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).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

July 13, 2015









Monday, July 13, 2015

7:00 PM





PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau, Village Manager; Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Shaun Chevalier, Swanton resident; Eric Palmer, Fish & Wildlife; James Ehlers, Lake Champlain International; Louis Porter, Fish & Wildlife; Heather Furman, The Nature Conservancy; and Ch. 16.


Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.


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


1.      Public Comment:


Neal Speer asked if there were any Public Comments. Shaun Chevalier stated he was there to advocate for the removal of the Swanton Dam and see the revitalization of downtown Swanton happen.  He said he  brought some friends with him who could help make this happen financially. Neal Speer stated they are glad that he came here tonight but the Board would not debate the removal of the dam. He said they would consider his statement but they all know how the Board feels about the removal of the dam. Neal said if they go any further either way there has to be way more discussion on the topic and they would be part of it. He said they would hear their comment but the Board is not prepared to debate the topic tonight. Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, asked everyone there on this topic to introduce themselves for the camera: James Ehlers, Lake Champlain International, Eric Palmer, Fish & Wildlife; Louis Porter, Fish & Wildlife; and Heather Furman, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy. James Ehlers stated their point in coming tonight was not to engage in debate but it was to offer assistance and partnership as they explore revitalizing downtown Swanton and mostly say hello and introduce themselves to the Board. Heather Furman stated she is a new face to this debate and said she wanted to introduce herself and let them know she wants to be a resource. Neal stated with channel 16 filming they get a lot of exposure and if anyone had any questions they could contact them. Reg Beliveau asked what they had for examples regarding improving downtown Swanton. James stated they had case studies from other communities around the country facing similar issues and what they have been able to do through river restoration. He said they would be honored and happy to provide that to the Board.


2.      Approve and Accept Minutes from Regular Meeting Monday, June 22, 2015 and from Special Meeting Monday, July 1, 2015:


Adam Paxman made the motion to approve and accept the Minutes from Monday, June 22, 2015 and Minutes from Monday, July 1, 2015 be approved as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: None. Motion carried.


3.      Approve and Accept Village Warrants through Friday, July 10, 2015:


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through July 10, 2015 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Chris Leach asked about Warrant #68 Kansas City Bank for $3022.92. Lynn Paradis stated this is for the lease payment on the solar aerators at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Chris also asked about the Public Utilities Risk Management payment for $2963.91. Lynn Paradis stated that was their PURMA insurance payment for consumer protection because they take credit card payments. She said this was in case they get hacked, it protects their customers. Motion carried.




4.      Acknowledgement and Signature for Union Bank Account for Downtown Enhancement Project:


The Board of Trustees acknowledged this account being opened by Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, for the Downtown Enhancement Committee Grant money and signed the necessary documents.


5.      Water Transmission Line RF3-262-3 Swanton Village Repayment Schedule Amendment #3 – Authorize and Sign:


Swanton Village did not expend the authorized loan amount for the Water Treatment Facility upgrade project so the repayment schedule has been adjusted to reflect this. This action will reduce the loan amount from $4,210,560.48 to $4,185,801.63. The Chair of the Village Trustees and the Village Clerk will need to sign and date this document. The loan will begin August 1, 2015. Chris Leach made the motion to authorize Neal Speer, Village President and Dianne Day, Village Clerk to sign RF3-262-3 Swanton Village Repayment Schedule Amendment #3 as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.


6.      Hydro Incentive Program Award for Unit #5:


Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, informed the Board of Trustees that the Village of Swanton was awarded $53,847 for Unit #5 for a Hydro Incentive Program that he applied for from the Department of Energy. He said David Jescavage brought this to his attention late last year and Unit #5 was eligible for the program under renewable energy. He said he believes the Village will be able to apply for this over the next two years. The Board was very pleased with this.


