Terk has served on the board since 2011 and will resign following the board’s July 18 meeting. “This fall, my wife and I will be relocating to northern California,” said Terk.
Vice chair Victoria Capitani said the board needs to put “serious consideration” into whether they will hold a special election or whether they will appoint someone to fill Terk’s seat until Town Meeting.
Terk reiterated an invitation from the selectboard to the North Branch Fire District Board to attend a selectboard meeting to discuss the North Branch Fire District Board’s decision to bill the town for sewage. At the board’s May 2 meeting, Capitani, who was acting chair in Terk’s absence, asked that the North Branch Fire District Board be invited.
“The reply we got was from Linda Holland saying she’s away but would like to come in and provide us with information at our next meeting,” said Terk. “We don’t want information, we want a meeting with the North Branch Fire District Board. I read their minutes, and it seemed like Bruce Wyman had a hair across his ass about something. I was really ticked off when I read that that they would start billing the town for sewage.”
Capitani suggested that perhaps there is a misunderstanding, and Terk said that is why he would like to meet with the board to have a conversation.
Fourth graders from the Dover School made their second presentation to the board about a proposed change to the town’s official seal. The group of students first made their suggestion at Town Meeting and in their presentation said that they felt the town seal should be as special as the town itself. The proposed seal featured a tree with snowflakes around it. Town Clerk Andy McLean explained what the board would be approving.
“Think of a town seal like a coat of arms,” said McLean. “So you’re approving the design elements. What it might say, the pine tree, the snowflakes. Different artists may have different interpretations over time, and the design we use on the side of a truck may be different than the one we use on documents. So what you’re actually approving is the design elements.”
After some discussion, the board approved the new town seal. An embosser and a stamp for town documents will be the first to bear the new seal.
Newly appointed zoning commissioner Wayne Estey asked the board’s permission to talk to the town attorney about the necessary language for health code orders. Estey, who will be officially appointed health officer by the state in June, said there are a number of violations in the town that may require orders, including a sewage issue at a private residence and businesses that are not complying with requests from the town to secure garbage from bears, despite Estey requesting that they do so.
Jim McDivitt expressed concern that Estey was involving an attorney so quickly. “As part of a small town, I hate to see things escalate to the attorney stage so quickly,” said McDivitt. “I really think it’s bad policy.”
“I agree,” said Terk. “We should take what I’ll call the small town approach. But if they take no action to resolve it, then I don’t think we have a choice.”
The board granted Estey permission to talk to the town attorney to get guidance on the proper language needed for an order.
Desrochers said that with motorcycle season arriving, he has deep concerns about the amount of distracted driving he sees on Vermont’s roads, and asked if the board may be able to create some sort of public service announcement on the issue.
“A company called Zendrive did a study on three million smartphones and they determined that Vermont has the most distracted driving in the country,” said Desrochers. Desrochers said he recently witnessed a woman texting while driving and confronted her about it. “And all she did was giggle,” said Desrochers.
“I’m happy to do a public announcement, I’m not sure what the value would be,” said Terk. “If people appreciated the value of the message that was in that public announcement they wouldn’t do it in the first place, notwithstanding who is on the road because it’s so bloody dangerous. I see it all the time.”
Board member Tom Baltrus suggested that perhaps the electronic signs used by the state to disseminate traffic announcements could be used. Police chief Randy Johnson said he would ask the police department to put information about the Zendrive study on the department’s Facebook page.
Capitani suggested that, in light of the fourth-grade class’s attendance at the meeting, finding a way to communicate about texting while driving may be something that could be suited for students. “This impacts our young drivers,” said Capitani. “And if students see their parents doing it, it’s going to be very difficult for them to say they’re not going to do it. Maybe the Dover School’s students could guide us down this path about how we could educate our young people.”
The board and members of the public who were in attendance were very receptive to Capitani’s idea.
Desrochers also asked the board to consider the opiate epidemic in Vermont and how it may be affecting economic development efforts. “I went and researched every economic development paper,” said Desrochers. “The Mullin Report and everything else. There was a lot of nice stuff, but one thing it all lacked was trying to figure out how to deal with the opiate problem. We’re never going to be able to achieve economic prosperity and everything these reports talk about without talking about this. I know it’s the underbelly and it ain’t pretty, but it has to be part of the model.”
The board thanked Desrochers for his comment.