Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 21, 2013

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:31 pm.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards and Earl Holtz.  Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, Ray Combs, Alane Smith, Sarah Barnett, Ross Barnett, April Dupuis, Greg Marguet, Len Derby, Linda Smith, and Jessica Bruno.

Approval of Minutes

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the May 7, 2013 regular meeting as written.  Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the May 8, 2013 special meeting with a name correction. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the May 17, 2013 special meeting with a name correction.  Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

New Business

Opening Bids for Equipment and Installation of parts for Sterling Truck #3

One bid was received from HP Fairfield, LLC in Morrisville, VT for $40,980.

Tenco in Barre, VT and Viking Cives in Williston, VT did not submit a bid.

Edwards made a motion to award the bid for equipment and installation of equipment to HP Fairfield, LLC in Morrisville, VT for $40,980. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0-0.

Town Auditors- Explanation of Invoice Acceptance and Selectboard Expenses

The Selectboard asked for clarification on the Sullivan & Powers audit procedures for invoice acceptance. Dupuis noted that when they look at invoices during an audit, they look for approval- who is looking at it and making sure it’s allowable to be charged toward the grant or budget category. She advised the Selectboard to initial the invoices to note they have been reviewed and approved.

Edwards inquired whether Selectboard expense (for mileage, travel etc) budget amounts need to be approved by the town auditors. Dupuis noted that salaries are set by the auditors, but reimbursed expense budget amounts are alright to modify.

There was a discussion about cash versus accrual basis of accounting. The town currently reports on the cash basis. The Selectboard may talk with VLCT about changing to an accrual or modified accrual to cash basis in the future which may help with budgeting and cash flow. Dupuis also recommended looking into Franklin Regional Council of Governments for more information.

Contract with Windham Regional Commission for Town Plan Consulting

Edwards noted that the Planning Commission did not have a quorum at the last meeting. They need to work on getting everyone to the meetings and organized (there is no chairman yet). They have a meeting next Tuesday devoted to the town plan. Edwards will follow up with members and find out if they are attending and urge them to nominate a chairman.

The group had a discussion about the town plan, the Windham Regional Commission, and possible other consultants to help with the plan.

Smith noted that the Planning Commission needs clarity on the issue of what happens if the plan isn’t certified in March, 2014. Her sense is they need to go forward with the zoning update. They are putting in a grant application for assistance with that. She noted that the town is facing some serious issues that need to be addressed in the town plan, but the planning commission needs help addressing those issues. They are looking at the big picture and how to move forward and do this well.

The Selectboard members agreed that Windham Regional Commission might be the best resource due to their expertise, speed and knowledge of the region.

Edwards made a motion to direct the planning commission to work to come up with a contract with the Windham Regional Commission to support the town planning process. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards will follow up with Chris Campany and Phyllis Evanuk.

Basic Emergency Operations Plan for Signature

Edwards led a discussion about possible changes to the basic emergency operations plan including people trained to alert the public, shelter manager, high risk populations etc. She also noted that the special needs list is maintained at the Halifax EOC and that should be included in the plan (where it is and who is the contact). Edwards will send adjustments to John LaFlamme for correction before signing.

Hearing of Visitors

Marguet inquired what the broadband progress is in town. Holtz replied that we do not receive any information from specific vendors. However, we do know that fiber came to the school this week. VTel is working on a contract with a private party in town.

Marguet led a discussion about fuel bids. He suggested that fuel companies delivery fuel and fill trucks individually which might give the town more control over what goes into what trucks and could provide data for analysis of consumption. Rafus noted that we currently lock into the price for the year and if they come every time to fill up trucks, we wouldn’t be saving any money. They also won’t come at 3am to fill up. Marguet acknowledged that they would still have some fuel stored on site, but thought they could look at this type of delivery as another possible option due to the high cost of this expense.

Derby reported that a lot of trees have fallen onto Green River Road blocking one or both lanes and inquired who should be contacted to cut the trees. Bruno will post a notice on the town website to call Brad Rafus at the town garage 802-368-2803, or the state police is a tree is on 112. Rafus noted that he often checks the garage messages even when he isn’t there.

Old Business

Irene Updates
Sumner spoke to Thad Betts who will schedule close out for Reed Hill Bridge.
Sumner reported that Deer Park Bridge is completed and the temporary bridge is off. The final inspection is Friday 5/24 at 9am.
Holtz reported that there is a preconstruction meeting for Hale Road Bridge on Wednesday 5/22 at 8:30am.
Sumner reported that he believes the town received about $35k from FEMA recently, but he was not sure for which project.

Town Website Update Procedures

Bruno presented a draft procedure for website postings. The procedure can be found attached. The Selectboard agreed to implement the procedure immediately.

Edwards asked that when people create an email address for town correspondence, please assign a name other than just So far she has three people with a Halifax@ address and it is getting confusing.

Broadband Updates

Edwards reported that she is coordinating a small business workshop on social media scheduled at the town office on Wed 6/26/13 at 5:30pm. She also noted that three workshops are going to be held in Wilmington.

Bruno reported that she met with Tess Gauthier from the Snelling Center for Government regarding the town website. They discussed possible improvements such as payment processing, content and design changes etc. Gauthier will be meeting with other towns and getting back in touch mid-June.

Bruno led a discussion about a Wi-Fi hotspot in town as covered by the VT Digital Economy Grant. Possible hotspot locations and coverage of the cost of the second line were discussed. More information regarding who the provider is and the cost of the line is needed before any decisions can be made.

Old County North Bridge Project Extensions and Overruns

Edwards led a discussion about how they got to their decision on the bridge and pricing. Edwards looked at similar bridges such as the Josh Road Bridge and Weir Road Bridge and discussed their costs and outcomes of their decisions. There was a discussion about bridge weight limits. The Selectboard agreed that they should re-visit what the weight limit needs to be on the Old County North Bridge. It is currently designed for HS30 108,000 pounds which the Selectboard feels may now be overkill. Edwards looked at bridge work performed after Irene to compile a cross comparison of costs. There was a discussion about Holden’s costs. As designed currently, the Old County North Bridge will cost the town approximately $80-90k, and only $30k was budgeted.

Edwards made a motion to contact Holden Engineering with an update, and follow up by contacting the residents and scheduling a meeting to discuss further. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Other Business

Holtz reported that he was contacted by a resident with concerns about communications capabilities in the northeast part of town. Phone service, Internet, radio and delivery issues were noted. There is also the possibility of a 911/ emergency issue. Sumner explained the numbering system in that part of town and wondered if the 911 coordinators in Halifax and Marlboro could do something to fix the problem. The Selectboard will ask the resident to come in and speak to the board about their concerns.

A letter was signed and mailed to the owner of the dog euthanized by WCHS in January. Bruno will do additional follow up with Derby regarding WCHS to see whether a letter should be prepared addressing concerns with their contract and procedures.

Edwards reported that the town received a PACIF equipment grant for $1300 to put in a fuel containment system.

Edwards noted that she still has questions about the Radiological Emergency Response Plan. There are several questions that need to be addressed and would like to ask VEM for guidance on improving the plan.

Edwards made a motion to sign the RERP cover sheet with the expectation that they will request assistance from VEM to update the plan for the coming year. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards noted that she will be away for both June regular meetings and asked Sumner to act as chairman. She plans to be able to call in for the second June meeting.

Annual reviews for the highway department were scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:00am.


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:44 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno
Selectboard Secretary