Quiet Thunder at Derby Town Board Meeting

DERBY - The atmosphere heated up only mildly at the Derby Select Board meeting Monday, perhaps due to the sheriff standing just outside the door but making his presence known. The weather outside complimented the mood perfectly with thunder rumblings heard in the distance – audible but mild.An unidentified member of the select board asked Sheriff Kirk Martin to stop by, select board chair Brian Smith said in an interview Tuesday. Emotions had run high at several of the last meetings over a number of issues including concerns over the Derby Line Ambulance, which was an agenda item once again.Roger Gosselin, formerly of the Derby Line Ambulance, and Nathan Pickard have attended a number of meetings to express their concerns over the ambulance service. They made accusations and statements that at one meeting almost led to a fist fight. Gosselin and Pickard were at the meeting Monday but, when the ambulance service was brought up, they sat quietly, saying nothing.Select board members Steve Gendreau and Beula-Jean Shattuck had attended an ambulance meeting to ask questions and discuss concerns raised by Pickard and Gosselin over how the service conducts business, provides services, spends money, and if it provides all it should to the community. Gendreau and Shattuck said they were satisfied with the answers they received. Smith said he would feel more comfortable, and thinks some others would as well, if an audit was conducted. Gendreau said they could ask for a financial statement, but then all those who receive town funds might also have to provide financial statements. Smith said the issue would be discussed again.The select board voted unanimously to amend the zoning bylaw on adult-oriented businesses to a conditional use, which will now only be allowed in the industrial or industrial/commercial area of town.The town is still considering amending the bylaw on setback regulations.Town lister Sue Best was present to discuss corrections to the grand list. IROC has to be added back at the full rate. IROC has enjoyed a 50 percent reduction in property taxes over the last two years as approved by the Vermont Legislature. That exemption has now expired.According to the lister’s office, IROC property is valued at $2,092,500. Last year its taxes were $21,141.58, according to the town clerk’s office. The new tax amount is not yet determined.Things started heating up when assistant town clerk and delinquent tax collector Mary Ann Tetreault sat down at the table and read a letter she wrote about her job. She was on the agenda for an executive session, but said she wanted to read her letter in open session. She said she feels she is being treated unfairly, possibly because voters elected her as delinquent tax collector over her boss, town clerk Nicole Daigle. She also said her hours were cut recently. Tetreault eyes began filling with tears. Many in the audience complained and called it possible retaliation and questioned Daigle’s actions. Daigle was not present to respond to the accusations.Select board members listened and reminded the crowd that the town clerk is elected and given an operating budget to run her office as she sees fit.