Town of Halifax, Vermont
March 23, 2015


Spring Meeting with VTrans

Selectboard members Earl Holtz, Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards, and Road Commissioner Brad Rafus sat down with VTrans Project Manager Marc Pickering, Technician 6 Meghan Brunk, and Technician 4 Chris Berg at 10:00 a.m. to review the annual budget and discuss plans for the upcoming season. Robbin Gabriel was also present.

VTrans calculates the non-winter portion of the town’s highway budget and, in the event the town needs to request an emergency grant for storm damage, uses that figure to determine the amount of money the town is eligible to receive for repairs.

The Board signed a certificate of compliance with codes and standards; compliance is of assistance in receiving best value for any approved grants. The Municipal Grants Program, which includes roadway and structures grants, was also discussed. Town Hill and the lower section of Branch Road are both in need of repaving, and Rafus said he wanted to apply for a structures grant to replace the failing culvert on Reed Hill Road. Pickering said Halifax is not in the top ten for structures grants this year, as the town received a large grant in 2013. He advised putting in for smaller engineering grants in advance of anticipated projects. The Branch road bridges at Route 112 and the base of Hubbard Hill were also discussed. The situation at Branch Road and Route 112 is complicated by the fact that Branch Road is in VTrans District #2 jurisdiction while Route 112 falls in District #1 territory. The bridge at the Hubbard Hill intersection needs temporary repairs at the least, as the state is requiring guard rail repair. An estimate received in 2013 was prohibitively high. Pickering said Halifax has done well with structures grants; he itemized previous years’ grant monies received–$86,500 in 2006, $79,000 in 2008, $48,500 in 2009, $81,500 in 2010, $52,500 in 2012, and $175,000 in 2013. The total represents about seven percent of structures grant program funding. The deadline for grant applications is May 1st. Decisions are announced by the end of May.

Pickering gave further information regarding correct procedure in emergency storm situations and bridge inspection protocol.

Meghan Brunk’s final calculation for the Halifax non-winter highway budget was $350,000, which means that in an emergency situation the town would be eligible for emergency funding should damages exceed $35,000.

Edwards introduced the subject of ways to increase overweight permitting fees and/or requiring compensation from truckers for damage to roads. You can require a bond, said Pickering; you can also withhold permission to use the roads. Haulers are liable for damage they do to the roads. VTrans is available to assist with damage assessments if needed. We can post the bridges, said Sumner. Rafus suggested creating a sticker for permitted trucks to make it obvious which vehicles had permits.

The Board will fill out grant application forms at their next regular meeting on April 7th. A highway equipment plan discussion will also be on that agenda if time allows.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary