Town of Halifax, Vermont
September 4, 2018


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Bradley Rafus were present; Mitchell Green was unable to attend. Ray Combs, Peggy Rafus, Archie Clark, Archie Clark, Jr. (both representing A.S. Clark & Sons), Stephan Chait, Peter LaFogg (LaFogg & Hathaway), Thomas Murphy, Greg Marguet, Leonard Derby, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

Brad Rafus requested an executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Lewis Sumner advised the Board needed to select several possible dates for a meeting with State representatives to discuss the PFOA/PFOS situation.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Rafus made a motion to accept the 8/21/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.

New Business

Open Box Culvert Bids
The Selectboard received three bids on the Hatch Road design/build box culvert project (the final October 2017 storm-related FEMA project), as follows:

LaFogg & Hathaway Construction, Williamsburg, Massachusetts: Design/build box culvert per specifications provided, install 40’ box culvert, guardrail design per specifications provided, time period construction season 2018 or as determined by the Road Commissioner. Estimated installation time: Approximately two weeks. $132,262.00.

Fitzpatrick Excavating & Trucking, Wardsboro, Vermont: Remove existing culvert, dredge, dig, backfill; install new box culvert, riprap and 50’ guardrails on each side per specifications by Ron Bell Engineering. Culvert inside dimensions, 11’ wide x 6’ high x 40’ long, V-shaped baffles, 8’ on center. Includes headwalls, cutoff walls, wing walls, membrane. Build by Renaud Bros. Work to be completed 2018. $109,000.

A.S. Clark & Sons, Newfane, Vermont: Design and replacement of existing 3’ steel culvert with new 11’ x 6’ x 40’ concrete box culvert. Design, layout, and permitting responsibility of Ron Bell of Bell Engineering. Includes, culvert, installation, backfill, riprap, all materials, dewatering, equipment, and labor. Anticipated completion, fall of 2018. $128,000.

All bids were based on the same specifications. Rafus made a motion to approve Fitzpatrick Excavating & Trucking’s bid of $109,000 for the Hatch School Road design/built box culvert project. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.

Ray Combs asked whether the new culvert would be all cement, with no pipe. Rafus told him it would be just like the culvert built near the Post Office, with one difference: They changed the design so rather than the cutoff walls going beneath the stream surface, the entire structure is two feet higher than it needs to be. The structure is six feet high, but the opening will only be four feet when completed. It will have two feet of river gravel in it, and baffles to hold the material in place. Rafus explained that the State does a hydrology study for this type of project, then provides specification requirements from which a design is created by an engineering company. He told Stephan Chait the cement used was a specialized type designed to be water-resistant and to handle the weight it carries. The box culvert is prefabricated off-site and delivered and placed in sections. Peggy Rafus requested a set of bid copies, so she could begin the process of submitting them to FEMA for reimbursement.

Amended Municipal Grant Resolution
Sumner made a motion to approve the amended municipal planning grant resolution. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. Board members signed an amended resolution for the municipal planning grant. Sumner explained that Planning Commissioner Alice Aldrich, who is currently listed as administrator in the online system, is likely to be away when the next data entries need to be completed. The amended resolution will give Gabriel access to make online entries as needed. The planning grant was approved last year, and work on the Town Plan update is in process.

Road Work Update
Rafus told the meeting Green River Road bridge #17 was paved last week after repairs; that project is complete. The highway department also replaced a crushed culvert below the Eggert property while the road was closed. Reclaim on Collins Road was finished Friday, one culvert has been installed and another will be replaced tomorrow. Highway crews will now work on cleaning and stone-lining the ditches, add gravel to the roadbed, and grade. Repaving will probably begin in the third week of September. Sumner asked about the Josh Road bridge; the projected repair date is September 15th. Rafus said he had just received AOT’s recommended specifications for the project, and the next step is to order lumber. We have to narrow the bridge by two feet, he added, and runners must be full width across the top. Guardrail system will be the same.

Leonard Derby said that the work on Collins Road had partially filled his ditches; he asked if they would be cleaned out. Rafus said yes; all those ditches would be cleaned and stone-lined, after the new culvert was installed just below the Derby property. Derby also asked whether a missing speed limit sign below Hanson Road could be replaced and suggested another sign might be added above his house. With the new blacktop, that’s going to become a superhighway, he added. Drivers come down that hill at high speed. Rafus agreed; that’s why the road has been closed, he said. The first few days we tried it with our working signs up, but the excavator almost got hit several times; drivers refuse to slow down. He told Derby all the speed signs need to be replaced, as the State has changed sign specifications.

Is the hillside area on Deer Park, below Josh Road, continuing to erode?, asked Stephan Chait. There is actually growth started on it, said Rafus. The State has advised leaving it alone and monitoring it for another year, in the hope it will stabilize naturally. State engineers said it would cost millions of dollars to stabilize that particular spot; their first suggestion was to move the road up the hill. Derby noted that the fast, hard rainstorms we are experiencing in recent years are causing erosion problems in many places. There was further discussion about the benefits of reclaiming paved roads to create a solid base, and the use of liquid chloride versus the pelletized type.

Possible Dates for PFOA/PFOS Discussion
John Gannon, who is working to arrange a public meeting between Halifax residents, State legislators, and ANR representatives, has asked the Selectboard to provide several alternate dates for that meeting. Peggy Rafus suggested holding the meeting after the fall PFC tests had been done, but Sumner reminded those present that test results are not available until some time after the samples have been taken. Our best opportunity will be prior to the start of the next legislative session, and before winter weather makes travel difficult. The Selectboard agreed to offer either of their October regular meeting dates, the 2nd and 16th. Gannon also requested a map showing locations of private wells in the vicinity of the closed landfill. Peggy Rafus suggested using screenshots of Google maps, and asking property owners to pinpoint well locations. Tom Murphy advised the ANR GIS database shows well locations; he offered to assist Gabriel in accessing the appropriate layer in that mapping system.  

Old Business


Other Business


Hearing of Visitors

Tom Murphy, who owns property on Smith Road, asked about proper procedure for road reclassification; his driveway access is off a Class 4 section of the road. Sumner explained legal noticing requirements, and said that while Smith Road could not be considered in the current reclassification action, the Board has discussed consideration of other roads in the spring. Rafus suggested that Murphy submit a written request to the Board, including specifics such as length of the road segment. Smith Road connects with the Whitingham/Halifax town line, so a reclassification consideration would involve Whitingham, explained Sumner.

Where is the Town with roadside mowing, and is there a schedule?, asked Chait. They are presently working on Green River Road, answered Rafus; they mow one area at a time, as it’s not practical to jump around. We do all the paved roads, first, with their side roads, and go on from there.

Executive Session
Sumner made a motion to enter executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. The Board entered executive session at 7:40 p.m. They exited the session at 7:57 p.m., with no decisions made.

Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment

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


Correspondence was reviewed.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary