TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES—APPROVED
OCTOBER 18, 2022
CALL TO ORDER:
Silverberg called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Patrick McAlister, Paul Blais and Tristan Roberts. Others in attendance in person or remotely were David Jones, Linda Lyon, Edee Edward, Mary Brewster, Raquel Smith, Doug and Marilou Parkhurst, Andrea and Gary Rand, Linda Swanson, and Mike Fournier.
CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
- How we handle grant forms
- Getting things signed to Dow in a timely manner
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
Roberts made the motion to approve minutes with edit in DV Fiber section stating that he proposed appointing David Jones as an alternate rep, seconded by Silverberg. Minutes were approved 4-0.
Went into executive session at 6:02pm. The board interviewed a candidate for the town highway department. Meeting came out of executive session at 6:36pm. Roberts moved, seconded by Silverberg, to offer Blake Janovsky employment at $17/hr with other details of the employment package to be provided by Silverberg to Janovsky. The board would like to see him get his CDL license in the spring, and options were discussed for the town to share in the cost of training then. Motion passed 4-0.
Voices for Hope Vermont presentation, a grassroots organization in hopes of increasing resources, access to overdose kits, and providing education about the opioid crisis in the Deerfield Valley. They ask us to partner with them to spread the word, and if there is a need in our community that they can help. They are partnered with Turning Point, the State of VT, AIDs project, and other organizations. They are based in the old firehouse in Wilmington and have 3 towns who have agreed to be a partner, Wilmington, Dover, and Whitingham, who have helped promote their mission on their town websites. Blais suggested we have a page in our town handbook. He also offered to help with the efforts. Roberts motioned to partner with Voices of Hope, as well as getting their word out on our town website. The motion was seconded by Silverberg, passed 4-0.
McAllister read FY23/24 budget proposal for town cemetery commissioners. There are a lot of trees that need to be taken down or trimmed, stones need to be restored and maintained for the 22 cemeteries, as well as mowing, filling, and renovation. Compared to what neighboring towns are spending annually on their cemetery budget, we have been underfunding the cemeteries for a long time and costs are only going to go up.
Trees are a high priority. They are ruining stones and potentially graves and are a safety risk to visitors. We have used most of the budget for just mowing and weed whacking. Asking for a significant increase in budget over the next five years as detailed in the proposal. This budget discussion will be in the budget meetings going forward. The budget proposal will be put up on the website for viewing under the home page and Cemetery Commissioner’s page. After 5 years and the cemeteries are restored, the budget can be reduced to maintenance, but we cannot go back to a $5K budget or we will run into similar issues that we are facing now.
Discussed elected auditors for the books for town meeting. Bob Fisher sent a letter in regards to the town appointing an interim auditor. He stated that we cannot. We must have an audited report by statute. The town voted to have a certified auditor since we have not had an official audit since hurricane Irene for the purpose of checks and balances. A new article has been passed to go back to electing auditors. We will have to hire auditors this year as we did last year. In March, the auditors will be on the ballot. McAlister will ask Dow for her advice on how we can ensure that we are in compliance and have the audited financials for the town meeting.
Road Supervisor and Commissioner Job descriptions have been outdated since around 2004. It has been difficult to define what role the supervisor and the commissioner has been. Edwards was working on those efforts. She suggested in a previous meeting that we follow what VLCT recommends. However, we have only discussed the commissioner position and not yet looked at the supervisor one. We will have a special meeting to discuss more in depth on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 at 6pm.
Roberts called two roofing companies to get feedback and see what we need. A contractor came to look at the roof yesterday from Brattleboro Roofing. He also called Adams Roofing. Roberts moved that we cancel the bid process from the last meeting until we can understand the scope of the project better, seconded by Silverberg, passed 4-0.
Nothing new for ARPA funds.
Post Office wheels are turning. We are still waiting to see. The lease ends October 31st.
Recently we have been putting grant stuff on the desk for Dow and that has not been the traditional way it should be done. Podlaski will contact Gabriel (last secretary) to ask how grants should be handled and tracked.
Since Sumner, the primary signer, has been out for an extended period, things that need to get signed have been slipping through the cracks. Blais volunteered to be primary signer in Sumner’s absence. If things are signed out of a meeting, a board member must be appointed in a meeting by vote. Blais made a motion to appoint Silverberg, Roberts, and himself to sign board and highway orders until we reorganize our meeting in March, after the election. Roberts amended to clarify that if one of the members cannot sign, an alternative member (McAlister or Sumner) may sign in their place. Silverberg will ask Dow if she can provide Podlaski with the highway orders so she can forward a copy to the board, motion seconded by Silverberg, passed 4-0.
Silverberg stated that grants have been done incorrectly. Podlaski will check with Gabriel to see what to do.
Selectboard Orders should be signed
Blais made a motion that we appoint Roberts, Silverberg, and himself, to sign the order with McAlister and Sumner as alternates in case of absences, after the next town meeting. Passed 4-0.
HEARING OF VISITORS
Read and signed
SIGN OVERWEIGHT PERMITS
Roberts motioned to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Silverberg. Passed 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:43 pm.
For the Selectboard