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, August 28, 2018

August 13, 2018








Monday, August 13, 2018

7:00 PM




PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Heidi Britch-Valenta, Highgate Town Administrator; Betsy Fournier, Debbie Winters; Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator; Tom Benton 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 7:05 p.m.


2.      Agenda Review:


Adam Paxman stated they needed more information on the net metering item and suggested the Board table this item until further notice. He also stated they would now only need an Executive Session to discuss personnel and could delete customer account.

3.      Discussion and Public Hearing on VCDP Planning Grant 2017 – Heidi Britch-Valenta, Highgate Town Administrator and Jim Harrison:


Neal Speer read aloud the VCDP Planning Grant and it read as follows:

VCDP Planning Grant 2017

Public Hearing Notice

Notice of Public Hearing


The Village of Swanton and the Town of Highgate are considering making application to the State of Vermont for a VCDP Planning Grant 2017 under the Vermont Community Development Program. A public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on August 13, 2018 at 120 First Street, Swanton, VT to obtain the views of citizens on community development, to furnish information concerning the amount of funds available and the range of community development activities that may be undertaken under this program, the impact to any historic and archaeological resources that may be affected by the proposed project, and to give affected citizens the opportunity to examine the proposed statement of projected use of these funds.


The proposal is for the Town of Highgate to be the lead applicant to apply for $45,000 in VCDP funds which will be used to accomplish the following activities: complete a feasibility study to explore extending the Swanton Village Water Line from MVU High School to the area surrounding the Highgate Airport.


Copies of the proposed application are available at the Highgate Town Clerk’s office and may be viewed during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Should you require any special accommodations, please contact Dianne Day, Village Clerk at 802-868-3397 to ensure appropriate accommodations are made. For the hearing impaired please call (TTY) #1-800-253-0191.


Swanton Village Board of Trustees

Copy Submitted by: Dianne Day

Phone: 802-868-3397


Heidi Britch-Valenta stated the Town of Highgate is happy to be engaging in this grant and said it’s a great opportunity. She said this is a small component of a very large project and that is expanding the airport. She said they will be working on hangar and runway improvements and they need a better water source. She said right now they are purchasing water. She said there are seven commercial spaces there and before they solicit business to come in they would like to secure a better water source. She said the Town of Highgate is applying for a feasibility study grant to see if it makes sense to bring water to the airport from the Village of Swanton. Reg Beliveau stated Aldrich & Elliott have been involved and can give them a good idea of what the cost would be to bring water up to the airport. Chris Leach stated this is exciting news and said they have the water capacity to do this. He said Swanton can use some economic growth for sure. Heidi Britch-Valenta stated residents are having to drive one hour or more to go to work and said it would be nice to have businesses here. She said the Town of Highgate is looking at grants and private investors to do this project. Adam Paxman asked if there would be an expense to the Village of Swanton. Heidi stated no, not at this time. Heidi said with the proximity to Interstate 89 and the Canadian border this is a great opportunity. Chris Leach agreed and said this is key for bringing prosperity to this area. Neal Speer stated hopefully this joint effort between Highgate and Swanton will spark the State of Vermont to boost this project. Elisabeth Nance stated that Tim Smith from the Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation fully supports this grant application.


4.      Approve and Accept Village Minutes from the Monday, July 23, 2018 Regular Meeting:


Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, July 23, 2018 regular meeting as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.


5.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, August 10, 2018:


Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, August 10, 2018 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Chris Leach asked about the $12,088.00 invoice to the City of St. Albans. Reg Beliveau explained that was for dispatching services.


6.      Sign SRF Loan Documents for the MVUHS Waterline Replacement Job:


Reg Beliveau informed the Board that these loan documents were for the $435,000 MVUHS Waterline Replacement job that the Village voters approved in March 2018. All Board members signed the loan documents.


7.      Set Tax Rate for 2018 Village Tax Bills:


Dianne Day, Village Clerk, explained to the Board that Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, has determined that the Village needs a tax rate set at 0.8266 compared to the estimated tax rate of 0.8256 that was printed in the Village Annual Report. Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve the 2018 Village tax rate at 0.8266. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Adam Paxman stated he wanted all pencils sharpened for next year’s budget. Motion carried.



8.      Betsy Fournier – Update on Marble Mill:


Betsy Fournier informed the Board that she received some good feedback on the survey she generated regarding Marble Mill. She said they are now looking for funds to create a master plan. She said they have talked with Northwest Regional Planning and there may be a municipal planning grant she can apply for. She stressed how much they wanted community input and said they may be able to apply for more funding to implement some changes there. Reg Beliveau stated the grant has a 10% match and the Planning Board would have to apply for it. He said there is a $22,000 grant out there and they would need to come up with $2,200. He said this grant can’t be matched with labor, it has to be cash. Chris Leach made the motion to stand in favor of applying for this grant and to approve the 10% match of $2,200. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.


Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator, asked residents to save the date of Sunday, September 2 because they are having an ice cream social at the Marble Mill park. Betsy said she urges any group or individuals to go into Marble Mill, sit there and envision what they would like to see there. She said it’s such a beautiful place. The Board thanked Betsy for the update.


9.      Public Comment:


Debbie Winters came in to give the Board an update on the new Swanton Playground. First she showed the Board a map of the existing conditions of the elementary and central schools. She then showed a map of what they are planning to implement. She said there are areas that have pavement and they would like to have that removed and replaced with grass. She said she didn’t realize how many times during the winter months the children are not allowed outside to play because there is too much ice on the pavement. She said this would help eliminate that and kids would be healthier getting out in the fresh air more often. She also showed the area by the recreation path and what they would like to do there. She is proposing to put in sidewalks, benches, trees and a mulched playground area so when families are walking the recreation path they have great access to the school’s playground. She stressed this should be viewed as Swanton’s community playground and not just belonging to the schools.


Debbie then presented the Board with a pamphlet titled “Together We Will Rebuild Swanton’s Playground.” Some key points mentioned in this pamphlet talk about investing in Swanton’s playground and why it’s important. She said Swanton is on the rise and the Swanton library has become the hub of the community, offering amazing children’s programs and providing new, exciting opportunities for community engagement. Debbie also said the Swanton Enhancement Project and Arts Council have beautified and brightened Swanton with their creativity and inspiring artwork. She said recreational programs continue to expand, and recreational opportunities in the area are being highlighted and promoted. She said the vibrancy of downtown is continuing to expand thanks to the historic restoration project and planned commercial redevelopment. Debbie said she wants to keep this momentum going and provide Swanton’s children and families with a place where they are excited to play, to provide Swanton with another source of pride and show people why Swanton is a great place to live. Debbie listed why this playground is important: It is Swanton’s community playground and a source of community pride. It will provide a gathering place for the community and will highlight what a great place Swanton is to live. Its location on our recreation corridor along with the Fit and Healthy Path and near the recreation fields is the perfect fit. It is within walking distance of Village residents in our population center. It will give our children an exciting place to play which will help improve overall health and wellness. And when completed, this project will achieve two major goals: providing our school with an updated, safe, and exciting place to play, and our community an amazing recreational resource.


Debbie stated playgrounds are important to a community because recreational assets create vibrant communities and improve health and wellness. She said that 46% of Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union first, third and fifth graders are overweight or obese. She said 85% of people say proximity to parks and playgrounds is a factor in where they choose to live and 100% of the school board, the Town Selectboard and Village Trustees support this project. Debbie talked about the state of the existing playground and said the first problem is the equipment is decades old with safety hazards. There are large amounts of pavement which cause poor drainage and icing in the winter and surface upgrades are needed to improve soft fall zones. Debbie showed the Board the new playground design and then discussed the project scope. She said they need pavement removal to improve drainage and minimize ice buildup in winter, site work improvements including better grading and improved walkways, landscaping, new playground equipment for both Babcock and Central playgrounds, and improved “front door” and better connection to the playgrounds from the Fit and Healthy Path.


Debbie said their fundraising goal is $200,000 and every gift helps! Whether big or small, all gifts will help us achieve this goal. Together we can create a more vibrant Swanton for the next generation. Consider sponsoring or naming a piece of equipment. Contact Debbie Winters at 802-324-2323 or for more information. Debbie said donations may be mailed to: Swanton School District, c/o Swanton Playground Fund, 100 Robinhood Dr., Swanton, VT 05488. Donations may also be dropped off at the Swanton school and village and town offices. The Village Board of Trustees thanked Debbie for her presentation and update.


Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator, said she is still working on the $4000 grant to work on the downtown area. She said she is handing out her “Design Our Downtown” maps asking people to design the downtown area how they would like to see it.


10.  Any Other Necessary Business:


Eugene LaBombard stated he saw the rubber bag inflated today and it looks very good. He said they will be testing it overnight. Neal Speer said all preliminary checks were good and they had no issues. Reg Beliveau said they plugged the inlet and drain in order to test the pressure overnight and then will deflate it one more time so they can torque all the bolts one more time. He said the installation has gone pretty good.


Any Other Business: Chris Leach mentioned the dam as well and suggested residents go down and take a look at it. He said it’s very impressive. Reg Beliveau said PC Construction has been doing a great job with public access. Reg said he would be working with the Town of Highgate on their Mill Hill Road Project.


Any Other Business: Adam Paxman stated he wanted to thank everyone who helped with the Car Show. He said he was sorry he had to reschedule it to Sunday but had to because of the rain. He said there were 180 cars and they were all great quality and were hard to judge. Adam also stated the Arts Spectacular is Saturday, August 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said there will be a free meal at 5 p.m. and Jimmy T will play at 6 p.m. and there will be fireworks at dusk. Adam also stated he was upset that the coin drop that was held on Saturday had no signage up, had no cones up and would like for them to get a letter regarding this. He also mentioned the speeding issue in the Village and said he thought of adding stop signs on certain streets. He said he would like input from the community because he’s at his wits ends. He said he sees people driving recklessly. Eugene LaBombard said he doesn’t know what the answer is but said VT is bad compared to New Hampshire and Maine. He said New York is better because they have better patrol. Adam said if anyone has any ideas they can email him at He said he would like their suggestions and would like to keep it positive. Adam also wished Reg a very happy birthday.


Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau said the MVUHS water line job is almost complete and has gone well. He said the old IGA building is now down and you can really see the Memorial Building.




         11. Executive Session to Discuss Personnel:


Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss personnel at 8:14 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.


Adam Paxman made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:40 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.




12. Adjournment:


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:40 p.m. Adam Paxman seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m. Motion carried.






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Neal Speer, Village President                           Date







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Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date