Town of Halifax, Vermont


August 4, 2009

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Mitchell Green, and Lewis Sumner.  Others in attendance were Andy Rice, Merle K. Eggert, Mary Brewster, Margo Avakian, Lilian Leining, Richard Leining, Bradley Rafus, Joan Courser, Peter LaFogg, Timothy Putnam, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. LaFlamme moved to accept the minutes of the July 21, 2009 meeting as written.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.

Hearing of Visitors

  • Mary Brewster advised that the auditors had some questions that she wanted to present to the Board.  She advised they did not need to be answered at this meeting if they wanted to consider and research them.  She presented the following questions:

Grants– how does the money come in; how does it go out, under what funding and categories?  How does it show up in income and expenditures; how is it separated from tax revenues; what is the awarding process of grants, is there any standard operating procedure that is always done on every grant, on every job; is it posted; (she had been advised that the town has a list of people who have requested to be included in the bid process) how does one get on the list to be considered?  Who decides who gets the bids?

Rollover from the Constable’s budget– Is it legal to carry over money from one fiscal year to the next?  

The Board advised that the Constable’s budget is a separate voted amount and sometimes the budget runs over and the overage is taken from the next year’s budget.  Likewise if there is money left (in this case it was saved and earmarked for the specific purpose of matching a grant to upgrade the radios for the Constables) it can be rolled over to the next fiscal year.  The Board approved it being carried over and this was reviewed by the Town Treasurer and deemed legal.

Quarterly Reports – She asked the Selectboard bookkeeper, Mr. Green, if there was anything the auditors could do to help in order to insure that the reports are received on time.  She advised that she did not get the third quarter report.

Mr. Green advised that he put it in her folder on May 2nd.

Ms. Brewster advised that she looked for it several times and couldn’t find it. She wondered where it was.

Mr. Green advised he put it in her folder, but he can’t control where it went from there.

Highway Department Payroll – Ms. Brewster explained that she had misinterpreted the payroll for the Highway and she has through researching the records found that in fact the payroll records are correct and no overtime has been charged until 40 hours of work have been fulfilled.

A short discussion of the inquiry regarding grants followed.  Mr. LaFlamme advised Ms. Brewster to speak with the Treasurer for a more complete explanation of grants and the procedures for tracking them.

Ms. Brewster noted that she was sorry for the mix-up regarding the third quarter report, and advised it may have been in another folder.  She advised she has received the two quarterly reports 3 and 4, yesterday.

Mr. Green advised those reports were for the 4th quarter and the year end report.  The 3rd quarter report was in her folder on May 2nd or there about.

  • Andy Rice advised that he had received a letter in response to his request for an extension of the time allowed for FTO training to be completed.  He has been advised that he needs to complete the official forms for a waiver request and submit them along with a specific plan for completion, including the department that will be providing the training.
  • Dick & Lilian Leining advised they are summer visitors at 528 Lucier Road on the Marlboro town line.  Mr. Leining advised that the road is about 2 feet above their yard which makes it difficult to climb down into the yard unless you lean on the woodshed for support.  Another consequence of the road height is that more water drains through the cellar and has also encroached on the well.  He estimates that sometime between 1994 and 2002, someone pushed our concrete tile, which the town placed in the mid-1980’s, about 1 ½ feet northwest so it makes it scary for him to go down in there to muck the well out.  Ms. Leining advised that they used to be able to drive into the property but with the amount the road has been raised they can no longer do that.  They are wondering how much higher, if any, they plan on raising the road.

Mr. Rafus advised they are not planning on raising the road but it has been resurfaced several times in the past 4 or 5 years due to mud season.

Mr. Sumner advised that at one time the road was seasonal, but now it is used year round.

Mr. Leining advised that they are not sure where their boundary is as they are on the town line but find it difficult to locate any markers in the woods.  He asked what the policy of the town is regarding marking town boundaries.

Mr. Leining inquired about the minutes of meetings on line.  He was advised that the town is working on having them posted in a timelier manner.

Old Business


New Business

  • Reed Hill Road Bridge bids

The Board read the bids which were:

Daniels Construction  $141,545

Colrain Sand & Gravel  $  76,855

Renaud Bros.    $106,700

LaFogg & Hathaway  $  90,719

Discussion and decision were deferred to the end of the meeting.

  • Joan Courser – Old Home Day

Mrs. Courser advised that she was in attendance to request financial support from the Town for the Old Home Day celebration scheduled for July 16, 17, and 18, 2010.  She requested $4,000 which is the same amount that the town contributed for the celebration ten years ago.  She further advised that if the celebration is as successful as the last one they would return the $4,000 and hopefully be able to give more to the town.  She advised that the committee would not need the full amount right away, but she wanted to be sure the Board was aware of the request and of the amount requested.  Mrs. Courser also inquired about insurance coverage.  Will the town’s liability insurance cover any accidents or injuries that might occur?  

Mrs. Courser’s also requested that Branch Road in the village be closed off from 8 AM until Midnight on Saturday and also on Sunday for the parade.  She noted they had done this for the last celebration.

Mr. Green moved to approve $2000 from the current budget and $2000 from the next budget be provided in support of the Old Home Day celebration.

Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

  • Halifax Website

Mr. LaFlamme offered some information regarding possible alternatives to the current website.  Ms. Evanuk advised she was still working on improving the existing site.  The Board agreed to wait until the next meeting and discuss it again.

  • Tax Rate

The Homestead tax rate =   1.6041

The Non-Residential tax rate =  1.8953


Mr. LaFlamme moved to accept the stated tax rate.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

Mr. LaFlamme noted that with this tax rate, if the budget had not been cut by the voters, a home assessed at $100,000 would have paid $44.00 more than the amount with the reduced budget.

  • Representative to Rescue Inc.

Mr. Green moved to appoint John LaFlamme as representative to Rescue Inc.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 2-0-1, with Mr. LaFlamme abstaining.

Other Business

The Board received a letter of resignation from Frank Maltese.

Mr. Sumner moved to accept with regret the resignation of Frank Maltese from the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and to direct the secretary to send a letter of appreciation.

Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that Mr. Maltese had given much time to the service of the town and it was greatly appreciated.

A short discussion of the vacancies on both the Planning Commission and the ZBA followed.  It was noted that by statute these Boards can have “not less than 5 or more than 9 members,

Mr. LaFlamme moved to reduce the size of the Planning Commission from 9 members to 7 members, and to reduce the size of the Zoning Board of Adjustment from 9 members to 7 members.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

  • Discussion on Bridge Bids

It was the opinion of the Board and Mr. Rafus that Colrain Sand & Gravel’s bid was not realistic and would not be considered.  They felt it could not be done for the amount stated.

The remaining three bids were reviewed and carefully considered. Daniels Construction was way over the grant amount so was eliminated.  The two remaining, Renaud Bros. and LaFogg and Hathaway were both within the grant amount and were comparable in specifications.  

Mr. LaFlamme moved to award the bid to LaFogg and Hathaway in the amount of $90,719.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

  • Ms. Brewster had returned to the meeting and advised that wanted to make a statement specifically to Mr. Green.  A rather heated verbal altercation followed in regard to past and present statements and attitudes.


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 9:14 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk