Draft August Minutes


Cathy Mander-Adams Belvidere           Dana Sweet Cambridge
Adrian Owens Craftsbury                     David Whitcomb Eden
Absent Elmore                                      Absent Hyde Park
Phil Wilson Johnson                             Charles Cooley Morristown
Willie Noyes Stowe                               Howard Duchacek Waterville
Richard Lee Wolcott                            Carl Witke Worcester

Susan Alexander District Manager

Donna Griffiths Clerk

Chair Willie Noyes called the meeting to order at 6:31 pm.

There was none.

Willie asked why the board doesn’t have to approve the agenda. David said it is a good idea for the board to approve the agenda but it doesn’t have to be done. David and Susan said the board can omit an item or add something like a report, but can’t add an action item. Willie said the board can’t act on anything that is not on the agenda. (Cathy arrived at 6:23.)

David moved and Dana seconded to approve the minutes of July 11, 2017. The motion was passed unanimously.

a. Approve June 2017 Financial Reports
Susan said the report shows the unaudited end of fiscal year balance. Once the audit has been completed we will move money from the operating account into the capital fund. We don’t put money in the capital fund until we know we will end the year with enough money to fund it. We make a $40K contribution each year if we end the year with enough funds. We recently moved money from the operating account into the sweep account because the account is only federally insured up to certain amount. Anything above that gets moved into the sweep account. We ended the year with a good net income.

Willie asked if the end of year balance includes the large grant for composting. Susan said no; that is a reimbursement grant. They will match 40% of what we pay.

Cathy asked about how to interpret the information on the profit and loss report. Susan explained the figures and noted that there are some redundant lines. Cathy also pointed out that the columns don’t line up. Susan said she can have Joyce clean up the report to make it easier to read.

Adrian moved and Richard seconded to accept the June 2017 financial reports. The motion was passed unanimously.

Dana asked, net income for FY 2017 was $112K? Susan said yes. Dana asked, do we want to lower our fees? Other board members said we may need the money for the compost program.

Dana asked if there is a limit to how much profit we can make. Susan said no. We do not actually make a profit. Net income is not shared among board members or staff.

Willie said our payroll will increase due to wage increases we needed to make to get employees. Charles said our health insurance costs will increase.

Susan said net income is different from profit. Our expenses were $112K less than income. The $112K goes into our bank account so we can be assured we have funds for any accounts receivable and will be able to cover closure fees, vacation time, etc. if we need to close. We want to have 3-6 months’ operating budget in our account if possible. We have some projects coming up that we will need to pay for.

Howard said we can also consider funding the capital budget for farther into the future.

Susan said we got a letter from Lamoille County Food Share thanking us for our donation. We split the income from unredeemed bottles between them and United Way.

Cathy said she sees a lot of redeemable bottles go into recycling in Johnson, where there is no collection for them.

Charles said he thinks Phil Scott should try to get a change so that anything not redeemed goes to the state, not the bottling company. Susan said there have been a couple of efforts to secure that money in the last couple of years but they didn’t go anywhere.

Willie asked if a lot of districts do bottle redemption. Susan said no; we are the only one in the state that does it. We bring in $112K from bottle redemption and our expenses for it are $58K. What we bring in pays for our employee who handles redemption and their health insurance, so it is net neutral. It is a service. When we are short staffed bottle redemption at Stowe is the first thing we close.

Cathy said it is too bad there is no collection of redeemable bottles at Johnson. She is sure more people would separate out redeemable items if there was a place to donate them at the transfer station.

Charles said collection is complicated. There are 20 or 30 containers at Stowe that redeemable items are sorted into. Susan said we get paid extra to do the sorting. Willie said we need to do an analysis to see if the extra money we get is worth the extra work of sorting. Susan said we can look into whether we want to continue sorting. James was also going to find out if they would let us keep a tally rather than keeping the items in separate bins. If we wanted to do redemption at Johnson we would have to have a covered area. If someone wants to set up a donation barrel there they just have to fill out the paperwork. We don’t actively advertise the opportunity to set up a donation barrel.

