Selectboard Meeting Minutes 10/26/2021

Printer friendly

Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 6:30 PM


This meeting will be held in person at the location provided on this notice. Members of the public are welcome to attend. A remote option is offered via zoom with the link provided below. Please note that while an option for remote participation is being provided as a courtesy, the meeting will not be suspended or terminated if technological problems interrupt the virtual broadcast, unless otherwise required by law. Anyone with interest in any specific item should plan in person attendance.


Topic: Selectboard Meeting

Time: Oct 26, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting



Attendance: Larry Southard, Chair, Gary Thomas, Terry Gould, Brandi Page, Celeste Watman, Tom Ragusa, Arlene Tolopko, Frank Tolopko, Gail Gelburd, Joel Meyers, Sue Brofman, Diane Dyer, Mike Joyce, Tim Kennerson, Shelley Plude, Eve Kummel, Diane Provenz, Kathy Couch, Larry Gould, Geoff Pigman, Patty Strauch, William Hiller, Nick Hiller, Patricia Richard and Jen Catolane.


Call to Order: 6:30 PM


Approval of Minutes: Minutes were not available at the time of the meeting. None approved.


Larry Southard offered his condolences on behalf of the Town to Hal Kobrin and their entire family on the sudden passing of Sonia Morrison.


Reservoir Road Culvert Design: Mike Joyce, Shelley Plude and Tim Kennerson were on zoom to present the current conceptual design for the twin culverts on Reservoir Road that need to be replaced. These culverts handle the outflow from the Reservoir dam when there is a release. Mike shared his screen so that we were able to see the drawings. He gave us a brief history on the project and where we are currently. He then described the challenges we are facing with this site and why the preferred solution would be a composite U shaped bridge system. Tom Ragusa, having a history with operating the dam, had a few questions which were answered. After some discussion, question and answers Larry Southard made a motion to approve moving forward with the Composite U shaped bridge system for this project. Motion was seconded and all approved.


EOS Bids for Construction: The general bids for this project came in beyond our budget. Motion was made and seconded to reject both bids based on lack of available funding. We will need to reduce the scope and go back out to bid.


Harmony Hall Discussion: Attached to the minutes are the fact sheet that had been pushed out with the agenda. This meeting was informational only for anyone to ask questions and be able to understand the needs and challenges with the Harmony Hall building. Diane Provenz spoke as a resident and stated she would like to see the building saved. She inquired what the estimate would be if we were to replace the building. There is a vision for a “Town Green” which includes Harmony Hall. Speaking on behalf of the Historic Commission they cannot take on fund raising for this building at this time. Larry Gould, the Building Inspector, spoke to clarify this would be a simple rehab, there are no historical exemptions. Everything would need to be brought to code and be compliant, even the bathrooms. It was asked if we couldn’t provide concrete numbers for the different options. Larry explained it’s difficult to estimate what the total cost to save the building would be.  New construction is always cheaper than repair. Geoff spoke in favor of historic preservation and felt perhaps if there wasn’t an immediate need OPT could raise money toward the effort. Terry explained it is a priority as much of the building is currently unusable. Eve Kummel spoke in regard to the Town not owning the land around the building and considering the best use for our Town. We have bigger issues coming down the road. Bill Hiller agreed with Eve. We are thinking about needs to the Highway Garage, we always have needed roadwork, etc. We have to consider the whole picture. Gail Gelburd agreed we need to look at this in relation to an overall plan. Diane Dyer asked why we would consider replacing the building if we decide to tear it down. Again concerned we don’t own the land around it. Tom Ragusa mentioned the lift Sandisfield Arts Center put in for roughly $25,000. Gary spoke to say we have been talking about this building for 4-6 years and have had to put it off each time. Something needs to be decided. Patty Strauch stated it’s hard to decide without comprehensive estimates both ways. Bill Hiller echoed Diane in why would we replace the building. Jen Catolane, from the Rec Commission, asked what would be the plan with the Rec Department in the future. Brandi explained that whether work is being done or we plan to remove the building we would have to relocate Rec and absorb them into a different space. After everyone had spoken Larry Southard made a motion to end the discussion. Motion seconded and passed.


Library Grant: Brandi explained the Library Commissioners have requested the Town have the required Geo Technical survey completed on the Erbe lot for the upcoming grant submission. We have acquired a scope and are seeking quotes. The Commissioners clarified they are going to pay for this, not the Town. Motion was made to ok this work with the stipulation the Town was not responsible for payment. Motion seconded and passed.


Timber Harvest Contract: Jeremia reviewed the contract between the Town and Meltz Lumber and approved. Larry made a motion to accept and sign. Motion seconded and passed.


ZBA Secretary Appointment: Motion was made to appoint Trish Tetreault as the ZBA secretary based on the Chair’s recommendation. Motion seconded and passed.


Historic asked for the Board to appoint Joel Meyers in Sonia’s now vacated position. The Board felt it was too soon to fill the vacancy and felt it would be best to table until the next meeting in case anyone else was interested and would have time to apply. Historic asked that the Board not wait as they have many pressing projects.  Motion was made and seconded to put on the next meeting agenda. Motioned passed.


STM Warrant: Gary read through the articles except the Wireless Communication Bylaw. Motion was made to approve and sign the warrant. Motion passed. The Constable will be posting the warrant this week.


Review & Approval of Warrants: Payroll and vendor warrants are on the table for signature.


Not Anticipated: Celeste feels the agendas are vague and that we not use acronyms.


Adjournment: 8:25 PM