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).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

August 27, 2018








Monday, August 27, 2018

7:00 PM




PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Leonard Stell, Chief of Police; Gary Centabar 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:


Adam Paxman stated he would like to move Public Comment to the beginning of this meeting and would like for it to be at the beginning of each meeting from now on. Reg Beliveau stated he would like to move Net Metering to the beginning as well.

3.      Approve and Accept Village Minutes from the Monday, August 13, 2018 Regular Meeting:


Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, August 13, 2018 regular meeting as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.


4.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, August 24, 2018:


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through Friday, August 24, 2018 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.


5.      Public Comment:




6.      Discussion on Net Metering:


Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, stated the Village of Swanton has two 500 KW net metered projects online and they get their credits each month. She said they have three which are considered group net metered, two of which are the 500 KW projects. She said the Village reads those meters and gives them their credits each month. She said group net metered projects have off-takers which receive some of the credits. She said the Village of Swanton is an off-taker to the project on the Frontage Road along with the Town of Highgate and the Schools. She said depending on what percentage you have, the meter is read, the bill is generated and then the percentages of credit are applied to each one of the off-takers account. She said the other net metered projects receive their credits each month and then they pay the developer of that project back a percentage. She said between all the Village’s solar projects it totals approximately $40,000 per month in credits which is lost revenue for the Village. Adam Paxman stated this $40,000 loss per month goes back onto the Village’s ratepayers and Lynn agreed with this. She said that equates to a 1 to 2 % rate increase if she was to go in for one due to solar. Chris Leach asked how much per kilowatt are the solar customers being paid. Lynn said that depended on the net metering rules and said everyone is different. She said the old projects are 20 cents per kilowatt and the new ones are 15 cents per kilowatt. She said the adjusters drop off after ten years and said the Village is losing the full amount because they aren’t getting that revenue. It’s called load shedding she said. Adam stated the Village is over a half a million dollars in credits being given out each year. Lynn said July and August are around $40,000 per month but for December and January it’s not that much. In the winter months it’s around $10,000 per month. Chris Leach said it’s irritating to him that the people who don’t participate in these solar projects have their rates increased because of it. He said that is not fair. Lynn said the Board agreed to participate in one of the solar projects a while ago and because of that the sewer plant, water plant and complex building are all participants and save money in those departments. She said it’s offsetting for the Village because the rate payers are seeing an increase but the taxpayers are seeing a decrease but said the offset is not close to being equal. Chris stated it doesn’t even come close to what’s being lost and how that affects the rate payers. Lynn said the Village paid the solar company approximately $8600 in July but retained close to $3400 in the water, sewer and general fund. She said at least some of the Village’s departments saw a benefit because the solar projects were coming in whether the Village participated in it or not. Lynn said some utilities are saturated with over 30% of solar customers. She said it’s very important that a ratepayer do their homework and really find out what these developers are telling them for numbers. Reg said he is trying to educate our customers about being a public power utility and when these solar companies come in and try to sell them solar they are like a car salesman. He said educating our ratepayers by giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions is his priority. Lynn said you will always have customers who will switch to solar because it’s green and because it’s new technology even if it costs them a bit more. She said there are other customers who are thinking they’re going to get a better payback than what they actually get. Reg said that VPPSA will be here during Power Week in October and they will be showing how people can make their homes more efficient and better winterized. Chris stated these are the things that can really make a difference in your electric bill each month. He said the reality of solar is that it’s forcing rate increases on those who don’t participate for one reason or another. He said both wind and solar deteriorate over time and must be replaced. He said generators can be rebuilt and often times produce more electricity the older they get. The Board thanked Lynn for coming in and explaining net metering to them.


7.      Approve Amended Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance:


Dianne Day, Village Clerk, explained to the Board that Elisabeth Nance is requesting a change to this Ordinance. The change is going from a 3 member board to no more than 10 members. Adam Paxman made the motion to adopt and approve the amended Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.


8.      Chief of Police – Swanton Police Department Update:


Chief Stell informed the Board that so far in the month of August they have handled 90 complaints in the Village. He said in July they had 112 calls and issued speeding tickets on Spring Street, Canada Street and Grand Avenue. He said so far in August they are seeing speeding on those same streets. He said they stopped one vehicle going 52 mph on Canada Street. He said once it’s paved it will be worse and said they are targeting those areas. Adam Paxman asked the Chief if the drug scene was getting any better. Chief Stell stated it hasn’t changed any. He said the bigger dealers live outside this area and the smaller quantities are being sold here. Neal Speer asked if the activity at the ball fields has declined or increased. Chief Stell stated there is no increased activity and no less. Reg Beliveau stated he has a grant for lighting and said they would like to light up the back field and also put lights at Marble Mill. Adam Paxman asked the Chief if there was any interest in bringing back “National Night Out” and the Chief said yes they are planning on doing it next year.


9.      Discussion on Speeding Issue:


Adam Paxman said he asked the public for help and said so far he’s received 12 responses. He said the concern is there and they are willing to help solve it. He said some of the suggestions have been speed bumps, dips, and bump outs. Reg Beliveau stated those would be a paving nightmare. Adam asked the public to continue sending him emails with areas of concern. Gary Centabar said he lives on Canada Street and the speeding is real bad from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. He said enforcement doesn’t work and suggested they install speed bumps or dips. He said they need to at least try something. Adam stated he will continue to compile information. He said he would like the 50 mph speed sign on Spring Street to be moved to the town line. He thinks that will help make a difference. Adam also mentioned the jake break signs that used to be up throughout the Village. He said the Village was advised by VLCT to remove those signs because you can’t tell a truck driver not to use a particular kind of break. He said this could end up being a safety issue so most towns have removed them.


         10. Swanton Elementary After School Corssroads Program request Coin Drop for June 22, 2019:


The Board asked if this program was funded by tax dollars and if so they didn’t feel this program should have a coin drop. They asked the Village Clerk to contact them and find out. Adam Paxman made the motion to table this item until next meeting. Chris Leach seconded. Motion carried.


11.  Any Other Necessary Business:


Chris Leach said the dam installation is done and he said it’s wonderful. He said now all they need is water! He said the MVUHS water line job is also done. Reg said he is having his final construction meeting on Tuesday. Chris said the NEPPA Conference went well and he took away the following information: “Quality, Quantity & Affordability.” He said that should be their theme and they also need to “tell their story”. He said they are not “publicly” owned, they are “community” owned. He said they should have footage of the dam being installed to help tell their story. Chris also wanted to thank the Town of Swanton for the fireworks show at the end of the Arts Spectacular. He said they had a great turnout and he said he also really likes the swan on the bandstand.


Any Other Business: Adam Paxman said the Arts Spectacular had a great day. He said the donations received for the free meal will go towards the playground fundraiser. Adam said Darcy Benoit of the Arts Council did a wonderful job on the Arts Spectacular. He also said he attended a Selectboard meeting and they are changing the name of Thibault Parkway to Summer’s Court. Reg said the signs are in they just need to be installed. Adam said there is Church Street behind the Village Green and also a Church Road in West Swanton. He is suggesting they change the name of Church Street to Park Street.


Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard stated he is concerned about the parking situation on Greenwich and First Streets. He asked Reg if they went before the Development Review Board and Reg said no they haven’t. Eugene said the Highway Department should see this and said zoning should also be aware of the large truck being parked on Canada Street across from People’s United Bank.


Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau said there was a great article in the St. Albans Messenger about the playground fundraiser. Reg also said Elisabeth Nance, Economic Development Coordinator, was informed she received the sidewalk grant to place sidewalks from King Street to Brown Avenue. He said not only did they get the grant but the amount was doubled to $48,000. Reg also said the NEPPA Conference went well.


12.  Executive Session to Discuss Customer Accounts and Contracts:


Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss customer accounts and contracts at 8:25 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.


Adam Paxman made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:49 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.




13. Adjournment:


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






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Neal Speer, Village President                           Date







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Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date