APRIL 16, 2024



Edee Edwards called meeting to order at 6:00pm on April 16, 2024. Selectboard members present ore remote were Edee Edwards, Rhonda Ashcraft, Patrick McAllister, Tristan Roberts (remote) and Karen Christofferson. Residents and visitors present or remote were Gretchen Havreluk, Stephanie Pike, Randy Pike, Brian Marchegiani and Chuck Fowler. Mary Brewster joined remotely while meeting was in progress.


Two previously scheduled Agenda items (Emergency Management Topics and Executive Sessions) were cancelled and will be rescheduled at a future date when the relevant parties are able to attend the meeting.

Three additional changes to the Agenda were:

  1. Add discussion of Beavers under New Business
  2. Add Discussion of Road Closures under New Business
  3. Move Hearing of Visitors closer to beginning of the meeting to accommodate visitors


March 4, 2024 Selectboard Special Meeting Minutes:  Roberts made a motion to approve minutes. Christofferson second. Passed 3-0-2

Approval of remaining minutes will be addressed at the end of the meeting.


The Chair recognized Randy and Stephanie Pike.  Mr. Pike stated their continuing interest in attending SB meetings in order to stay involved and possibly jump in to help.  Edwards noted that Green Up Day is on Saturday May 4th this year. Ms Pike expressed possible interest in helping and will contact the event coordinator, Jessica Cooney.

The Chair recognized Brian Marchegiani.  Marchegiani expressed concern about the town using a grant for the benefit of a single taxpayer (his mother). Marchegiani further asked how necessary it is to conduct a hydraulic study that could take 2-2.5 years and spend circa $250,000,000 on the Pike Road culvert project.  [Note: The Pike Road Culvert project involves FEMA grant following the July 2023 washout]. In response to a question from the Selectboard, Marchegiani asked if it is possible to petition the town not to complete the project and keep the temporary culvert in place.  Marchegiani noted it was not a catastrophic failure and asked what statistical value is being used in the analysis.

Edwards noted that there are other residents on Pike Road from Whitingham and that the project has already been bid out.  A discussion ensued regarding the Town’s use of Grants for the project.

The Chair recognized Chuck Fowler.  Fowler offered a follow-up to the Pike Road discussion saying that it would be better for Marlboro to fix the Shearer Hill beaver dam which washes out.

Christofferson offered to organize a follow-up conversation with Marchegiani and the Road Commissioners.


MTAP (Municipal Technical Assistance Program):

  • Gretchen Havreluk reviewed the MTAP program and prior discussions with the Selectboard. The MTAP closing has accelerated and will now close April 30th. The Town needs to select a project to writeup.
  • Havreluk explained that the program and her contract will end April 30th versus the originally anticipated June 30th. Havreluk noted that WRC (Windham Regional Commission) can assist the Town of Halifax after April 30th. She further noted that she can submit a “Statement of Work” on the Town’s behalf. Havreluk explained that each town has a rank in the Vermont Community Index and that Halifax has been selected as Number 1 of the top 3 towns who are eligible (Halifax, Readsboro and Wardsboro).
  • Havreluk reported that Chris Campany (WRC Executive Director) has tried to get additional information but has not received a response
  • Havreluk summarized MTAP’s five assistance categories as:
    1. Water and Sewer Infrastructure
    2. Housing
  • Community Recovery (Workforce development)
  1. Climate Change (Mitigation and Resiliency)
  2. Community and Economic Development


  1. Town Garage Roof: Roberts distributed information in advance of tonight’s meeting regarding MERP Energy Assessment. A discussion ensued with the general outcome that an estimate for the garage roof was a couple years ago and is likely out of date.
  2. Communications Strategy: Town Website and Town WiFi Hotspot
  • Financial and accounting system upgrade
  1. Coordinate Incident Response Training
  2. Long term road maintenance and plan: WRC Colin Bratton in re: Paved vs gravel, Bridge & Culvert Prioritization, Guardrails: WRC Chris Campany
  3. Shared services and equipment – Purchasing
  • Human Resources Policies and Procedures: VLCT
  • Feasibility Study for Gravel
  1. Park with a Pavilion
  2. PFAS/PFOAS Monitoring


  • A discussion ensued regarding priority ranking and how the projects fit into the five MTAP categories. With respect to the Water and Sewer Infrastructure category, Edwards noted that some residents have sediment in their wells.  Marchegiani Fowler expressed their views that having sediment in a well is not a town responsibility.


A further discussion ensued about eligible projects.  Havreluk noted that she has a consultant who can assist in determining the best financial system for the Town’s needs.  Christofferson noted that given the nature of the Town’s needs, it should not be a time-consuming consulting engagement.  A discussion ensued regarding the redesign of the Town’s website.  Edwards then noted that the Town Garage Roof will probably have to use a bond because MTAP funding would not be sufficient. Roberts spoke to the Town’s physical infrastructure and a Pavilion.  There have been meetings with the community and residents want to have places to gather.  Trail development was discussed.  Havleruk suggested we stay away from [INSERT ???].


Edwards reported that she had checked with VCRD (Vermont Counsil on Rural Development) regarding the Town’s website.  Edwards noted that Halifax got a generic website with grant funding after Irene. Edwards noted that she now has the name of Rob Fish (VT Community Broadband Board).


A discussion ensued. The outcome being that the two most likely candidates are Website and Financial/Accounting Software upgrades.


Edwards noted that the Town Plan was last re-adopted in 2019 and needs to be updated every 8 years.  Christofferson noted the difficult balance between current needs versus aspirational projects.  Edwards suggested that the Selectboard members read the Town Plan.  Edwards noted a three month priority of the MTAP and MERP grants.  Edwards further noted that HR policies and procedures would need to wait until May.


Regular Selectboard meeting day and time:


McAllister reported he had spoken with Roberts and the recommendation is to leave the meeting dates and times unchanged as the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the Month.


Edwards noted that she had received interest from community members at the Halifax Community Café in occasional Saturday meetings and noted that given the current calendar the SB won’t meet again for 3 weeks.  Edwards proposed a few Saturday meetings during the year and shared a schedule.


Roberts expressed his interest in the Selectboard’s more active time management and his view that holding meetings to the two hours of 6pm to 8pm as reasonable.  Roberts further noted that we held Saturday meetings during the last budget cycle and no one from the community attended.  Roberts’ counter-proposed scheduling the Budget meetings in advance and advertising them more broadly.


Edwards expressed concern with 2-hour meetings as being insufficient to get all the work done that the SB needs to do.  McAllister noted that Saturday meetings would not be a bad idea if they are meetings where the Community talks to the Selectboard at the café (about specific topics) versus conducting regular SB business.


7:20PM Roberts left the meeting


US Treasury Funding (aka ARPA) Update:

US Treasury Reporting Update: Christofferson noted that due to technical difficulties with the US Treasury portal, we were unable to work with VLCT (Katie Buckley, Director Federal Funding Assistance) as anticipated on April 9th and now that the access issue has been resolved, the reporting due April 30, 2024 will be conducted on Friday, April 19th.


Grantee Status: Christofferson reported that the recipients of the funding had been notified that they need to provide the Town with an Invoice in order for the Treasurer to issue a check to their organization.  Christofferson reported that the Town had received an invoice to that effect from the Community Center and a check has been issued and that we are now awaiting the invoice from the Fire Department and the Historical Society.


Discussion regarding highway department use of funds: Edwards noted that the SB needs further input from Mike Fournier regarding the highway use of funds. She expressed her view regarding taxpayers paying cash for a vehicle versus financing it.  McAllister asked what had changed since the last conversation he was a party to regarding a back hoe.  Christofferson reported that Box Blades costing circa $11,500 had been ordered and that we would ask Mike to help finalize the highway department use of funds and timing.


VTRANS meeting and grants recap:  Christofferson reported on her meeting with VTrans on April 10th with Patrick Wilson.  We completed our FY2025 Municipal Highway Grant applications by the April 15th due date.  The two grants are:

  1. $60,000 for Jacksonville Stage Road: Geotextile, stone and gravel due to excess mud conditions
  2. $248,000 for Green River Road: Skim and overlay pavement due to age


Complaint resolution: Plowing at Halifax school lot:

Ashcraft reported that she met with Fournier regarding the resident’s request to delay the plowing of the School Parking lot.  Fournier said he would delay until 5-5:30am.  Ashcraft reported that the resident doesn’t want snow plowing to commence until 6am.  Christofferson noted that the times that the resident shared with the Selectboard as being a problem for her had 16 line items and that all but one or two were when the trucks drove by but did not plow.  Edwards noted that the Road Supervisor has tried to be helpful and that we have done what we are able to do.


Gravel invoicing error update:

Edwards shared with the SB that during a review of invoices, she had found that one of the vendors had been using an incorrect conversion factor (Tons vs Yards) and that a credit of $13,398.33 has been issued.  A discussion ensued.  The Vendor will bill in tons and the town has only used this vendor this year.



Temporary Road Closure: Edwards noted that Road Supervisor contacted her regarding a temporary road closure on Hatch School Road for tree work from 8am to 3pm on Wednesday, April 17th. Edwards reported she placed a notice on the Town website and Front Porch Forum.


Beaver Issue: (New addition to Agenda noted at beginning of meeting)

Edwards noted that two roads are impacted and that road work due to beaver problems is unplanned. Edwards noted that the Town’s conservation commission is working on a “beaver deceiver” grant.  Fowler mentioned that trapping nuisance beavers and that wardens can help.


McAllister noted that this should be a budget item as it is an ongoing problem.


Early bids for Paving:

Fournier asked that the SB request early bids for paving in order to possibly achieve better pricing. Christofferson said she would work with Fournier and Town Admin to get RFPs prepared.


Tax Sale June 25, 2024:

Edwards noted that Mary Brewster had provided information about two pending tax sales. Brewster noted she had confirmed with Town Attorney, Robert Fisher:

  1. 180 Wheeler Road = ½ acre with no structures
  2. 198 Wheeler Road = ½ acre with no structures


McAllister explained that if no one purchases the properties in the tax sale, that the Town then decides if it wants to purchase the property.  Brewster noted that this Agenda item is a formality and that she needs to know if the Town intends to purchase the property if no one comes forward in the tax sale.

Christofferson asked what the delinquencies on the properties are.  Brewster noted:

  1. 180 Wheeler Road = $1,603.71
  2. 198 Wheeler Road = $1,613.44


McAllister suggested that this topic be put on the Agenda for the next Selectboard meeting.


CAEL Scholarships:

Edwards reported that Applicants can get an application form at Town Office.

McAllister noted that the Schoolboard will provide the Selectboard with dates to review applicants.




WSWMD (Windham Solid Waste Management District):

WSWMD had asked for the written appointments of Lewis Sumner and Stephan Chait to the board.  Christofferson provided the names of the appointees (Sumner and Chait) along with a signature in time for the WSWMD meeting as requested of her by Lewis Sumner. Edwards said she would complete the revisions i.e. provide the contact information for Sumner and Chait and also sign the appointment letter.


Contract with Windham County Humane Society:

Edwards noted the contract fee is the same as last year and that we need to sign the contract by July 15th.  Edwards will review the contract with Kyle Farnsworth (Animal Control Officer) for signature at a later Selectboard meeting.

Overweight Permits:

Edwards will sign and discuss with Town Admin about next steps.


VLCT Training:

Ashcraft brought up VLCT Selectboard/Open Meeting Law training scheduled for April 17th.  Edwards discussed the training and the possibility of having a session for multiple people via the Town Office and noted it is at 10am.  McAllister asked about the availability of a recording.


Shared Services WRC:

Edwards noted that this effort is currently on hold.  We are awaiting an update for FEMA grant management and Purchasing Agent.  Edwards noted that Brookline VT only had one person respond but that the individuals flexibility was not as good as they had initially heard.


Edwards said she has signed up for the Sharing Municipal staff webinar. No fee. The webinar is April 24th at Noon.  Edwards will forward the email with details to the SB.  Edwards also noted the SVEDS full day Economic Development Summit at Mount Snow.


April 2, 2024 Selectboard Regular Meeting Minutes:  McAllister requested two corrections to New Business. Christofferson moved to approve with amendments. McAllister seconded. Passed 4-0

March 29, 2024: Selectboard Special Meeting Minutes: McAllister moved to approve. Ashcraft seconded. No discussion. Passed 4-0


Edwards read in the Highway Order.

Edwards read in the Selectboard Order: $29,059.38



McAllister adjourned meeting at 8:05pm. Ashcraft seconded. Passed 4-0. Recording stopped.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Christofferson, secretary pro tempore

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