Office of the Broadband Committee
Town of Halifax
PO Box 127
West Halifax, Vermont 05358
Approved: March 16, 2020
Date: Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00-10:15AM
Place: Town Office, 246 Branch Road
Attending: Tristan Roberts
Edie Edwards (visitor)
Notes By: David Jones
Call To Order
Tristan Roberts called the meeting to order at 9:00AM.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Review and Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Tristan Roberts moved to approve the minutes of the February 7 meeting. Stephan Chait seconded the motion. All were in favor.
This discussion was postponed to the March 16 meeting.
Town Meeting and Information Session
David, Cara, and Stephan will lead the discussion at the Information Session.
We can expect 30-40 people to attend the information session. We will arrive early to provide hand-outs to all attending. We will focus on the vote but will also mention the survey. We will modify the Survey mailer so that it speaks to all residents and property owners and will include it with the other graphics and text handouts. Several Committee members did not want to include their contact information on the mailer. ACTION: Suggested changes to the Survey mailer should be provided to David by the end of Sunday, February 23. David will print enough copies of all materials to hand out to everyone at the Information Session. Bob will create an email alias so residents and property owners can contact us. Bob will monitor this address so we can respond to inquiries. Bob will monitor the Facebook posting for comments so that we are prepared to respond to similar comments in our presentations.
Tristan and Bob will lead the discussion at Town Meeting. Tristan reached out to Paul Blaise to learn the ground rules for speaking at the meeting and handing out materials but has not made contact yet.
We expect to have an opportunity to speak twice; first, when reports of Town Officers are heard and second, when Article 3 is introduced. [Note: The Broadband Committee Chair is not listed as an elected or appointed post, so we may need to confirm whether we will be given an opportunity to report.] When Article 3 is introduced, Tristan should raise his hand immediately to be recognized and should then briefly introduce the Article and the reasons in favor of it.
[Note: Just after the meeting, Patty Dow reported that flyers are permitted at the Information Session but not within a designated perimeter around the Town Meeting site.]
Outreach to Broadband Survey Respondents
Our outreach to residents includes the following channels:
- Email: Cara
- Front Porch Forum: Cara, Bob
- Town Website: Bob will work with Robbin Gabriel
- School: Bob
- Facebook: Bob
- Church: David
- Historical Society: Bob
- Halifax News: David
- Town Office: David
- Information Session: David
David will be in touch with Alex Kelley of the WRC study team to monitor our response rate. If necessary, we will mail a follow-up postcard to residents on the Halifax mail routes, using the EDDM service.
We will mail a tri-fold flyer to non-resident property owners. There are about 270 unique owners, including owners of land without buildings. ACTION: We will meet on February 26 at David’s house to fold the mailers and apply labels, seals, and stamps. We will not discuss Committee business while performing this task.
Bob spent $60 to boost posts on Facebook to people who have like the Halifax VT page and their friends. The posts promoted both the vote and the survey. David will front the expense to print paper copies of the survey, handouts for the Informational meeting, and the trifold mailers. ACTION: David and Stephan will request funding from the Selectboard to defray our costs.
Hearing of Visitors
Edie Edwards expressed her thanks to the Committee for pursuing the goal of universal broadband coverage. Her property is one third of a mile from the Consolidated Communications hub but she gets only 13 Mbps down and 1.7 up. Several years ago, the Broadband Committee did what they could to improve internet service here, including working with VTel to get wireless coverage. She noted that ECFiber was seen as the model then, so movement to emulate it has been slow.
Tristan motioned to adjourn the meeting. Stephan seconded the motion. All present agreed. The meeting adjourned at 10:15AM.