Town of Halifax, Vermont


December 3, 2013

Call to Order


The meeting was called to order at 6:32 pm.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Earl Holtz, and Edee Edwards. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, Bill Rossignol, John LaFlamme, Patty Dow, Bill Moore, Christina Moore, Ross Barnett, Orrin Isles, and Kevin O’Donnell.


Approval of Minutes

Holtz made a motion to accept the November 19, 2013 Regular meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


Sumner made a motion to accept the November 23, 2013 Special meeting minutes as corrected. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


Sumner made a motion to accept the November 25, 2013 Regular meeting minutes as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


Edwards made a motion to accept the November 26.2013 Special meeting minutes as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-1 (Sumner abstained).


Holtz made a motion to accept the November 30, 2013 Emergency meeting as written, Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


New Business

Truck Purchasing Bids

 -Camerota, Enfield, CT 2000 Sterling truck bid $8500.

 -North River Valley Construction, Inc., Greenfield, MA- 700 cubic yards of 1 ½” crushed gravel delivered to town yard with a cash value of $10,500 ($15/cy) in exchange for the 6 wheel dump truck out for bid. Gravel delivery to Halifax at the road commissioner’s convenience.

 -Camerota, Enfield, CT- $1500 for lockset rears.

 Holtz made a motion to accept the bid from Camerota, Enfield, CT for the lockset rears of the burned truck for $1500. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Holtz made a motion to accept the bid from North River Valley Construction, Inc., Greenfield, MA for 700 cubic yards of gravel valued at $10,500 in exchange for the 2000 Sterling truck. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


Old County North Bridge Revised Plans

Bill Rossignol from Holden Engineering presented the revised plans based on the comments from the last meeting. He noted that the stream ford has been removed due to the impact on properties and the cost of building it. This plan shows the temporary construction path and footbridge on the west side of the existing bridge. Rossignol spoke with Todd Menees at ANR and he had no problem removing the ford. They went through the project permit requirements and Menees determined that they will not have to make the permit application to ANR. Menees will want a brief engineering report outlining where the bridge is, the nature of the deck replacement, flood data, and other technical data. Rossignol will prepare the report, send some of the plans electronically, and converse via email and will thereby satisfy ANR. The Army Corps of Engineers would have gotten involved when traversing across water, but because the work is up on the bank, the Army Corps of Engineer jurisdiction falls out. Rossignol will ask Menees if the Army Corps of Engineers needs a courtesy copy of the plans.


Rossignol reported that they went out in the field and found a parking area which is less impacting a bit north of the original plan. The approval for use should be concluded when we have the meeting with the property owners on 12/14/13. Edwards confirmed that the property owner will be there.


Rossignol noted that on the new plans, they took the bridge approach rail and wrapped it on a radius. The access drive to storage buildings will swing out a bit. They also now show a temporary work area to better reach some of the stone that they will be re-working. He also noted that they revised the notes. The rail is now confirmed at 33 inches above the ground without a handrail on the bridge.


Holden Engineering will be back to do additional surveying. They are in the process of revising the estimate which should drop. Rossignol will be sending a copy of the plans to District 2 AOT, continue to update the plans, and get the bid documents together.


Follow up items:

-Contact the town attorney regarding easements.

-Rossignol needs confirmation that the town right of way is four rods wide (versus two) on that road.

-Residents wondered if the fire department would be willing to leave a tanker over the bridge for three weeks. It would be helpful if someone from the fire department could come to the meeting on 12/14/13. Barnett suggested that a hose be put across the waterway.


Brattleboro Library Cards and Donation


Holtz was asked by a citizen to look into the possibility of having Brattleboro Library membership available to residents of Halifax. Holtz reported that the Brattleboro library charges $100/year for non-residents for the first member of the family and $5 for each additional person.

O’Donnell inquired whether the town is definitely supporting the Whitingham library as it is a very valuable resource. The Selectboard indicated that they are going to continue to support the Whitingham library. Edwards indicated that over 200 Halifax residents have cards there. It’s rare to go there without seeing someone from Halifax there. They also have fiber now which is very valuable for those that need access to high speed internet.


