Board considers auditor choice: Contest crowns Shelburne’s 2019 cat and dog of the year

LISA SCAGLIOTTI
Correspondent

A white and tan tabby cat named Charlie and a chocolate lab named Sienna will serve as Shelburne’s cat and dog of the year after a drawing at Tuesday’s selectboard meeting.

The board also decided to move slowly on its choice of accounting firm to audit town financial statements this year and tabled until its next meeting a 25-year net-metering power agreement in conjunction with the new library construction project.

In what’s become a light-hearted annual ceremony, Town Clerk Diana Vachon brought to the board meeting baskets with the names of each cat and dog licensed this year by Shelburne pet owners.

She explained that when she became clerk in 2016, she wanted to encourage residents to license their pets to comply with state and local regulations. Several companies contribute prizes of pet food and products that go to the winners of the cat and dog drawing and the pets are featured on the town website.

Michael Major, attending the meeting for a nomination to the development review board, volunteered to draw the names. The cat winner was Charlie, a beige and white 1-year-old male tabby belonging to Jeanne Irwin. Sienna, a 5-year-old female chocolate lab belonging to Chris and Mary Boyd, was the dog winner. Vachon said she will post photos of the pets once the owners were notified.

April 1 is the deadline to register dogs and cats that are three months and older. After the deadline, fees increase to $18 for spayed and neutered animals and $24 for un-neutered pets.

The board’s longest discussion ended with it holding off on continuing to retain Montpelier accounting firm Sullivan Powers & Co. to handle the town’s financial audit. Finance Director Peter Frankenberg explained that the current contract may be extended for two more years at a cost of $23,700 for the 2018-19 audit and $24,400 for 2019-20.

Sullivan Powers has audited the town’s financial statements for the past four years, Frankenberg said. And while it’s the most thorough firm the town has used for this work, it does charge for extra items, he explained, such as auditing a specific one-time project. The next audit likely will need extra work to review the finances for the ongoing sewer line project which is funded with federal grants exceeding $750,000, the amount that triggers its own audit, Frankenberg said. That would likely add $5,000 to this year’s audit, he said.

The board discussed how often it should seek competitive bids for an auditor. Frankenberg agreed that it is good practice to seek bids after several years. The board asked Frankenberg to see if Sullivan Powers might renew its contract for just one year with an eye toward seeking bids for next year’s work. If not, the board said it may seek bids this year.

Pierson Library Trustee Chair Ruth Hagerman gave a short update on the library and Town Hall construction project. Materials for the exterior cladding have arrived and will begin to be added to the new structure. The exterior of the Town Hall portion was washed last week as well, she said.

Hagerman briefly described how the new entry into the library section will be larger than in the original library in order to comply with accessibility regulations. The result will be a space that could have a variety of uses, she said.

Four new streets were ready for naming this week. The board approved names for roads in the new housing development along Spear Street by Snyder Homes: Caspian Lane, Elmore Street, Willoughby Lane and Carmi Drive. Each refers to a Vermont lake.

The board unanimously made several appointments to town boards and committees:

  • Michael Schramm, an environmental engineer, was appointed to the Natural Resources and Conservation Committee. Schramm also serves on the Stormwater Advisory Committee.
  • Lauren Giannullo was appointed to the Historic Preservation and Design Review Committee. Giannullo recently stepped down from the development review board. A credentialed historic preservation specialist, she replaces Dorothea Penard who has served on the committee for more than 25 years. Selectboard member Jaime Heins noted Penard’s long tenure with the committee.
  • Anne Bentley and Major were appointed to the development review board. Although neither works in real estate development, both said they have an interest in community service and are eager to learn the details of the board’s role.

Bentley works in health care technology and leads an organization that promotes women in executive health care positions. Major has had a long career in law enforcement, recently as a deputy Chittenden County sheriff. His community service includes Shelburne Rescue and many years volunteering with the Boy Scouts. He also noted experience in property management and small construction projects.

The board approved grant applications for an automated external defibrillator device for the town beach and town offices and for a specialized camera to be used to inspect sewer lines.

Recreation Director Betsy Cieplicki will apply for $2,000 for the AED from the Shelburne, Charlotte, Hinesburg Interfaith Project. Water Quality Superintendent Chris Robinson will seek a $5,000 grant from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund grant program; it would go toward an estimated $12,000 camera purchase.

There was some discussion of planning an annual retreat meeting for the selectboard, but no date was chosen. The retreat serves as a time for the board to discuss topics it will work on for the coming year. Board Chair Jerry Storey noted that would be a public meeting.

Just before adjourning, the board acted as the Liquor Commission and approved licenses for the Kwini Club and the Shelburne Gift Company.

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