Rep. Shaw will not seek re-election, he says to Pittsford SB


PITTSFORD—At the regular Selectboard meeting last Wednesday, State Representative Butch Shaw (Pittsford-Proctor) announced his decision not to seek re-election to another 2-year term in November.

“I still get tingles when I walk up to the Statehouse,” said Mr. Shaw. But, after 15 years representing Pittsford, this will be his last session in Montpelier. Shaw’s term will end in January 2025, when his successor is sworn in. 

Mr. Shaw stated that his age was a major factor in his decision not to seek re-election.

He expressed support for the candidacy of Alicia Malay, who is currently Chair of the Pittsford Selectbord. He said that over the past year he and Ms. Malay have discussed her running for his seat and that she will appear on the primary ballot in August. 

“We agree on more than we disagree on,” he said in reference to Ms. Malay. “She would be able to represent this community very well and I appreciate her stepping up to run.”

Pittsford Town Manager David Atherton thanked Mr. Shaw for his years of public service.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you in two towns,” said Mr. Atherton, who was formerly town manager in Brandon. “You’ll be missed.”

A longer conversation with Mr. Shaw will appear in this paper in the coming weeks.

The Board also discussed the imposition of fines on the owners of properties deemed health hazards. Three properties on Fire Hill Road were still not in compliance with town ordinances, said Pittsford Health Officer Rich Bowman, but the ordinance did not specify how much the town could fine the owners. Mr. Bowman proposed a fine structure of $50, $150, and $300 for initial and subsequent fines.

Board member Tom Hooker noted that the adoption of the fine structure would need to be an agenda item open to the public for discussion and so could not be resolved at that meeting.

“A lot of people don’t have that money,” said Mr. Bowman. “I’d rather see the money go to cleaning their places up, but people have to be held accountable.”

There was also mention of the use of state law to impact the driver’s licenses of non-compliant landowners, which Mr. Atherton said would be a “pretty good bartering tool” to compel compliance with town ordinances.

The Board moved on to the suggested purchase of an excavator, a topic which had been brought up at previous meetings. Mr. Atherton had provided the Board with quotes for new excavators from Townline Equipment, Bobcat, and G. Stone. The three quotes were $121,740.00, $134,111.12, and $110,298.43, respectively.

Vice-chair David Mills questioned the need to purchase a new excavator, given the infrequent use of rented excavators in the past and the hassle of transporting the equipment to work sites around town. Mr. Mills suggested that a backhoe might be preferable and requested that Mr. Atherton provide quotes on that type of machine as well.

Mr. Atherton explained that some jobs were beyond the scope of a backhoe and an excavator would be more efficient. He also explained that the capital replacement fund already had over $230,000 in it, which was sufficient to cover the purchase without requiring taxpayers to contribute any new revenue.

Board member Mark Winslow noted that taxes were still a raw topic for many in town and that the cost had to be considered, regardless of whether there were already funds available, though he also noted that the cost in the long run may be lowered by not necessarily choosing the cheapest machine.

Mr. Atherton noted that the town’s Grand List had increased by $8 million, indicating that the town’s tax base had increased significantly.

Mr. Mills stated that he felt that the Board was “being forced” to consider this purchase while in the past the head of the Highway Department would inform the Board whenever new equipment was necessary. 

“I’m just starting the conversation,” said Mr. Atherton.

Mr. Winslow added that it should be a purchase for the long term and that it would be prudent not to rush into it. No Board action was taken.

In his report to the Board, Mr. Atherton noted that Furnace Road at Route 7 had been reduced from 4 lanes to 2 and that the change was consistent with the plans for the Segment 2 project. The change had caught many town residents by surprise and sparked heated debate online, though Mr. Atherton stated that the change had made the traffic coming from the Police Academy flow more smoothly.

The town has received as $15,000 grant from from VTrans for drainage and ditching work on the town’s gravel roads.

An energy audit was performed on the Town Offices at the end of last year. The audit recommended changes to the building to improve energy efficiency. The changes included the transition from fossil-fuel heat to electric heat pumps and the installation of solar panels. The initial outlay was estimated to be $103,135, which would be recouped in energy savings over the course of the next 16 years. The results of the audit were presented to the Board in a lengthy report.

The Board’s last public agenda item was to approve a warrant for $107,100.79 to cover the town’s obligations and expenses.

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