Town of Halifax, Vermont
August 2, 2016


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Ray Combs, Stephan Chait, Everett Wilson, and Robbin Gabriel.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

Brad Rafus added an update on Sumner Farm Road bridge guard rails.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Mitchell Green made a motion to approve the 7/19/16 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

Green made a motion to approve the 7/28/16 special meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus, who was not present, abstaining.

New Business

Discuss Purchasing Policy
Sumner made a motion to reinstate the Purchasing Committee, including former members Joe Tamburrino, Patty Dow, and Brad Rafus, to review the current purchasing policy. Green seconded the motion, which was amended to include Robbin Gabriel. The motion passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus abstaining.

In discussion, Rafus advised he would like to serve, as he invested much time in creating the present policy. He will recuse himself during any voting on recommendations. Ray Combs asked why the policy was being revisited. Does it have to be done every year? No, replied Sumner, we review when a change is needed, and general prices and advertising costs have been increasing. Green added that the $10,000 threshold at which paid advertising for bids is required may be too low. Rafus also requested that Gabriel join the committee, as she is involved in purchasing. Dow and Tamburrino have agreed to serve.

Windham Regional Commission Representative
The Board has been advertising this vacancy for months, said Sumner. Stephan Chait and Everett Wilson have both submitted letters of interest. Green made a motion to appoint Stephan Chait and Everett Wilson as the Town’s representatives to the Windham Regional Commission. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. This is a one-year appointment, with the Representatives serving jointly and working on various committees within the WRC. Gabriel will notify WRC. Appointments are normally made after March Town Meeting. In 2016, Nicolas and Margaret Bartenhagen were appointed, but resigned as they prepared to move from Halifax.

Sumner Farm Road Bridge
Rafus met recently with Mike Renaud and Roger Farnsworth to inspect the Sumner Farm Road bridge. Renaud suggested rebuilding the existing guardrails in order to maintain the historic value of the bridge, which was built by the Town in 1915 and might be eligible for a historic structures grant in the future. The rail on the left side is still intact; Renaud would remove the damaged right rail, put up a temporary rail, and rebuild the original in his shop, retaining the 1915 plaque. Rafus expects to have a cost estimate by the next regular Selectboard meeting.

Work on the Branch Road bridge at Hubbard Hill has been completed. Rafus explained to Stephan Chait that originally Renaud had coated the I-beams where they rest on the bridge abutment, but as the State specifications were vague a second inspection was conducted. The State engineer recommended coating the full length of the beams. Renaud has now done this work at no further cost to the town. Renaud did a really good job on the bridge renovation, Rafus told Combs, and Sumner said the State had commented favorably on the work.

Old Business

Rafus has word from Fred Aldrich that Lane Construction will be repaving the sections of Green River Road which began failing shortly after the post-Irene rebuild. No firm start date has been set, but the work may begin next week. Green River Road will not be closed during this process, but may be down to one lane at times.

Rafus told Chait this year’s Collins Road paving will be done by Vermont Roadworks. The contractor is currently paving in Whitingham and is slightly behind schedule; they should begin work in Halifax about August 15th.

Chait asked about results of the meeting with surveyor Merrill Mundell on July 28th. We’re working on it, answered Sumner. Mundell is willing to do the work. We will be talking with the landowner, but there should be no problem as under Vermont law a surveyor can enter private land to survey adjacent properties. Green said the cost would be less than $2,000.

Other Business


Hearing of Visitors

On what grounds did the dog owners (Kayte Bak) sue the town? asked Chait. Sumner and Green said the matter is currently in court. The court has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Town from holding a hearing. There were about fifty items listed in Bak’s request to the court—many of them contained basic statements the Town does not dispute. Yes, the Board told Chait, the dog is still there. In issuing the restraining order, the Judge also ordered the dog be leashed any time it was outside the owner’s house. Have we updated our ordinance, asked Combs. We repealed it, replied Green. As of August 20th the repeal will go into effect, and any future incidents will be subject to State statute.

Executive Session
Green made a motion to enter executive session, with Gabriel present by invitation. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board entered executive session at 7:20 p.m. They exited at 7:42 p.m., with no decisions made.

Sumner made a motion to direct Gabriel to speak to the Town Attorney regarding the upcoming Denison Lumber Company Environmental Court hearing. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

Sign Orders to the Treasurer

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


Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed and appropriately filed or signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:01 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary