Selectboard chair Blanche Mills called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. Lister Jen Burnell reported that the coefficient of dispersion is 14.64 and the common level of appraisal is 105.83. Burnell stated that according to Cy Bailey, the district advisor to the listers, Whitingham’s common level of appraisal was good. Lister Clyde Twitchell said that there was no need for reappraisal as Whitingham’s number was about 100%. If the CLA dropped below 80% the state would require a reappraisal. The COD and CLA are formulas created by Vermont to assess the state property tax.
Burnell presented the board with five errors. After review the selectboard approved the errors submitted by the Listers. Clyde Twitchell reminded the board that the town would have to meet with TransCanada next year since the current three -year agreement expires in 2012. The Listers also presented the board with their budget for next year; the budget included funds for seminars and training.
Burnell also reported to the selectboard in her role as health officer. She discussed the status of a house in the village of Jacksonville that was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. Burnell said that everything was on hold until the spring but the paperwork was working its way through the system. Burnell reported that she had sent a certified letter to the owner that federal funds were available to him, based on a 25% commitment from the owner. Burnell said the owner was considering his options.
The board approved a motion to have the selectboard chair sign a planning commission grant.
Road commissioner Stanley Janovsky appeared before the selectboard to discuss highway issues. Janovsky presented the board with an access permit for a property in Whitingham. The board signed the permit. Janovsky, in his role as fire chief, told the board about a brush truck available from the town of Winhall. The truck contains a generator and cabinets for holding equipment, and has a water supply that can be pumped through a hose as well as a supply of foam. The truck has 12,000 miles on it. Winhall is asking $20,000 for the truck, which cost $140,000 new. Janovsky said the Fire Department had discussed purchasing a small truck and this vehicle would be useful to the department. Janovsky said Winhall uses the truck as an attack truck.
If the town were to purchase the truck, Janovsky said, about $10,000 would be needed for additional equipment and repainting. Janovsky said that the fire department has money in their budget to cover the purchase. Janovsky said he had researched comparable trucks on the Internet and a truck that was inferior to the Winhall truck was being offered for $47,000. He said Winhall would not sell the truck to anyone else until Whitingham made a decision.
Board member Keith Bronson asked why selectboard approval was necessary if the money was available. The board approved a motion to have the fire department inspect the vehicle and if they were satisfied, to purchase the truck.
The board discussed some insurance programs that had been researched by board assistant Shirley Kasanoff.
The board discussed the town’s contract with the Windham Solid Waste Management District. Board member Karl Twitchell advocated getting quotes for the handling of recyclable materials at the Transfer Station from a few suppliers.
Town administrator Bonnie Jo Radasch was instructed to obtain quotes for the publishing of the annual town report. Bronson discussed the Vermont League of Cities and Towns article on the importance of the local budget. Bronson highlighted the main points that the League pointed out in dealing with local budgets. The league makes the point that taxation in Vermont is very difficult, with an aging population and few taxable resources. The league also stated that the towns should be enabled to remove gravel from river and streams on an annual basis. Bronson felt that the league was making important points and he hoped that the Legislature would address them.