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Conservation Commission Minutes, 01.26.2023

Conservation_Minutes_1.26.2023  Draft

Attending via Zoom: Linda Hecker, Linda Lembke, Susan Bonthron, Steve Soszynski, Anne Montgomery, Karen Murphy
Not attending: Bill Jewell, Marli Rabinowitz, Bevan Quinn

Public: Patti Smith

Meeting called to order at 5 PM. 

NRI inventory
Patti Smith gave us a report of her NRI inventory. She presented the report as a screen share so that we could have a close look at her findings. It is a well laid out document accompanied with maps, charts, and photos. The GCC will be including an introductory statement. The inventory will be digital and allow for further additions as they occur. It also includes conservation considerations which are not only helpful for the future of our natural heritage but also align in many ways with the town plan.

Next steps include working with a web designer to add the report to the town web site. 

The minutes from January 19 were unanimously accepted.

Planning for Winterfest on February 12
The GCC has participated in this Recreation Commission event for the past few years and as long as there is snow will this year as well. Anne Montgomery will lead a snowshoe hike. Snowshoes from the library will be available.

We discussed an upcoming presentation that Sam Schneski will give in Dummerston on a new conservation category in the Current Use Program. This allows landowners participating in the program to set aside acreage for old growth forest regeneration. We will communicate with Sam about presenting this program in Guilford in March or April.

Emerald Ash Borer
The EAB has been identified in Guilford. The GCC has done a complete ash tree inventory in Guilford and distributed educational materials about the insect. The commission will be investigating whether there are any new recommendations to add to the ones already listed.

The next meeting is February 16.

Respectfully submitted,
Karen Murphy, Clerk   
Guilford Conservation Commission

Energy Committee Minutes, 01.26.2023

Town of Guilford
Energy Committee Meeting Notes

6:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

Call to order: 6:07
Energy Committee Members Present: Nancy, Gary, Anne, Jen (absent Chris)
Recognition of Public: none

Updates & Discussion:

Member Updates– General

Goodbye and thanks to Jen? 

!! Moving out of town to Pennsylvania . .. all ready! Leaving sometime between May and August. We’re sorry to see you go. We’ll expect you to remain on the committee via Zoom and remote advocacy!-) Jen will be here at least until our April meeting. Jen is still on board until her departure to continue working with us on projects/initiatives that are in the pipeline or vaguely on the horizon.

E-Bikes grant & project

In the absence of Chris, several questions remain. Apparently, EBike rental won’t notably impact the Town’s liability insurance. But this is unclear. Open questions as to purchasing bikes and where to store them. Chris has apparently reached out to Brooks library and spoke with Tony Duncan (Bratt. Energy Committee). We will hopefully get updates from him on what he found.

Legislative update

Ann listened in on a presentation from the Vermont Legislature with VPIRG presenting information on clean energy initiatives in the State, but doesn’t have specific details to relay. Possibly some information on transportation alternatives and Clean Energy standards, in part regarding New England states needing to increase their development of in-State renewable resources. Vermont is lagging in this metric. Ann will send a link to the presentation for those who want to listen to it. It’s apparently a very interesting presentation.

Act 172 is a State program. Municipal Energy Resilience Grant Program. Needs a Guilford resident to represent (as a contact) for applications. Not sure if this Act has passed the legislative process at this point. Nancy will keep a pulse on the status and progress of this opportunity.

Window Dressers- Plans for 2023 Build

Nancy has requested a “build” time period for early October 2023. 

WD requests that towns attempt to provide their own subsidies in order for WD to continue to afford providing some free inserts.

Nancy tried to organize a February build in association with HATCH Space. Hatch was going to provide the space as well as a few of their own volunteers to help out. They also were anticipating developing the own set of jigs for the build process.

   New England Grassroots Environmental Grant (GROW) – $1,700

ARPA Grant ($1,000) specifically for subsiding the library inserts.

Finally, another grant for the E-Bikes ($2,179) was awarded by the    Vermont Council for Rural Development, Climate Catalyst Innovation fund.

Other business:

Jen:  Mini-grants to be distributed to Towns and want them to be distributed by Town Meeting Day 2023. $4,000 for education and audits for town’s municipal facilities. (Jen’s more detailed notes are in Addendum at end of minutes)

Ann: VNRC has a program for an on-line presentation hosted by VCAN for a community -led resilient hubs. It will occur 12:00 on Wednesday, February 1st. Here’s a link for more information:

Schedule Next Meeting: Thursday February 23, 2023

Close of Meeting: Meeting adjourned at 6:51 

Addendum: Notes from webinars attended by Jen regarding Act 172 and transportion initiatives

From: Jennifer McDuffie <>
Date: Wed, Dec 14, 2022 at 6:54 PM
Subject: Re: You’re invited: 2022 VECAN Conference
To: Sara Coffey <>
Cc: Nancy Detra <>, Ann Zimmerman <>, Thayer Tomlinson <>

Hi all,

I attended the two webinars I said I would. Here are a few notes. If I got anything wrong – everyone talked so fast and used so many acronyms! – please, correct me. 🙂

Tuesday: Act 172 Speakers were Senator Sibilia, Commissioner Fitch, BGS Program Manager Brian Sewell, and Bennington RPC member Jim Sullivan

1. This act is about making municipal buildings more efficient with the exception of schools. (That’s OK for us. Guilford doesn’t own the elementary school anyway.)

2. There are grants from BGS (Department of Buildings & Services) Matches are not required

3. MERP is Municipal Energy Resilience Program and totals 45 million in one-time funding. 

4. MELP is Municipal Energy Loan Program and totals 2.8 million in revolving loan funds

5. Goals are:

* to have municipalities do energy audits on all buildings. If an audit has already been done, they (BGS) will do an “audit light” based on how old the audit is and how extensive it was. 

* to provide up to $4000/municipality for education (what IS energy efficiency, what does it look like in our town, etc.)

 * to provide up to $500,000/municipality for energy resilience projects

6. Timeline is complete assessments by 1/15/24, BUT: have grants obligated by 12/31/24 BUT THEY WANT THE $4000 MINI_GRANTS DISTRIBUTED BY TOWN MEETING DAY 2023!!! expend grants by 12/31/26

7. towns are encouraged to work with their RPC to do audits, fill out grant aps; RPC will then coordinate with BGS & Efficiency VT

8. the state is prioritizing areas with the highest energy burden and the lowest resources (I was not sure what this meant but there was a map with each county (?) shaded according to where it fell on this)

9. money applies only to existing buildings NOT the construction of new buildings (like the new library wing we want 🙁  )

Wednesday, Transportation – I did not follow this as closely because most of the speakers directed their comments toward places much larger than Guildford that already had at least some infrastructure in place. Listening to them, I felt like I was back in Durham talking about places as big as Burlington, Middlebury, etc. 

However, they talked about 4 areas:

1. Community Assessment (Transportation Surveys) 

2. Zoning (which doesn’t exist in Guilford, but they greatly encouraged towns to zone for land use)

3. Multimodal Transportation Planning, which doesn’t really apply to us either

4. Microtransit, which MIGHT apply to us (the “town van” idea) the presenter gave the example of a service started in Windsor (3600 people in 20 sq mi and has the local hospital)

I asked WHAT from all of this might apply to a town as small and rural as ours (about half the density of  Windsor spread over twice the area) and the suggestion was a Transportation Survey for what that is worth.

Hope folks find any of that helpful!


Notice for the 2023 Guilford Pre-Town Meeting

Thursday, 23 February 2023, 6:30 pm, 3940 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT

Residents of Guilford are hereby warned that the Selectboard of the Town of Guilford will hold a public, informational Pre-Town Meeting event via Zoom on Thursday, 23rd February 2023 at 6:30 PM. This meeting is a collaboration between the Guilford Selectboard and the Broad Brook Grange to discuss the Articles on the 2023 Town Meeting Warning. Participants will also hear an update from Representative Coffey, as well as other speakers and updates. 

