Town of Halifax, Vermont
October 18, 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, Patricia Dow, Emily Blake (Deerfield Valley News), and Robbin Gabriel.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

Mitch Green asked for discussion on Town right-of-way obstruction, and Brad Rafus will give an update on paving.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Green made a motion to approve the 10/4/16 regular meeting minutes with one correction. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

New Business

Drug and Alcohol Policy
Patty Dow and Brad Rafus met last week to review the full text of VLCT’s model Drug and Alcohol Policy and make revisions where indicated to fit the specific needs of the Town. Dow told Ray Combs the Halifax Drug and Alcohol policy was last approved in 1995, and is being updated to comply with current federal and state laws. VLCT’s model is based on Department of Transportation Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. Dow provided the Board with edited copies and then explained each change. The policy names the Town Clerk as designated employee representative (DER); in the future, Rafus and Dow would like to create a separate guide, or handbook, outlining DER duties and responsibilities. Under the new policy, employees may not be on duty while having an alcohol concentration of 0.02% or greater, a reduction from the previous 0.04%. A final version of the policy will be prepared for approval and Board signature at the November 1st, 2016 regular meeting.

Hazard Mitigation Plan
At a meeting in September 2015, Halifax citizens and town officials contributed information to assist Windham Regional Commission in creating a local Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Plan has now received preliminary approval from FEMA, and the Selectboard has received a final version for adoption and approval. Emergency Management Director John LaFlamme, who provided some of the material incorporated in the document, said he had not been notified the Plan was ready for adoption, but was present tonight because he saw the item listed on the agenda. LaFlamme recalled working with WRC to begin the process of developing the Plan about three years ago. A lot of work went into it, he added; it is a good thing for the town. One big advantage is the Town’s eligibility for a larger reimbursement percentage in a disaster event. There are a few things in there I think are a little restrictive, commented Green. He was willing to accept the Plan as presented, noting that changes at this stage would mean starting over. Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve and sign the Halifax Hazard Mitigation Plan. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Plan will now go back to FEMA for final approval.

As a side discussion, the Town has also just received new WRC model Floodplain/River Corridor Regulations. Gabriel will ask WRC whether Halifax needs to address this issue now, as our zoning bylaw, approved in 2016, contains updated flood regulations. Green questioned ANR’s decision to allow the Town to cut trees which had fallen into Green River into shorter lengths, without removing the sections from the river. In his opinion, the sections should be removed completely, to prevent logjams in future high water events.

Town Garage Roof
Rafus told the Board that Bill Hughes, of Melanson, had examined the garage roof, located the leak, and had quoted $800 to seal it. Hughes also estimated sealing all the roof seams would cost $5-$6,000, but that job could not be done before winter. As soon as the weather breaks in the spring, we should do the whole roof, Rafus advised. Hughes also offered a recommendation for laying a new rubber roof over the existing metal at some future date. Combs asked about this process. Rafus said they put fiberglass between the metal ribs and lay rubber over that. The fiberglass can flex as the roof moves, he explained. Green made a motion to have Melanson temporarily seal the Town Garage roof leak for an estimated $800 cost. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Gabriel will create a purchase order for Melanson.

Town Right-of-Way Obstruction
There are several places in town where debris is being deposited in the public road travel lanes, said Green. At the intersection of Jacksonville Stage and Branch Roads, in front of the Wincek residence, gravel and stone from spinning four-wheeler tires is coming out onto the pavement, and on Stowe Mountain Road, in front of the Brewster residence, small piles of rocks and dirt have appeared in the road. Green recommended sending letters to both property owners, advising the activity was illegal and directing them to remove the material.

Executive Session
None held.

Old Business

Lane Construction has completed repaving the three damaged sections of Green River Road, said Rafus, and they have paved of Old County North at its intersection with Green River Roads down to the new bridge. Also, Vermont Roadworks has completed shoulder work on the newly paved portion of Collins Road.

Other Business


Hearing of Visitors

What is the large piece of equipment at the town garage, asked Combs. Rafus said it was a gravel crusher, which has been working off and on since spring to crush about 5,500 yards of stockpiled materials for town use. We’ve put about 3,000 yards on the roads, he continued, at about a third of what it costs to truck it in from Brattleboro.

Sign Orders to the Treasurer

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


Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed. A driveway permit is on hold until Rafus meets with the contractor to get a clear understanding of the proposed access. The Board received 2018 health insurance premium costs from VLCT; the increase on health plans in which town employees are currently enrolled is approximately 4%.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:13 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary