OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
April 4, 2017
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 Stephan Chait, Ray Combs, Everett Wilson, Cara Cheyette, Merrill Mundell, Jr. (Surveyor), Emily Blake (Deerfield Valley News), and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Lewis Sumner has information related to testing at the closed landfill.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 3/21/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Mitch Green abstaining.
Sumner made a motion to approve the 3/24/17 special meeting minutes (with VTrans) as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Green abstaining
Merrill Mundell, Survey Discussion
Merrill Mundell distributed copies of a survey map he had prepared showing abutting boundary lines between Town, Boyko, and Rafus properties on Branch Road. Mundell has been attempting to locate any existing markers using a magnetic device. He offered several options for clarifying the boundaries, but said that first he needed to go back in the spring, when snow is gone, and search for markers on the Town/Boyko boundary line. Rafus said he was not concerned about the line between his property and Boyko’s, but wants to see the Town property line clearly established. Mundell has researched the land deeds, and said there are some ninety-degree angles called for which are a physical impossibility. He answered several questions about map detail for Stephan Chait and Cara Cheyette, and told Ray Combs that Vermont still allows anyone to write a deed for a property sale.
Sumner said the first appointed positions to be filled were on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board, as Sirean LaFlamme has retired. Alice Aldrich has volunteered to serve.
Green nominated Alice Aldrich for a three-year position on the Planning Commission. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Alice Aldrich for a three-year position on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Bradley Rafus as Road Commissioner for one year. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus abstaining.
Sumner nominated Ross Barnett as Tree Warden for one year. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Andrew Rice as Pound Keeper for one year. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Patricia Holtz for a one-year position on the Council on Aging. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Rafus nominated Stephan Chait and Everett Wilson to serve as Windham Regional Commissioners for one year. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Lewis Sumner and Brad Rafus have been serving as the two WSWMD representatives. Green nominated Bradley Rafus as Windham Solid Waste Management District representative for one year. Sumner seconded the motion. Sumner asked for other nominations. Cara Cheyette said she had sent an email expressing interest in the position; she said there were changes going on, and she’s interested in recycling. Sumner nominated Cara Cheyette to a one-year position as WSWMD representative. Rafus said he would withdraw his name, as he believes that Sumner, with his long experience, should serve on the WSWMD board. Rafus nominated Lewis Sumner to a one-year position as WSWMD representative. Green withdrew his nomination of Rafus, seconded Rafus’ nomination of Sumner, and Sumner’s nomination of Cheyette. Sumner and Cheyette were approved as WSWMD representatives, with a vote of 3-0.
Green nominated Allan Dacey and Andrew Rice to one-year positions on the Loan Review Committee. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
No candidates have volunteered to serve as ADA Coordinator; the position remains open.
Rafus nominated Wayne Courser to a one-year position as E-911 Coordinator. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Lewis Sumner to a one-year position as Recycling Coordinator. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Sumner abstaining.
No candidates were available to serve on Green-Up, Vermont; this position remains open.
Sumner said John LaFlamme does not wish to continue as Emergency Management Director. Sumner nominated Ross Barnett to a one-year position as Emergency Management Director. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green nominated Andrew Rice for Citation Ticket Responsibility for one year. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
The Energy Conservation Officer position remains open.
Green nominated the Brattleboro Reformer, Deerfield Valley News, and The Commons as Halifax newspapers of record. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Green said he would like to see Selectboard meeting times remain the same—7:00 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Sumner and Rafus agreed.
Ray Combs suggested that positions which remain unfilled be posted to the town web site. This will be done.
Beginning this year, the First and Second Constable positions will be filled by appointment rather than election, per Town Meeting vote. Green nominated Andrew Rice as First Constable for one year. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Rafus nominated Roy Richardson as Second Constable for one year. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Sumner nominated Robbin Gabriel as Selectboard Secretary and Administrative Assistant for one year. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Discuss Private Contractor Recycling
Prior to Town Meeting, said Sumner, the Board received estimates from three contractors for yearly costs of recycling collection. The estimates were all close, and Board members agreed they would like to have representatives from the companies attend the April 18th Selectboard meeting for discussion and to answer questions. Gabriel will call the vendors and make that request. If they can’t attend the meeting, added Green, perhaps they could send a letter explaining their operations. Sumner told Ray Combs the estimates were all close to $7,000. Stephan Chait asked about the advisability of a longer contract. As hiring for private recycling is new to the Town, Board members think it would be wiser to contract for a year’s service at first. Rafus mentioned the possibility of several adjacent towns working together to create a recycling operation. Everett Wilson wondered how the Town would handle the possibility of people leaving non-recyclable items or people from other areas using the bins. Cheyette suggested the Board clarify how vendors handle contaminated loads. These are some of the questions I’d like to ask vendors when they come, said Sumner. Ross Barnett proposed installing trail cameras to monitor the drop-off spot. Will WSWMD still have a recycling bin at their Ferry Road location?, asked Chait. Sumner said yes, and Wilson explained the process of townsfolk buying a sticker and paying for regular trash as long as the Town remains a member. If a town withdraws from the district, explained Chait, that town must then fulfill state law requirements for recycling and hazardous waste collection.
FY18 Paving/Structure Grant Applications
Rafus had prepared the FY18 State paving and structure grant applications. He told Combs Halifax is number five on the list for paving, and AOT has enough money for 4½ grants. If we don’t get a full grant we’ll wait until next year. Halifax is low on the structures grant list, but will apply anyway, as sometimes funds are available. If we get a full paving grant we’ll do Branch Road, he continued, and we’ve budgeted to do another section of Collins Road, which isn’t eligible for grant funds as it is a Class 3 Road. A full paving grant, he told Chait, is $175,000. Board members signed the application documents.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has notified the Town that, due to PFC detection in the landfill monitoring wells, a further period of testing will be needed. Sumner made to motion to have KAS, Inc. submit an adjusted post-closure plan to monitor for PFOA and PFOS at the Halifax landfill as required by the State. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Rafus asked whether the Town had explored the possibility of opening a transfer station back when the first landfill was closed. Sumner did not recall the subject had been discussed. Back then, most towns had their own dump, he said; there weren’t many transfer stations.
At this point, Sumner told the meeting the Board would be holding an executive session, but would cover remaining meeting business first.
Stephan Chait reviewed information on the Green River Watershed Collaborative project provided at the March 21st Selectboard meeting by WRC’s Marion Major. (See https://halifaxvt.com/selectboard/meeting-minutes/2017-03-21-selectboard-regular-meeting-minutes-draft/) Windham Regional Commission has since participated in a two-day summit in Burlington to discuss goals, identify community needs, and develop an action plan. Chait distributed a flyer describing work done at this session, and identifying core partners. The watershed project would include Marlboro, Guilford, and Halifax. WRC is requesting each of these towns to write a letter of interest supporting the project. A grant application will be submitted to the High Meadows Fund by June 1st, and grants will be awarded by July 31st. It’s a beneficial program, Chait concluded, at no cost to the town. What started this?, asked Ray Combs; were there concerns about water quality? Chait said this was an opportunity for education, and to increase flood resiliency. A similar program in the Saxton’s River area was quite successful. Green would like to read more on the proposal; he is concerned this voluntary project might later become a mandatory program, with private landowners required to comply. Chait said if landowners are interested in participating they can, if not, they can decline. WRC would obtain permission from owners for any activity proposed for private property.
Hearing of Visitors
Combs asked when Collins Road was last paved. It’s done in three sections, replied Rafus; the last time was eight or nine years ago. As sections are repaved, they are being reclaimed, with ditching rebuilt to conform to State requirements. We had a period of five years when, in an attempt to save money, no paving was done. Now the base has to be rebuilt, and we still haven’t caught up.
Chait complimented the highway crew for keeping up with the roads under difficult, changing weather circumstances.
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed.
Sumner made a motion for the Board, including Gabriel, to enter executive session at 8:30 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board exited the session at 8:58 p.m., with no decisions made.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.