Dummerston discusses ways to keep public informed

DUMMERSTON — The public can keep abreast of official notices at several locations around town, the Selectboard established at its Aug. 6 meeting.

Meeting warnings and agendas and the like will be on view at the Town Office, the West Dummerston post office on West Street, and Dummerston Elementary School.

At the meeting, Town Clerk Pam McFadden updated the group on the state's newly revised open meeting law, which sets out requirements for posting agendas and meeting minutes digitally and otherwise.

Among the law's requirements:

• Agendas must be finalized and posted at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, minutes must be available and posted within five days of a meeting, and agendas and minutes must be posted to the town website within these time limits.

• The law affects all town boards, commissions, and committees. The law generally applies whenever a majority of the members of a municipal board, council, commission, committee, or subcommittee have a conversation or make a decision about municipal business.

Some municipalities are working to accommodate themselves to the new rules, which give a year's wiggle room before $500 fines may be imposed for violations. Action taken at improperly warned or convened meetings are subject to challenge.

Townshend and Jamaica are two Windham County towns that have suspended their websites during this transition.

Selectboard Assistant Laurie Frechette also offered to post agendas and minutes to the website, dummerston.org. She asks officials that these materials be provided to her in a timely fashion.

The Selectbord noted Dummerston also will purchase a sandwich board to be used at the school during the summer to keep the public informed.

Rounding out the subject, the Selectboard is on record extending its thanks to Kevin Ryan “for agreeing to set up the website formats to make Laurie's life easier.”

Also Aug. 6, according to the draft minutes:

• The Board recognized Michelle Cherrier, who updated them on recent activities at the Windham Solid Waste Management District. She will keep the board apprised by emails between her visits.

• Jean Newell thanked the Selectboard and Road Foreman Lee Chamberlin for the new sign at the east end of the covered bridge. She also asked the board about the status of the questionnaire on the possibility of having the annual Town Report made available electronically instead of printed - or both, minutes show.

• According to Chamberlin, the town's one-ton truck has come in, and last week's Mine Safety and Health Administration inspection of the Renaud gravel pit went well. Later in the meeting, Claudia Teachman and Kelly McCue spoke of their ongoing concerns about the gravel pits.

• Chamberlin noted the Middle Road paving project is completed and white fog lines will be painted soon. He said he expected the state would paint yellow center lines there later this month. The Quarry Road project could begin in early September, he reported.

• The highway crew's uniform contract is up in mid September, and Chamberlin will gather quotes for the board before then, minutes show.

• No action was taken on a letter received from Sigrid Pickering regarding West River Trail and Rice Farm Road. This item was due back for a special meeting Aug. 20 which the zoning administrator, affected property owners, and the Friends of the West River Trail were invited to attend.

• The Board reviewed new correspondence from Eesha Williams regarding traffic on Middle Road. Zeke Goodband said he would contact the Windham County Sheriff's Department and ask them to patrol this area and park the speed cart at that site.

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