Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 15, 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

Lewis Sumner has documents on the tractor purchase for signature. This will be the first item under new business, so Patty Dow can leave with the completed paperwork.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Mitch Green made a motion to approve the 5/1/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.

New Business

Tractor Loan
Selectboard members reviewed the capital equipment note paperwork from People’s United Bank, in the amount of $74,149. The rate is 3.10%, to be made in five annual payments of $14,829.80 each, beginning May 18, 2019. The final payment is due May 18, 2023. Sumner made a motion to sign the People’s Bank note for $74,149. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Ray Combs asked whether heavy equipment payments were paid once a year. Rafus answered yes; this is a five-year lease split up into five payments. If the term is over five years, said Rafus, it has to go to the voters. The grader, for instance, was a ten-year lease. We are six years into that lease. The Selectboard and Treasurer Patty Dow signed the paperwork, and Dow left the meeting at 7:12 p.m.

Winter School Lot Maintenance
Rafus has calculated cost of plowing and sanding the school parking lots over the past several years and, based on those numbers, estimates the yearly cost at approximately $5,000. Sumner suggested the Highway Department could also fill some of the low spots with gravel. Board members discussed the paved walkways, which were installed in 1991 or 1992, and have settled below ground level. They really need to be redone, said Rafus. Combs asked if the funds for plowing and sanding would come out of the school budget. Sumner explained that, at their Town Meetings, both Halifax and Readsboro had voted $15,000 amounts towards their respective school budgets. Readsboro will be paying their Highway Department to maintain their school lot from those funds, and Halifax is choosing to do the same thing. It’s Town money, voted for the school, and a portion will be paid back to the Town in return for lot maintenance. Rafus confirmed for Stephan Chait that the $5,000 would be an annual payment, and said he would like that money to go into an equipment account to be used for equipment maintenance or purchase.

Bid Solicitation—Paving, Sand, Diesel, #2 Oil
Sumner advised the Town’s current contracts for sand, diesel, and oil expire at the end of June and it is also time to solicit bids for this year’s Collins Road paving project. Rafus said the Town has $109,000 left in the paving budget from FY18, and an FY19 budget of $160,000, so there will be sufficient funds to pave the remaining 1.5 miles of Collins Road. The project will involve two culvert replacements, ditchwork, and tree removal; the roadbed will be reclaimed and paved. Rafus and Gabriel will meet to work out details of the quote requests. The Board set a bid submission deadline of June 19th, at their regular meeting. Green asked about purchasing gravel; Rafus said it wouldn’t be necessary; the Highway Department crushed 9,800 yards last year and still has a stockpile of about 8,500 yards. That will probably be sufficient, but if more is needed Rafus will solicit crushing bids later in the year. Chait asked about the stone needed for ditching under the new Act 64 statutory requirements. As of this year, there is a separate line item in the Highway Department for stone, Rafus replied. There was general discussion regarding the practicalities of working with new State requirements for stone-lined ditches. Sumner recommended the Town’s paving bid solitation include a request for a per-ton price on a set number of tons, as last year some confusion resulted when vendors submitted quotes based on varying tonnage.

Spring PFC Testing
Sumner advised the landfill monitoring well #3 would undergo spring testing in the next few weeks. Last year the Phelan private well, on the other side of Branch Brook, was on the testing schedule, but the landowners were not available to provide access on the testing date and, thereafter, the Phelans did not object to a Town decision not to schedule another test date. This year they have requested the test. If a sample is taken at the same time that KAS Engineering is in the area to test the landfill well, the additional cost would be $388. Green said that, given the location of the property and the fact that other private wells tested previously showed no PFCs, he does not think it necessary to test the Phelan well. Peggy Rafus disagreed. Sumner made a motion to approve testing of the Phelan well at 1547 Branch Road when the landfill well is tested. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-1, with Green dissenting.

Cael Scholarships—Set Award Date
The deadline for Cael scholarship applications is today, May 15th. Sumner told Combs the awards began back in the 1970s, after Don Cael left a bequest to the Town to benefit Halifax students. Each year the interest on the account is awarded to assist students in furthering their education. Board members chose several possible dates for a joint Selectboard/School Board meeting to review applications. Three dates were chosen: 6:30 p.m. on June 5th, prior to the regular Selectboard meeting, or, as alternates, 7:00 p.m. on May 21st or May 29th. Gabriel will communicate with the School Board to learn which day is preferable.

Tour de Heifer Bike Ride in Halifax
Sumner announced the Tour de Heifer bike ride will be held on Sunday, June 3rd this year. Both the 60-mile and 30-mile courses will pass through Halifax, with riders traveling Jacksonville Stage, Old County, Whitneyville, Brook, Collins, Hanson, Hatch School, Shearer Hill, Butterfield, Green River, and Moss Hollow Roads. Green recommended a letter be sent to the ride organizers emphasizing the importance of road safety, courtesy, and trash removal after the race.

Guilford Gravel Grinder Bike Ride
This ride will take place on May 20th, beginning and ending at Sunrise Farm in Guilford, and traveling through Guilford, Marlboro, Brattleboro, and Halifax. 125 riders will be participating, starting at 9:30 a.m. An email will also be sent to the organizers of this race about road safety and trash pickup. Sumner reminded the meeting there will also be a marathon run through Halifax in August.

Executive Session (if necessary)
None held.

Old Business

Rafus told the Board he has received a request to cut the sod on the Class 4 portion of Hall Road when the Highway Department grades the Class 3 section. We’ve done this before on Class 4 roads, he said; there is a portion of Class 4 road (Aldrich Road) that we’ve been plowing for about five years, at the direction of the previous Board. Sumner suggested the Town should consider reclassifying Aldrich Road as Class 3, and the Board agreed to put this item on their June 5th agenda for discussion. Why does the Town plow Winn Road?, asked Combs. Winn is a Class 3 road answered Rafus; we have to plow Class 3 roads, added Green. Green said we should consider reclassifying Class 4 roads if there are three or more homes on the road. There was general conversation about current road classifications and the possibility of discontinuing plowing several other Class 4 roads in town. We’ve sent a precedent in plowing some Class 4 and private sections of road, said Rafus, who pointed out that in some cases trucks needed to plow far enough to reach a turn-around. Green said the Highway Department should go ahead with cutting the sod on Hall Road when grading was in process.

Other Business


Hearing of Visitors

Chait has noticed bark scoring on trees along Vaughn and Stowe Mountain Roads this year. Won’t those trees die?, he asked. That’s either the edge of the plow or the wing, replied Rafus. The last two storms, when the ground wasn’t frozen, were particularly difficult; the crew struggled to push heavy snow back far enough. Rafus said a lot of those trees should be cut anyway; they are actually inside the designated roadbed width. Chait also asked about mailboxes. They are the property owners’ responsibility, said Rafus, but our rule of thumb is if we knock one down, we reset it.

Green advised several residents on Stowe Mountain Road were once again depositing yard and garden debris in the right-of-way. Should we write letters reminding them they could be subject to fines?, he asked. We’ve written letters before, said Rafus. Board members agreed to ask Constable Andy Rice to speak to the householders.

Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment

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


New correspondence was reviewed; one overweight permit was signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary