City Council Minutes 03-28-2017


MARCH 28, 2017


Mayor Michael Daniels called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. at the Vergennes Fire Station meeting room located at 50 Green Street. Following the pledge of allegiance, Mayor Daniels advised there is an amendment to the agenda under item 7.h. regarding the issuance of Art Gallery Malt/Vinous Serving Permits. Those in attendance were:

Mayor Michael Daniels                                            Officer Patrick Greenslet

Alderman Lowell Bertrand                                    Officer Adam O’Neill and

Alderman Jeffrey Fritz                                             Officer Mark Barber

Alderman Mathew Chabot                                   Officer Brittany Clark

Alderman Mark Koenig                                          Officer Jill Grant

Alderman Lynn Donnelly                                      Officer Mark Stacey

City Manager Mel Hawley                                   Officer Mason Coleman

City Clerk Joan Devine                                          Richard Catchapaw

Police Chief George Merkel                               Sas Stewart

Detective Sergeant Jason Ouellette             Kim Thompson-Evarts

Family Members of Police Officers

POLICE DEPARTMENT SERVICE RECOGNITION CEREMONY: Police Chief George Merkel read a prepared speech thanking the City Council and the community for their support over the past several years. Their professionalism as a department was pointed out as was their desire to keep our residents safe and to serve our community. Details on a few calls responded to where our officers went above and beyond the call of duty were acknowledged. Officers were recognized and presented pins and chevrons for their years of service in law enforcement; Patrick Greenslet – 30years, Mark Stacey – 15 years, Jason Ouellette – 10 years and Adam O’Neill – 5 years. Individual officers were presented certificates for excellence in motor vehicle enforcement, DUI enforcement, drug enforcement, and grant-supported highway safety programs. City Manager Hawley complimented the department and attributed its success to making good hiring decisions. He personally thanked Officer Patrick Greenslet and Detective Sargent Jason Ouellette for their dedication to the department. When he came back to work for the City in 2008 the department was rebuilt. Manager Hawley stated that he sincerely believes Vergennes Police Department has “turned the corner” and is deserving of the Outstanding Unit Citation that he presented to Chief George Merkel. Mayor Daniels presented Chief Merkel with his chevrons for 25 years of police service. Each of the police officers presented their family members/significant others with a blue rose for due tribute. A short recess was taken at 6:30 p.m.

WARRANT: The Warrant totaling $60,177.36 was circulated for review and signatures of approval.

MINUTES: The minutes to the meeting of February 28, 2017 were reviewed and changes were made. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to approve the minutes as written for the March 6th special City Council meeting. The motion was seconded by Alderman Jeff Fritz with all voting in favor.

ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER: Manager Hawley explained it is customary to adopt rules of the City Council for conducting business at their meetings. The City has in the past adopted Roberts Rules of Order for executive boards and small committees which waives various formalities and calls for the Mayor to vote on all motions. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adopt Roberts Rules of Order for executive boards and small committees as presented. The motion was seconded by Alderman Jeff Fritz with all voting in favor.

SENIOR ALDERMAN: Mayor Daniels advised the City Charter requires the City Council to elect a Senior Alderman who will, in case of the Mayor’s absence, resignation or inability, perform the duties of the Mayor. He reported Alderman Renny Perry expressed interest in continuing as Senior Alderman. Alderman Jeff Fritz nominated Alderman Renny Perry for this position. The motion was seconded by Alderman Matt Chabot with all voting in favor.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY: The Conflict of Interest Policy requires that it be reviewed by the City Council annually at the first regular meeting in March at which time it may be amended, repealed, or readopted. The policy is to ensure that no member of the City Council gain a personal or financial advantage from their decisions and that decisions will be based on the best interest of the community. Mayor Daniels advised he would like City Council members to remove themselves from the table when they have a conflict of interest or when representing another entity. Alderman Matt Chabot advised he was fine with recusal and disclosure without one having to leave the table. City Manager Hawley advised it is not imperative the policy be adopted tonight. He volunteered to bring back an amended version of Article 6 that is similar to the one used by the Development Review Board which requires members to move away from the table when there is a conflict of interest.

DESIGNATION OF NEWSPAPER: City Manager Mel Hawley advised the City Council is required by statute to annually designate a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality where legal notices will be published. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to designate the Addison Independent. The motion was seconded by Alderman Jeff Fritz with all voting in favor.

APPOINTMENTS: Mayor Daniels read the list of positions open for appointment and recommended appointees. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adopt the slate as presented. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig with all voting in favor. The appointments are as follows:

Delinquent Tax Collector                                                      Mel Hawley

Tree Warden                                                                                Mel Hawley

Service Officer                                                                           Joan Devine

Bixby Library Trustee Designation                                Christine Bradford

ACSWMD Board of Supervisors Member                Cheryl Brinkman

ACSWMD Alternate Member                                         Mel Hawley

2017 LIQUOR LICENSES, OUTSIDE CONSUMPTON PERMITS, AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT LICENSES: Liquor License applications, Outside Consumption Permits and Live Entertainment Licenses, for 2017 were submitted by Addison County Eagles, American Legion Post #14, Antidote/Hired Hand, Black Sheep Bistro, Champlain Farms, City Limits Night Club, Kinney Drugs, Pork Squid, LLC (Park Squeeze), Shaw’s Supermarket, Small City Market, Strong House Inn, Three Squares Café, Vergennes Laundry, Vergennes Redemption, and Vergennes Wine. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved, acting as the local control commissioners, to approve the applications as submitted. The motion was seconded by Alderman Jeff Fritz with all voting in favor. A restriction was placed on all Live Entertainment Licenses that exterior doors and windows must remain closed during time periods of live entertainment.

LICENSE AGREEMENTS – OUTSIDE SEATING: Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to authorize City Manager Mel Hawley to sign license agreements for outside seating for Black Sheep Bistro, Julianna Jones, LLC (Vergennes Laundry), Three Squares Café, Pork Squid, LLC (Park Squeeze) and Northern Daughters. Alderman Jeff Fritz seconded the motion with all voting in favor. Alderman Lynn Donnelly asked about the porch at Hired Hand Brewing and whether it too needed an agreement. City Manager Hawley said that he did not think the porch was within the street right of way but would investigate.

VENDOR LICENSE – FARMERS AND FORAGERS: Sas Stewart represented an application for an Itinerant Vendor License that was submitted by Farmers and Foragers of Burlington. She explained they would like to park their food truck on the street in front of 245 Main Street on March 31st where they will sell food to guests attending the 1920s style Speak-Easy. City Manager Hawley advised 245 Main Street has Development Review Board approval for use as a gallery so he had Sas Stewart, who is sponsoring the event, fill out a public assemblage permit application which he will approve. Manager Hawley then inquired if the public would be allowed to purchase food from the truck or if the food was only available for guests. Sas Stewart advised they wanted to make sure food was available for their guests but that anyone can purchase from the truck. Alderman Donnelly moved to approve the Itinerant Vendor License with the caveat that a review of the Itinerant Vendor License ordinance be a priority of the City Council. Alderman Lowell Bertrand seconded the motion with all voting in favor.

ART GALLERY MALT/VINOUS SERVING PERMIT: City Clerk Devine reported she is authorized to approve requests for Art Gallery, Bookstore, Library or Museum Malt and/or Vinous Serving Permits according to the policy adopted December 15, 2015. Recently requests have been made by entities to also serve outside in the city right of way. Department of Liquor Control has been contacted and they advised the law is silent in this regard so it would be up to the city/town to create their own policy. She advised she and her assistant are uncomfortable with issuing permits for outside consumption without clear authorization to do so. It was the consensus of the City Council that a permit can be issued allowing outside consumption provided the applicant or property owner has a license agreement for outside seating with the City.

APPOINTMENT – VUHS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Manager Hawley reported that no one filed a petition to be on the ballot for the position on Vergennes Union High School Board of Directors for the 2-year term and no one received the requisite number of write-in votes so the seat became vacant. He said the vacancy was posted and Greg Burdick has agreed to serve through March 2018. Alderman Lynn Donnelly moved to appoint Greg Burdick to this position for one year, seconded by Alderman Lowell Bertrand, with all voting in favor.

CITY COUNCIL CALENDAR: The City Council Calendar for meetings through March 6, 2018 was presented. The City Council will try to maintain the 5:30 p.m. start time depending on what is on the agenda. Members were asked to check any potential conflicts with personal schedules and report back at the next meeting. Alderman Jeff Fritz announced he would not be available at all in May 2017.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT: City Manager Mel Hawley advised interest earnings in the general fund is minus $10,000 due to the market value of certificates of deposit. The market may turn and thus recover some of the loss but he is doubtful the $20,000 budgeted line item will be met. He also pointed out that Police Department overtime is down in part due to grant work that absorbs some of the additional hours. Electric bills for the Sewer Department are a little concerning to him, he advised. The workers’ compensation payroll audit was just completed, advised Manager Hawley, and due to having three employees at the wastewater treatment plant instead of two effective July 1, 2017, an invoice is expected. Vermont Gas Systems will begin laying their lines June 1st. He advised he will soon be putting together the Lister’s punch-list for the 2017 grand list. He reported he, Shannon Haggett and Amy Bodette Barr went to Montpelier yesterday and made a presentation to the Downtown Development Board and the City’s downtown development district has been renewed for five years and the 90-day suspension has been lifted.

ADJOURNMENT: At 8:10 p.m. Alderman Lowell Bertrand moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Alderman Mark Koenig, with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Vergennes City Clerk