Minutes of the Selectboard Meeting of Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 6:30 PM
Members present: Stephen Flanders, Chair; Christopher Ashley; Ed Childs; Linda Cook; Keith
Moran; Neil Fulton, Town Manager; Nancy Kramer, Assistant to the Town Manager.
There were about 32 people in the audience.
Also participating: Watt Alexander, Nancy Dean, Cheryl Lindberg, Alison May, Norm Miller, Robin
Flanders opened the meeting at 6:30 pm.
1. Approval of Agenda (Action Item). After very little discussion, Childs moved (2nd Moran) to
approve the agenda with the addition of an Executive Session for Litigation at the end of the
meeting. Motion passed.
2. Public Comments. Flanders asked that public comments be limited to 3 minutes and to please
state your name and address. Dean asked that all Selectboard members speak more clearly and
loudly. Shields asked the Board to act expeditiously to build the tower.
3. Town Manager’s Report (Discussion). Fulton said mud season is upon us so watch out for the
typical potholes. Hodgdon is staying on top of. A meeting is being scheduled for next week with
the Commissioners of DEC and Fish and Wildlife of ANR regarding the Norwich Pool. The Town
has responded to concerns brought forth by the agencies. The new vehicle for the Fire Chief is in
partial service. The new police cars should be in service next week. The second payment of
taxes was due in February. The schools receive most of the money. Delinquent taxes as of the
end of February were $262,489 which compares to $213,069 last year at that time. Delinquencies
are being looked at and long-term ones may be more aggressively pursued. Cook asked if a
policy for use of the wood lot had been done yet and Fulton replied that he has a working draft
4. Finance – Board to Sign Accounts Payable/Warrants (Action Item). After a couple of
questions, Childs moved (2nd Ashley) to approve Check Warrant Report #13-29 for General Fund
in the amount of $58,736.43, for Police Cruiser Fund in the amount of $714.01, for Town
Reappraisal Fund in the amount of $8,130.60 and for General Administration Fund in the amount
of $2,000 for the period from 2/28/13 to 3/13/13. Motion passed. Ashley moved (2nd Childs) to
approve Accounts Payable Warrant #13-28 dated February, 2013 in the amount of $4,111.08.
5. Liquor Licenses (Renewals) (Action Item). Cook moved (2nd Ashley) that the Selectboard
convene as the Norwich Liquor Commission. Motion passed. Ashley moved (2nd Childs) to
approve the liquor license applications for Norwich Inn (2), Dan & Whit’s General Store and
Carpenter and Main Restaurant. Motion passed. Cook asked Flanders to briefly review the
applications before them and he did with help from Alexander. Childs moved (2nd Ashley) to close
the Norwich Liquor Commission session and reconvene as the Selectboard meeting. Motion
6. Communications Systems Upgrades Including Tower (Discussion/Possible Action Item).
Fulton reviewed the proposed Fire/EMS analog simulcast system, the police digital simulcast
system and the Public Works analog upgrade. Town Meeting voted to approve a $275,000 bond.
Right now Fulton’s best guess at total costs is $375,000 to $400,000. In order to not lose the AFG
and HSGP grants, Fulton is suggesting installing a short tower attached to the Public Works
building and installing radio antennas on the temporary tower. He is also recommending that the
communications shelter be put next to the building with communications equipment installed. The
shelter would be moved to the new tower location once the new tower was completed and
antennas installed. This would cost approximately $30,000. The temporary tower would need to
be operational by July 31st. Alexander said that this seemed to be a sensible way to hold on to the
grants. Alexander also said that he recognized the site location for the tower argument is done
and asked that the NIMBY designation cease. May spoke about focusing on the need for the
tower and getting it built as soon as possible. Ashley asked about the timeline for the temporary
tower and Fulton said that it needed to be operational by the end of July. He will come back to the
Selectboard with costs and timeline for the temporary tower at their next meeting if the Board
approves item #7. Moran suggested the Selectboard rescind its decision on the Letter of Intent
(LOI) with VTel and move forward. Fulton pointed out that the Board does not have the authority
to rescind the LOI and that it is history. The document before the Selectboard now is the
Definitive Agreement. Ashley asked if the decision for a second bond vote could wait for the next
meeting and Fulton indicated it could. Moran wondered where the options for a lease/purchase
agreement went. Fulton said the Town had received three proposals and selected Lake Sunapee.
In further discussion with Lake Sunapee, it was determined that they were not willing to have a
non-appropriation clause in the agreement which is required by Statute. Cook and Moran
suggested using Undesignated Funds and other sources from the budget to make up the
difference needed. Ashley asked about the timeline to complete the tower now and Fulton replied
December of 2014. Fulton suggested that another option would be to fast track through a sole
source design/build and not use the typical process. There followed a discussion of: drawings
needed to proceed with the Public Service Board process, the application process, bond vs. bank
financing and buying material already done from VTel. Fulton said his goal is to get the tower
built. The monies in reserve funds are allocated for specific purposes and cannot be reassigned
except by action of Town Meeting. The use of monies in the Undesignated Fund requires an
appropriation by Town Meeting. Fulton also pointed out that Town Meeting approved the budget
as written and submitted. Having the 2nd bond vote would simplify the process. Fulton is looking
for direction and wants the Board to focus on the target. It was the consensus of 4 out of the 5
Selectboard members that Fulton pursue the temporary tower, look into fast tracking and go
forward with the 2nd bond vote. Cook said she needed more information to make a decision.
Leasing out space on the tower was also discussed and Fulton said there would need to be an
allocation of private activity bonds in order to lease out space on the tower.
7. Approval of Burlington Communications Service Center (BCS) Purchase Order for
Communications Systems Upgrades (Discussion/Possible Action Item). Proposals were received
December 7, 2012. The Norwich portion is for upgrading the Norwich Police and Public Works
communications systems. Based on the criteria detailed in his memo BCS was chosen to do the
project. The estimated cost for the system upgrades is $206,073. This will be partially offset by
the HSGP grant of $92,370, leaving the total cost for Norwich at $113,703 after reimbursement.
After some discussion of the reimbursement process, Childs moved (2nd Ashley) to authorize the
Town Manager to retain Burlington Communications Service Center to upgrade the police and
public works communications systems with an estimated cost of $206,073. Motion passed.
8. Approval of Revised Highway Standards (Discussion/Action Item). Fulton said that it is
important to adopt the new 2013 standards in order to meet FEMA requirements for receiving
funds to upgrade to current codes and standards. The major change is from the Q25 standard for
bridge and culvert hydraulic capacity to referencing the VTrans hydraulic manual. The Town of
Norwich has been designing to a higher standard than Q25 already. This will save money on
structures and paving grants. This U-shaped ditch requirement will only apply to new or major
reconstruction of ditches and roads and is in the standards adopted in April of 2012. After some
discussion, Ashley moved (2nd Childs) to adopt the proposed 2013 Road and Bridge Standards
for Norwich and authorize the Town Manager to sign. Motion passed.
9. Correspondence (Please go to www.norwich.vt.us, click on Town Offices bullet in left panel,
scroll down to Norwich Selectboard section and click on Recent Selectboard Correspondence to
view resident correspondence):
a) Resident –
1) #9 a). Email from Rick Otto Re: Open Letter to Selectboard. Childs moved (2nd
Ashley) to receive an email from Rick Otto re: open letter to Selectboard. Motion
a) Certificate Honoring Lloyd “Sonny” Tebbetts for 50 years of Service to the Fire Department
(Discussion/Action Item). Fulton said the Fire Department had their annual meeting last
Friday and Cook presented and read the Certificate. Fulton working with Cook will have
the document “prettied up” and framed and then the Board will sign. Ashley moved (2nd
Cook) to approve a Certificate Honoring Lloyd “Sonny” Tebbetts for 50 years of service to
the Fire Department. Motion passed.
b) Approval of the Minutes of the 1/25/13 and 2/13/13 Meetings. After some discussion of
changes the Board reached agreement by consensus to delay voting on the February 13,
2013 minutes, Childs moved (2nd Ashley) to approve the minutes of the January 25, 2013
Selectboard meeting. Motion passed.
c) Review of Next Agenda (Discussion/Possible Action Item). Fulton will do a report on the
temporary tower and funding. Other items on the agenda will be: a discussion of fast
tracking, a meeting with the Planning Commission, proposed changes to the Town of
Norwich Subdivision Regulations, a review of the Procedure for Receipt of
Correspondence and appointments.
d) VTel Contract and Litigation (Executive Session May be Required). Pursuant to Title 1
VSA § 313(a)(1), Ashley moved (2nd Childs) to enter into Executive Session for the
purpose of discussing the VTel Contract where premature general public knowledge of the
discussion would clearly place the municipality at a substantial disadvantage and Litigation
and to invite Neil Fulton to join the Session. Motion passed. The Selectboard moved into
Executive Session at 8:38 pm.
At 8:57 pm the Selectboard moved into public session. Ashley moved (2nd Childs) to authorize
the Town Manager to be the Case Manager for Christopher and Margaret Katucki vs. Town of
Norwich. Motion passed.
Cook moved (2nd Moran) to adjourn. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:01 pm.
Approved by the Selectboard on March 27, 2013.
By Nancy Kramer
Assistant to the Town Manager
Stephen N. Flanders
Next Regular Meeting – March 27, 2013 at 6:30 PM
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