Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 19, 2015


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. Selectboard members Earl Holtz, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards were present, as were Carl Havreluk, Joe Tamburrino, Stephan Chait, Brad Rafus, Blaise McGarvey, Sue Kelly, Doug Grob, and Robbin Gabriel.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

Lewis Sumner said the dog licensing item could be removed and did not need rescheduling. Edee Edwards added town garage WiFi under the Broadband Committee discussion and included signing the ZBA Alternate Member Policy under Other Business.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Earl Holtz made a motion to approve the 5/1/15 special meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion. Edwards amended with two small corrections, and the motion passed, 3-0.

Sumner made a motion to approve the 5/5/15 regular meeting minutes as written. Holtz seconded the motion. Edwards amended with one punctuation correction. The motion passed, 3-0.

Sumner made a motion to approve the 5/13/15 special meeting minutes as written. Holtz seconded the motion with one correction and one addition. The motion passed, 3-0.

New Business

Report on Truck Bids—Brad Rafus
After reviewing in detail the three bids received on the new town truck, Rafus recommended accepting the bid from Delurey on a 2015 International TerraStar with a 5-year, 150,000 mile, 5,400 hour warranty—cost, $110,545.00. The bid meets all town specifications. This International is on the lot and available immediately. Rafus answered a few questions from the Board, and after discussion Holtz made a motion to accept the Delurey bid for a 2015 International TerraStar for $110,545.00, with the 2006 Sterling with plow and wing as trade-in. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

Discuss Plans for Highway Department Truck Fleet
Rafus recommended disposing of the old one-ton, which needs expensive repairs. Truck #6, the green army truck, is scheduled for replacement in two years. Rafus would like to sell or trade both of these trucks and get a three-quarter ton crew cab. List price for a basic gas-powered ¾-ton—without trade and without figuring in municipal pricing–is roughly $38,000, he said. Edwards calculated about $17,000 available in the budget, and the Board discussed leasing, which Rafus said would provide a five-year warranty. If we get a GM product we already have a plow, he added. He also suggested investigating the possibility of rolling both leases (this and the one just approved) into one. Holtz advised discussing this strategy with Patty Dow, and Sumner said information could be presented at the next meeting. Holtz made a motion to have Rafus prepare specifications and request bids on a ¾-ton crew cab pickup, with and without the one-ton and the green truck as trade. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

Worden Cemetery Road—Carl Havreluk
Havreluk requested permission to repair some washouts and do some drainage ditching on the Deer Park end of Worden Cemetery Road, to improve VAST trails in advance of the next snowmobiling season. The Board studied town maps, noting the AOT and town road name maps offer conflicting information about classification. Worden Cemetery Road is actually an unmaintained Class 4 road, although some maps show it as legal trail. To add to the confusion, Rafus and Sumner said that Worden Cemetery Road actually extends from Deer Park Road to Jacksonville Stage, but when 911 was implemented the southern end of Worden Cemetery Road was considered part of Old Stage Road. Joe Tamburrino questioned whether a trail was legally a right-of-way, and Stephan Chait asked for specifics on the work to be done. Havreluk said they were going to use what is there to repair washout, create waterbars, and reseed. Sumner made a motion to allow VAST to upgrade washouts on Worden Cemetery Road, within the right-of-way. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0. Doug Grob said he could not get to the cemetery with a vehicle for maintenance; does the town have to maintain roads to the cemeteries, he asked. The town has access to cemeteries, but not necessarily by vehicle, was the response. Edwards would like, in the future, to clarify the naming of the town roads. Holtz suggested adding this to the Selectboard’s project list.

Request to Create Conservation Commission
The Board discussed the Planning Commission’s recommendation for a town Conservation Commission, an idea first proposed during the recent WRC Forest Stewardship Project presentation. Conversation covered what such a committee might do, what role if any the Selectboard might play, and who might be interested in participating. Edwards mentioned the difficulty, in general, of finding volunteers, adding that if a town commission were formed it should have specific objectives. Holtz will speak with several people whose names were suggested, and Sumner said the subject could be on a future meeting agenda, depending on the outcome of Holtz’ investigations.

