathy for coming in and she said she wants people to help if needed.

 

10.  Executive Session to Discuss Real State:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session to Discuss Real Estate at 7:26 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.

 

Chris Leach made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:35 p.m. and to re-enter Open Session. Eugene LaBombard seconded both motions. Motions carried.

 

ACTION TAKEN: Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau to write a letter of intent to sell 3 Label Lane to prospective buyer Gordon Winters. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.

 

11.  Adjournment:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:37 p.m.  Adam Paxman seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:37 p.m. Motion carried.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________          _______________________________________

Neal Speer, Village President                           Date

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________          ___________________________________

Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

March 27, 2017

SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

120 FIRST STREET

SWANTON, VT 05488

 

 

 

REGULAR MEETING

Monday, March 27, 2017

7:00 PM

 

 

PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Ken Nolan, VPPSA; and Ch. 16.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.

 

1.      Call to Order:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Regular Board of Trustees meeting and called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

 

2.      Agenda Review:

 

None.

 

3.      Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, March 13, 2017:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from Monday, March 13, 2017 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.

 

4.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, March 24, 2017:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, March 24, 2017. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Eugene LaBombard stated he wanted it noted that the warrants were only through March 17th. Motion carried.

 

5.      Ken Nolan, VPPSA, Discussion Regarding Sale of the Highgate Converter:

 

Ken Nolan from VPPSA was present for this discussion. He presented the Board with a summary of the proposed Highgate Converter Sale and the following information was included in the summary:

 

What is the Highgate Converter

  • A 225 MW AC-DC-AC Converter connecting the Quebec and Vermont transmission systems in Highgate, VT
  • Built in the 1980’s with the primary purpose of delivering the original Hydro-Quebec, so-called VJO, contract to Vermont utilities
  • Because of rules at the time most Vermont utilities ended up owning a share of the facility – in order to document a physical path from Quebec to individual utility loads
  • VPPSA owns a 9.36% share on behalf of its members and is referred to as VPPSA’s Project #3

 

Why Sell?

  • Financial Benefit – Because of how VPPSA financed the 2011 control system upgrade at the converter VPPSA  members are losing about $40,000 per year right now
    • A 10-year loan with 20-year depreciation
    • Annual loss becomes income in 2024
  • TRANSCO acquiring Highgate raises their “Pool Transmission Facility” value under ISO New England rules
    • Means more TRANSCO overhead can be assigned to the ISO New England Tariff
    • By coupling the sale with an equity purchase it also raises TRANSCO equity percentage
    • Roughly $5 million in Vermont costs would become regional costs
  • Reduced Regulatory Burden
    • A complaint has been filed at FERC alleging transmission owner rates of return are too high
    • As a result FERC is seeking more transparency and rigor in calculations
    • This brings increased burden/cost for VPPSA to file the Highgate cost of service
    • VPPSA will need approvals not sought before (i.e. depreciation studies and approval)

Ken Nolan stated that a complaint was filed with FERC and the rate of return is too high. He said in order to determine costs they factor in depreciation rates, audits, etc.

 

  • Reduced Capital Risk
    • Highgate is 30+ years old and major investments are on the horizon
    • The present ownership structure requires VPPSA (and VPPSA participants) to raise the necessary capital
    • TRANSCO ownership would place this burden on their $1 billion balance sheet instead

Ken said this facility is 30+ years old and will need upgrades soon.

 

The (Original) Transaction Concept

  • All Highgate owners would sell the asset to TRANSCO on May 31st
    • At Net Book Value (required to maintain PTF treatment)
    • TRANSCO would use their line of credit to pay cash
  • TRANSCO would amend its Operating Agreement to allow Highgate owners to acquire TRANSCO equity on September 30th equal to their previous ownership share of Highgate
    • Highgate Owners would give TRANSCO back its money in return for Membership Units
    • VPPSA would be allowed to buy $800,000 of additional equity to offset costs presently assigned to Highgate
  • The net effect would be that the Highgate owners would convert their ownership of Highgate into increased ownership of TRANSCO
    • Transmission payments are converted to TRANSCO dividends

He said TRANSCO owns the asset and Velco manages it. He said on May 31st Velco would pay cash at net book value and in September TRANSCO would allow the purchase of equity at a 12.5% dividend.

