Monday, May 28, 2012

Meeting Minutes 3/7/2012

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST March 7, 2012, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield

Present:  Hannah Roditi, Chip Caton, Dale Bertoldi, Vikki Reski, Paula Jones, Vic Herson, Tamara Hochman

Next Land Trust Meeting:  March 25, at 52 Duncaster Road.  2- 4 P.M. Board members only (Capacity Building project, if ready); 5 -6 P.M.  Regular Land Trust meeting

  1. Tami met with Patrick Sullivan.  D&O quote is $1,610.  We are getting additional quotes, but will accept this policy to have coverage.  We would renew in October, so if we decide to change carriers, we would get a pro-rata premium refund.  While we were discussing insurance, Hannah noted that the Senior Center in Bloomfield allows groups to use the facility provided they have sufficient insurance.  This was noted in the event we would consider holding future meetings in a public venue.
  2. The Land Trust has been offered another ¼ acre parcel which abuts a ¼ acre parcel we already own (off of Blue Hills Ave.).  We will verify that all the taxes are paid.  The vote to accept the parcel was unanimous.
  3. The rest of the meeting was facilitated by Hannah Roditi; topic was the capacity building project.  Hannah will summarize results.

Meeting Minutes 2/19/2012

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST February 19, 2012, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield

Present:  Hannah Roditi, Kevin Gough, Chip Caton, Dale Bertoldi, Vikki Reski, Paula Jones, David Mann, Sharon Mann, Tamara Hochman

1)      Fundraising Projects –

d.      Stouts’ Fields:  The NRCS appraisal came in at $5,000 (per acre) over the agreed upon price.  This information was relayed to John Stout.  John has offered to mow and maintain the fields, which led to a discussion about stewardship of the property.  We agreed that both John Stout and Pat Sullivan would be good candidates for stewards.  The suggestion was made to approach them both and to also ask them to develop an estimate for a stewardship fund for the property.

e.       Hawk Hill/LaSalette Trail:  discussion deferred; grant being worked on.

f.       Lisa Lane:  Funds are available to close, leaving a stewardship fund of approximately $18,000.  The current owner is working on resolution of the septic system problem.

g.      Thrall: 

                                                                          i.      Barn Grant – We can expect a decision on the CT Trust for Historic Preservation Barn Grant in late March/early April.  This grant would provide $5,000 of the cost of replacing the south side of the potato barn roof (cost estimated at $15,000.)

                                                                        ii.      Farmland Restoration Grant - The organic vegetable farmer who is interested in leasing the property to set up a CSA model farm is applying for a Farmland Restoration grant.  Paula is providing information to help her with the application.  She is applying for matching funds for land clearing, soil amendment, and well drilling.  WLT would be paying for some of the costs, as would the farmer.

                                                                      iii.      A new grant is available for barn repairs.  It is co-sponsored by The 1772 Foundation and The CT Trust for Historic Preservation.  Up to $15,000 is available in matching funds for exterior painting, security & fire detection, roof, porch, window restoration, and sill and foundation repair/replacement.  Letters of inquiry are due no later than April 1st; there will be a screening process, with final applicants having to submit materials by June 1st. 

                                                                      iv.      Upcoming meeting with Town of Windsor – Paula will be scheduling a meeting with Town staff.  Paula and Vikki will update them on our plans, including clearing about 6 acres.  We are putting a package together for that meeting.

                                                                        v.      Kevin, Paula, Vikki, the farmer, Jiff Martin, and Kip Kolesinskas met in January to start discussions about crafting a lease for the property.  As a result of that meeting, we and the farmer submitted lists of terms we’d like included in a letter of intent (and ultimately in a lease.)  Jiff Martin is facilitating the process.  The letter of intent has to be included as part of the Farmland Restoration Grant application.  Jiff is targeting completion of the letter of intent by around March 1st.

                                                                      vi.      The Board ultimately approved a motion to clear all 6 acres of Thrall assuming funds are available, and to proceed in good faith with negotiating a lease with the interested farmer.  The subgroup working on Thrall (Kevin, Paula, Vikki, Dale) will come back to the Board with updates on lease progress.  Good progress is being made, but there are still some key open questions to be resolved.  Regarding the Farmland Restoration Grant,  the question was asked whether we could apply for matching funds for the well, and ultimately not use them, should another option for water be preferable (e.g., using the farm pond, installing a water tank of some kind, hooking up with MDC).  Paula will work with the farmer to get that question answered.  There was also discussion around which infrastructure improvements WLT should be paying for – specifically wiring the potato barn (since the barn could be used without electricity by a farmer not pursuing a CSA model.)  These key questions need to be resolved quickly for the benefit of the farmer and the Land Trust.

2)      Special Projects –

h.      CCLC Challenge Grant –

                                                                          i.      Following our Organizational assessment, $6,000 remains from this grant.  Hannah has drafted a revised work plan to re-submit to the grantor for approval.  This revised plan was e-mailed to the Board on Friday, the 17th.  The Board approved a motion to accept the revised work plan, and Chip offered to contact the Land Trust Alliance to get approval of the revised plan.  The Board then approved a second motion to hire Hannah to execute the plan, contingent on written confirmation from the grantor that they are agreeable.  During the Organizational Assessment with Sharon Danofsky, we had talked possible conflict of interest situations (e.g. would Hannah doing the work be viewed as favoring a WLT “insider”.)  After reviewing the facts around the grant application, the Board agreed that hiring Hannah to do the work is not a conflict of interest, since the original grant application (for $10,000) specifically indicated she would be doing the work, and the grantor was agreeable.  It was the grantor who imposed the additional condition that we first complete an Organizational Assessment, which Hannah then participated in.

                                                                        ii.      Next steps:  Chip, Tami, Vikki, and Dale (schedule permitting), and Hannah will meet at Tami’s on February 28th from noon to 2 PM to do prep work as preparatory for our next full Board Meeting.  That meeting will be March 5th from 6 to 9 PM at 52 Duncaster Road to develop the Campaign Plan.  Bring a dish to share.

4)      Committee Reports –

i.        Financial:  The Financial Committee will meet at a time that works for all members.  Prime near-term objective is to develop a budget.  WLT will use GAAP accounting for its “official” published financials.  Other worksheets can be used internally for planning and ongoing project management.

Next Board Meeting:  March 5, 6 – 9 PM, at 52 Duncaster Road.

Meeting Minutes 1/26/2012

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST January 26, 2012, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield

Present:  Hannah Roditi, Vic Herson, Kevin Gough, Chip Caton, Dale Bertoldi, Vikki Reski, Paula Jones

1)      Organizational Report-out by Sharon Danofsky – Those in attendance reviewed the draft report Sharon Danofsky had prepared following the Organizational Assessment Retreat in December.  Sharon is going to make a number of changes and additions to the draft report, based on our discussion.  She will also provide some sample documents from other land trusts (mainly Danbury) that could be helpful to us.  Once we have the final report, next steps would be the following:  i) Vote to adopt the recommendations from the assessment in a subsequent Board meeting; ii) Assign Committees to begin working on implementing changes.  Committees would be responsible for recommending priorities, and setting up a staging plan (e.g., year 1, year 2, year 3 actions.); iii) Develop a template that committees would use to report out progress against the staging plan at Board meetings. 

2)      Fundraising Projects – Hawk Hill - Board members in attendance voted in favor of asking the Town Council to budget funds (estimated at $130,000) to acquire the Hawk Hill property.  An opportunity has arisen to purchase and to seek grant funding to help purchase this property.  The Board’s vote in favor was contingent on two conditions:  i) receipt of a letter of intent to sell the property from the landowners, and ii) receipt of a pledge letter for some significant amount towards the purchase price.

