Selectboard approves library addition bond for $600,000

Conceptual drawing.

Review of the memorandum of agreement and contract slated for June 24

The June 10 Selectboard meeting began with Vice Chair Frank Tenney calling the meeting to order, three members were present. Chair Matt Krasnow and Selectboard member Louise McCarren participated by phone. Similar to the June 3 meeting, agenda items centered on the Charlotte Library addition. Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz said the library building committee was in the process of reviewing the ReArch contract and did not have a draft ready to present at the meeting. Members of the public, many who attended the previous Selectboard meeting, again raised similar concerns about specific line item costs, site work and sketch plan review, as well as library matching funds and the memorandum of understanding.

Town Clerk and Treasurer Mary Mead asked Tegatz, “so you are including furnishings and audio visual equipment? [in the bond amount] … I thought we had a discussion about what we’ve voted on, which was construction, so why is that still part of what the town is going to borrow? I’d really like to hear the Selectboard — the five people — what are you thinking?” Tegatz responded the line item for built-ins were removed from the estimate and replaced with furnishings, “to be more cost effective, make it more flexible to use the space.” Tenney asked about the costs associated with the renovations needed to retrofit the old building to the new construction. Assistant Town Clerk Christina Booher noted, “there’s a lot of questions with the numbers outside of the construction of the addition … I don’t know if there will ever be enough detail in those numbers to answer those questions.”

Energy Committee member John Quinney said, “we should recognize the Friends of the Library are raising half the money for the cost of this building, which is a town asset, and the town is getting an asset for half the price that’s required to build it.” He added, “regarding a number of items in both direct costs and town costs, we could have a discussion about what’s directly or indirectly related to construction. It’s difficult to draw a hard and fast line.”

Resident Peter Trono asked if site work was included as well as details on the proposed site plan. Tegatz responded that site work was not part of ReArch’s bid amount, but it was included as part of the owner costs. After a bit more discussion, Tegatz motioned for the vice chair to sign the bond letter requesting the amount of $600,000, seconded by McCarren. The motion passed unanimously, 5-0. (This was also motioned again after the discussion of the MOA.)

The next agenda item, the memorandum of agreement among the town, the library board of trustees, and the Friends of the Charlotte Library was reviewed. Mead suggested it go back for a work session.  Selectboard members Carrie Spear, Tenney and McCarren agreed. Mead also asked, “What does the library have in cash and what do you have currently in pledges?” Library Director Margaret Woodruff responded the treasurer wasn’t present, but she and Board Secretary Nan Mason estimated they had about $250,000 in cash and $200,000 in pledges. Woodruff said they will consider borrowing the difference if the fundraising goal is not met. Tenney asked, “Do we commit to a $600,000 bond when the library at this point in time doesn’t have their money? Does that mean we are $150,000 short?” To which McCarren replied, “It becomes a cash flow question. … The library has to deliver the full amount of their obligation of $600,000 during the construction period, and as they raise it, they need to turn it over to Mary to manage it.” She continued, “That gives them a window to finish raising it. I think there is still enough cash to pay out and manage a project.”

Town beach tree removal. Photo by Juliann Phelps.

Trees at the Town Beach
Recreation Commissioner Chairman Bill Fraser-Harris and Deputy Tree Warden Susan Smith presented a request for an emergency purchase of arborist services to remove potentially dangerous trees at the town beach. Smith said the arborist recommended removing four “dead or dying” trees to the right of the parking lot as well as removing dead limbs from trees in the picnic area. Concerns were raised by several Selectboard members about the timeliness of the request (after a previous site visit on May 20) as well as considering adopting a similar approach for all town lands. The Selectboard approved a portion of the expenditure, required the area to be marked and closed, and the removal supervised by the Recreation Director.

Town Plan and Road Commissioner Updates
The Selectboard closed the first public hearing on the proposed amendments to the town plan and scheduled the second hearing for August 12. Town Administrator Dean Bloch presented a few remaining edits suggested by Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Senior Planner Emily Nosse-Leirer (in attendance), reviewed updated maps, and proposed the hearing be closed. Planning Commissioner Chair Peter Joslin agreed, noting this would give them enough time to be ready for election day on November 5.

The Selectboard approved a grant agreement to pave a portion of Ferry Road from the ferry dock to the train station and heard from Road Commissioner Jr. Lewis on the condition of Monkton Road. He explained that a portion of the road “approximately 200’ in length, keeps dropping down.” He also recommended contacting engineers to do boring and collect soil samples to help determine the issue along with applying for a grant for the project.

Other Selectboard agenda items included reviewing town policy on holiday leave (no motion), approving a request to use town roads for the 14th year of the Kelly Brush Ride, and approving Rec Commission requests to use the town beach for the Charlotte Beach Party on July 13 and the Mozart on the Beach concert series. The Selectboard also appointed Mel Huff to the Conservation Commission for a term ending April 30, 2021 and reappointed Marty Illick as alternate representative to the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission for a term ending June 30, 2021; and as representative to the Clean Water Advisory Committee of the CCRPC.

The next regular Selectboard meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on June 24.