Broadband Committee
Town of Halifax, Vermont

August 13, 2014

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:33 pm at the town office. Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Jessica Bruno, Gretchen Becker, and Curtis Carroll. Jim Bialowski was also present.

Changes to the agenda: add discussion on open meeting law to new business, add community hall as business center to new business.

Hearing of Visitors
Bialowski has land in town and is looking to learn about projects in his area. Edwards advised that he should call Fairpoint as she believe some of his neighbors have service up to 15mbps.

Approval of Minutes
Becker made a motion to accept the minutes of the July 9, 2014 Regular Meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 4-0-0.

Becker made a motion to accept the broadband portion of the minutes of the July 15, 2014 Special Meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-1 (Carroll abstained).

Becker made a motion to accept the broadband portion of the minutes of the July 21, 2014 Special Meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-1 (Carroll abstained).

New Business

Open Meeting Law
Edwards attended a workshop that talked about the open meeting law and noted that we can only make additions/deletions to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. They also recommended moving hearing of visitors to the beginning of the meeting.

Community Hall as a Business Center
Becker proposed that the town could apply for grant money to potentially make part of the community hall a business center. The application deadline is September 23, 2014, but more grants will be awarded in the future. Becker suggested adding a question to the economic development survey to see if there is any interest in people renting space. There may be other facilities in town that could be converted to business centers. There were concerns about the age of the community center and the maintenance/repairs that may be required.

Old Business

Business Broadband Improvement Districts (BBID)
Thomas Hill District
Becker sent a list of businesses to Chris Campbell but he noted that the money had already been distributed to another project. Prior communications with the list of businesses the committee had at the time showed no interest. Edwards inquired whether we should try and update the list of Halifax businesses further.

Southwest Halifax District
Bruno is working with Chris Campbell and SVBC on a potential wireless service. She reported that a few properties were looked at on Aldrich Rd and McMillan Rd but were deemed unsuitable due to terrain issues. The next meeting of the SVBC will be 8/20/14 at 7:30pm at the Stamford firehouse (Bruno will attend).
Rte 112 Cell Project
Edwards reported that the town attorney reviewed the lease agreement and questions were sent to VTA about the lease term and rent. The timeline for the project is still unknown.

VTel Project Update
Edwards reported that she contacted the deputy clerk of the PSB who informed her that the PSB has not yet issued a decision regarding the application.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Promotion
Edwards reported that signs are up at the top and bottom of the hill. Edwards received training on management of the hotspot. She received an email when the hotspot goes down and has the ability to reconnect it through the online program dashboard. Last month 27 devices used the hotspot. There was a discussion about privacy and a blurb was put on the login screen to alert users that their activity is being monitored.

Economic Development Survey
The group discussed how to define economic development for purposes of the survey. Becker provided the following list of potential questions:
What would help? Broadband, Cell Service, Advertising/Publicity, Training: Internet, resume writing, bookkeeping, interview skills, business set-up, regulations/taxes, getting loans, employee/employer issues.
Are you interested in carpooling?
Are you interested in office space?
What are your priorities? Getting a job, starting/maintaining a business
Who are you? Artisans, farmers, contractors, home workers
How old are you?

Edwards noted that one of the regional projects was a job board for employers to post available jobs. Should we promote that on our website?

At the next meeting we should focus on projects we can actually carry through and come up with additional survey questions.

Edwards led a discussion on education- should we come up with ideas to get more students into college? The discussed networking and perhaps bringing students to various businesses to show them possibilities. Items we could add to the survey include making social networking work for you, or perhaps a workshop to help find money for college.
Meeting was closed at 8:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Jessica Bruno