Town of Halifax, Vermont

August 17, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 4:33 PM at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards, and Earl Holtz. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Joe Tamburrino, Brad Rafus, Justin Berry, Orrin Isles, Nathan Isles, Mark Jarvis and Richard Covey.

VTA Disaster Relief Grant

Holtz reported that there is a potential grant for cellular service along route 112. Holtz received information from Erik Amaliksen regarding the VTA grant submission. The town must respond to the questions (below) and submit a letter of support by Monday 8/20. Holtz reported that he was told orally that transmitters will go on existing telephone poles. A location for a power backup system is also required. Holtz read a draft letter of support. Potential sites for the power backup and /or possible antenna include the town garage, and the town office/school. Edwards noted that locating a cellular antenna at the school could be challenging due to some parents concern about electromagnetic interference (as was a challenge in Dover) and believes the town garage would be a better location. Edwards also noted the old town garage as a potential third site. Edwards noted that through the grant, they could potentially do a Wi-Fi zone in the town center and she believes we should express a real interest in the Wi-Fi zone. Edwards noted that one of the three criteria of the grant needs to be addressed as well which is economic development and the potential for job creation. She believes we should add language discussing people’s concerns about moving their businesses because of a lack of connectivity. The town also has a lot of second homeowners which are looking to move here but can’t because of a lack of cell service and internet access and therefore can’t communicate effectively. Quoting people’s concerns with the lack of internet and cell service from the broadband survey could be added to the letter of support. Holtz noted that if there is a Wi-Fi zone located at the town garage, the staff will have better internet access and could have access to parts manuals and other documents they have trouble downloading now. Small antennas could be placed from the town garage to the town office which could be of great service for the EOC as they would not run out of bandwidth. Edwards also noted that in the past, private property owners have expressed interest in having towers on their land (which could be added to the letter). The questions and answers discussed by the Selectboard which the VTA needs a response to are:

Q- Do you currently have cell service in town? A- We have some coverage but it is very spotty.

Q- The cellular equipment also has the ability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot where the core hardware is located. Is the town interested in a Wi-Fi hotspot in town? A- Yes, we are very interested.

Q- Does the town have any facility currently equipped with a power back-up system in the town that this low power system could utilize? If yes, the VTA would not need to build this cost into the design, dramatically reducing the price and enhancing the grant application. A- Yes- the town garage and the school have a propane powered generator.

Q- If there is no available redundant power source, can you identify a location this week that the VTA can place one? A- Yes, the town garage, the town office/school, and the old town garage.

Q- After identification, how long will it take to get approval for the location? A- A conservative estimate is 1-2 months. Holtz will follow up with the Planning Commission to nail down an accurate estimate before submission.

Q- Can you write a letter of support by Monday the 20th? A- Yes.

Edwards made a motion that the town of Halifax support the VTA disaster relief grant submission which would provide cell service along route 112 and a Wi-Fi zone in the center of town. Holtz seconded the motion which passed 3-0-0.

Contract with Colrain Sand & Gravel

Rafus reported that on 8/7/12 the Selectboard awarded the bid to Colrain Sand and Gravel for 2000 yards of crushed gravel delivered by 8/15/12. Six loads were delivered and are on top of the pile. Rafus did not like the quality of the gravel and told the trucking contractor to not bring anymore until he talks to Orrin Isles. Rafus reported that Orrin said that he was having problems getting it down to size and he wanted Rafus to come down and look at the process and the raw material. Sumner, Tamburrino, and Rafus visited the site on 8/16. The contractor changed things and the product was a little better but there was still not much crushed stone it. Rafus is concerned because he has the Green River Road job pressing, the contract is due and they have no product.

Isles stated that before Nathan bid the contract, he asked how firm the 15th deadline is. He stated that they were told by Tamburrino that Rafus said delivery needed to be started by then and then they needed the rest ASAP. When they talked to Rafus, Rafus told them Tamburrino never spoke to him. Isles feel they met the contract as they got the material started, but Rafus stopped it. Isles maintains that he has never had a complaint about his gravel and he can get the certification.

Mark Jarvis commented that he has been working for the highway department in Buckland, MA and they have used his gravel for a long time. They have put down many miles of it and the roads are flat and nice. They had no washouts due to Irene. There is no shortage of stone. He has worked a lot in excavating and in his opinion the gravel is as good as or better than anyone else’s.

Richard Covey commented that he has used his gravel for 17 years and has not had much trouble. He had just put it down on a 1600 ft driveway. Rafus said it is not the same material. Covey said his gravel is good and the driveway has had no washouts.

Rafus commented that the gravel they took on Deer Park Rd was not run through the screen. His biggest complaint it lack of stone.

Isles commented that they lost the switch on the crusher. The next delivery is all stone which will be mixed with the other stuff. He said they should come down and see what’s there. Isles noted that he got the PO on 8/9 which leaves Fri, Mon, Tues, and Wed to deliver 2000 yards. He stated that they never got notice of the deadline was hard for 8/15.

Holtz inquired when they could get certification. Isles replied that he should be able to have it by Wednesday. Holtz noted that Selectboard members (past and present) spent a lot of time discussing gravel and the importance of meeting state spec, so if it doesn’t meet spec, we don’t want it.

Tamburrino noted that the PO does say it needs certification. A discussion followed about when and if actual certification papers need to be produced. Holtz requested that all future PO’s note that certification documents must be provided. Covey reported that at one time it was certified by the State and he may have a copy of it. Isles said that the State was there 5 times and never had a complaint. Ninety-nine percent of his gravel goes to VT.

Rafus noted that he wanted to have Green River Rd done before school starts due to buses etc. as he needs to close the road.

Another discussion followed about state certification. Edwards noted that a mechanical failure caused a problem with the first delivery. The purchasing policy doesn’t talk about contractual agreements being made properly, but it benefits the town and the financial value is substantial enough to make the arrangement work.

Rafus expressed that he would like a timeline as far as when they will see certification, and when the 2000 yards will be on the ground. Will the second installment be delivered by 9/15?

Holtz noted that if we are looking at Mitchell as a back-up, he will want their certification and delivery schedule.

Rafus noted that if a contractor is having a problem, they should be contacting him or the Selectboard.

Isles expressed that he will call and let everyone know if he can’t get certification by Wednesday. Once they have certification, the trucks combined can load 96 yards an hour, therefore 2,000 yards would be delivered in 3 days.

Sumner made a motion to leave the gravel contract with Colrain Sand and Gravel until next Wednesday pending certification. If they are unable to get certification, then the second lowest bidder, Mitchell Excavating will be contacted and awarded the bid at $16.00/ yard. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Other Business

Tamburrino reported that they received the insurance certificate from Pat Rawson- contractor for the river debris removal. However, Drew Adam does not want them to start work until they meet with them to go over the rules and regulations. Adam needs form 80S-78 signed along with copies of the landowner permission forms. Adam will be on vacation for 10 days, but Mike LaPoint is covering for him. Tamburrino also noted that the extension is cleared, they just need to apply for it.

Edwards inquired when the Reed Hill Bridge will be completed. Tamburrino and Sumner confirmed the date is 11/16/12.

Holtz mentioned that Joy Hayes commented to him that the town of Guilford is replacing bridges, and we could potentially strand a bunch of families if we also close our end. Rafus will call and inquire about Guilford’s schedule.

Tamburrino mentioned that SVE reported that the Hale Rd Bridge bid will be out next week. The approximate date for the pre-bid visit is 9/3/12. The approximate date for the bid closing is 9/18/12. SVE stated that the bridge could potentially be done by the end of this year if we get an extension of time to have equipment in the river. Edwards would like to try and get it done before winter as the temporary bridge is currently not posted for fuel trucks.

Tamburrino did fax SVE a request for a price on cost analysis.

Edwards asked Tamburrino to supply the Selectboard with a calendar of Bridges, dates and events for tracking purposes.

Edwards inquired whether all Selectboard members need to be at pre-bid contractor meetings. Tamburrino felt that they do not all need to be there as it is just a meeting for SVE to talk to the contractors and go over the plans. No decisions should need to be made by the Selectboard. Holtz mentioned that the last one was 1-1 ½ hours long.

Rafus commented that the culvert by the post office needs to be replaced. Because of its size, it will need a hydraulic study as it will need to be replaced with a concrete structure. On Monday, he will put in a request that the State do the study. He also noted that they may be able to do a structures grant the following year to replace the culvert.

Tamburrino noted that rumors are going around town concerning the Witty property and it may be a good idea to consult with Bob Fisher regarding eminent domain. The Selectboard agreed that if we need to change our approach, we should seek legal advice.

The Selectboard noted agenda items for the next meeting including a roof at the town garage, snowplow for the 1 ton that was approved a few years ago, and opening bids for the bridge deck removal.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:23 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary