Town of Halifax, Vermont



August 13, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting started at 11:03 AM at the Town Office, Halifax, VT.  Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Lewis Sumner and Earl Holtz by phone for the River grant and staff wages portions of the meeting.  Members of the public in attendance were Joe Tamburrino, Bill Rossignol from Holden Engineering, Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, and later Orrin Isles, Travis Bristol, David Kuhn, Peggy Webber, Keith and Vicki Stone, Ben Barnett, Travis Briggs, and Mike Fournier


Old County North Bridge (NOTE: not Irene damaged; bridge design grant from VTrans)

Joe Tamburrino reported that this bridge’s steel structure tested positive for lead by Bill Butler, who is certified in this testing. This was true of both the paint and the primer.  This will mean these costs will have to be included in the cost of the project.

Bill Rossignol presented an updated handout, dated August 10, 2012, for the bridge design options. He noted the following weights for loaded vehicles:

•         36,000 lbs (18 ton) – fuel truck

•         40,000 lbs (20 ton) –fire truck

•         80,000 lbs (40 ton) – loaded Town truck

Holden noted that they would provide design calculations for an HS-30 rating, which is a vehicle up to 108,000 lbs, although this is above the HS-25 requirement.

Options discussed included: weathering steel, which needs no painting, at $1.54/lb, or regular steel at $0.77/lb.  He noted that steel made today is A50, stronger than the historic A36 steel.

To reduce the cost of the lead paint removal, Rossignol noted that $20,000-25,000 would be the cost to remove the existing steel beams and deal with the lead paint at a site near the bridge, but not over the river.

A temporary footbridge would be 4 ft wide and will cost about $5,000, regardless of the construction design finally selected.

Options presented with preliminary estimates included:

New Steel Beams with New Concrete deck option: $237,800

Complete Timber (removing the existing steel and using timber superstructure) option: $219,500

A timber option, properly maintained, should last 50+ years.  Maintenance includes oil-based preservative applied every 3 years with a garden-style sprayer.

In addition, the document notes that there would be $12,000 additional engineering costs (to Holden) for a complete new superstructure. Construction supervision costs were cited as $10,000.

Rossingnol had consulted with another firm and they agreed that a truss bridge is not viable at this location.  He had pictures of a similar timber bridge they’d designed in Hebron, NH

Historic data, from the prepared document, where there are concerns and expectations that these will not meet weight standards.

Concrete deck option: $162,300 + lead paint removal costs ($20,000-42,000)

Timber deck option: $121,900 + lead paint removal costs ($20,000-42,000)

Additional options / questions for Holden :

•         Galvanizing steel costs (to improve strength)

•         Load carrying capacity, and final pricing for timber deck on new steel: (rough estimate with existing menu items was: $211,900 for timber on new steel)

•         VT AOT approval for guardrail on the wood bridge

•         How often a steel bridge would need repainting

Travis Bristol: arrived at 11:50

Orrin Isles: arrived at approximately noon.

David Kuhn: arrived at approximately noon.

Private bridge repair/ Branch Road impacts (Hearing of Public)


David Kuhn arrived and noted that he had funding, permits and a plan to replace an abutment for a bridge on Branch Road that was damaged during Irene.  He was seeking Selectboard approval for possible road-lane closures during the removal and sandblasting of the beams, and replacement of the abutment.  Kuhn will be providing labor for traffic control.  The expected timeframe is the end of next week, or the beginning of the following week.   It will take a few hours with the crane, and then a week or two later, they will have to come back to replace the beams.   Sumner suggested that if there was no planned full road closure, all that would be asked is that Kuhn notify the town of the final dates, so we could post the delays or a work notice on the Town website.  Kuhn agreed to notify the town when he had more definite dates.

USDA River Debris Grant


Bids were opened for the USDA grant for 4 sites in Halifax to remove debris from Tropical Storm Irene in the river channels.

Bids were as follows:


Site #1

Site #2

Site #3

Site #4


P. Rawson Construction






LaFogg & Hathaway






Bartlett & Boyd






Edwards requested clarification as to whether all of the property owners had returned the requested permission forms. At this point, the Selectboard called Earl Holtz, who was unable to attend in person.  He noted that the final person for the southern access (downstream) to Hale Road, Site #4.   Since that splits the scope of the Site #4 project, it is not clear if that will meet the grant requirements, or if the whole of Site #4 will need to be removed.

A further discussion was held about whether the grantors require that we go with the lowest overall bidder or whether each site is to be awarded to the lowest bidder.  One bidder stated that Drew Adams at the site had said it would be one bid, with the split out only to remove a site if the permission wasn’t obtained.  However, the RFQ noted that each site would be issued on a separate purchase order.

Edwards made a motion to award the bid to: LaFogg & Hathaway for Sites #1 and #4; to P. Rawson for Site #2; and to Bartlett & Boyd for Site #3; contingent upon the confirmation from NRCS that we were supposed to award the bids separately.  Otherwise, if there is confirmation that the bids were to be awarded to a single supplier, it should go to P. Rawson as the overall low bid.  Earl Holtz seconded the motion.

After further direction to Joe Tamburrino that he would obtain an answer about the bid award from Drew Adam, about a single versus multiple vendors, and follow up with requesting a 30-day extension, the motion carried 3-0-0.

Road Crew Wages


The Highway Department crew all attended this portion of the meeting, as well as some family members.  There was extensive discussion about the possibility of increasing wages while reducing the regular work schedule to 40 hours.  However, despite having done analysis of past overtime hours, no agreed-up plan could come up with the exact figures while ensuring the budget can cover it, and that staff would not be left with challenges in their personal budgets during any possible shift in work hours.  Edwards gave out individual proposals with a pay rate increase and a one-time payout to cover the hours before seasonal OT would be likely.  Holtz had done an analysis of the OT hours, but did not have a specific wage rate proposal.  Sumner suggested a summer rate and a winter rate, but did not have a specific wage rate proposal.  Employees and families felt that the process was taking too long, and made them concerned that they would end up in a worse position financially.  It was determined in the end that there is not enough data nor enough coverage in the budget to make any schedule or major pay rate changes this year.

Edwards made a motion to give a 3% raise across the board to the Highway Department employees.  Sumner seconded it.

Further discussion was held about the need to create better parity for the two lowest paid employees.

The motion was amended to give the two lowest paid road crew members a $0.50 / hour raise, plus give a 2.5% hourly raise to all 5 crew members.  The amended motion carried 3-0-0.

Hearing of Visitors

No further issues were brought up.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:04 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards,

Selectboard Vice Chair