Office of the Broadband Committee
Town of Halifax
PO Box 127
West Halifax, Vermont 05358
Special Meeting Minutes
Approved: February 7, 2020
Date: Monday, January 31, 2020, 9am – 10:30am
Place: Town Office, 246 Branch Road
Attending: Cara Cheyette
(by phone) Tristan Roberts
Notes By: David Jones
Call to Order
Tristan Roberts called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
The agenda included reviews of three draft documents. Tristan suggested that we should focus primarily on the draft Town Report page, which had a February 6 submission deadline. David Jones said the other two documents were drafted to ensure that the Town Report document was consistent with the messages we will deliver to voters and to broadband survey respondents. The Committee agreed to defer detailed review of the other two documents.
David suggested we should include a review of the minutes from the January 20 meeting.
David also suggested that we should review a draft article for the Halifax News.
Draft Town Report Page
The Committee discussed and revised the draft Town Report page. The Town Report will be available to voters before Town Meeting on March 3 and the Informational Meeting that will precede it on February 24.
David introduced a suggestion from Stephan Chait that the lead paragraph should focus on the establishment of the committee in order to provide a foundation for the Committee’s report. The sense of the meeting was that the primary reason for reactivating the Broadband Committee was the inadequate options that Halifax residents have for Internet now; the Selectboard’s appointment of new Committee members was a responsive action; and therefore the lead paragraph should focus on the need for better Internet options.
Numerous other options for improving clarity were introduced by those attending, discussed, and decided upon. ACTIONS: Tristan will compile the agreed-upon revisions and additional edits into a new draft, which he will provide to Cara and David for further review and completion.
Draft Voter Recommendation
David said the document containing questions and answers about the Town Meeting vote on Article 3 was intended as a hand-out. The Committee discussed whether to limit the length of the hand-out to one page and agreed that condensing the content to one page would improve the likelihood that it would be read.
Cara said a recent letter about the CUD initiative in the Brattleboro Reformer suggests that we need to be ready for a broad variety of questions and points of view.
David said the handout was just one part of the overall communication to voters that we will need to coordinate. Tristan said we will make our presentation to voters the primary focus of the regular meeting scheduled for February 7.
David noted that the Committee’s next scheduled meeting after February 7 is February 24, the same day as the Informational Meeting.
ACTION: Committee members should provide to David and Cara additional input on the voter Q&A page. David and Cara will circulate the most recent draft by Thursday, February 6 for discussion on February 7. We will review the upcoming Committee meeting schedule in the February 7 meeting.
Draft Survey Instructions
David reported that the WRC has not yet provided a draft survey or the specific deadline for completing it but should get these at the upcoming February 6 WRC meeting. We discussed briefly the channels of communication to be used for distributing the survey and urging residents to complete it. Cara has previously compiled a list of residents’ email addresses. Bob Tree suggested the unofficial Halifax Facebook page could be another channel. Potentially, those who like or follow the page could be identified. David has obtained a copy of the Grand List and is improving the address format to support a mailing. ACTION: Bob will send a link to the unofficial Halifax Vermont web page.
Review Prior Meeting Minutes
Cara Cheyette said she wanted to suggest a change to the last paragraph in the Open Meeting Law section of the January 20 meeting notes. A motion to approve the minutes, including any revisions, will be considered at the next meeting. ACTIONS: Cara will provide the suggested revision before the next meeting.
Halifax News Article
David said he had drafted an article for the Halifax News but had not gotten any indication of whether it could run in the February issue. The sense of the meeting was that he should submit it.
Hearing of Visitors
There were no visitors.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was introduced by Cara, seconded by David, and approved by all present. The meeting adjourned at 10:40AM.