by Doug McClure
WOLCOTT – It was confirmed by select board chair Linda Martin at the September 1 meeting that road foreman Dillon Cafferky had resigned. The reason was an unsigned letter that was distributed throughout Wolcott, but not sent directly to the select board.
The first paragraph of the letter reads, “we are paying higher and higher taxes, our roads are a mess, and our road crew is inexperienced, over paid [sic], and actually go over budget.”
Martin said, “[Dillon is] leaving on the grounds of stress and negativity. He said this letter was the icing on the cake. He’s tried his hardest, put his whole heart into the town, but he can’t do it anymore.” She added, “I’m in shock.”
Road crew member Chan Judd called the letter “terrible” and “uncalled for.” He said, “We take care of these roads good. I don’t know who wrote it, I don’t care, but I hope they move. Dillon showed me quite a bit. We’re experienced [now]. I would love to have this person in my plow truck when it’s snowing, on icy roads on East Hill.”
Town clerk Belinda Clegg, speaking in this case as a resident, said she did care who penned the letter. “I would like to ask my select board members if they had anything to do with this letter. I’d like to ask the board as a whole do any of you know who wrote the letter. There’s stuff in there that indicates they have been at all the meetings, and that they do not feel that all the select board members are participating. I just want to understand why that person would not sign their name if they truly believe these things. I just wondered how the select board feels they’re going to deal with this.”
She was referring to a part of the letter that reads “There are projects that are only going to raise our taxes again such as the Waste Water Systems. What kind of businesses are we going to attract and where will they be located in Wolcott? If businesses had the intention of being here, they would have done so already. Projects like purchasing forestland for trails and events. Who will pay the money for this? AND why do we need to spend money on this when we have the Rail Trail? What else is going on behind our backs that is being funded by our tax dollars and grants that we rarely ever hear about or see how they are being used?”
That paragraph references multiple projects that have been discussed at board meetings with no public in attendance in most cases. The board is hosting a public event on September 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to present those projects because the public does not attend meetings.
Martin, vice chair Kurt Klein, and member Richard Lee all said they did not have any idea who wrote the letter. Member Kurt Billings was also present, but said nothing.
Martin said, “the damage has been done. The saddest part is it crushed Dillon enough to resign.”
Klein said, “my feeling is, we have to counter it with facts,” he said. “There’s this misconception the taxes have gone up when actually they went down.”
Lee called the letter “despicable and not accurate.”
Clegg wanted residents to know that “If anybody has any questions about the tax rate or the taxes for this year, I am happy to take your calls” at the town clerk’s office (802-888-2746 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
With winter just around the corner and no road foreman, Martin said, “We know we’re in a mess.”
Klein said, “we need to move forward [with advertising the position] very quickly. This letter was extremely destructive.”
Lucien Gravel, formerly roads commissioner, was present and reminded the board that at least one project Cafferky had been working on had an imminent deadline, and Wolcott might get fined for not completing the work.
The board also had to address another project Cafferky had been working on, leasing a replacement truck for Truck 13 that Klein said “has been forever a problem.”
Klein said he had received a quote for a seven-year lease from Clark’s Truck Center of Jericho, and the quote was under municipal lease terms.
He said, “There was one truck [available], and it’s gone. These things are nonexistent. We can enter into an order for the next build. The delivery would be April.”
The yearly amount would be approximately $31,000, but the board putting its name on the list for one of the upcoming ten trucks being built would not commit it to a specific action. “My proposal based on this is the board consider signing the proposal, and there’s a truck with Wolcott’s name on it.”
Gravel said he would not recommend the board sign a seven-year lease if a five-year one were possible. He said trucks such as this wear out quickly, and part of the problem is there’s no water at the garage to wash off the trucks with after routes, so corroding salt builds up. “[The truck is] a wear item,” he said.
Klein said, “I think that’s the best plan is to move forward with this with the caveat that we will research the five-year and if there is a five-year, we will go with that. If there isn’t, then we’ve made the decision.”