Susan said she thinks we donate about $6-7K over a year to the two organizations we have chosen. The board could choose to donate to someone else. These two have been longstanding recipients of our donations. Cathy asked if any organization could request donations. Susan said yes. It would have to be approved by the board.
b. Ratification of check register
Dana moved and Carl seconded to ratify the check register. The motion was passed unanimously.
c. Pre-Payment Authorizations for Large Checks
Richard moved and Phil seconded to authorize pending payments in the amount of $15,025.63. The motion was passed unanimously.

Susan said we have all approvals and permits for the compost facility. We have feedstocks on site. We are still looking for some manure. We anticipate the facility will open in 2 to 3 more weeks. The wheel loader was delivered last week. Part of our grant funds will be applied to that purchase. We are sending 3 employees to required compost training – Chris, who is being re-trained, and 2 more employees who will be able to work there when he is on vacation, etc.

Elly has been working on outreach materials. Every household will get a postcard before we officially open the compost facility. We will give away 100 buckets with lockable lids to the first people who claim them.

We have already started collecting organics at a few facilities. It has been slow so far. Until our facility is up and running organics are being picked up by Black Dirt Farm in Stannard. We anticipate taking only residential organics for a few months and then we will see if we want to offer it to small restaurants, Johnson State College, etc.

Susan said we have been talking for a long time about having access to the Stowe Electric facility. It looks like there is a real opportunity for us at this point. The electric department is building its own office and depot and they anticipate being out of that building by July to September of 2018. They approached Willie and she has met with them about transitioning that building to us. She is getting conflicting messages about who owns the land. It looks like we would pay rent, perhaps by providing in kind services, rather than making an outright purchase. They are looking to make it available at an affordable rate. Being able to use that building would prevent neighbor issues we might have if someone else were using it. It also would allow us to expand our services. Maybe we could put in a baler and move our offices there. Some of our net income may go toward work on that building. If we put offices there or put in a baler, we would have to spend some money. Susan said it looks like having access to this building will be in our near future. She suggested that we be thinking about how we want to use it.

Willie asked if Chris has made arrangements for fuel delivery to the composting facility. Susan said yes. We bought a tank and a pump. It will be inside the building so it doesn’t have to have a dam but we will have a plastic bin for containment.

Dana asked if we can we have the electric building for nothing. Susan said that is where she would start negotiating.

Howard asked if it is empty. Susan said not now. They are still using it for vehicles and storage. It has vehicle bays and storage, a small break room, and one office. It is not handicapped-accessible.

Susan said the Eden upgrade will probably happen in another month. The old shed with a leaking roof will be replaced and we will put in another box. We may reuse the old shed at another facility.

There was discussion recently on Front Porch Forum about facility closures. For at least 18 months we have been running with less than a full bench due to people leaving and injuries. Last Saturday an employee called in sick in the morning. There was no way to release information to the public about the resulting closure with such late notice. In 8 months we have closed a facility 5 times. The recent closure at Morrisville was unannounced and was the second time the facility was closed in 5 or 6 months. Some disappointed customers voiced opinions on Front Porch Forum. Susan didn’t continue the discussion on Front Porch Forum, but emailed all the people who were dissatisfied. Now they understand and feel much better. We are improving our signs so if we have a closure all available options will be listed. Susan also wrote a letter to the editor because there was a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do. She wanted to clarify that we are not supported by tax dollars.

Charles said he got just one call about the recent closure. Jeff Foss was happy about it because his business doubled. There are other options for Morrisville residents in nearby towns and some have haulers pick up their trash. We don’t get that much tonnage at Morrisville. He doesn’t see the closure as a crisis.

Susan said we advertised again for part time help and raised the starting hourly rate, which has a ripple effect on existing employees. Everyone will get an increase. Full time employees will get a shift differential for weekend work as well. We recently hired 2 people. That will bring us to the bare bones number we need to have. We are still looking for more. We also put out an ad for full time people. Susan recently had a compensation study done to make sure our wages were appropriate. According to that, we were right where we needed to be, but we still weren’t attracting the people we needed.

There will be another household hazardous waste collection on September 23 in Jeffersonville, the last one of the year.

We need to amend our Solid Waste Implementation Plan to include our compost facility. A public meeting is required to amend the plan and that will occur at the next regular board meeting.

Cathy moved and Dana seconded to adjourn. The motion was passed unanimously.

Chair Willie Noyes adjourned the meeting at 7:23 PM.

Respectfully submitted,


Donna Griffiths, District Clerk Date

Willie Noyes, Chair Date