BCTV will live-stream this gathering. It is not a hybrid meeting.
Residents are invited to gather in person.

2023 Pre-Town Meeting Agenda

  1. Call to Order
  1. Recognition of Public
  1. Reading of the Articles for 2023 Town Meeting

ARTICLE 1:      To elect a Moderator for the ensuing year.

ARTICLE 2:    To hear the report of the Town Auditors.

ARTICLE 3:      To hear the report of the Library Trustees (22 V.S.A., § 144).

ARTICLE 4:      To elect the following officers: Trustee of Public Funds (1), Grand Jurors (2), Library Trustee (1), and Cemetery Commissioner (1).

ARTICLE 5:      Shall the Town vote to approve Highway Fund expenditures in the amount of $1,041,439.00 for fiscal year July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024, for which revenues will be raised through taxes and other sources (17 V.S.A. § 2664)?

ARTICLE 6:      Shall the Town vote to approve General Fund expenditures in the amount of $881,701.00 for the fiscal year July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024, for which revenues will be raised through taxes and other sources (17 V.S.A. § 2664)?

ARTICLE 7:      Shall the Town vote to continue membership in the Windham Regional Commission and raise and appropriate the sum of $5,428.00 to defray the Town’s share of its expense[1] ?

ARTICLE 8:      Shall the Town vote to authorize the Selectboard to appoint a Municipal Treasurer per 17 V.S.A. §§ 2651e(a), 2651f(a)?

ARTICLE 9:      Shall the Town vote to approve to raise and appropriate the sum of $3,000.00 for Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont (HCRS) (24 V.S.A. § 2691)?

ARTICLE 10:   Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $258,450.00 for the GuilfordVolunteer Fire Department[2] ?       

ARTICLE 11:   Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $35,000.00 for the Guilford Volunteer Fire Department CapitalSinking Fund[3] .

ARTICLE 12: Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $27,393.00 for the following Human Service Organizations, pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2691?

Youth Services…………………………………….. $  1,605.00

Women’s Freedom Center………………………… $  1,000.00

Groundworks Collaborative………………………. $  1,000.00

Visiting Nurse & Hospice for VT and NH……… $  6,300.00

Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).…… $     485.00

Senior Solutions…………………………………… $     850.00  

Brattleboro Area Hospice………………………… $     300.00

Gathering Place…………………………………… $     500.00

Brattleboro Senior Meals..………………………… $     350.00

SE.VT Economic Dev. Strategies (SeVEDS)…… $  6,363.00 

AIDS Project of Southern VT…………………….. $     350.00

Connecticut River Transit………………………… $     250.00

SEVCA………………………………………………………… $  2,040.00

Guilford Cares…………………………………………….. $  6,000.00

  1. Other Business
  1. State Representative Sara Coffey
  1. Town Candidate Introductions
  1. WSESD Board
  1. Guilford Central School Advisory Board
  1. Adjournment

03-07-2023 Guilford Town Meeting Warning.pdf


Selectboard Minutes, 01.25.2023

Wednesday, 25 January 2023, 6:30 pm, 236 School Road, Guilford, VT 05301

Meeting by Zoom due to dangerous weather conditions.

SELECTBOARD MEMBERS PRESENT by ZOOM: Zon Eastes, Chair, Michael Becker, Rusty Marine, Verandah Porche, Richard Wizansky

OFFICIALS/ STAFF PRESENT by ZOOM:  Sheila Morse (Interim Town Administrator)

PRESENT via Zoom: Richard and/or Patrice Pennington, Chad Kaminski, Cathi Wilken, Jaime Durham, Deborah Allbright, Don McLean, Steve Lembke, Barry Aleshnik, Chip Carter, Sheila Adams, Karen Murphy, Linda Hay, Jason Herron, Tosha Tillman, Diane Wrinn, Bob Audette, Rick Zamore, Jethro Eaton, James Haine, Anna Klein, Virginia Fleet, Nancy Detra, Marty Ramsburg, Tammy Sargent

  1. Call to Order 6:32 pm
  1. Rules of Procedure
  1. New Business: Acknowledge Receipt of and Respond to Petition for Australian Ballot  
    1. ACTION Michael moved and Richard seconded to reject the petition for inclusion in the 2023 Town Meeting. The vote was by Roll Call.  Zon, Verandah, Michael, and Richard were in favor. Rusty abstained. None were opposed. Motion carried.
    2. For the record, the wording of the petition and the response from Vermont League of Cities and Towns are attached.
    3. Zon invited the petitiones  to continue conversation with the Selectboard. 
  1. Actions Taken (see above)
  1. Actions to be Taken – the petitioners have been invited to discuss the matter further with the Selectboard.
  1. Adjournment
    • ACTION: Richard moved to adjourn. Verandah seconded. All were in favor. None were opposed. None abstained. Motion carried. Meeting was adjourned at 6:56 p.m.

Meeting video:

Next Selectboard Meeting: Monday, 13 February 2023 at 6:30 p.m.  

Zon Eastes, Chair _____________________________________

Michael Becker _____________________________________

Rusty Marine _____________________________________

Verandah Porche _____________________________________

Richard Wizansky ____________________________________

The Town Clerk was presented with a petition for Australian Ballot for Town Meeting 2023.

The Town Clerk received and certified the petition prior to 5 p.m. Thursday, 1/19.
The petition reads as follows:
“Petition for Guilford’s 2023 Town Meeting Australian Ballot
We the undersigned Legal Voters of the Town of Guilford, Vermont, hereby direct the Guilford Selectboard to place the following question on the 2023 Town Meeting Australian Ballot:
The present longtime, Guilford Elected Town Treasurer who has also served as the Elected Town Clerk and the Delinquent Tax Collector is retiring in March of 2023. Therefore, shall the Guilford Voters allocate sufficient monies and direct the Guilford Elected Town Auditors to solicit bids to engage and assist with the performance of an external audit of ALL Guilford Town Monies and Funds as a safeguard for the past and future elected government persons?”

The Selectboard contacted Vermont League of Cities and Towns for advice about next steps.. Their legal advice is:

  1. Because the town votes by floor vote for everything besides election of town officers, such a petition can’t force the use of the Australian ballot for this type of article. The only way towns can use Australian ballot voting is by voting at a previous town meeting to use Australian ballot vote for other types of articles (such as public question and budget articles, which this article is a bit of a mashup of). So this question cannot be presented to voters by Australian Ballot. (emphasis added)
  1. This is not the type of petition the selectboard is compelled to place on the warning, instead of an Australian Ballot. See our voter-backed petition FAQs: Specifically see:
    1. Can the voters petition for any kind of article?  “Yes, but a selectboard is not legally required to honor a voter-backed petition unless it deals with a matter over which the town voters have been given explicit authority in statute. Some examples of such authority include:
      1. making social service appropriations pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2691;
      2. voting to repeal the business property tax pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 3849;
      3. voting to authorize the selectboard to hire a town manager pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1241
      4. voting to disapprove a town ordinance that has recently been adopted by the selectboard pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1973.
      5. In some towns, a governance charter gives additional authority to voters. Guilford does not have a charter.”
  1. If a voter-backed petition does not deal with a matter over which the town voters have been given authority in statute the selectboard may choose how to respond to that petition, including refusing to place it on the town warning or placing it under the non-binding, advisory section of the warning. A town is under no legal obligation to warn a vote on a matter that is “frivolous, useless or unlawful” or is not “within the province of the town meeting to grant or refuse through its vote.” (emphasis added)  Royalton Taxpayers v. Wassmandsdorf, 260 A.2d. 203 (1969).
  2. Under state law it is allowable for voters to petition to have the selectboard employ a CPA to perform an annual audit under 24 VAS section 1690. But that article requires specific language. See (the language is: “To see if the [city, town, or village] will vote to instruct the [legislative body] to employ a certified public accountant or public accountant licensed in this State, to perform an annual financial audit of all funds of the [city, town, or village].”).
  3. There’s also nothing in state law that allows the voters to compel – even by petition – the selectboard to have the auditors be the authority to solicit and hire the auditing firm. The selectboard is the body that hires the auditing firm. (emphasis added)

The Town has employed an independent, professional audit firm with specific expertise in municipal finances for about the past 15 years. The decision to do so was taken after discovery of financial errors which had compounded over time in earlier years. Each year since 2007 or 2008 the Town has satisfied professional audit requirements. Safeguarding the security of Town funds and monies has been and continues to be a priority of all elected officials.

Energy Committee Agenda, 01.26.2023

Town of Guilford Energy Committee Meeting Agenda
6:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023


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Call to order: 

Energy Committee Members Present

Recognition of Public: 

Updates & Discussion:

Member Updates– General

  • Goodbye and thanks to Jen?
  • E-Bikes grant & project
  • Legislative update

Window Dressers- Plans for 2023 Build

  • New England Grassroots Environmental Grant
  • ARPA grant & library window inserts project
  • February 2023 trial collaboration with HatchSpace project cancelled

Schedule Next Meeting: Thursday February 23, 2023

Close of Meeting

Conversation Commission Minutes, 01.19.2023

Conservation_Minutes – 1.19.2023  Draft

Attending: Linda Hecker, Linda Lembke, Marli Rabinowitz, Steve Soszynski, Anne Montgomery, Karen Murphy

Regional Meeting of Conservation Groups arranged by Margo Ghia from the WRC on January 19 at 6:30 via Zoom. 

Presentation: Climate Change and Land Use

Presenters: Ann Jarda from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Taylor Newton Regional Planning Program Manager

Conservation Commissions attending: Guilford, Halifax, Westminster, Rockingham, Londonderry, Whitingham, Dummerston

Meeting adjourned at 7:00.

Restfully submitted, 
Karen Murphy, Clerk
Guilford Conservation Commission

Conservation Commission Agenda, 01.26.2023

Conservation Commission Special Meeting Agenda

January 26, 2023: 5:00 pm via zoom

The Guilford Conservation Commission is holding a special extra meeting in January, following our participation in a joint regional meeting last week on our regularly scheduled third Thursday of the month. This meeting will focus on working with naturalist Patti Smith on next steps for the Natural Resource Inventory which she conducted.  Note the early start time (5:00 pm) to accommodate Patti who is currently in a different time zone.


  • Patti Smith: content and format for online version of Natural Resource Inventory
  • Planning for Winterfest snowshoe walk: Feb 12 with Recreation Commission
  • Planning for Sam Schneski presentation on new statewide tools for woodlot management 
  • Discuss presentation from Windham Regional Commission on Land Use Planning for Climate Change: prepare feedback
  • Emerald Ash Borer in Guilford: what’s next?
  • Other business

Zoom Log in

If phone log in is available it will be circulated before the meeting begins.

Cemetery Commission Minutes, 01.19.2023

Thursday 19 January 2023 11 am Town Office

Cemetery commissioners present:
Nancy Detra, Eric Morse, Kyle Holmquist-Parker, Verandah Porche, Carol Schnabel

Member of the Public present:
Barry Aleshnick

Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 11 am.

Approval of Minutes:
The minutes from November were approved as submitted.

New Business:

Commission contact list- Carol went over the contact list to make sure it is correct- she will resend it to everyone.  

Insurance- Verandah will check back on that.

Burial plots at Carpenter Cemetery-  Eric and Carol met with 2 Guilford residents who are interested in buying burial plots at Carpenter Cemetery.  They made a plan to meet again in the spring to choose a spot.  The interested party also sent Eric a follow-up email with information about Green Burials.  Carol will forward that to all of the commissioners.  We talked about inviting Rodney Bell to an onsite visit to Carpenter Cemetery in the spring to discuss interments, equipment used, etc.