7.      Memorial United Methodist Church Parking Lot Discussion:


Reg Beliveau stated that he and Adam Paxman met with Church officials last fall because they were plowing and the time was coming up for bidding. He said the Village used to maintain the parking lot at one time and the Town of Swanton used to maintain the parking lot also at one time. He said both the Village and Town stopped maintaining the parking lot for the Church. At this point he asked the Church exactly what they are asking for. He said they sent a letter back listing what they want but the Board feels this needs to be discussed with the JLB. Adam Paxman stated the drive between the Church and the Library is a no-go for him because it’s way too much liability. Neal Speer stated that is the key and why they stopped in the past, because of the liability. Chris Leach asked if residents even used that ally way. Lynn Paradis stated she sees vehicles using that driveway. Reg stated he asked about liability and he believes the Church is carrying the liability insurance on the parking lot still. The following is a list of services the Church would like provided free of charge for the usage of the parking lot: Snow plowing and removal of snow banks when necessary, this is to include the driveway between the Library and the Church; salting and sanding during the winter months; sweeping of the parking lot in the spring; striping of all parking spaces and signage for handicap parking spaces; provide adequate lighting of the entire parking lot; maintenance of the parking lot – repairing of pot holes, paving or re-striping; trimming and removal of branches and grape vines along the fences bordering the parking lot. They would also like the removal of a number of shortened power poles which separate the Library lot and the Church lot. This will add two parking spaces to the lot. The removal of poles and the paving would be done at the expense of the Village and Town. Chris Leach stated nothing can be decided without talking to the JLB. Reg stated he would go talk with David Jescavage this week and would get this added to the next JLB meeting. Chris also asked who takes care of the other Church parking lots. He said he’s afraid the Village is going to set a precedent here they may regret. Neal Speer stated that the Church wants all the services and wants to tell the Village how it’s going to be. He said this can happen but there needs to be some giving on the Church’s side.


8.      ICloud Online Customer Billing Discussion:


Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, stated he was contacted by Cogsdale about implementing an online bill pay service for the Village’s customers. Cogsdale is the Village’s billing software company and they work with and recommend Invoice Cloud. Reg stated ICloud offers online bill pay services such as real time credit card payments, email communication platform, multiple self-serve payment options, advanced reconciliation and reporting tools, OBD online bank direct, and integrated IVR. He said there are no up front costs and they have a proven track record in 457 towns, cities and utilities


ICloud Adds Immediate Value

Decrease customer service at work: Invoice Cloud’s additional payment options, self serve customer portal, biller portal, 27 customizable e-mail reminders, and one-time payment will increase online payment volume and decrease calls to your office.


Remove burden and security concerns that could result in fines: Invoice Cloud is level 1 PCI Compliant, the highest level of compliance in the industry. Stop running auto-pay manually and be able to run them automatically keeping you out of PCI scope.


Save money on print and mail costs: Invoice Cloud will increase paperless enrollment saving time and money for the Village of Swanton.


Save money on current processing fees: It’s simple, you are being charged 106.5 basis points, we will charge you 60 basis points. In May, this would have saved the Village of Swanton $322.74 (this was based on $70,015.99 in processing volume).


ICloud will provide the Village with templates to choose from to notify our customers about using ICloud. There will be a direct link in email to pay or view bill online.


Swanton Village customers will still get their bill mailed to them each month but for those who want to go paperless they will now be able to. They will be able to view their bill online, see their bill amount, their usage history, everything they can see now. This will free up some of the work done in the office such as running credit card payments manually and running checking account payments. Chris Leach expressed some concerns about signing up with this and asked if the Village could sign up for 1 year instead of 3 years. He also expressed concern about any hidden costs there may be. Reg Beliveau said he just received the contract from ICloud today and said he would go through it and get back to the Board but said they are very excited about offering this to their customers. He said they need to keep up with the technology and customers have been asking for this for some time now. He said he would review the contract the let the Board know the details.


9.      Review Meter Reading Equipment Quotes:


Lynn Paradis explained to the Board that the meter reading equipment is way past the end of its life. She said the displays are hard to read and the equipment is failing. She said this equipment has been in the budget for the last three years but she’s had other pressing things to do instead but now feels it’s time to go ahead and purchase new meter reading equipment. The Village has received two quotes for new equipment, one from Northrop Grumman for $16,242.50 and one from Ti-Sales for $25,359.60. She said the staff would like to stay with the equipment they now have which is Northrop and just do an upgrade because it would be easier to learn and it is the lower quote. She said she knows it’s a lot of money but they have to do it. Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve the purchase of new meter reading equipment through Northrop Grumman for $16,242.50. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.


10.  Village of Swanton Employee Handbook Changes/Updates Discussion:


The Board discussed more changes/additions being made in the Employee Handbook. It was decided that the handbook will be re-typed from the very beginning and then Eugene LaBombard will sit with Dianne Day, Village Clerk, and make suggested updates and changes. Once the Board has completed all changes Lynn Paradis suggested an attorney look at the handbook afterwards to make sure everything is ok.


