Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 1, 2018


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. Ray Combs, Stephan Chait, Peggy Rafus, Patricia Dow, and Robbin Gabriel were also in attendance.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

Brad Rafus requested a brief discussion on a school matter.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 4/17/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

New Business

TAM Recycling Contract
The Board reviewed details of the new TAM recycling contract, which will take effect July 1, 2018. The agreement is for three years (FY19-FY21) at the same terms as the previous one-year agreement. Sumner said TAM has been very responsive to the Town’s needs, picking up bins quickly and even sending a second truck the same day recently when a message about which bin was full was misinterpreted. He told Stephan Chait four collection bins were on loan from WSWMD, in use on a rotating basis. Sumner made a motion to approve and sign the three-year TAM recycling contract at the same terms as the FY18 contract. Mitch Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

Loan Discussion
Sumner advised the Town needs a line of credit; Patty Dow and Rafus have been working on the figures. Dow recommended an amount to cover the full cost of the (October 2017 storm) destruction, as we don’t know how long it will be until the Town receives FEMA reimbursement. Our purchase orders total approximately $393,000, said Rafus, but if FEMA covers the damage to the culvert on Hatch Road, that will be about another $100,000. Rafus suggested requesting $500,000 in credit. If we don’t use it, we won’t pay interest, said Sumner. I would only draw what was absolutely needed, added Dow, to keep it at the lowest amount possible. Dow she would also ask the listers to hold their yearly grievance hearings as soon as possible, so tax invoices can go out promptly. Sumner made a motion to request a bank line of credit in the amount of $500,000. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. In discussion before the vote, Chait asked which bank, and if the Town compared banks. We use our main bank, People’s Bank, answered Dow. Sumner and Rafus said People’s had given the Town the best rate during Irene. They gave us loans when we didn’t even have accounts with them, said Dow.

Sumner said the Board has received Honora Winery’s yearly application for liquor license renewal. The application requires the Town Clerk’s signature, so the Board reviewed this correspondence item now, prior to Dow’s departure. Chait asked about cost. The Town gets $115, and the State gets $115, replied Sumner. He told Combs the State regulates hours of operation. Sumner made a motion to approve Honora Winery’s application for liquor license renewal. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The form was signed by all and returned to Dow.

Payroll Policy
The Town needs a written payroll policy to comply with FEMA regulations said Sumner. Is this a new policy?, asked Combs. Yes, said Sumner. He and Rafus told Chait the policy was not a requirement during Irene, but with each event requirements change. Sumner made a motion to approve the Town of Halifax payroll policy. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Will the policy be on the web site?, asked Chait. Gabriel said she would upload the document, and send a copy to EMD Peggy Rafus.

School Discussion
In conversation with Chum Sumner, Rafus learned that the Readsboro school has chosen to use their voter-approved $15,000 school maintenance allotment to reimburse Readsboro town for parking lot maintenance. Chum suggested Halifax do the same with the $15,000 Halifax voters approved for school maintenance. The funds would be used to reimburse the Highway Department for winter maintenance of the Halifax School parking lots. Rafus said he prefers to do it that way, so he can schedule lot maintenance, rather than learning about a need when the crew is already out on the road. I would like to see those dollars transferred to an equipment replacement account, he continued. Would you do any maintenance work beyond plowing and sanding?, asked Chait. We already do summer gravel maintenance and grading, said Rafus, but that would be a separate agreement between the Town and School. There was some further conversation concerning solutions to the low point at the end of the walkway where water collects. Rafus said he would calculate cost of winter lot maintenance and bring those numbers back to the Board.

Rafus announced the Town has received another structures grant from VTrans, which needs signature, and Sumner said the Board has the yearly unlicensed dog warrant to sign. Sumner made a motion to have the Selectboard sign the yearly warrant for unlicensed dogs. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The document was signed and returned to Patty Dow. Sumner explained the warrant gave Constable Andy Rice authority to removed dogs if owners did not comply with the licensing statute. Most people are pretty good about it, he added. Green asked whether the Constable had ever had to take a dog, and Sumner said no.

Executive Session (if necessary)
None held.

Old Business

Highway Department Repeater Update
The equipment should be installed in the next few weeks, said Rafus; the radios are being programmed now. Paperwork related to tax exemption for the building housing Highway Department equipment is also in process. Chait asked if the State generally approved such requests. Sumner said the Town has never done this type of exemption before; our exemptions to date have been veterans’ and non-profit exemptions.

Other Business

The Board agreed to put the old mowing tractor out to bid, with a minimum bid of $3,500. Any accessories?, asked Combs. Just the side mower that came on it, responded Rafus; it’s a 1984 International two-wheel drive diesel tractor with side-mount rotary mower. Gabriel will post notices and advertise, with a bid deadline of June 5th, 2018.

Hearing of Visitors

Chait wanted to know if mud season was over, and whether we should have a pothole season.

Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment

The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed. This order included the Town’s second FY18 State Education Tax payment, in the amount of $118,301.21.


New correspondence was reviewed. The HP Fairfield purchase order for the tractor has been returned; Rafus said the tractor would be delivered next week. One overweight permit and a letter to the listers regarding the proposed tax exemption for the structure on Honora Winery property housing Highway Department equipment was signed.

Combs asked about the structures grant. It’s for 90%, answered Rafus; we will get $18,000 for the $20,000 project. He told Chait the funds would pay for repairing Bridge #17, the lower of the two bridges close together on Green River Road (near Perry Road intersection). The State engineer inspected a pothole in the bridge this winter, and discovered the concrete had deteriorated. The damaged concrete will be cut out, new steel added if necessary, and new concrete poured. Then the bridge will be repaved, as the approaches have settled. The project will be going out to bid, he told Combs.

The Board received a response letter from the State regarding discrepancies between State road numbering and local road names; the State has requested more detail before making a decision on changing numbers. Rafus explained the State has assigned the same number to Fowler and McMillan Roads because at one time the travel path was Fowler to McMillan. When the roads were reclassified, the State never changed the numbers. Green wondered if that might cause difficulties in the future when we applied for grants. Rafus said grants depend on classification, and the roads are classified correctly. The Board agreed that the mis-numbering would likely not have any adverse effect. A similar discrepancy between local naming and State numbering exists for Bell and Carey Roads.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary