OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
February 24, 2015
Old Town Garage Site Visit
Participants gathered at the old Town Garage (now used as a town storage facility), 126 Brook Road, at 5:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Earl Holtz, and Edee Edwards were present, as were Brad Rafus, Joe Tamburrino, Ray Combs, Andy Rice, Greg Marguet, and Robbin Gabriel.
As electricity has been disconnected for a number of years, viewers used flashlights to examine the interior of the building, which is an uninsulated, metal-sided, wood-framed structure resting on a concrete pad. They noted cracked beams, roof supports which had been reinforced in spots, and holes in the roof over the add-on portion at the back of the original building. Brad Rafus explained that when the highway department was still using the structure as the town garage, four trucks and the loader were housed inside—a very tight fit—while the grader was parked in a small shed alongside the garage. During the winter, plows had to be removed each day before trucks were driven into the garage. The addition was built to allow more storage space.
Edee Edwards asked about floor plans and building dimensions. Joe Tamburrino said he could provide that information, though he did not have it with him. The property is currently assessed at approximately $12,000, and the land at about $7,500. The building, however, needs to be reassessed; Tamburrino stated its value is considerably less than $12,000 given its present condition. Edwards questioned the assumption that a septic system could not be installed on the property. Septic has to be at least 100 feet from any water source, Rafus and Tamburrino explained. There are private wells on either side of the one acre lot, and the brook is across the road. What about alternative septic, such as a compost or chemical toilet, Edwards asked? If EMS were to use the building, they wouldn’t have a place to wash their hands. Also, she noted EMS had mentioned in the Town Report they were looking for a garage and meeting area—would that require a water supply and toilets? Edwards remarked for the record that relatively few items were being stored in the building. Rafus said he had not put as much in there this year due to the condition of the roof. Some of those items, such as signs and barricades left over from Irene, could be sold or disposed of. There are also a few Vermont Yankee leftovers—office dividers, a credenza, and a few chairs. The group discussed demolition, which they agreed would be less expensive if the town did the work and perhaps sold the metal siding as scrap.
Tamburrino fetched the assessment paperwork, which lists the building size as 2,500 square feet, value at $12,800, and quality as 30% good. Evaluation isn’t the issue, said Earl Holtz, it’s whether you can use the building or not. Could the land be sold for more if the building were removed?, asked Edwards. Lewis Sumner thought the property would be difficult to sell without water or septic and with the monitoring wells across the road. Greg Marguet suggested someone might buy it for a storage facility, or perhaps the town could put it out to bid. Andy Rice said the idea of putting in an actual ambulance service was not financially feasible. Responding to a question from Marguet, Rice said EMS is a private, non-profit corporation.
Edwards would like to consult the town attorney for advice on a potential scenario involving a lessee of town property either making changes to or replacing the existing building. Holtz said it could be leased with the tenant having an option to rebuild, subject to the town’s approval. Town Meeting is a week away, said Sumner. If the voters approve the warned article asking for a recommendation, then the Board can hold a special meeting thereafter to discuss the subject with EMS and the town attorney.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:35 p.m.