Chelsea Selectboard Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 7:30 pm at Chelsea Town Hall
Selectboard Members present: Levar Cole, Geoff Clayton, Henry Cesari, Mark Whitney, Merrill Whitney
Other Town Officials/Employees present: Marianne McCann (Administrative Assistant)(Herald), Rick Ackerman (Road Foreman)
Members of the public present: Robert Button
- Call Meeting to Order
Meeting convened by Levar Cole, Chair, at 7:32 pm.
- Conflict of Interest Disclosure
- Changes to the Agenda
Administrative Assistant added a couple items under AA Report.
Re: Budget Status: Levar Cole stated due to increasing costs we must do what we can to conserve oil. Town Treasurer has advised that there is not a locked in price for oil. The Town is subject to uncontrollable price increases for heating oil and diesel fuel. Cole stated we will burn through the heating fuel and diesel budget this year. Rick Ackerman stated there is not much you can cut back on, in terms of diesel fuel use at the Town Garage. Geoff Clayton stated we need to find ways to save money.
Clayton mentioned there was a time when people were responsible for snow removal from sidewalks, not the town. Rick Ackerman stated that years ago, Don Yates and Whitey Adams did snow removal, after they left, people were walking in the road, and after that, the Town took responsibility for sidewalk snow removal. Clayton stated the Selectboard needs to present to the town that we could see a 50% increase in the road budget, just to keep the current services. Ackerman stated we use about 35 gallons of diesel each time we plow the sidewalks. Cole asked if we should consider rationing. Clayton suggested the possibility of getting a large tank and storing a quantity of diesel fuel. Action: Cesari will check with
Road Foreman re: snow and sidewalks. Check with Treasurer to confirm locked into a fuel rate or not.
Henry Cesari moved to approve the orders. Mark Whitney seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
General Orders $20,828.34
Rec Department $170.00
Library Payroll $2,299.86
- Department/Liaison Updates
Mark Whitney stated re: the Town Forest Plan, that Kate Willard has reported that the inventory is completed. Willard requests to present the information to the board and requests a date. Cole re-stated the background on this request for the benefit of the new board members. A previous selectboard had cut trees, but never finished the Town Forest Plan. Then, Coronavirus. Now, finishing the Town Forest Plan, with David Paganelli. Cesari asked the purpose of the Town Forest Plan. Recreational? Or Financial plan? Are there different parcels? The Selectboard agreed to get a plan finished.
- Public Comments
Robert Button asked if the Town Forest Plan will necessitate cutting the ash trees. Rick Ackerman stated Levar and I were supposed to ride around and look at ash trees. Levar Cole stated we will do that. The Road Foreman and the Selectboard are in general agreement that the Town of Chelsea does not have many large ash trees near the roads that would be likely to fall into the roads in case the trees die. The ride around was to be an informal survey of ash trees at risk.
- Administrative Assistant Report
Re: Creamery/School water drain.
Report on the existing conditions at the Creamery building water drain prepared by M. McCann presented to the board. Brief discussion about possible remedies for the flooding/repair of the drain. Robert Button stated problems and construction history of the drain. Geoff Clayton will be the “point person” on this project. Next steps might be: engineering firm, environmental impact assessment.
Selectboard would like to avoid Federal entanglement.
Re: Highway Dept: Mowing/Tractor Rental.
Rick Ackerman, Road Foreman, requests clarification on mowing duties for the Highway Department. Who mows at the Sewer plant? Who mows at the town fields? All the town properties? (Town properties mowed include: Rec Field, Parks, Tennis Court, Chelsea sign on 113, Sewer Plant, 3 FEMA lots, pump station, Kennedy, water tank, and behind old garage.) Ackerman mowed last Friday. Ackerman incurred overtime pay by doing this. Ackerman proposed to the board he could mow on Fridays for the town, using the town equipment, for $20.00 per hour. Selectboard agreed in principal to the need for clarifying mowing duties, but had questions about budget issues and employment law. Ackerman
suggested hiring another Road crew person, with that person mowing. There was a brief Human Resources discussion regarding the Road crew. Clayton suggested hiring a part time road crew person for plowing/mowing season. Seasonal workers with CDLs. Mowing contracts were discussed. The Town has budgeted for 3 full time road employees. The Town has 2 full time and 1 part time employee.
Actions: Make a proposal for Human Resources for Highway Dept. Decide if Town is willing to pay Rick/John for the mowing, which may entail overtime. Henry will consult with Rick re: employee status.
Rick can cut back on some mowing. If mowing runs into overtime, ok. But not 11 hours of overtime.
Merrill will check with Nolan about sewer plant mowing.
Re: Roadside mowing.
Ackerman asks if Chelsea should eliminate roadside mowing. Usually, the Highway crew mows 2 passes on the whole town. Roadside mowing is for visibility and to keep brush down. Usually a tractor is rented for the month of July. If we will not be mowing, we should tell people early, so they can mow themselves, if desired. Mark Whitney stated fuel availability might be a factor.
Action: No roadside mowing for now. Selectboard will revisit this issue.
Re: Selling old truck. Cesari will check with Allegiance. There is an option for “Auction International”.
Henry Cesari moved to approve the Application for Access to a Town Highway by Carl and Mary Jo Childs. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Re: Water Meters.
Admin. Asst. informed the Selectboard about water meter research. A salesperson from FW Webb will come and make a presentation if desired. Action: Levar Cole requests a paper version of water meter research. Selectboard does not want a presentation. Three contrasting water bills from three properties were shared with the Selectboard to illustrate the vast difference in measured water useage and the same amount billed to all water customers. A water customer has made a request to remove one water bill from a house with 2 water bills and one meter. Robert Button commented that the old IGA building
has 9 electric meters. The Selectboard agreed there is a need to make changes and will address these issues at the upcoming water department board meeting on June 21st.
Re: Training Debriefs.
Cannabis training is May 24th on Zoom. The DRB hearing is May 25th. Admin. Asst. will attend Zoom training and send a summary memo to Selectboard members.
Re: ATV question letter.
Admin Asst. informed Selectboard an email was received asking a question about ATVs. Action: Copy
Mark Whitney on ATV email and response.
Admin Asst. informed Selectboard about the need to provide more detailed information for the State Highway Access Permit for the Sidewalk Project. Part of the request is for a pedestrian detour plan to be utilized during construction. Action: Copy Levar Cole and Jeremy Hook on sidewalk plan.
Geoff Clayton obtained the file with the documentation of approximate boundary lines of
School/Town/Creamery and adjoining properties. Clayton will research the deeds and propose the next steps in the Creamery drain issue.
- Executive Session for Human Resources
Levar Cole moved to enter into Executive Session for Human Resources for Water/Wastewater and Highway, and inviting Marianne McCann into the Executive Session. Mark Whitney seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Levar Cole moved to exit Executive Session at 10:12 pm. Mark Whitney seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Afterwards, a decision was made to have Merrill Whitney contact the Water/Wastewater Chief Operator regarding meter readings and mowing at the sewer facility.
- Approve Minutes
Levar Cole moved to approve the minutes of May 3, 2022. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion.
Motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 10:15 pm.
The next Selectboard meeting will be Tuesday, May 31st at 7:30 pm in the Chelsea Town Hall