Meeting Minutes 10/27/2011

WINTONBURY LAND TRUST October 27, 2011, 52 Duncaster Road, Bloomfield

Present:  Vic Herson, Claudia Bell, Hannah Roditi, Kevin Gough, Chip Caton, Tamara Hochman, Vikki Reski, Paula Jones

  1. Special Projects

a.       The Board interviewed Sharon Danosky, President of Danosky & Associates (D&A), as the finalist consultant being considered for the Land Trust organizational assessment that is part of the CCLC development grant.  Sharon described the assessment process and answered questions.  Key steps in the assessment process would include:  Land Trust document review, Board members pairing up to complete a workbook survey, Compilation of survey results by D&A, Holding a “Retreat” session to review results and develop strategy, D&A to compile and present Retreat results/Plan, D&A to provide a 6-month follow-up. 

Following Sharon’s presentation, the Board voted unanimously to hire D&A to perform the assessment.  Sharon would e-mail Chip Caton 2 – 3 references.  Four were established to do the workbook survey:  (1) Dale Bertoldi & Kevin Gough, (2) Paula Jones & Chip Caton, (3) Hannah Roditi, Tamara Hochman & Diane Mack, (4) Claudia Bell, Vic Herson, & Vikki Reski. 

The following timeline was established:  (1) Complete workbook surveys by November 15th (Paula Jones to receive, distribute, collect, and return workbooks from/to D&A), (2) Hold Retreat at Hannah Roditi’s on December 4th (December 11th as snow date), (3) D&A report out Thursday, January 12th at 7 P.M.

b.      Lisa Lane Family Fun Fair September 10th had excellent attendance thanks to all the volunteer help.  See the blog for more detail.  Thank you letters were written by Lois Hager, Diane Mack, and Vikki Reski.

2.      Special Election

a.       Tamara Hochman stepped down as Treasurer.  Chip Caton thanked her for her years of service as Treasurer on behalf of the Land Trust.  Vikki Reski was appointed as interim Treasurer.

b.      Vikki Reski stepped down as Secretary.  Paula Jones was appointed as Secretary.

3.      Fundraising Projects

a.       We are still awaiting appraisal of Stout Fields for the NRCS grant.  Chip reported that the Stouts have provided all the necessary paperwork to NRCS. 

b.      Lisa Lane update:  Lois Hager is working with the DEEP; Diane Mack is working with the Town of Bloomfield. The deed is being reviewed – there are a couple of areas of minor encroachment that need to be addressed.  The owners’ paperwork with NCRS, and an appraiser has walked the land in order to do a new appraisal.  The town will own the land; WLT will own the conservation easement.  We need to develop a management plan; WLT will be responsible for making sure the Town adheres to that plan. 

c.       Paula and Vikki reported on the Thrall property.  They had a productive meeting updating the Town of Windsor staff on evolving plans to establish a CSA.  The farmer who is interested in the property has submitted a business plan, and a meeting is scheduled with the farmer, Jiff Martin (UConn Extension Service), and Kip Kolesinskas (NRCS).  The Board approved the expenditure of $75 to join the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation; we are applying for a Barn Grant from the Trust, and membership in the CT Trust is a requirement to apply for grants. 

  1. Committee Reports

a.       Membership:  Hannah’s research beginning after consultant work.

b.      Stewardship:  CL&P – Capewell Greene planting to be done this fall.

c.       Grants:  Paula reported that the pre-application paperwork for the CT Trust Barn Grant is due December 1st.  She will submit that paperwork, as well as the $75 membership fee.

d.      Financial:  Financials on quick books or excel.  CLCC Effective Financial Management Workshop on Saturday, November 19th, 2011, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

e.       Marketing:  Dunlandwood garden club presentation on Nov 2nd at 7:00 pm at Cheryl Fox’s house.  Possible future presentations:  Rotary Club of Boomfield, Duncaster, Seabury, Town Council.

f.       Board members and committee posts:  nothing additional reported

  1. New Business:  The Board agreed that Tami should apply for a quote on D&O insurance.  Tami will work on the location of the holiday party.  She indicated she is willing to host again, but will approach another Board member to gauge interest in hosting. 
  2. Next Meeting Date:  November 29th, 7:00 pm at 52 Duncaster Road.
  3. Adjourn