Selectboard and VSP listen to residents’ concerns and tackle RFPs

Proposed Ramp at the Town Beach – Green line = lowest point of proposed ramp, approximately 101 feet elevation. Red line = 98 feet elevation; 98 ft. and lower is under jurisdiction of Army Corps of Engineers.

Special meeting set for next Monday to continue speeding discussion

The Selectboard continues to tackle a packed spring agenda, with the bulk of the May 13 meeting devoted to hearing concerns from residents regarding speeding on Ferry Road and other roads in Charlotte, as well as a biannual discussion with the Vermont State Police (VSP) about their contracted hours and directed patrols (click for State Police update Selectboard).

With this agenda item going over its scheduled time, Selectboard Chair Matt Krasnow recommended that this topic and several other agenda items continue into a special meeting next Monday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. Those included the selection of a contractor for playground reconstruction and a proposed Town Beach accessibility ramp.

Recreation Commissioner Chairman Bill Fraser-Harris and Recreation Director Nicole Conley were in attendance to unveil the preliminary designs from the sole contractor to respond to the request for proposal. Selectboard member Louise McCarren noted, “This was really the only vendor in our area; we weren’t really expecting multiple bids.” The playground redesigns will be presented to the Selectboard next week and revised to be accessible to a wider range of age groups. “The donors are not approving the design as it stands now,” said Conley.

Fraser-Harris presented the proposed ramp at the Town Beach, saying “It would increase the accessibility of the lower beach area to persons carrying items, such as stand up paddleboards, kayaks, et cetera.”  Krasnow asked about the configuration of the ramp, resident Robert Mack asked what kind of material would be used, and Selectboard Vice Chair Frank Tenney asked whether it would require zoning approval. Krasnow offered, and the board agreed, to conduct a site visit during next week’s special meeting.

Fire and Rescue budget report
Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services (CVFRS) Business Operations Manager Patrice Machavern and Tom Cosinuke, president of the Corporate Board of CVFRS, presented the third quarter financial review to the Selectboard. Cosinuke said, “From an expense standpoint, if we are exactly on budget we’d be at 75 percent, and we are actually a little bit under budget at 73.81 percent. Part of the reason that we are under budget is there was a period of time where one of our staff members on the rescue side was out on a worker’s comp claim, and consequently no salary was allocated at that time period.” Cosinuke also noted that Machavern switched to a “billing service that was less expensive, more efficient, and frankly doing a better job.”

Delving into the budgets versus actual, Cosinuke reviewed the three major sections: Corporate, Fire, and Rescue, noting that Corporate and Fire were slightly higher than budget, saying, “Part of that is because it includes expenses that are front loaded, that are paid in the beginning of the year for services that are apportioned across the full year.” He continued, “Rescue is under, and that brings us to a total budget under where we would be for the year, by about 12 or 13 thousand dollars under.”

Road paving, and more on the RFP process
The opening of bids and selection of a bid proposal for town road paving included a brief discussion with Road Commissioner Jr Lewis. After opening and reviewing the bids, Krasnow noted one was “considerably less than the other three.” He said, “Traditionally, unless there needs to be some detailed analysis, this contract has been awarded the night of [the opening of bids], with the recommendation of Jr.” The motion carried to select D&F Excavation and Paving Incorporated for town road paving.

Given the sensitivity of the recent discussion around the selection of a contractor to remove ash trees on Lake Road, the Selectboard reviewed an edited version of its original RFP before authorizing a request for bids for cleaning Town Hall. “This is one is a tight (turnaround),” Krasnow said, “but if we learned anything from the about the ash tree bid proposal, for all request for bids we should have a meeting to look at how we can improve the section on awarding criteria. He continued, “What’s missing on the town RFPs is a section that really speaks to how the awarding will be done. It’s one of the things I wanted to take up at next week’s meeting.”

The Selectboard also addressed the town mowing and land maintenance contracts, specifically around tree mulching. According to the town administrator’s report, “The contractor (Mow!Mow!Mow!) that was awarded the town mowing contract raised a concern regarding tree mulching portion of the specifications. They believed the request for mowing bids was not clear.”

The agenda item was to clarify that Chris’s Lawn Care & Mini Excavating (the contractor who was awarded the mulching contract) would be responsible for mulching all 127 trees located at the Town Beach, in the West Village and at the park. Krasnow said, “That takes care of this year.”

Other agenda items included approving a request from resident Julia Parker Dickerson to plant a butterfly garden at the Quinlan Covered Bridge, authorizing two Thompson’s Point leaseholders to drill wells, approving a request from Kevin Bessett, president of the Green Mountain Bicycle Club to use south Greenbush Road to conduct time trials three times over the summer and a request from Chittenden Solid Waste District to site Rover at the salt shed on Root Road for collection of hazardous waste on August 3.

The Selectboard motioned to go into executive session to discuss a personnel issue before adjourning for the evening.