By STEVEN JUPITER
PITTSFORD—The Pittsford Selectboard convened for its regular meeting on Wednesday, September 20. Board member Mark Winslow and Town Manager David Atherton were not present.
The meeting began with the Town Manager’s report, which was delivered by Ann Reed, Assistant to the Town Manager, in Mr. Atherton’s absence. Ms. Reed noted that the town’s application for a Level 1 Municipal Energy Resilience Assessment had been approved. This free assessment of the town office will determine how the building can be made more energy efficient, thereby saving on energy costs.
The town had received a thank-you from the Lothrop PTO in appreciation for the use of the town’s recreation area for a movie night.
Pittsford has received approval to extend the 25-mph speed-limit zone along Route 7 as it passes through the village. The new lower-limit zone will begin at Plains Road and extend to the top of the hill past the Mobil station. New signs will be installed shortly. It is hoped that the extension of the 25-mph zone will increase safety along densely populated Route 7.
Dollar General has asked to reimburse the town for repairs to its culvert rather than trying to undertake the repairs itself in accordance with VTrans regulations.
Ms. Reed reminded the Board of 3 grant opportunities from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns: a municipal planning grant, a bylaw modernization grant, and a grant for municipal park & ride lots. Vice-chair David Mills suggested further research to determine what conditions the grants would impose on the town.
During the public-comment segment of the meeting, there was a brief discussion of solar fields, which has been an ongoing issue in the town. One resident expressed concern about toxic chemicals from panels leaching into the ground. Board Chair Alicia Malay stated in response that she would not speak for the Board but “that’s why I personally have a problem with [solar arrays] going on farmland.”
The Board then moved to a discussion of the purchase of a used Dodge Durango to replace a pickup truck that the Police Department feels has reached the end of its useful life as a police vehicle. Police Chief Mike Warfle stated that the particular car it hoped to purchase from a dealership in New York would cost a total of $42,844.32.
The Board expressed concern about the town’s ability to pay for the vehicle, but Ms. Reed assured them that the town had the funds to cover the cost without impacting any day-to-day functions. She also recommended that the town increase its allotment to the Police Department’s vehicle fund from $15,000 per year to $20K or $25K to make up for the fact that the town had not been keeping up with the allotments in recent years and the fund now has a negative balance of -$6,964.69 because of a purchase of a vehicle last year. With this fiscal year’s $15K allotment to the fund, there will be $8035.31 available on June 30, 2024.
The Board approved the purchase of the Durango while agreeing that the annual allotment to the fund should be increased—an issue to be addressed in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year—and that there should be a hold on purchases of vehicle for the next 5 years. The Board also stipulated that the purchase of the Durango must not exceed $43K.
The Board then discussed an enhanced energy plan, which would require the participation of the Town Planning Commission. It was agreed that the Planning Commission would be invited to the next Board meeting in order to discuss updating the Town Plan to include an enhanced energy plan. The Board stated that the town is up to the state’s standards for solar development but the town plan needs explicit language on the subject.
The Board declined to move forward with a turnaround on Elm Street to allow trucks to back out more easily when they realize that they will not be able to cross the covered bridge over Otter Creek. Ms. Reed stated that the project would cost $24,500 and would require 1,600 tons of gravel, rental of a compaction roller, and a week of labor.
In response to a prior request from the Board, the Town Manager’s office had compiled a list of the town’s capital assets, which Ms. Reed presented to the members. Until recently, the list had been kept by the town’s outside auditor. Moving forward, the town will keep track of its fixed assets itself, said Ms. Reed.
The Board also discussed plans for Veterans Day on November 11. This year, the date falls on a Saturday, which raised the possibility that students from Lothrop would not participate as they have in the past, since the ceremony is part of the school day when the holiday falls on a weekday. The Board sought to clear up when the ceremony would be held and who would be in charge of executing it.
The Board’s final piece of public business for the evening was the approval of orders and payroll totaling $82,388.24, which included $25K in ARPA funds for the Maclure Library, to be used for repairs.