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Meeting Minutes

January 17, 2007

Leicester Selectboard Meeting
see subsequent minutes for corrections
Due to the road/weather conditions of Jan. 15, the regular meeting was postponed until Jan. 17.

Present:  J. McDonough, R. Oliver, M. Stacey, C. Todd, D. Benware (recorder)
Others:  Bucky Shackett, Mary Hughes, John Hughes, Harry smith, Arlan Pidgeon, Donna Pidgeon, Lisa Garcia of Wright Appraisers

Meeting called to order at 7:03 p.m. by the Chair.  Flag salute was recited.
Agenda reviewed, and suspended to allow Lisa to speak first.

Lisa Garcia of Wright Appraisers reported that 99% of the first calls have been completed, with a few rental or small pieces not done.   She informed the board that after the 2nd "cold call", if there is no response, the parcel is considered "closed" and it is assessed only from the outside, with no opportunity for the property owner to point out any items that might effect the appraisal.  This project has gone smoothly, thanks to strong lister involvement and the scheduling that Donna did.  There remains to be done: about 101 properties to be assessed, the review of preliminary values,  review of 6 properties under construction, preparation of the assessment book.  There will be no charge for their presence at 2 days of grievance hearings and no charge for an evening presentation to the entire town to explain the process and how figures were compiled.  10 -15% of taxpayers could be expected to grieve their taxes; the presentation by the appraisers should answer many resident questions and concerns.  It is hoped that the assessment book with all assessments listed will be available by June 1.  Donna asked why lister assistance was important/needed.  Lisa responded that listers need experience and understanding of the system they have used to arrive at their determinations.  Property quality and condition, land values vs building value, depreciation all must be considered to keep the process ongoing and as consistent as possible.  Listers are responsible for and sign the Grand List so it is imperative that listers be involved.  The final comments indicated that for the time being, Vermont towns will continue with local listers, but the day will come when professionals will be doing the bulk of the work.

Bucky addressed the Board as the Town Health Officer, regarding the health concerns with a property on Hooker Road.  He was advised by town counsel to attempt another Health Order.  He gave the paperwork of Intent to Diane, who will deliver it to the Sheriff's Dep't, who, in turn will serve the owners with the papers.  The property owners have the right to request a hearing before the Selectboard.  If there is no response to the Intent, the Board can issue the Health Order on Feb. 19, 2007.  This is part of the foreclosure procedure on the part of the First Brandon National Bank.

Review of bills:
Ceil asked about the cost of chains for Arlan's truck.  Arlan explained that since 1989, he has not purchased the chains, the town has.  Ceil stated her opposition to the town paying for the chains.  Mark said he was O.K. with it, Bob and Diane agreed.  Orders signed and bills paid.

Review of Minutes of Jan. 2:

Proposed to add statement that the switch mentioned is for transfer switch for the generator, so that the Town Office could be heated and lighted by it.  The switch costs $349.99 plus transportation and installation.  It was discussed that a generator for the school would cost under $9,000 and would come with a transfer switch.  A 100 amp (what we need) might be available for about $250.  Mark made the motion to approve the Jan. 2 minutes, second by Ceil, motion passed unanimously.

Review of Minutes of Jan. 8:
Ceil made the motion to approve the minutes, second by Bob, motion passed unanimously.

The Board signed a statement, presented by Harold Smith, lister, that a change of assessment for the Martha Welch camp on the lake was reduced, resulting in reduction in taxes from $2,316.24 to $1,899.95, a refund of $418.29 was issued.

Reports from Officials, Committees:
Harry reported that the process used by Wright's is more involved, also required more lister involvement, than the MacArthur appraisal of 1998.

Arlan reported that the sander on his truck is failing, the auger is bent.   He feels a new tailgate sander will run between $2,500-$2,600.  He'll keep using it, but wanted us to be aware, as we build the budget.  Donna presented the Board with an inventory of equipment, including purchase date and cost.  John Hughes asked the board how many of us know what equipment we have.  He suggested doing a yearly inventory and to begin looking at and thinking of replacements.  Arlan also recommended Greg Bianchi to the board, as someone Arlan recommends to drive the small pickup to plow intersections.  He has a CDL and is willing to work, as needed, in the early hours to prep the roads for travel.  The Board needs to meet him and determine rate of pay.

Heather LaPorte wrote to request the use of either the Town Office meeting space or the Senior Center for use by the Daisy Girl Scouts.  The Board is happy to grant the request, in a motion by Mark, second by Ceil.  Motion passed unanimously.  Diane to inform her and remind her of guidelines for use of the building.

Harry feels the $12,000 figure for listers is reasonable, given the work to be done. John Hughes and Bob shared results of research they had done on lister pay in communities in Vermont Average pay was found to be about $12.00/hr.  There was considerable discussion.
ACTION:  Ceil made the motion to cap the lister budget at $10,000, second by John.  Motion failed as there were 2 voting in favor (John and Ceil), and 3 voting against the $10,000 figure (Bob, Mark, Diane).  Mark made the motion to cap the lister budget at $12,000, second by Bob.  There were 3 voting yes (Bob, Mark, Diane) and 2 voting nay (John, Ceil).  Motion carried to set budget at $12,000 for listers.

Salary for Town Clerk and Treasurer: 
ACTION:  Mark made the motion to offer a cost of living increase of 5%, amounting to $325. for EACH position, total of $650, for clerk/treasurer salary.  Bob made the second to the motion, which passed unanimously. 

Motion by Mark, second by Ceil, to recess until 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, to continue budget deliberations.  Meeting recessed until 10:00 a.m. Sat., Jan. 20