11.  June 2015 Financial Statement Discussion:


Lynn Paradis, Assistant Village Manager, presented the Board with the June 2015 Financial Statements for the Village.


GENERAL FUND: Lynn stated heating fuel cost is up but it was a much colder winter. She also said electricity costs were up.


FIRE DEPARTMENT: Lynn said the Village has invoiced over $16,000 for fire calls. Fire salaries are over budget but there’s been a large call volume. Workers Compensation is also up.


POLICE DEPARTMENT: Police salaries are up in the department as well as supplies. She also said outside services in every department is up and that she was going to look into that.


HIGHWAY FUND: Lynn stated street lighting cost was up in the department but everything else looked pretty good at this point.


ELECTRIC FUND: Lynn stated they are seeing a lot of customers setting up with solar and she said this affects residential sales in the electric department. She also said purchase power is over budget and the Village is not getting paid well for generation. Lynn said that tree trimming costs were up but line maintenance is down but this is controlled. Lynn also said collection costs were up but that is because Dianne is placing a lot of liens and those fees would be collected when the liens were paid. She also said bank charges were up and that is due to customers paying by credit cards. Maintenance of vehicles is also up a bit.


Lynn stated that overall the way things look in the electric department at the six month point she feels the Village needs a rate increase due to being almost $600,000 short. Most of this is due to purchase power and generation at the hydro plant.


WATER FUND: Lynn stated labor costs in this department were up as well as electricity costs. She said maintenance of services is up but that is due to frozen pipes this past winter. She said overall at this point they are $21,000 to the good.


SEWER FUND: Lynn stated that revenue is down in this fund a bit. She said labor is up a little but that is due to a part time kid working there this summer. She said electricity costs are up and that is due to the aerators there. Maintenance of lines is also up and that is due to frozen sewer lines this past winter and flooded basements.


COMMERCIAL BUILDING FUND: Lynn stated nothing looks out of order in this department. She advised the board to take these financials home and look them over. She said running her numbers at the six month point gives her a good indication of where she’s at for the year.


12.  Review and Accept Bike/Pedestrian Grant Application:


Reg Beliveau stated he is still filling out the application for approximately $40,000 in conjunction with the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Grant. Reg explained with the paving project coming next year this a good time to get these projects done. He said there is a 20% match to be paid by the Village and this is one of those projects where our staff can do the work. He said Regional Planning has been helping him with this project as well as Amy Brewer at Northwest Medical Center. Reg explained that this is a Swanton Crosswalk Improvements grant and he feels this goes hand in hand with the Village’s Walking School Bus routes that were developed last year in which area school children walk to school on Wednesday’s. Walking School Buses are now utilized weekly by more than 80 students along with parents and school staff and the school has committed to continuing to lead them weekly in the FY16 school year. He said the Village plans on putting flashing lights on four crosswalks within the Village as well as a modified bump-out area. He said the proposed crosswalks are located on Liberty Street, two on Grand Avenue and Canada Street. Neal Speer asked if he’s heard any more on the study for the Sidewalk grant from First Street to MVU. Reg stated he is meeting with David Jescavage this week on that issue.


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to authorize Reg Beliveau, Village Manager, to complete the application for the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Application – Swanton Crosswalk Improvement grant. Adam Paxman seconded. Motion carried.


13.  Any Other Necessary Business:


Adam Paxman stated the new Fire equipment “Jaws of Life” is in and it is very impressive. Reg stated they need to train with it before they can use it. Adam thanked everyone who supported that. Adam also reminded everyone about the Car Show on July 25th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Village Green. He is hoping to have 175 vehicles in the park.


Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated he received a $24,800 grant to have an electric car charging station and is waiting on the State to release the funds. He said this will be set up here by the Park and Ride and residents will be able to use their credit cards to recharge their electric cars.


Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard asked if there was any news on the water transmission line. Reg Beliveau stated they starting working on it today on the Waugh Farm Road. He said he would keep the Board updated on that.


14.  Executive Session to Discuss Personnel and Real Estate:




ADJOURN: Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 9:31 p.m. Chris Leach seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 9:31 p.m. Motion carried.




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Neal Speer, Village President                           Date




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Dianne Day, Village Clerk                               Date