OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
June 20, 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, Heidi Taylor (Deerfield Valley Rescue), Dennis Pike, Sr. (Deerfield Valley Rescue), Patricia Dow, Fred Cheney (Vermont Roadworks), Tara Cheney (Vermont Roadworks), Stanley Janovsky (Whitingham Fire Chief), Emily Blake (Deerfield Valley News), and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
The Board will reschedule the previously postponed employee evaluation meeting, and discuss a date change for the next regular meeting, which falls on July 4th.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Mitch Green made a motion to approve the 6/6/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Deerfield Valley Rescue—Heidi Taylor
Heidi Taylor, noting that Halifax EMS will be discontinuing operations as of June 30th, addressed Deerfield Valley Rescue’s concerns about losing the service. With Halifax at a distance from the Rescue home base, Halifax EMS has been a valuable asset when responders are needed. Even if it’s just handholding, she said, having them on the scene, able to call us to check timing and give situation updates, is an important part of the EMS system. Taylor asked whether the Selectboard has discussed this and made any plans. Sumner said they had not; the news was received just recently. Taylor is offering assistance in that quarter; perhaps by helping to revitalize the local service, or arranging first responder classes in Halifax. We don’t know, added Dennis Pike, whether some of them have just stepped back, and would like to rejoin or regroup. Green said it is difficult to keep up with certification; State requirements require many hours. Presently, there is only one first responder from Halifax.
Whitingham is willing to offer assistance with Halifax coverage said Stan Janovsky, but we need to figure out how to do it. He asked whether the Halifax EMS squad vehicle would be available for use, and suggested local firefighters might be able to respond first to area calls. Even if they are not there in any medical capacity, remarked Taylor, they can say help is on the way. Green suggested setting up a meeting with Christina Moore to discuss future plans for the Halifax EMS vehicle. Tara Cheney recommended investigating available grants, while Ray Combs advised a web site posting to make people aware of the need for responders. Janovsky said Whitingham would provide coverage as of July 1st, and Sumner said the Halifax fire department could be toned out when calls came in. Everyone agreed to work on further solutions to the situation.
In response to a question from Stephan Chait, Taylor gave some specifics about the training required for various levels of emergency medical response. First responder certification involves 45 class hours for certification, with 24 hours of continuing training over a two-year period. Some of the materials can now be accessed online, reducing the need to travel to attend classes. The practical stuff can be done at our squad house (in Wilmington), she added. For the present, Halifax firefighters, Whitingham, and Wilmington will be toned out on emergency calls, with Rescue, Inc. continuing to cover the Thomas Hill portion of Halifax.
Chait suggested communicating with the School Board as a way of letting more people know of the need for first responders. Janovsky thanked the Halifax fire department for their excellent assistance at a recent fire in Jacksonville. Combs asked Taylor about the possibility of holding CPR courses in Halifax; Taylor said that was definitely available.
Award Paving and Sand Bids
Paving and sand bids were opened at the June 6th meeting, but the Board needed some time to calculate and gather further information before making award decisions. Sumner explained he had refigured paving bid tonnage based on bidders’ per-ton pricing to enable the Board to consider equal comparisons. After discussing tonnage pricing, sources, quality of mix, and Vermont Roadworks excellent track record on Halifax projects the past two years, Green made a motion to award the Branch Road paving bid to Vermont Roadworks in the amount of $237,946.27. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Rafus told Chait that Vermont Roadworks gets their mix from Peckham.
Bids for winter sand from Zaluzny, Cersosimo, and Renaud were opened on June 6th. The Town’s sand supply is hauled by Highway Department trucks, and Rafus told the Board that it would be least costly to haul from Renaud’s Dummerston location. Although Renaud’s per-ton price is higher, town trucks would be able to transport 72 yards a day, versus 56 yards a day from the other two locations, thus cutting six days worth of fuel, truck depreciation, and labor costs. Sumner made a motion to approve Renaud Gravel’s bid of $8.65 per cubic yard for winter sand. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Municipal Traffic Ordinance
During several recent conversations with State Police, Patty Dow learned that judges have been dismissing contested speeding tickets issued in Halifax, as the Town’s traffic ordinance is outdated and is not sufficiently specific. Halifax is losing the revenue those tickets would have generated. Dow shared copies of traffic ordinances in effect in Guilford and Newfane; both are up-to-date and include detailed point-to-point speed limits on all town roads. She recommended Halifax create and adopt a similar ordinance, and noted that if the Route 112 is included the town would receive a portion of fines from tickets issued on that road, also. How much money are we talking about?, asked Chait. It varies, answered Board members, while Dow estimated it might be a few hundred dollars a year. We are paying for a Vermont State Police contract, commented Rafus. Recouping even a portion of that cost is of benefit to taxpayers. Dow said she feels it’s worth the effort, and volunteered to work on the project. Board members noted that with the exception of the village, most Halifax road speeds are set at 35 miles per hour, so mileage could be taken from the AOT road map. They also agreed that including a list of stop signs, as Guilford has done in their ordinance, would be a good idea.
Chait mentioned the position of the stop sign at the intersection of Moss Hollow and Green River Roads. It is on the opposite side of Green River Road, he said, and it could be a safety hazard if a driver actually pulls up to the stop sign. Rafus said the corner is so wide at that intersection that placing the sign on the Moss Hollow side puts it out of the drivers’ line of sight. Rafus made a motion to begin work on an updated traffic ordinance. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Sign FY18 Vermont State Police Contract
The Board discussed the FY18 State Police contract. This contract is for a full year; last year there were two six-month contracts, due to VSP personnel retiring or moving to new positions within the force. Chait asked whether this year’s contract had changed, due to the new barracks location. No, answered Sumner, it’s the same number of hours and people. There are still officers residing locally, even though their base of operations has moved. Sumner signed the new contract.
Sign FY18 Windham Humane Society Contract
What does having a contract with the Humane Society save us?, asked Green. Sumner and Rafus told him having the contract in place significantly reduces costs to the town when an animal must be held or lodged. If no contract is in place, the Town is responsible for providing a place to hold and care for dogs. Sumner made a motion to sign the FY18 Windham County Humane Society for $300. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Selectboard First Meeting in July
As the first regular meeting falls on the 4th of July, Sumner made a motion to change the date from the 4th to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 5th. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Rafus made a motion to schedule an executive session for the purpose of employee evaluations on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Town garage. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Executive Session (if necessary)
Sumner reminded the Board that the July 5th WRC roads grant deadline was approaching.
Chait asked whether the Town Garage roof leak had been discussed. We did, said Sumner; we have arranged to seal all the seams. We’ll budget monies over several years to replace the roof, added Rafus; it will be costly.
Hearing of Visitors
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed. One driveway permit was signed. Rafus noted a 12” culvert was already in place, but would have to be replaced with a 15” culvert to conform to State regulations.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m.