OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
January 15, 2019
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, Peggy Rafus, Nancy McCrea, Joseph McCrea, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Brad Rafus made a motion to approve the 1/2/19 special meeting minutes as written. Lewis Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Mitch Green abstaining due to his absence from that meeting.
Sumner made a motion to approve the 1/2/19 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Green abstaining.
Planning Commission Request for Conservation Commission
At their January 8th meeting the Planning Commission voted to request that the Selectboard approve formation of a Halifax Conservation Commission. Sumner asked for commentary on the topic. I think we should put it out there and see what response we get, said Rafus, and Green concurred. Board members agreed there should be at least three individuals on the commission. Rafus made a motion to create a Conservation Commission and advertise for volunteers. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. In discussion prior to the vote, Stephan Chait, referring to State statutes, said a conservation commission must have at least three members but can have as many as nine, as long as it’s an odd number. The Selectboard agreed that if more than three volunteers came forward, the Halifax commission could be larger. Will there be a write-up of what the job entails?, asked Ray Combs. State statutes define a conservation commission’s range of responsibilities and duties, said Chait, and they are subject to open meeting laws. Green asked if the Conservation Commission reports to the Planning Commission. It does not; per statute, the Conservation Commission is a stand-alone commission. Chait offered his copy of V.S.A. Title 24, Chapter 118, and Gabriel read from the statute’s definition of a conservation commission’s powers and duties. The list includes conducting studies of a municipality’s natural resources, such as air, surface and ground waters, soils, minerals and earth resources, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, plant and animal life, agricultural and forest lands. Chait noted that in Guilford, Marlboro, and Brattleboro, conservation commissions have created mission statements based on the State regulations.
Set Special Meeting Date to Finalize Warning
Sumner advised the petition submission deadline for the March 5th warning is January 17th. After consideration, Board members agreed to meet on January 29th to finalize the 2019 Town Meeting warning. Sumner made a motion to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., to finalize and sign the Town Meeting warning and the proposed budget. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. What is the warning?, asked Combs. It is the articles that will be voted on at Town Meeting, answered Sumner, including the budgeted amounts for the coming year. Does that include the vote on the revised Town Plan?, asked Chait. Sumner said yes, that item will be warned as an Australian ballot vote, as will vote for the Town officers.
Sumner advised he had spoken with Bob Spencer, Windham Solid Waste Management District’s Executive Director, and Spencer has agreed to come to the Selectboard’s February 5th regular meeting, to share information and answer questions about the WSWMD organization.
Executive Session (held after conclusion of other business)
The Board has received one additional figure for the FY20 proposed budget. Dispatching fees will be $14,086, an increase of $384. Sumner confirmed for Chait that this is the 911 dispatch service. He told Combs that 911 calls go to a location in Vermont; if the call is related to fire or ambulance, it is transferred to Keene Mutual Aid, in New Hampshire.
Sumner told the Board the School pre-town meeting informational meeting has been scheduled for 7:00 p.m., February 21st in Halifax. The Selectboard can hold their informational meeting on the same night if they want to, he said. Sumner made a motion to schedule the Selectboard Informational Meeting for Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Hearing of Visitors
Joseph McCrea told the meeting he is Nancy McCrea’s father, he has just moved in and he is enjoying our lovely town.
Peggy Rafus spoke about the FEMA reimbursement process for the October 2017 storm. The new system was frustrating, she said, but we are finally done, and next time should be easier.
As Green was not at the January 2nd special meeting, Rafus outlined his proposal for FY20 truck replacement. (See https://halifaxvt.com/selectboard/meeting-minutes/2019-01-02-selectboard-special-meeting-minutes-draft/) He told Combs the new truck would be full-size and single-axle; the smaller truck has been handy but is not designed for the required workload. Rafus said the estimated time for acquiring the chassis is one year, and Board members agreed to start the bid process as soon as possible. The new truck will have a plow and wing. In response to a question from Chait, Rafus the sander will have hydraulic controls, cable-style, which are less expensive and easier to repair.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed. The Board signed one overweight permit, the yearly Rescue Inc. contract, and the State Certificate of Mileage, which gets updated in February each year.
Sumner made a motion to hold an executive session, including Gabriel, to discuss a personnel matter. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board entered executive session at 7:54 p.m. They exited at 8:05 p.m., with no decisions made.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m.