March 24, 2021

By SOPHIA BUCKLEY- CLEMENT

PROCTOR — The Proctor Select Board revealed during the March 8 meeting that there was a $19,000 cost overrun of the Beaver Pond trail redesign after a resident raised concerns about it bisecting his property.

The original trail design was meant to bisect resident Frank Beyette’s property. During a dispute at a public hearing over the summer, however, Beyette claimed he had never approved any plans.

“We’ve come to a resolution on this, which is to bring it (the trail) up along the edge of his property — it’s still on the

property, but it doesn’t split [it]. Long story short of this is that redesign and all that additional time was not budgeted,” said Town Manager Greg Maggard.

The town had received a grant for the Beaver Pond trail when architects at VHB first took on the project last spring, however, the cost of the first design used up most of that funding. The redesign is currently over bud- get by about $19,000, a number that some select board members strongly disagreed with.

“It just seems odd that they came up with this plan and [be- cause] they didn’t have approval, we’re footing the bill now for $20,000 more because they’ve

got to redesign it,” said Select Board member Judy Frasier. “So why would they even give us this plan and move forward without Frank’s approval?”

When asked exactly what happened on VHB’s end to cause such a financial discrepancy, Maggard responded that it was simply a miscommunication.

“I think that the people of the town and our design people had thought that there was approval, but I don’t think Frank ever — in his head — had ever approved it,” Maggard said.

The board asked VHB for a total estimate of all engineering costs related to the project.

REORGANIZATION

The meeting was the first following Town Meeting and the board reorganized and appointed town officials.

Judy Frazier nominated Carrie Covey for select board chair. The motion was seconded by Tom Hogan and unanimously approved. Tom Hogan nominated Frazier as vice-chair. The motion was seconded by Covey, and unanimously approved. Frazier appointed the Proctor Select Board as Board of Water Com- missioners. The motion was seconded by Bruce Baccei and unanimously approved.

Hogan appointed the Proctor Select Board as the Board

of Sewer Commissioners. The motion was seconded by Frazier and unanimously approved.

All positions were uncontested and unanimously approved, however, some titles will likely be dissolved in the coming year.

Positions including fence viewer and inspector of lumber, Maggard said, are outdated and “just there as a title for some- body who might want to have it.”

“I don’t know what a fence viewer does, but I know it probably wouldn’t hold up in court,” Hogan said with a chuckle.

Historically, fence viewers have resolved fence-related disputes — that is, where a fence should be placed according to property lines. Maggard agreed to look into town official positions and consolidate where necessary.

Recent issues with the town’s accounting software, NEMRC, also arose during the board’s review of the year’s bills. Certain line items, such as “water electricity usage,” “lab testing,” “treatment plant repair,” and “pump station repair,” all read zero — not reflecting actual expenditures.

Ultimately, Maggard said it was simply a “user error” that caused the spreadsheet malfunction and as of March 22, all select board orders have been signed and approved by the board.

IN OTHER NEWS:

The town of Proctor is roughly $13,000 under budget on salt this year. Maggard credits this to the town having gotten “a good deal” from their new salt distributor.

The board discussed an incident involving Highway Department laborers nicking a Green Mountain Power telephone pole during

the last snow event. The board has no knowledge of any insurance claims being led by GMP.

The board disputed over the removal of junk cars from the town of Proctor after a recent sweep of abandoned vehicles was unsuccessful in removing all vehicles. Select Board Chair Covey said she noticing several junk cars still on proper- ties around town. Maggard will provide the list of junk cars at the next select board meeting to determine which vehicles still need to be removed.

Editor’s note: Sophia Buckley-Clement is an intern and journalism student at Castleton State University.