Plan Travel Route for May 27 Site Visit
The Board settled on a tentative time schedule for the site visits which will precede the public hearing on road reclassification scheduled for May 27th. This is only an approximate timetable, as numerous factors could change the equation.

5:00 PM            Starting point—meet in Halifax School upper parking lot
5:10 PM            Whitneyville Road (at the Tucker Road intersection)
5:55 PM            Woodard Hill Road (off Stowe Mountain Road) at the point where it terminates at a berm
6:35 PM            Sumner Farm Road (at Branch Road intersection)
7:00 PM            Weir Road (Wineburg bridge off Brook Road)
7:20 PM            Public Hearing in Halifax School Multipurpose Room

During the public hearing, roads will be addressed one at a time. Holtz will ask Patti Pusey to moderate.

Broadband Committee Update: Donation Offer, Resiliency Cell Project Update & Cell Mapping
Donation: Edwards has a picnic table and two benches which she offered to donate for WiFi users in the parking area at the Town Garage. Everyone thought this was a good idea.

Resiliency Cell Project Update: Edwards asked whether the town was getting credit yet from the power company for solar. Rafus said it was not on the last electric bill; the conduit is in place and power is hooked up, but the telephone line was just going in today. A new invoice has arrived—Edwards will check the bill to find out whether credits are listed.

Cell Mapping: The Broadband Committee is talking with WRC’s Jeff Nugent about creating a set of layered cell service maps. Nugent is preparing a quote on that project.

Last, Edwards announced a WiFi outage at the town garage, starting at 5:58 p.m. Rafus said he would reset the router on his trip home. Edwards suggested making arrangements to troubleshoot WiFi problems when the town garage is closed.

Hearing of Visitors

Ray Combs told the meeting that Tucker Road by his house is currently only one lane wide. Rafus said there were several points on Tucker Road where two cars cannot pass. Edwards mentioned some rough spots on Old County Road, which Rafus said would be graded tomorrow.

The town has been awarded an engineering grant for bridge #15 (Branch Road bridge at Hubbard Hill), said Rafus, for $15,000. He is also trying to get the post office culvert qualified as an emergency project, which would save the town a large amount of money if approved. Bids on the culvert replacement project will be opened at the June 2nd meeting.

Old Business

Dog Pens
Andy Rice would like to have one dog pen at his house as a holding pen. He also suggested the second pen could remain at the town garage. Holtz recommended choosing the pen in best condition and making arrangements to have it transported to Rice’s house. The Board did not care for the idea of having a pen at the garage, as there are periods of time when no one is on the premises.

Other Business

Sign ZBA Alternative Member Policy
Holtz read the one-page policy which had been previously approved, and the Board signed the document.

Dog Warrant
The Board signed the dog warrant, which will be given to Constable Andy Rice.

Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer for Bill Payment

The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.


Joe Tamburrino submitted a letter to the Selectboard requesting reimbursement of $67.20 for damage sustained to a front air deflector on his personal vehicle when he hit a hole in McMillan Road while performing lister site visits. Edwards asked whether maintenance was included when the town paid mileage for personal vehicle use. Holtz said his understanding was that mileage reimbursement covered basic maintenance, fuel, and wear-and-tear costs, but not damage from an accident. If someone driving a personal vehicle on town business has an accident, Rafus asked, where does the liability fall? Several other incidents were discussed; one private citizen claim was recently declined, and in another case town insurance paid for damages when a town vehicle hit a personal vehicle. Rafus said the town should have a policy covering use of personal vehicles on town business. The Board did not take action on the reimbursement request. They will be querying PACIF and VLCT about how such situations are handled in other towns.

One driveway permit was signed, and various other pieces of correspondence were reviewed and appropriately filed. A quote for printing of the Town Plan was reviewed and approved.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary