by Gazette Staff
GREENSBORO – At its November 8 regular meeting, the Greensboro Select Board reviewed a budget request for the fire department, got an update on the library’s programs, and discussed whether to hold next year’s town meeting at Lakeview School or the Highland Center for the Arts.
During the opening discussion of public concerns, Naomi Ranz-Schleifer asked for an update on the Rural Edge project to convert the town hall into housing. Board chair Peter Romans said that there is nothing to report at this time. It was noted that some believe that the project is unlikely to move forward without the community wastewater system.
Also under public concerns, Brenden Beer asked what the process would be to create a new library structured as a non-profit municipal entity. The objective is that this new entity would form a partnership with the OSSU to turn Lakeview School into a magnet school. It appears that the creation of this new municipal entity would need to be approved by voters at a town meeting.
Board member David Kelley noted that Greensboro voters no longer control Lakeview School directly, with Mountain View School Board now being the controlling authority. The voters of Greensboro, Hardwick, and Woodbury collectively make decisions about the future of Lakeview School. Greensboro could vote to create the new public entity, but this would not accomplish anything other than expressing sentiment. Beer said that such an expression of sentiment could be the beginning of a conversation with the larger school board. He noted that he has communicated with the Mountain View School Board about this idea.
Fire department (GFD) Chief Dave Brochu Jr. said that he has not been able to attend many select board meetings this past year due to his busy schedule, but that moving forward either he or another member of the fire department will attend. He added that GFD has been very busy this summer, with 26 alarms since February 1, and extra work flushing culverts for Greensboro and Stannard after the July flood. Chief Brochu also said that he is getting quotes for two more SCBA tanks and a compressor, and asked the board to consider this expenditure as budget planning for FY2025 continues. He reported that previously approved electrical upgrades at the new firehouse are underway.
Library trustee Beth Meacham and Liz Steel gave the board an update on program activities. The library is taking part in the Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP). There have been productive discussions with area towns about pooling resources on energy resilience and conservation education. Upcoming projects at the library will serve as examples to the community on ways to weatherize an old building and make it more energy efficient. An energy assessment of the library has been completed, with a report expected in February. The town can apply for up to $500,000 in implementation grants to address needs indicated in the report.
Meacham added that the library is badly in need of gutters for the health of both the building and patrons. Due in part to poor drainage around the building, there have been mold issues in the basement. While remediation work will be completed soon, the mold problems may crop up again and gutters would divert a large amount of water away from the foundation. She received two estimates and would like to use Worth’s Seamless Rain Gutters at a cost of $12,629. She requested that the board approve this request as soon as possible so the work can be scheduled.
The next agenda item addressed the location of the 2024 Town Meeting. Erika Karp, Ila Hunt, and Judy Carpenter spoke regarding a petition submitted to the town with over 100 signatures, proposing to hold the 2024 Town Meeting at Lakeview School.
Board chair Romans asked whether those who signed the petition understand that Greensboro voters no longer make decisions about the school’s future by themselves. Karp felt that some know and others may not, but highlighting the role of the school in the community would make holding town meeting there worthwhile. Board member David Kelley said that while he cares deeply about the school, the Highland Center for the Arts (HCA) is simply a better venue for town meeting. Board member Ellen Celnik agreed, saying there is likely better air filtration at the HCA, as well as more parking.
An initial motion to hold the 2024 Town Meeting at Lakeview School did not carry. After further discussion, a second vote approved the motion. Gary Circosta, Peter Romans, and Eric Hanson voted in favor; Ellen Celnik and David Kelley voted nay. Board chair Peter Romans, who abstained in the first vote, said that while he did not fully agree with moving town meeting to the school, his vote in favor was an acknowledgement of all those who signed the petition.
The road foreman report noted that a lot of behind-the-scenes administrative work is being done by the town with assistance from FEMA representatives. This work will continue well into next year and likely beyond.
The first pass of paving on Bend Road is done, with the final coat to be completed in the next few weeks. Small areas of Cemetery Ridge Road are also being paved, repairing places where the road was torn up to replace culverts impacted by the July flooding.
Next, Treasurer Brett Stanciu reviewed the treasurer’s monthly report, the FY24 budget report, and the October check warrant reports. She noted that delinquent taxes are down this year at $104,000. The Porter Brook Bridge was not damaged in the July flood and is not eligible for FEMA funding. The job cost $459,000.
The town received $200,000 in state grants for the project and had budgeted a $25,000 grant match in FY24, leaving a balance of $234,000. After consulting with the town’s auditor, the board decided to pay this remaining balance from the Capital Fund. In an article on the 2024 town meeting warning, the board will request that the voters approve replenishing the Capital Fund with $234,000 from the General Fund balance.
Budget meetings for FY25 are ongoing and open to the public, held Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.