Flag Count- Carol received a call that said we did not have the correct number of flags needed for the West Guilford Cemetery.  The people from that group will try to get us a more up-to-date count.  Carol will ask Penny how many flags we still have in storage at the Town Office.  We discussed having a work day in the spring where we cut and paint PVC pipe to use as holders for flags.  If those are in place it would make it much easier to find the graves that need flags.  Kyle will look into the PVC pipes.  We discussed how to get a more accurate list of who the veterans are that are buried in Guilford- Carol will look at the Guilford History book.  It was suggested that Dick Clark might know how to find this out.  

Christ Church Cemetery- Barry Aleshnick came to get some suggestions and up-date us on how things are going there.  They have gotten new trustees since he last was in touch with us and the Board is working on fundraising, which is good news.   Barry’s concern is that there are a lot of jobs that he does that no one else knows how to do and none of his trustees has the time to be his back-up.  We brainstormed with Barry and hopefully that was a help for him.  We spoke about having a liaison from their group to ours.  

Town Meeting-  We will decide at our February meeting who will nominate from the floor the commissioner who is up for re-election in March.

Old Business:

Brochure- Nancy brought a revised mock-up for our brochure.  Some edits were proposed.  Eric will get a good map of the cemeteries in Guilford from Jeff Nugent.  Nancy will work on finalizing the layout for our approval.  We discussed reviewing the brochure on a regular basis (every three years or so) to make any up-dates that might be needed.  

Maplehurst- A Guilford resident is looking into buying a burial plot there.

Cemetery signs- Kyle will try to get us mock-ups for February so we can choose what we prefer.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:38 pm


Selectboard Agenda, 01.25.2023

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 6:30 p.m., 236 School Road, Guilford, VT

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  1. Call to Order  (ESTIMATED Time)
  1. Rules of Procedure (2 minutes)
  1. New Business  (15 minutes)
    1. Acknowledge receipt of and Respond to petition for Australian Ballot article      
  1. Action Taken
  1. Actions to be Taken

6. Adjournment

Selectboard Agenda, 01.23.2023

Monday, 23 January 2023, 6:30 p..m., 236 School Road, Guilford, VT

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  1. Call to Order  (ESTIMATED Time)
  1. Rules of Procedure (2 minutes)
  1. Welcoming of Public     Community Comment Period (10 minutes)
  1. Changes to Agenda Order (2 minutes)
  1. Approval of Minutes (2 minutes)
    1. Minutes of the regular meeting of 01.09.23 
  1. Updates & Reports
    1. Highway (5 minutes)
  1. Old Business
    1. GVFD – Town of Guilford MoU for Capital Sinking Fund (5 minutes)
    2. GVFD – ARPA funds (2 Minutes)
  1. New Business  
    1. Appointment of Republicans to BCA (5 minutes)
    2. FY23 Payment for Health Officer (5 minutes)
    3. Contract with BCTV to film pre-Town Meeting (2minutes)
    4. Liquor License Application – Guilford Country Store dba Broad Brook House (5 minutes)
    5. Approve 003 – General and 009 – Highway FY2024 budgets for presentation to voters at Town Meeting 2023 (10 minutes)
    6. Approve Public Notice for Town Meeting 2023 (Warrant with articles) (10 minutes)
    7. Tentative – revised Selectboard Rules of Procedure; for SB meetings and all commission and committee meetings being held in the public (10 minutes)
    8. Tentative – revised Personnel Policy (10 minutes)
    9. Tentative – revised Procurement of Goods and Services Policy (10 minutes)
  1. Finance  (5 minutes)
  2. Warrants      
Payroll – WE 01.15.23$25,458.42
Payroll – WE 01.08.23$
Expense Warrant #2213$39,533.19
  1. Other Business
  2. Communications
    1. WRC webinars on Electricity in Vermont
  3. Actions from Previous Meeting – GVFD – Town of Guilford MoU
  4. Action Taken
  5. Actions to be Taken
  6. Adjournment