 

The Amended (Actual) Transaction

  • Stowe Electric Department (which is a Highgate participant through VPPSA but not a VPPSA member) decided to retain their ownership
    • Further, they believe they have a right of first refusal on VPPSA’s entire ownership (this is not clear in the contracts)
  • Hyde Park decided it did not want to retain an interest, but wanted its share sold to Stowe
  • These positions clouded VPPSA’s ability to undertake the sale without a protracted legal battle
  • To avoid litigation the deal was amended such that VPPSA will sell 56% of its Highgate interest to Stowe on May 31st and the remainder to TRANSCO
    • TRANSCO agrees to issue equity to VPPSA as though the entire Highgate interest was sold to them plus the additional $800,000 originally included
    • Stowe will have 2-years to acquire the remaining 44% of VPPSA’s interest from TRANSCO
  • This results in VPPSA’s position being the same as originally thought
    • Except Stowe ends up owning VPPSA’s Highgate share instead of TRANSCO
    • Preserves about 90% of the anticipated benefits to the state

 

Ken stated that Stowe was a member of VPPSA but left. He said he’s been in the electric transmission business for 25 years and he can’t figure out what benefit this would have for Stowe.

 

How the deal Works for VPPSA

  • VPPSA will receive cash from both Stowe and TRANSCO on May 31st in return for its Highgate ownership
  • VPPSA needs to pay the remainder of its $1.3 million loan outstanding with KeyBank related to the 2011 upgrades
    • Which is collateralized by Highgate’s revenues
  • In September VPPSA will acquire TRANSCO equity equal to the Highgate value (less Stowe and Hyde Park’s share)
    • Plus the allowed $800,000
    • A new loan will need to be obtained for some members to cover the equity purchase
  • VPPSA will receive dividends from the new equity and pass them through to members
    • The dividends received from TRANSCO will be sufficient to pay the debt service on the new loan for those needing it and will result in sending excess revenues to participants

What are the risks?

  • Elimination of TRANSCO dividend
    • The only significant threat to TRANSCO’s dividends would be a reduction in their allowed rate of return
    • TRANSCO’s return is presently 11%
    • VPPSA’s analysis assumes a 9.5% allowed return (being discussed in the pending FERC case)
    • TRANSCO has indicated they could absorb a 9% return without a dividend change
    • Since the TRANSCO dividend and allowed rate of return are linked decreases below 9% return will result in proportional dividend decreases
    • However, decreases in allowed transmission return would impact Highgate as well so retaining ownership doesn’t necessarily avoid this risk
  • TRANSCO decides to sell Highgate to someone else
    • Any sale would need Board of Director’s approval
    • Public power holds 5 votes and VLITE holds 3 votes out of 12 total
  • TRANSCO will need to demonstrate public benefit from a sale
    • It would need to occur at net book value or reimburse New England for its costs coverage
  • VPPSA believes these risks are significantly less than the risk of continued ownership

 

Chris Leach asked if Swanton Village would need to pay anything up front for this and Ken said no there is no out of pocket expense to the Village. He provided a chart showing the impact to Swanton (12.3% ownership - $279,904 and 14.07% of outstanding loan - $184,826).  The chart showed by selling the asset and purchasing the equity equal to available cash will provide Swanton Village with a dividend payment of $11,894 beginning in 2017 and going through year 2036. Ken stated VPPSA recommends selling and getting out of this risk.

 

Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau Jr. to sign necessary documents to sell the Village of Swanton’s shares in the Highgate Converter Station per VPPSA’s recommendation and also authorizes the funds from the sale to be used to purchase Transco Equity. Adam Paxman seconded both motions. Motions carried.

 

6.      Audit Report Review:

 

Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, informed the Board that Kittell, Branagan & Sargent completed their audit of the Village of Swanton for the year 2016. She said all aspects of the audit went well but they did have a couple of recommendations on two issues. She said they are recommending that the “due to” “due from” be kept at under $1 million dollars and they also recommended that journal entries be reviewed by the Village Manager on a quarterly basis. Other than that the audit went very well. They said we have a good system in place. Adam Paxman made the motion to accept the 2016 Auditor’s Report as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.

 

7.      Review Banking Relationships for Village of Swanton Business:

 

Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, explained to the Board that all daily regular business is done at People’s United Bank with our main operating account. She said that Union Bank would like for the Village to move this operating account to their bank. She said she spoke with a couple of representatives from People’s United Bank today but said her government banking representatives are in Burlington. She said as it stands now the Village goes to the bank everyday and makes a deposit. She said if the Village were to move their operating account to Union Bank we would scan our own checks and do a remote deposit right here from the Village Office. She said between the Police Department and the Office staff, someone could run out there probably twice per week and deposit the cash. She said the online banking with ICloud is going great and the deposits from that have been real good. She said right now their cash flow is better than it has been. Chris Leach said he trusts Lynn’s opinion and said the choice is hers to make. She said they have been contemplating this for a while and feels this will be a step in the right direction. Chris stated as long as the Village’s funds are insured he is fine with leaving the decision up to the Assistant Village Manager.

 

8.      Discuss Tree Replacement Schedule in Village Park:

 

Adam Paxman stated he wanted this on the Agenda in May so asked that this be tabled until a later date. Item tabled.

 

9.      Review Proposed Changes to Coin Drop Rules and Regulations:

 

Adam Paxman stated he has drafted some changes to the Coin Drop Rules and Regulations and wanted to go over them with the Board. He said he added a line on the bottom of the application where it can be signed when the requesting organization has provided the Village with a copy of their liability insurance. The Board agreed to this change. He showed where he highlighted some of the existing information on the back of the application by making it bold type. He stated on Item #3 relating to liability insurance he wanted to add that the requesting organization had to have a copy to the Village Clerk 3 weeks prior to the approved coin drop. It used to say “one week”. He said he also wanted to add “Copy of insurance certificate must be present at event. Failure to have will result in closing the coin drop.” Chris Leach and Eugene LaBombard didn’t think this was necessary as long as they provided a copy to the Clerk before the coin drop. Adam also stated he wanted to add that “requesting organizations can have no more than one coin drop in a two year period.” Chris and Eugene didn’t agree with this either and suggested that all applications be presented to the Village Clerk by March 15th of each year so that they can be scheduled for the summer. They also suggested that if more than one organization was requesting the same month for a coin drop they would use a lottery system to decide who would have it. They asked the Village Clerk to make these changes and they would go over it again to make sure they all agree on the Rules and Regulations.

 

 

10.  Missisquoi Valley Rescue Request Coin Drop on Saturday, August 12, 2017:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve Missisquoi Valley Rescue’s request to hold a coin drop on Saturday, August 12, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon with a rain date of Saturday, August 19, 2017. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried with two yays and one nay.

 

11.  Star Hose (Swanton Fire Department) Request Coin Drop on Saturday, September 9, 2017:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve Star Hose’s request to hold a coin drop on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon with a rain date of Saturday, September 16, 2017. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried with two yays and one nay.

 

12.  St. Albans Police Department Letter of Recognition:

 

Reg Beliveau stated that he received a letter of recognition from the St. Albans City Police Department regarding the shooting incident last month in St. Albans. He said this letter explains how this incident spilled over into Swanton Village and the City Police Department wanted to specifically thank each individual that responded and helped in some way. He said this letter recognizes Chief Stell, Don Gilbert, Officer Chad Parah, and the Border Patrol agents involved. He mentioned how quickly this incident was solved and how nice it is to have good neighbors and partners. He stated it was a good job done by all assisting agencies.

 

13.  Any Other Necessary Business:

 

Neal Speer stated there will be a joint meeting on April 4th at the Town Office at 7 p.m. about the Sidewalk Study done by Peter Cross.

 

Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated he has received some complaints regarding vehicles on Brown Avenue and Canada Street and maybe needing a three way stop sign there. He said Chief Stell is going to monitor the area for a while and see if there is an issue.

 

14.  Public Comment:

 

None.

 

15.  Executive Session (If Necessary):

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session to Discuss Real Estate at 8:47 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.

 

Chris Leach made the motion to exit Executive Session at 9:34 p.m. and to re-enter Open Session. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.

 

ACTION TAKEN: Chris Leach made the motion to authorize the Village Manager to claim a 6.4 acre of unclaimed property on landlocked property near the Wastewater Treatment Facility. Motion carried.

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to have the Village pursue selling the Commercial Building on Label Lane. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.

 

16.  Adjournment:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 9:43 p.m.  Adam Paxman seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 9:43 p.m. Motion carried.

 

 

_____________________________________          _______________________________________

Neal Speer, Village President                           Date

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________          ___________________________________

Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March 13, 2017

SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

120 FIRST STREET

SWANTON, VT 05488

 

 

 

REGULAR MEETING

Monday, March 13, 2017

7:00 PM

 

 

PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Brad Aldrich, Aldrich & Elliott; Tim Smith, FCIDC; Judy Paxman, Heather Buczkowski; Tom Benton, St. Albans Messenger and Ch. 16.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.

 

1.      Call to Order:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Regular Board of Trustees meeting and called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.

 

2.      Agenda Review:

 

Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, stated he would like to move Item #10 to #8 and said the Board would need to go into an Executive Session to discuss contracts and real estate. Neal Speer also stated that Dianne Day, Village Clerk and Betty Cheney, Delinquent Tax Collector, have already been sworn in so that they could conduct business on a daily basis.

 

3.      Swear in elected officials for 2017: Neal Speer, Village President (one year term); Adam Paxman, Village Trustee (three year term); Dianne Day, Village Clerk (one year term) and Betty Cheney, Delinquent Tax Collector (one year term) were sworn in on March 8, 2017 to perform duties:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, read aloud his Oath of Office and was sworn in for a one year term; Adam Paxman, Village Trustee, read aloud his Oath of Office and was sworn in for a three year term.

 

4.      Appoint a Treasurer for the Village of Swanton for 2017 and swear in:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to appoint Dianne Day as Village Treasurer for a one year term. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried. Dianne Day read aloud the Village Treasurer Oath of Office and was sworn in for a one year term.

 

5.      Motion that the Swanton Village Board of Trustees adopt Robert’s Rules of Procedures for the rules of procedure for the Village Trustees for the upcoming year through March 2018:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adopt and follow the Robert’s Rules of Procedures for the ensuing year for the Swanton Village Board of Trustees procedures. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.

 

6.      Approve and Accept Minutes from Informational Meeting Tuesday, February 28, 2017:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from Tuesday, February 28, 2017 Informational Meeting. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.

 

7.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, March 10, 2017:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, March 10, 2017. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.

 

8.      Brad Aldrich, Elliott & Aldrich, to Discuss Settlement on River Crossing Job:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss contracts and real estate at 7:15 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.

 

Chris Leach made the motion to exit Executive Session and re-enter Open Session at 7:32 p.m. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.

 

Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau Jr. to sign and close all documents necessary for the river crossing contract. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Chris Leach stated that all costs pertaining to this issue came in under the bond authorization. Motion carried.

 

9.      Tim Smith, FCIDC Update for 2017:

 

Tim Smith advised the Board of Trustees that he wanted to give them an update on what FCIDC has been working on and what they are looking forward to. He said they’ve expanded the VT Precision Tools multi-tenant building by 17,000 feet and chose to take four acres adjacent to the building. He said they combined both and permitted the four acre lot for a 40,000 square foot building. He said there is no desire to build in the near future but it’s permitted and ready to go. He told the Board that FCIDC paid $17,000 to the State of Vermont for the wetland permit and $24,000 to the Federal government. He said that fee is a mitigation fee so they will be paying Ducks Unlimited the $24,000. He said this mitigation fee is for loss of wetlands. He also said VT Precision Tools is expanding and are one of the top five employers in the county. He said they have 242 employees and have been adding approximately 10 jobs per year locally. He said the skill level has changed there because the production level has changed from hands on to more computer operated machines. He said this takes more training and has been a good thing for their business. He also said this expansion will be just under $3 million dollars and they now have more say in hiring local contractors and that’s a good thing.

 

Tim said this expansion project is great for the county but overall there will be over $100 million dollars in expansions going on. He said Peerless Clothing, Ben & Jerry’s and Mylan are also expanding. He said the new hotel in St. Albans is under construction and there are numerous smaller projects going on. He said this will create approximately 150 jobs in the county. The unemployment rate is at 3.4% and unfortunately there are approximately 10,000 commuters on the interstate each day heading to Chittenden County for work. He said on the upside there is an influx of 4,500 coming into the county for a net loss of 6,000. He said there will be dozens of sub-contractors working on all these expansion projects which will in turn create jobs. He said he tells people all the time they can always be better as far as the economy goes but there are a lot worse off places that are not doing close to what Franklin County is doing. He said we have great leadership in towns that know what it’s like to work and attract business and be partners and not hinder what we need to move forward in growing the economy. He said the 17 towns he works with are very supportive of economic development and that speaks volumes to where they are as a county. He said they are growing in population, low in unemployment, have a lot of capital investments in buildings and roads, and are fortunate to have that support. He said Kathy Lavoie continues to work with the Workforce Investment Board and he said over the next 10 years they will be spending a lot of time educating students about career opportunities and training trying to fill the void of all the baby boomers who will be retiring from the workforce here. He said they are not prepared for that and a lot of effort will be spent on that.

