July 16, 2019

Charter Oct. 4 Meeting Minutes

DATE: 10-07-2016





Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm


Hartford Town Hall

171 Bridge Street

White River Junction, Vermont 05001



Present: Richard Grassi, Selectboard Chair; Rebecca White, Selectboard Vice-Chair; Simon Dennis, Selectboard Member; Dennis Brown, Selectboard Member; Alan Johnson, Selectboard Member; Mike Morris, Selectboard Member; Lori Dickerson, School Board of Directors Chair; Paula Nulty, School Board of Directors Clerk; Kevin Christie, School Board of Directors Member; Nancy Russell, School Board of Directors Member; Tom Debalsi, School Superintendent; Leo Pullar, Town Manager; Eliza LeBrun, Executive Assistant; Dawn Pullar, Lannie Collins, Russ Northern (sp)


Absent: Sandra Mariotti, Selectboard Clerk


  1. I.             Call to Order the First Public Hearing for Proposed Charter Amendments

Richard Grassi, Selectboard Chair; called the Selectboard meeting for the First Public Hearing for the proposed charter amendments to order at 7:02pm.


Lori Dickerson, School Board of Directors Chair; called the School board meeting for the First Public Hearing for the proposed charter amendments to order at 7:03pm.


Richard Grassi, Selectboard Chair; led the pledge.


  1. II.           Order of Agenda

There was no change to the order of agenda.


IV.      Selectboard and School Board of Directors


  1. 1.     Proposed Charter Amendments


  1. Shall the Town of Hartford and the Hartford Town School District amend the Town Charter to provide for the consideration of all budget adoption matters by Australian ballot? The effectiveness of this Article is conditioned upon the approval by both the Town and the Town School District.


  1. Shall the Charter of the Town of Hartford be amended to authorize the levy of a one percent (1%) rooms and meals/alcoholic beverages tax, the net proceeds of which to be deposited in a capital reserve fund until directed otherwise by vote of the Town. 


Selectboard Chair, Richard Grassi read the above proposed charter amendments. There were no public questions or comments.


Selectboard Member, Mike Morris asked for clarification on why these amendments were not approved by legislature previously. Mr. Grassi explained that the problem was that the language of the proposed amendments were not posted within the voting booths for voter reference during the Australian ballot vote.


School Board Member, Kevin Christie supported Mr. Grassi by stating that Secretary of State told him (Mr. Christie) that the language needed to be posted. Mr. Christie recommended considering printing the language in large print for easier reading in the voting booths.


Selectboard Chair, Richard Grassi stated that copies of the proposed amendment language will be posted in the voting booths and outside of them as well at the November 8, 2016 voting.


Mr. Russ North, Charter Review Committee Member recommended that the boards consider that they will be setting a precedent for how as future amendments would need to be handled by establishing how the current proposed amendments are handled/posted.


School Board of Director Chair, Lori Dickerson asked the boards if they felt that the changes should be highlighted. School Board of Directors Clerk, Paula Nulty pointed out that the issue was not the language, but the posting requirement, and perhaps highlighting would be unnecessary.


Selectboard Member, Alan Johnson felt that highlighting was a good idea as it is hard to locate the brackets, denoting deletions, within the text of the proposed amendments.


Mr. North reminded the boards that if they color coded these amendments, they would need to color code all future changes.


Mr. Leo Pullar, Town Manager; did confirm that the Town Hall has color copiers and printers. Mr. Pullar pointed out that the boards did not need to make a decision about color coding tonight. There will be a second public hearing on October 25, 2016 during which a final decision and motion can be made.


Discussion was held on how to educate the public on the reason for the revote of the same charter issue as was approved in March 2016. A suggestion was to place a joint ad in the paper explaining that the issue was procedural. A letter to the editor was also suggested as a means of notifying the public. The boards agreed that the letter to the editor was a good idea, Selectboard Vice-Chair, Rebecca White volunteered to write the letter and share it in draft form with the boards with the intention of bringing it to the meeting of October 25, 2016 for approval.


It was then suggested that perhaps some form of education should be presented to the public so that they were aware that there may also be additional changes happening in the coming Town and School Meeting cycle of 2017. School Board of Directors Member, Kevin Christie felt it was important that the Charter be considered a living document which will continue to need changes based on the changing needs of the Town as well as helping to create changes to the Town.


  1. 2.     Citizen, Selectboard Comments and Announcements:

There were no citizen comments.


Selectboard member, Simon Dennis spoke about a possible meeting of the Charter Committee on October 10, 2016 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm in the Hartford Town Hall, however, he needs to confirm this with the other committee members. Mr. Dennis stated that the purpose of that meeting will be to review the charge of the committee, elect officers, and create an outline/timeline process. Mr. Dennis indicated that meetings may be held as often as weekly.


  1. 3.     Future Meeting Dates
    1. Second Public Hearing for Proposed Charter Amendments 10/25/16 at a regularly scheduled Selectboard Meeting in the Hartford Town Hall
    2. Special Town Meeting Australian Ballot Vote November 8, 2016 at the Hartford High School Gymnasium


V.       Adjournment (Mot. Req.)

Mike Morris, Selectboard Member; made a motion to close the Selectboard meeting for the first public hearing for proposed charter amendments at 7:27pm. Dennis Brown, Selectboard Member seconded the motion. All 6 Selectboard Members voted in favor, 0 members voted nay, Sandra Mariotti, Selectboard Clerk; was not present to vote. The motion passed.


Kevin Christie, School Board of Directors Member; made a motion to close the School Board meeting for the first public hearing for proposed charter amendments at 7:28pm. Nancy Russell, School Board Member seconded the motion. All 4 School Board Members voted in favor, 0 members voted nay, 0 abstained. The motion passed.





            Richard Grassi, Selectboard Chair





            Lori Dickerson, School Board of Directors Chair