Hearing of Visitors

No reports from visitors.


Old Business


Community Development Block Grants

Edwards reported that of the three initial grant applications, only one is still in process for the development of a planning and response plan for storm events. Jim Matteau from WRC is assisting with the grant.


Christina Moore recently attended a training and feels there are additional projects to pursue. She explained that CDBG grants are weighted based on people’s experience during a disaster. They have a scoring system and prefer to develop in village and urban areas. She noted that most applicants are building things such as bridges, buildings, culverts, etc. She noted that an important difference between Hazard Mitigation Grants and Community Development Block Grants is that the HMGP grants do a cost benefit analysis (our towns cost benefit analysis does not rank well) and CDBG does not have that component.


Moore suggests applying for CDBG for:

-The $38,500 town portion of the PA grant

-Any mitigation projects

-Finish funding on the Old County North Bridge

-Guardrails, culverts etc


Moore also noted there is a feasibility measure- whether the community is capable of spending and completing the projects in the timeframes set. Halifax gets big points in that scoring mechanism. She also noted that the town has a 25% match (that can be non-cash). Public non-profit organizations are also eligible to apply for these grants.


Edwards noted that according to WRC if we put in a grant and are eligible but not funded, half the cost of the application is refunded or you can hold off until the project becomes funded. Moore indicated that she has few concerns about becoming funded. She noted that the process for paperwork is complicated, only six people attended the training, people aren’t understanding the grant, the projects have to be completed by June, 2015 and all bills must be paid 24-25 months from now. Anyone who can’t commit to that schedule will not get the grants.


The group discussed other potential projects such as high speed internet, solar projects, and green space of the old town garage property.


Moore will meet with Rafus to discuss potential projects and get a priority list together for approval.


VT Health Connect Update


Dow discussed the problems they are having with VT Health Connect with VLCT. They indicated that they are a good candidate to enroll directly with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) as all of our employees are choosing BCBS. Edwards indicated that they received information from VLCT that all small businesses are required to carry their current plan for one month as the billing portion of VT Health Connect is not ready yet.  The Selectboard agreed that the town should enroll directly with BCBS and close their account with VT Health Connect. Deductibles will start January 1, 2014. The Selectboard thanked Dow for all of her efforts with getting everyone’s health insurance squared away.


Winter Roads Policy

The group discussed the draft winter roads policy. More detail will be added regarding road closures, how emergency vehicles are accommodated. They will also think about how to subject violators to a penalty when enforcement is a problem.


Bridge Guardrails

Rafus noted that the guardrails on Green River Road are going on the bridge tomorrow. If there is time, they will complete Hubbard Hill as well.


Personnel Policy Updates

VLCT has reviewed the new model policy regarding the 40 hour work week and compensatory time. There are additional sections to review regarding comp time tracking, sick leave etc which Edwards will review with Rafus.


Other Business


Liaison Reports

Holtz received a copy of the budget and will integrate the FY13 actual numbers into it. Holtz will talk to Dow about getting year to date FY14 numbers. It was noted that they may have forgotten to add $30k for maintenance on Truck #1.

Holtz noted that he sent the petition to Fairpoint but did not get a response.

Sumner noted that the town employees signed the personnel policy. Town of Halifax is now painted on the new trucks.

Edwards is attending a school board meeting tomorrow to ask about Internet, talk about health insurance, maintenance activities, and ADA issues (parking spots etc).

Edwards reported that they received the grant to do the zoning updates.

Edwards noted that she saw an accessibility grant in the system. WRC indicated that at the end of the grant, the building needs to be fully accessible. The grant funding is up to $75k with a 25% match.

Edwards indicated that she would like the school to give us a written procedure of how to get someone with access issues in here if Sumner is not present.



The Rescue Inc contract is missing an attachment (for the assessment noting it is $1000).


Edwards made a motion contract with Rescue Inc to provide emergency medical services covering the Thomas Hill area of Halifax for calendar year 2014 in the amount of $1000. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.


Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment


The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.




The meeting was adjourned at 9:27pm


Respectfully submitted,


Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary