WINDHAM SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT (WSWMD)
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
MINUTES OF JANUARY 9, 2020
SUPERVISORS PRESENT: Michelle Cherrier, Chair, Dummerston; Patrick Moreland, Brattleboro; David Jones, Brookline; Kevin Stine, Dover; Michael Becker, Guilford; Lewis Sumner, Halifax; Greg Meulemans, Jamaica; Doris Knechtel, Newfane; James Damato, Readsboro; Irvin Stowell, Townshend; Russ Hodgkins, Westminster; and Merrill Mundell, Wilmington.
SUPERVISORS ABSENT: Peter Elwell, Brattleboro; Daniel Balliotti, Dover; Cheryl Franklin, Guilford; Cara Cheyette, Halifax; Stillman Vonderhorst, Marlboro; Mike Fitzpatrick, Newfane; Dan Toomey, Putney; Kent Young, Stratton; Christopher Parker, Vernon; and Nancy Meinhard, Wardsboro.
WSWMD STAFF PRESENT: Bob Spencer, Executive Director; Athena Lee Bradley, Programs Manager; Wendy M. Levy, District Clerk.
OTHERS PRESENT: none.
CALL TO ORDER: Michelle Cherrier called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM
1. Changes or additions to the agenda: none.
2. Approval of Minutes:
The December 12, 2019 Board of Supervisors Meeting minutes were approved without amendment.
MOTION: APPROVE THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING MINUTES FROM DECEMBER 12, 2019. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. THE MOTION PASSED 10-2; WITH TWO ABSTENTIONS.
The December 12, 2019 FY21 Budget Public Hearing minutes were approved without amendment.
MOTION: APPROVE THE FY21 BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES FROM DECEMBER 12, 2019. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. THE MOTION PASSED 10-2; WITH TWO ABSTENTIONS.
3. Approval of Check Register:
The Board of Supervisors reviewed the December, 2019 check register.
James Damato asked about expenses relating to the trommel. Bob Spencer explained that it’s likely covered under warranty.
James asked about expenses relating to Medicare Part B payments. A discussion ensued on health insurance. Bob explained that it’s part of staff benefits. Bob will ask Vicki Hayes to gather relevant information for the Board of Supervisors.
MOTION: APPROVE THE CHECK REGISTER FROM DECEMBER 2019. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. THE MOTION PASSED 12-0.
4. Approval of Financial Report:
The Board of Supervisors reviewed the December, 2019 financial report.
Bob noted the Finance Committee did not meet that evening. Bob pointed out some highlights of the report: revenues are about 9% above projections, and expenses are about 5.5% higher, and the District is still carrying a surplus.
Patrick Moreland asked why the capital equipment line item is higher than the budget. Bob said he thinks that by the end of the year it will even out. Russ Hodgkins noted some grant funding may come in to help with these costs, and that for records-keeping, we must show the overage, but we will get it back in the revenue line.
James asked if any towns were late with paying their assessments. Bob said no, all are current.
Merrill Mundell said he thinks the financial report looks good.
MOTION: APPROVE THE FINANCIAL REPORT FROM DECEMBER 2019. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. THE MOTION PASSED 12-0.
5. Approval of 2019 Annual Report, per Charter & 24 V.S.A. § 417-24
The Board of Supervisors and Bob reviewed the 2019 Annual Report.
Bob gave a brief history of why the Board must do this and explained why this time the review is happening late. Russ Hodgkins pointed out a typographical error. Bob noted the agenda for the December 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting will include approving the 2020 Annual Report.
MOTION: APPROVE THE 2019 ANNUAL REPORT AS AMENDED. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. THE MOTION PASSED 12-0.
6. Consider Need for February 13, 2019 Special Meeting
Michelle declared the Board of Supervisors has considered this, and they believe there is no need for a Special Meeting.
7. Update on Rich Earth Institute Purchase of BOE Lease from Sky Solar
Bob provided a brief background on this item: Greenbacker bought the solar facility at WSWMD from Sky Solar, but not the lease on the building Rich Earth Institute (REI) currently occupies. Sky Solar offered to sell the lease to WSWMD for a considerable sum of money; WSWMD declined. REI would like to buy this lease. REI, Sky Solar, and WSWMD are currently in negotiations and they are amicable. Bob noted the final documents are in the process of being drafted. The likely outcome is REI will own the lease and continue paying rent to WSWMD, and the lease will get modified. REI’s attorney, Robert Fisher, will rewrite the lease, the rent may be renegotiated, which may include the use of the concrete pad. Once this happens, the Board of Supervisors may form a separate committee to work on renegotiations. Bob noted WSWMD and REI have a good working relationship.
A discussion ensued on the process for renegotiating the lease, and when WSWMD’s attorney needs to get involved. Bob said the purchase & sale agreement between REI and Sky Solar should be contingent upon a signed, renegotiated lease with WSWMD. Russ pointed out that a lease doesn’t expire just because it involves new parties.
Michelle said WSWMD’s attorney will review the matter and revise documents as necessary.
8. Schedule Subcommittee Meeting Regarding Loan of Roll-Off Containers to Member Towns
The Board of Supervisors discussed this matter and scheduled the first meeting and a snow-date.
The subcommittee’s members are Michelle, David Jones, Nancy Meinhard (pending her acceptance), Patrick, and Merrill.
The subcommittee will meet on Thursday, January 23 at 6 PM at the Deerfield Valley Rescue building just off Route 100N in Wilmington. Bob and Athena Lee Bradley will attend that meeting, but will not be on the committee. Athena recommended the committee set a snow-date. It is Thursday, January 30, same time and location. Bob said he will provide the committee a summary of the roll-off containers, and the existing loan arrangements the towns have with WSWMD.
9. Update on Participating in CSWD Wage Study
Bob reported the CSWD has gotten no bids on the RFP for this study, and the CSWD is rebidding it. He said three districts, including WSWMD, submitted wage information to the CSWD. Once CSWD gets bids for the study, the Board of Supervisors can decide to participate—we are not obligated.
Michelle pointed out WSWMD has never conducted a wage study to compare ours with others in the area. A question arose about whether WSWMD is included on the state-wide wage analysis. Bob said that no school or solid waste district wages are included in that analysis.
10. Programs Manager Report:
Athena provided the Program Manager’s report.
Athena reviewed grant applications she worked on/is working on with Bob . WSWMD received a partial award of $500 to support a home composting demonstration site at WSWMD. Michelle asked for this to go on the website. WSWMD received another grant to support work with farm food scrap diversion. Athena and Bob applied to a large USDA grant to fund consistency in recycling messaging in WSWMD’s smaller towns—she will find out in May if WSWMD will get this funding.
Athena is planning for the springtime hazardous household waste (HHW) event. Athena applied for an infrastructure grant to establish a permanent HHW collection facility, which she detailed fully during the December 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting. WSWMD was awarded $16,300, which will cover WSWMD’s costs for the facility, said Athena. To help decide whether to establish the permanent HHW facility, Athena said she will prepare a budget analysis comparing the annual events and a permanent facility. A discussion ensued on this subject, including certification of staff, and whether a permanent on-site HHW collection facility will encourage more or less participation compared to continuing to hold annual HHW events. Bob noted the HHW events are hugely expensive and get the lowest participation of all WSWMD events. Bob commended Athena’s skill at getting grants awarded to WSWMD.
11. Executive Director Report:
Bob provided the Executive Director’s report.
Bob worked extensively with the Vernon Selectboard on an RFP for a municipal trash collection contract.
Bob met with the Putney Selectboard to help them address installing a recycling station to satisfy residents’ frequent requests for one. Bob noted this is expensive, and the Selectboard is looking at options.
Bob discussed the recent groundwater monitoring near WSWMD’s capped landfill. This monitoring happens twice each year, and the reports always come back clean.
Bob reported he recently gave Landmark College students a tour of WSWMD facilities.
Bob announced WSWMD is paying Evans Construction to install two catch basins and culverts near the Swap Shop to provide much needed drainage outside the building, at a cost of approximately $6,000. Bob noted the existing poor drainage adversely affects the Swap building and its contents.
Bob said he has started the process to amend the permit for the compost facility, upgrading it from a small- to a medium-sized facility, due to WSWMD receiving more organic materials. Patrick asked Bob if there were any increased operating costs associated with upgrading the composting facility. Bob replied he would bring comparative figures to the Board of Supervisors before proceeding with the permit amendment application. Bob said he is working with the state and an engineering firm to assess the facility, including doing a topographical study. Bob noted the composting facility brings in revenue to WSWMD.
12. Committee Reports
There were no committee reports.
13. Executive Session:
There was no executive session.
14. Other Business as Legally Allowed:
There was none.
MOTION: TO ADJOURN THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED. MOTION PASSED 12-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.