OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES
JULY 20, 2021
CALL TO ORDER:
Sumner called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM. Selectboard members present were Lewis Sumner, Peter Silverberg, Bradley Rafus, Tristan Roberts, & Cara Cheyette. Also present either in person or remote were Tina Blais, Ray Combs, Stephan Chait, Davis Jones, Paul Blais, Robbin Gabriel, Linda Lyons, & Peggy Rafus.
CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
Sumner added the signing of the Treasurers report to the agenda.
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
Roberts made a motion to approve the minutes from June 1, 2021 SB meeting as written. Rafus 2nd the motion. Cheyette pointed out some typo errors that needed to be corrected. Blais said that she would correct them and get a copy to the board before posting so they could be reviewed. Motion Passed 5-0.
Cheyette made a motion to accept the minutes of June 8, 2021 as written. Sumner 2nd. Motion passed 5-0.
Roberts made a motion to accept the minutes of June 29, 2021 as written. Rafus seconded the motion.
Cheyette suggested a couple of modification. Chait made a correction as to dates that he had stated. Motion passed 5-0.
Roberts made a motion to approve the July 6, 2021 meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion. Cheyette stated that they were problematic and a little muddled. Roberts suggests putting off approving the minutes until Cheyette & Blais can meet to discuss changes. Roberts and Sumner withdrew their motions.
Cheyette made a motion for the SB to go back to meeting two times a month, the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM. With special meetings as necessary. Marilou Parkhurst (by phone) stated that they were having a very hard time hearing, asked if people could speak louder and also asked who was attending the meeting. Silverberg listed the people in attendance and tried to accommodate the issue with the sound. Blais asked if Silverberg could see who was in attendance on the meeting screen, Silverberg stated no and Blais asked if they were taking people on their honor as to who was on the phone. Silverberg stated that they don’t check ID’s anyway… The Board returned to the motion of meeting twice a month. Motion passed 5-0.
Cheyette made a motion to keep using a form of remote meetings for a while longer. Rafus would like to give it a time frame such as 30 or 60 days so that the residents would know and expect when remote meetings would stop. Roberts had some questions about the technology and it failing. Discussion followed. Paul Blais talked about Roberts Rules and what is required of a meeting now that the state of Emergency guidelines have been lifted. Peggy Rafus stated that she has some concerns about the remote meetings not working. She stated that when you are at home listening the meetings it is very hard to hear. She suggests that if you’re going to offer remote meetings they should be run by a professional with quality equipment. She also feels that the Selectboard should not be responsible for running the remote option. They should have all their attention focused on the meeting discussion. More discussion followed. Cheyette feels as though it can be managed. Combs Commented that he feels as though the meetings should be in person and face to face. Jones reported that he was both listening in by phone and by computer. For him the computer was coming in clearer and louder than the phone. He feels that the suggestion that Paul Blais made into the technical options for better, more appropriate equipment would help make the remote sessions a success. Paul Blais asked if the SB has one work meeting a month when they have bi-monthly meetings or are they both agenda items. Sumner states that they are both agenda items. Blais also said he would be willing to run the equipment for one meeting a month as long as the SB ran the meeting, he would not be able to do two meetings a month. Sumner suggests that the Board take the next couple weeks to look into different options. Discussion followed about equipment and software and different options. Rafus asked how many remote participants were on tonight. Silverberg stated that there were 2 on the computer and 4 on the phone. Cheyette was wondering where the money came from that they were paying Blais to run the meetings. It was explained that it was grant money that was specific for COVID expenses, and it was depleted now. Blais explained that they had all the equipment that they needed. The conference phone that he was using belongs to the town. Roberts made a motion to have the next meeting remote and in person with more discussion about remote options at that time. Cheyette 2nd the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Roberts made a motion as follow to recognize the Town of Halifax’ essential workers.
- The Selectboard of the Town of Halifax commends all essential workers and volunteers in the town for their valuable public service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Selectboard of the Town of Halifax recognizes that many individuals have played and continue to play a role in keeping the residents of Halifax and surrounding towns safe, and keeping our roads, schools, and essential services open and running during this period. This commendation includes, but is not limited to: the road foreman and crew; school staff, administrators, and teachers; the Halifax Fire Company; the town clerk and those working in the town office; all those residing in Halifax who work or volunteer in essential services for Halifax and other towns; and all those residing outside of Halifax who have served our residents. The Halifax Selectboard commends all residents in town who lent a hand to neighbors in need during this difficult time.
- The Selectboard of the Town of Halifax resolves to mail commendation letters to town employees, the Halifax Fire Company, and other essential workers in recognition of their service.
- The Selectboard of the Town of Halifax recommends residents of the town to join the entire town in remembering and appreciating our essential workers, and those we have lost, at appropriate services and celebrations throughout 2021 and 2022. This includes, but is not limited to, the Halifax Celebration Committee.
Roberts states that he will draft a letter that would go to all town essential workers and would like Sumner to sign it. He will reach out to Patricia Dow & Tina Blais for further input as to people who should receive it. Sumner 2nd the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Roberts gave an update on DVFiber. They are announcing that the town should have fiber up in the next 2 years. Discussion ensued as to the funding and procedures that might be put in place so that fiber reaches every house if they want it. There will be no tax money needed for this project.
Lewis made a motion to sign the Windham Humane Society annual contract.
Silverberg discussed the transcript that he took with his phone at the last meeting and asked if it was helpful or not. Tina Blais stated that along with the recording it did help with writing the meeting minutes although the transcript was not perfect and could not be relied on, on its own.
The meeting lost its remote access at 8:05 PM. and was not able to reconnect so the SB tabled the agenda item; Conflict of Interest Policy, until next meeting. The people that were on remote listening were contacted to let them know what was going on.
HEARING OF VISITORS:
Chait gave an update on the Composting Workshop and the flyer on Beavers from the Conservation Commission.
Combs raised concerns about the tents that have been erected on the side of the river on Branch water. He has some concerns about gray water entering the brook. He is also concerned about the new shed right on the river on the other side of the road.
The board entered executive session at 8:30 PM and came out of executive session at 8:59 PM with no decisions made.
Sumner made a motion to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Rafus 2nd. The motion passed 5-0.
Secretary to the Selectboard