 

Reg Beliveau asked Tim about his recent trip to Canada. He said I-35 is completed to the Pike River area. He said they have a commitment from the Federal government for half of the project, which is $350 million dollars, to go 13 kilometers. He said they have reached out to FCIDC for support and will then go to the Provencial government for the other half of the project, wrap it up and try and finish the 13 kilometers. He said 30% of the traffic would then choose to go through the Highgate Border Station and this could be huge for the State of Vermont. He said all they are asking for from FCIDC is a couple MOU’s and Resolutions saying they are in support of the project. Tim said this was a promise that was made way back when the Interstate was built in 1966.  He said they are passionate about having that promise come to fruitition. Neal Speer said the Village Trustees would support this project as well and Tim said he would send the Resolution here for the Trustees to sign as well. Tim said they’ve made an effort to get over the border and that’s why they have reached out to FCIDC. He said they are making maps of the St. Jean-Richileau area, one regional map that will show events going on in both areas. He said he’s noticed most maps stop at the border and they want to change that. He said it will be bi-lingual and he’s hoping it will be a huge success. He said it’s a lot of work to grow these relationships because everyone is busy but he said they try to meet at least four times per year and they hope to continue to make strides. Tim said the Town of Swanton has put up some money for an economic development position and FCIDC may have some money to augment the hours of that individual. They are looking for someone who can do grant writing and grant applications. He said they are hoping to work together with Swanton on this idea. He’s hoping the opportunity to mesh this position is there and said if they have the grant writing skills they may be onboard with it. He said the Workforce Investment program could use that, FCIDC could and so couldn’t Swanton Village and Town. He feels this could pay dividends in the long run.

 

Reg Beliveau said he is working with Kathy Lavoie and Burlington Electric about trying to get a linemen school up here. He said NEPPA is on board as well and they have an upcoming meeting soon. He said rather than having to travel to Massachusetts they are trying to get the schooling here so it will benefit all the local utilities in the northern territory. Tim said there is also a need here for manufacturing classes. Tim said Kathy has placed at least 500 students and adults in jobs and it’s an invaluable resource to have. Tim thanked the Board for their time.

 

 

 

10.  Heather Buczkowski and Judy Paxman to Discuss Swanton Teen Center:

 

Heather Buczkowski stated that she has been walking by the Teen Center lately and can’t help but notice what an eyesore it is. She said the Chamber of Commerce sits right next to it and is focused on welcoming people to Swanton and then there is this pit of despair. She said there is paint falling off the door, boarded up windows and bricks falling off the building. She said she feels the Teen Center is an asset to Swanton and it should be in nicer condition. She said it’s nice to take pride in our community because it has so much to offer. She said Swanton has a lot going for us and is wondering if they can spruce up the Teen Center. Judy Paxman stated it’s a very sad looking building that looks abandoned. Reg Beliveau stated the teens could take pride in their building and paint it themselves. Neal Speer asked if they’ve talked to anyone at the Teen Center about this and both ladies said they have not. They said they are asking permission to do some painting and sprucing up on that building. Eugene LaBombard suggested they work with Reg Beliveau on this. The Board agreed that they were ok with the girls working on the Teen Center. They said they could look for grants and would rally up some support to take this project on.

 

11.  Review Public Notice Regarding Non-Profit Signs:

 

Village Clerk Dianne Day explained to the Board that back in 2007 Brian Savage made the motion that the only locations for non-profit signs will be at the intersection of Grand Avenue and First Street and the island at Canada and Spring Streets. Nothing can be on the utility poles, signposts, Village right-of-ways or any other Village property. Signs can go up two weeks before the event and must come down the day after. Chris Leach seconded. The Board agreed that the Electronic Sign Protocol is very similar to this but they want to make sure so asked Dianne to contact David Jescavage and see if this can be discussed at their next JLB meeting.

 

12.  Review Requested Coin Drops for Missisquoi Valley Lions Club and Swanton Village Fire Auxiliary:

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve Missisquoi Valley Lions Club request to hold a coin drop on Saturday, June 3, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon with a rain date of Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. He also made the motion to approve Swanton Village Fire Auxiliary’s request to hold a coin drop on Saturday, July 8, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon but declined their rain date of July 29, 2017 because of the Annual Car Show. Discussion: Adam Paxman stated he would like to draft the rules and regulations pertaining to coin drops and bring it to the next meeting. He said he would like to make some changes to the existing rules and regulations. Chris Leach stated they voted on this topic and the voters passed it. He said this is a good way for local organizations to fund raise and he supports that. This will be added to the next agenda. Chris Leach seconded both motions. Motions carried with two yays, one nay.

 

 

13.  Review Emergency Communications and Dispatch Services Contract from City of St. Albans:

 

Reg Beliveau advised the Board that the Village of Swanton has received the dispatching contract from the City of St. Albans and the annual cost is $11,851.39. This is dispatching services for the Swanton  Village Fire Department.

 

Eugene LaBombard made the motion to authorize Village Manager Reginald Beliveau Jr. to accept and sign the City of St. Albans Dispatching Contract for $11,851.39 for the Swanton Village Fire Department. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.

 

14.  Any Other Necessary Business:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, read aloud the Official Return of Voting Results for the budgets and for the Village Officers. Results can be viewed on the Village’s Facebook page.

 

Any Other Business: Chris Leach mentioned that there’s an article in the St. Albans Messenger about Dean Ryan, Swanton Village Public Works employee, who helped John Winters who  had a heart attack while shoveling snow a couple of weeks ago. The Board agreed that it was a great article and Dean deserved to be acknowledged for his great effort.

 

Any Other Business: Adam Paxman asked about the tree replacement schedule for trees in the Village park for this year. Eugene LaBombard stated that there is one in very bad shape and should come down. Adam said there are 3 or 4 that definitely need replacing and he would like this item placed on the next agenda to discuss further.

 

Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated he is the co-chair for the Memorial Day Parade and they are requesting permission to block off Grand Avenue this year for the parade. He said last year they had vehicles trying to pass the parade and it was very dangerous. He said they would put signs out and it would only be for a half hour. Adam stated he would coordinate this with the Chief of Police.

 

Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated that this year during the Annual Car Show the Chamber of Commerce would like to use the 6 or 7 parking spaces in front of the Lady Liberty statue for vendors. He said they would cone off the area so vendors could set up. The Board agreed to this.

 

Any Other Business: Adam Paxman asked about the Swanton Wind project and VEPPI taking some of the power generated. Reg Beliveau stated that was not true. Tom Benton, St. Albans Messenger reporter, stated that this was mentioned on their Public Service Board application by the developer not VEPPI.

 

Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard asked about the downtown street lighting on Merchants Row saying a couple of the lights were out. Reg Beliveau said he would mention this to Duane Couture because he has been working with the owners regarding this. He also mentioned the traffic study they were given. He said he would like a better explanation on this issue.

 

Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated that Dave Jescavage contacted him regarding holding a JLB meeting on April 4, 2017 at 7 p.m. so that they can meet with Peter Cross on the sidewalk study issue. The Board agreed to this date.

 

15.  Public Comment:

 

None.

 

16.  Executive Session (If Necessary):

 

None.

 

17.  Adjournment:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:49 p.m.  Eugene LaBombard seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:49  p.m. Motion carried.

 

 

_____________________________________          _______________________________________

Neal Speer, Village President                           Date

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________          ___________________________________

Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

February 28, 2017

SWANTON VILLAGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

SWANTON VILLAGE MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

120 FIRST STREET

SWANTON, VT 05488

 

 

 

INFORMATIONAL MEETING & PUBLIC HEARING

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

7:00 PM

 

 

PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Leonard “Joey” Stell, Chief of Police; Jason Butler, Deputy Fire Chief; Jason Cross,  Deputy Fire Chief; Kathy Lavoie, Suzanne Washburn, Anthony Russo and Ch. 16.

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.

 

1.      Call to Order:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Informational Meeting and Public Hearing and called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

 

2.      Moment of Silence:

 

Neal Speer asked everyone to stand and give a moment of silence for those who have recently passed away and for those in the military – past, present and future.

 

3.      Pledge of Allegiance:

 

Pledge of Allegiance was said by all in attendance.

 

4.      Agenda Review:

 

None.

 

5.      Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, February 13, 2017:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, February 13, 2017 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.

 

6.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, February 24, 2017:

 

Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Village warrants through Friday, February 24, 2017 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.

 

7.      Informational Meeting & Public Hearing – 2017 Village Annual Warning:

 

Neal Speer, Village President, read the 2017 Annual Warning to those present. He advised that Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, would present her budgets and then Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, would do the 2016 Year In Review. He also stated that Kathy Lavoie would give a presentation on the Swanton Enhancement Project.

 

Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, stated she would begin her presentation with the General Fund. She said there is less revenue in this fund and she also said that she increased Outside Services Employed so that the Village could preserve some very old Minutes and Village Reports. She said they would break this down over three years or so. She said there is some work that needs to be done on the Village Complex such as some painting, some more awnings built over doors and some needed repairs need to be done in the employee lunch room.

 

Lynn stated that the Fire Department is level funded this year after a lot of hard work on this budget. She said this is the last year for the new fire truck payment so that will free up approximately $58,000 for next year.

 

Lynn said the Police Town Contract will be renewed on March 31st and she said the Village was able to reduce the cost of that contract for the Town because one of their new police cruisers is being used by both the Village and the Town. She said liability and workmen’s compensation are up in the fund and that is out of their control. Suzanne Washburn asked about the Student Resource Officer (SRO) at Missisquoi Valley Union High School. Lynn stated this line item is reimbursed 100% by the school as it is billed to them quarterly.

 

Lynn said the Highway Fund is also level funded this year. She said they purchased their new backhoe with surplus funds as the old one was 20 years old. She said they received a good trade in on the old one. She said that Mike didn’t do any paving last year because of the Class I Paving Project done by the State of Vermont. She said this year he plans on using his $30,000 in surplus funds along with this year’s budget amount and getting a lot of his paving done. She said he will do all the abutting streets. She also said street lighting went down in this fund because of changing lights in Highgate, Swanton Town and Village to new LED lighting. She said the cost was cut in half. Lynn said they are getting prices on purchasing a new sidewalk machine but said the attachments will still work with a new one.

 

Lynn said there is a change in the tax rate of .0228. She said on a home assessed at $150,000 there will be a $34.14 increase, a $175,000 home there will be an increase of $39.82 and a home assessed at $200,000 will see a $45.52 increase.

 

Lynn stated that in the Electric Department they are seeing an increase in the Maintenance to Plant line item because there are three big maintenance projects scheduled to happen this year. She said they implemented a maintenance program a few years back and this ends up saving the Village money in the long run. She said each department has a five year plan so they can plan on capital purchases and maintenance projects. Lynn also said she lowered the Maintenance to Rights of Ways because tree trimming isn’t needed as much this year. She said they are at a good place with tree trimming and plus the line crew can do a lot of it themselves. Lynn said there are two very large solar projects in the works and these will have an adverse effect on the electric rates. She said she is hoping they don’t need a rate increase this year but may need one in 2018. The rubber bag is also scheduled to be replaced in 2018. She said because of this engineering and legal costs are up in this fund. She said there will be a FERC process as well as a 108 filing and they will need to get Public Service Board approval. She said they will need a bond for the rubber bag replacement. Lynn said the Village paid off another bond in the electric department and that freed up approximately $400,000. She said the bond bank looks at all their bonds and sees what ones can be refinanced. She said this has saved the Village money.

 

Lynn said she feels it isn’t necessary for a rate increase in the Water Department this year even though the first payment is due on the Water Line Project. She said chemical costs are up as well as workers comp and health insurance. She said the Village is now working on replacing the water line at MVUHS. She said some engineering has already been done on this and MVU will reimburse the Village. She said this line was installed in 1968 and is very old and in need of replacing.

 

Lynn also said she is not expecting a rate increase in the Sewer Department for this year. She said Maintenance is also up in this fund. She said they will be working on their centrifuse as well as doing some dredging of the lagoons. She said the Marble Mill Stormwater Prevention project is now complete and was done with a $74,000 grant. Lynn said a $120,000 CSO bond was also paid off in this department.

 

Lynn said that in the Commercial Building Fund the Village receives rent money and if there are any issues or needed repairs the Village uses that money to do them. She said the Village receives $6000 annually from the School Street Apartments project and they now have approximately $59,897 in restricted cash. She said these funds need to be revolved in the community or the money will have to go back to the State of Vermont. She said the Village wants to use these funds to help replace the water line at MVUHS. She said they will borrow that money from the Village and then pay it back. She said the Trustees will designate the rules of the loan. She said if the MVU budget gets approved then they will have the necessary funds to do this project along with the restricted cash from the Village. Kathy Lavoie asked if MVU didn’t get voter approval of their budget was there a second opportunity to use those funds on. Lynn said the money needs to be spent on water lines or sidewalks.

 

Kathy Lavoie was present to give an update on the Swanton Enhancement Project. She said there will be a steering committee meeting on March 15th and urged everyone to check them out at swantonenhancement.org or on Facebook. She said they are waiting on their 501C3 and that will give them new avenues for grant money, etc. She said they are requesting donations and they can be accepted through their website. She said the interest in their committees is still very high but she said they need more people to join them. She also urged residents to get involved in one of their committees. She said they are looking for people to start plants from seed this year to help save money from having to buy the plants from a greenhouse.

 

Reg Beliveau stated this was his 6th year at the Village and thanked the Board of Trustees for supporting him. Reg then presented his 2016 Year In Review. He said this year’s Village Report is dedicated to the Hydro Plant employees. He said Wanda Sloan has been working for the Village for 22 years; Albert Paradis 9 years; Floyd Tatro 10 years; Noel Anderson 3 years; Jason Starr is a new hire and Matt King is a new hire. He said Scott Mueller, Plant Superintendent, has been here 4 years.

 

He said some highlights for 2016 include:

 

 

Projects

  Water Project was completed on Canada Street

  Looking into the MVU waterline replacement

  Storm Water Grants

  Marble Mill Park  Grant was completed this summer

  Paving Project

  More work needs to be completed in 2017

  Additional Parking Downtown

  Church Parking Lot  and  next to Merchants Row 

  Solar Project

  Net Metered solar array on Frontage Road 2- 500kW

  EV Car Charging Units in the Municipal Park and Ride

 

Public Works

  Construction of the transmission lines – Completed in March

  Paving Project 2016

  VT 78 (First Street) and US RT 7 (Spring St) Grand Ave – 2016

  Bike Lanes/Share the Road Bike

  Grant for Flashing crosswalk signs/adding cross walks

  First and Liberty/Grand Ave by Rail Trail/Grand Ave by Post Office

  Merchants Row Traffic re-design

  Marble Mill Storm Water Project Completed

 

Electric Department

  Continue to keep up on tree trimming

  Received the Bucket Truck

  We have had many requests from customers and builders for line extension estimates pertaining to small and large scale solar projects within our service territory

  Two 500kW projects have been approved by the Public Service Board and will be constructed in 2017.

  The potential impact on revenues may apply rate pressure to our utility

 

Waste Water Plant

  Solar Aerators are up and operational

  TMDL standards will challenge us

  We continue to do small upgrades to the infrastructure

 

Water Treatment Plant

  Performing well – low lake levels were a concern

  Looking at replacing the MVU waterline -1960’s

 

Hydro Plant

  General repairs continue; preparing for re-licensing in 2023 (6 yrs out)

  FERC visit and inspection of the Rubber Dam

·         Need to replace the rubber bag in 2018.

·         Reviewing what permits will be needed

  FERC Inspection –

·         No issues found. The plant continues to operate and maintain its equipment and infrastructure in accordance to FERC guidelines.

 

Reg then showed pictures of installing the storm water catch basin at Marble Mill; the new sidewalks being installed at the Village Complex; work being done on the Skate Park at Marble Mill; the EV Car Charging Station at the Village; the new flashing crosswalks that were installed; and the new bike lanes.

 

Reg also wanted to recognize Michael Menard for his 25 years of service to the Village of Swanton. He showed a picture of Mike and his crew that was in the Village report. Reg then announced the 2017 candidates that are running for election. They are: Neal Speer, Village President for a 1 year term; Adam Paxman, Village Trustee for a 3 year term; Dianne Day, Village Clerk for a 1 year term; and Betty Cheney, Delinquent Tax Collector for a 1 year term.

 

Kathy Lavoie thanked the Board of Trustees and the Village staff for everything they do in the community.

 

8.      Any Other Necessary Business:

 

None.

 

9.      Public  Comment:

 

None.

 

10.  Executive Session (If Necessary):

 

None.

 

11.  Adjournment:

 

Adam Paxman made the motion to adjourn the Informational Meeting and Public Hearing at 8:27 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:27 p.m. Motion carried.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________          _______________________________________

Neal Speer, Village President                           Date

 

 

 

_____________________________________          ___________________________________

Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date