OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
November 6, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Nancy McCrea, Diane Conway, Peggy Rafus, Tristan Roberts, Jennifer Preston, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Lewis Sumner has information to share on high-speed Internet.
Selectboard’s Order to the Town Treasurer for Bill Payment
The Treasurer’s Order was reviewed and signed. This order included the State Education Tax payment of $106,550.
Sign Reclassification Findings and Decision
Board members reviewed the reclassification decisions for sections of Aldrich, Hall, and Old County North Roads. Mitchell Green made a motion to sign the reclassification decisions upgrading sections of Aldrich and Hall Roads from Class 4 to Class 3, and a portion of Old County North from trail to Class 4. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The documents were signed by the Selectboard.
Set Date for Selectboard Town Plan Update Hearing
Gabriel outlined the statutory requirements for warning the public hearing, and the Board considered available dates. Rafus recommended choosing a day separate from a regular Selectboard meeting to assure ample time for discussion. The hearing will be held on Thursday, December 27, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Office.
Consolidated Communications has advised that high-speed service is now available at the Town Office; they have provided two possible contracts for consideration. Presently the offices have DSL, which has been increasingly unsatisfactory and, recently, has not worked at all for long periods of time. Sumner spoke of the importance of reliable connectivity; both the Town Clerk and Listers perform more and more of their duties on line. In discussion, Green suggested the Town could also switch their phone lines to the Internet, thus saving money. Peggy Rafus mentioned that power outages might leave the office with no means of communication. Patty Dow stepped into the meeting momentarily, and recommended revisiting the phone option once the new service has been operational for awhile and we have opportunity to assess its performance level. Sumner said Paul Blais has recommended Consolidated’s 10mb offering as the best option. Green made a motion to accept Consolidated Communications’ 10mb contract for Internet service. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Hearing of Visitors
Nancy McCrea said she had submitted a letter to the Selectboard. Green read it into the record, as follows: “We respectfully petition you to discontinue the portion of Thurber Road designated as a town trail that runs through our property. The petitioned segment begins at the easternmost end of Thurber Road, which is a Class 3 highway, and proceeds in an easterly and southeasterly direction ending at our property line. We are only petitioning for that portion of the trail on which we abut both sides. We are lawful owners of 449 Thurber Road in West Halifax.” Green advised the request would require a legal hearing process. Rafus recommended adding the request to the next regular meeting agenda, as tonight’s meeting is necessarily brief due to Election Day. Sumner and Green concurred. Sumner told Tristan Roberts the next regular meeting will be November 20th.
Roberts said he was present tonight to talk about tree maintenance he had done on the trail portion of Thurber Road. He said Tree Warden Ross Barnett had visited the site and Jennifer Preston could share information about that meeting. Preston said she and Barnett walked the trail and Barnett advised the tree trimming work was appropriate in his opinion. McCrea asked about property owner input when such work is done; she said she hadn’t known about the cutting or Barnett’s visit until after the fact. Sumner explained that the Town has a three-rod, or fifty-foot, right of way, and while no landowner permissions are needed the Tree Warden should be consulted, and the landowner is notified. Roberts said he had hired someone to mow the grass on the trail, as he has done in the past, and the contractor also trimmed some beech whips. He had not been aware of the need to notify the Tree Warden. He added that when he learned the neighboring landowner was upset he apologized several times. Sumner said the subject would be on the next meeting agenda.
Peggy Rafus told the Board that final documentation on the Hatch School Road culvert project would be submitted in the next few days for FEMA reimbursement; otherwise all the necessary paperwork had been completed. A recent email from the State indicated data submission was still pending, but that message was the result of miscommunication.
Mitch Green made a motion to enter into executive session to discuss a personnel issue, with Gabriel invited. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board entered executive session at 6:37 p.m. They exited the session at 6:43 p.m. with no decisions made.
Sumner made a motion to increase Charles Cunningham’s hourly wage by $0.50, with the possibility of another $0.50 on January 1st, if things keep improving. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:43 p.m.