Town of Halifax, Vermont


April 17, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards and Earl Holtz.  Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, Ray Combs, Nick Bartenhagen, Maggie Bartenhagen, Mitchell Green, Sue Kelly, William Moore, and Jessica Bruno.

Approval of Minutes

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the April 3, 2012 special meeting as written.  Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the April 3, 2012 regular meeting with a few corrections. Sumner seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the April 12, 2012 special meeting with corrections.  Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the April 16, 2012 special meeting with corrections. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1, and the minutes were approved. Sumner abstained as he was not there.

New Business

Sue Kelly, Health Officer

Sue Kelly, Health Officer of Halifax, indicated that she was originally coming to request a health order regarding a rental housing dispute where the landlord was in violation of the VT Rental Housing Code. Kelly inspected the property on 74 Winchester Rd, on request of the tenant on March 24, 2012. The landlord requested that she inspect again after they had done some corrections and she made that inspection this morning (April 17, 2012). All of the matters that were in violation of the rental housing code have been corrected so Kelly withdrew her request for the health order. Kelly indicated the reason she did not take her item off the agenda was that she received a call from the tenant, Lynn Oleski, stating that she had further complaints about the property regarding matters that had occurred over time and things that would have been in violation of the rental housing code such as inadequate water or electrical supplies. Kelly can not verify these things because these things were in tact when she inspected. Kelly indicated that Oleski was going to submit a sworn statement. Edwards indicated that she received an e-mail from Lynn Oleski and proceeded to read the statement. See attached for a copy of the statement. The landlord had no comment. It was determined that since there are no grounds for a health order and the violations have been corrected, the health department has no further involvement at this point.

River bank and debris clean-up/ Green-up Day

Edwards reported that Maggie Bartenhagen followed up with the Windham Regional Commission and found out that there is potentially some support available for us if we feel there are areas of concern about riverbanks or debris in the stream. We may be able to apply for a grant through the USDA watershed protection fund, NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service). It was noted that we can not start any work until the grant has been approved. We do have people willing to help map the areas of concern. Edwards suggesting having the volunteers gather during green-up day and start documenting what they are seeing along the rivers (including trees, non-hazardous debris, and hazardous debris). If we choose apply for a grant, the town will have to pay 25% of the cost. Various sites were noted as areas of concern- lower end of Green River, Route 112, the creek where Hale Bridge went out etc. The volunteers should also note what structures could potentially be damaged. Maggie Bartenhagen added that we will need to note the potential impact to roads, bridges, structures and culverts.

A sign-up sheet for volunteers will be posted on the bulleting board at Town Hall. Edwards will investigate if we can do some sort of online sign-up. Property owners will be notified that volunteers will be looking at banks and streams.

Sumner noted that the Windham Solid Waster District will have a household hazardous waste disposal day on May 19, 2012 at the school parking lot in Halifax. We will have confirmation on the time in the next few days. It will be posted on the website and advertised in the newspaper. Electronics disposal will be held the following week through the school fundraiser.

Arbor Day Tree City

Holtz reported that he took an SOUL course which described qualifications for designation as a tree city. In order to be designated as a tree city you need to do the following:

-Have a tree board or department

-Have a tree ordinance

-Spend $2 per capita on tree/park related work (work done pruning and removing trees counts toward this)

-Write up a proclamation

Holtz gave the other board members a list of benefits of becoming a tree city for their review. The major benefit is potential grant funding. They may wish to review this issue to see if they may want to do this for next year.

The Selectboard discussed potential properties and areas suitable for planting trees from a community perspective.

Landfill Post Closure Re-certification Application

Sumner reported that every 5 years the town has to get a certificate to have closure for the landfill (which has been closed since 1995 when it was capped). The engineering firm has sent over the application. They need to send the land abutters a copy, advertise in the newspaper, and give a copy to Windham Regional and the Windham Solid Waste District. Sumner reported that the wells are tested in the spring and fall. The town gets a detailed report of what is allowable compared to our results. Sumner advised that since day one our results have always been lower than allowable levels and they continue to drop. There is no indication that there are any issues. The only change in the new proposal is that instead of sampling twice per year, they would like to change it to once per year.

Various town members asked questions about the certification and testing process as well as about the engineering firm, which were answered by the SelectBoard. Edwards inquired whether there might be a way for us to use the landfill for other purposes such as a place for solar panels etc. They may inquire whether any other towns may be doing this.

Edwards made a motion to sign the Landfill Post Closure Re-certification Application and send all necessary paperwork to required parties. Holtz seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.

Edwards made a motion to have KAS, Inc. do our annual inspections of the Halifax landfill. Sumner seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.

EMD Job Description

Edwards reported that the Selectboard was given a job description at the last meeting that needs to be finalized and put into a more formal structure. Edwards marked up a copy with her comments that she will share with the other Selectboard members. They will have a special meeting on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm to discuss the job description and make any necessary changes to the draft.

Sumner reported that Joe Tamburrino left a note stating that he has received seven bids on the Old County Road bridge engineering work. Rafus noted that the advertisement in the paper listed the location incorrectly. Sumner will call and change it. It was also noted that the Selectboard meeting times listed in the Brattleboro Reformer and the Deerfield Valley News were incorrect as well. Holtz had tried contacting the two newspapers but has not received a response.

Ray Combs inquired whether the fire station was adequate as our emergency headquarters. There was a lengthy discussion about the concerns and issues the town had while using the fire station during Irene. The Selectboard determined that they should go over the task force document to prioritize which improvements or changes they would like to make.

Hearing From Visitors

Ray Combs asked how much money was owed to the town by FEMA? Sumner reported that the town has received $770k so far. Holtz reported that the Weir bridge project was approved by FEMA which will bring in approximately $100k. Edwards discussed the cash flow report that she had compiled. The town has spent approximately 2.3 million on Irene repairs. The town will spend $491k on paving, and 1.1 million on three bridges. The state funds won’t come back to the town until everything is done. With the 3 cent rule, instead of the town having to pay for 10%, we are responsible for a much smaller portion that will only raise our tax rate 3 cents.

Nick Bartenhagen inquired what the timeline is to get off of HughesNet and get DSL? Holtz explained that the VTel grant requires them to fulfill their obligation by December, 2013. Maggie Bartenhagen  noted that VTel will be presenting at the next Windham Regional Commission meeting. There is also another more technical meeting with VTel and the Dover Energy Committee. She will get us the information about the meeting dates and times.

Old Business

Review Truck Specifications for Replacement of Sterling Dump Truck #3

Brad Rafus answered the Selectboard’s questions about the new truck specifications. Rafus also explained the timing for building, delivery, and assembly. His estimate was 12-18 weeks from the time you purchase it to the time you can utilize the truck. He also noted that there may be a price increase in August, and that these are estimates only. Edwards expressed her concern about sending the truck out to bid when we are uncertain as to the timing of our Green River Road funding from FEMA. The Selectboard may wait until June to put the truck out to bid and see if we receive any money from FEMA by then.

Other Business

The Selectboard received a letter from Christina Moore indicating the State has determined that Halifax has treated the Weir road bridge appropriately based on the fact the road was a class 4 town highway. There was discussion about class 4 roads, and bridges on class 4 roads, in town and how much they cost the town. The Selectboard may have a discussion in the future about class 4 roads.


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno