Town of Halifax, Vermont

December 18, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:33 PM at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, and Earl Holtz. Lewis Sumner was absent. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Margo Avakian, Christina Moore, Patty Dow, and Laura Sibilia from BDCC. Edwards acted as Chair in Sumner’s absence.

Approval of Minutes
Holtz made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 4, 2012 regular meeting with corrections for typos. Edwards seconded the motion with an amendment to change a few typos. The motion passed 2-0-0.

Holtz made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 8, 2012 special meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

Holtz made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 15, 2012 special meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

New Business

Open Bids for Single Program Audit
The bids were opened for the preparation of a single program audit for the town of Halifax.
-Graham & Graham, PC- Springfield, VT
Financial Statement Audit $12,175
Financial Statement Preparation $2,175
Extra Audit Services $1,200
Other Single Audit Procedures $6,675
Cost Proposal Total $22,225

-Sullivan, Powers & Co- Montpelier, VT
Program Audit $6,000 provided books are closed and reconciled.

Moore explained that she has worked with Sullivan, Powers & Co in Newfane and they were one of the invited presenters in Rutland regarding closeouts. That firm understood the process and worked hard to understand the FEMA program. Moore would recommend Sullivan, Powers & Co based on past experience. Dow added that they had indicated that they may be able to perform the audit before the end of March.

Edwards made a motion to award the bid for the Town of Halifax single program audit to Sullivan, Powers & Co, Montpelier, VT for $6,000 barring any concerns on the technical proposal coming back from the town treasurer. Holtz seconded the motion. The motion was amended by Edwards to add that Sullivan, Powers & Co was chosen because of both cost and understanding of their background from our FEMA project manager. Holtz seconded the amendment, and the motion as amended passed 2-0-0.

SeVEDS Presentation

Laura Sibilia from Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation presented an introduction to the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies group. She presented information on the background of the group as well as their views on how to approach economic development in rural regions. A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) plan for the Windham region is in the works. They are asking towns to invest financially and invest time in the upcoming CEDS process. Regional meetings will be held in March and May.  Edwards expressed her concerns about supporting a strategy rather than action, especially since broadband and information literacy are still an issue in Halifax. Holtz and Bruno expressed that lack of broadband is still an issue as well and presented the results of the Broadband Committee survey results to Sibilia. Edwards advised Sibilia to contact Patricia Dow for petition forms. More detailed information about the presentation and SeVEDS can be found in the minutes binder at the town office.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Letter of Intent

Moore prepared a draft letter of intent listing four projects:
Winchester Rd $70,000
Reed Hill Rd $100,000
Pennel Hill Rd $10,000
Hall Rd $5,000

The letter of intent needs to be received by January 18, 2013. The town would be responsible for a 25% match (which can be in-kind work). Edwards noted that the budget needs to be adjusted to include that 25% portion. She also noted that there was an error in regard to truck expense which needs to be adjusted as well.

Edwards made a motion to send the letter of intent to Ray Doherty to express interest in the grant for the projects outlined in the letter of intent. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 2-0-0.

Moore noted that any work on those roads should be tracked using the more detailed timesheets. Edwards also asked that Moore track her time as it may not be cost recoverable.

Budget Meetings Outcome
The Selectboard has spent about 14 hours working on the budget so far. There are a few items that need to be adjusted:
Mitigation Grant town %
Town portion of Pacif
Audit Expenses
The Selectboard will discuss these items at the next Regular Selectboard meeting (later in the evening determined to be Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 6:30pm). The Selectboard explained that it was their intent to level fund the budget, and because of the FEMA funds coming in, they will be close. They are also making sure that reserve funds are backfilled.

Edwards made a motion to move the next regular Selectboard meeting to Thursday January 3, 2013 at 6:30pm at the town office due to the New Years Day holiday. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

Agenda items for this meeting will include:
Budget Finalization
Halifax EOC

Hearing of Visitors

Old Business

Hale Road Bridge Award
Holtz made a motion to award the Hale Road Bridge Project to Renaud Brothers. There was no second to this motion.

Edwards expressed that they do not have improved project approval, which could jeopardize potentially all of our funding. Moore expressed that they had a three person team working on these issues, but they have gone to assist with Sandy relief.  Moore expressed that as per the Stafford Act, FEMA has to fund reconstruction in-kind. We have solid definition of what in-kind is in this instance, and the only variation is the archway (approx $2000). Edwards suggested that they write to their FEMA representative and noted that they can potentially extend the contract with written approval.

Edwards made a motion to contact FEMA and copy the State with a written letter requesting an understanding of when the Hale Rd Bridge improved project might be accepted. The deadlines we are facing as a Selectboard will be included. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 2-0-0.

Update on Bridge Work/ Irene Recovery
Moore reported that they received almost $400k in payments. Edwards noted that we received a bill from Cold River for $104k.
Moore asked the Selectboard to review her status as a contractor vs. employee. Edwards will check the town policies.

Designation of Town Newspaper
The Selectboard will consider discussing the designation of the town newspaper at town meeting. They will get additional input from Patty Dow about what her solutions might be for the administrative issues they are having with the Reformer.

Reserve Fund Shift
Edwards reported on a discussion with Patricia Dow regarding the timing of the shifting of funds into the reserve accounts. It was the Selectboard’s understanding that they would replenish the reserve funds in FY14. However, Dow indicated that there should not be a delay in putting the bridge reserve in now.  As Dow was not present during this discussion, there will need to be additional clarification.

Other Business
Edwards shared that Dow would like anyone looking to increase their amount of funding to do a new petition. The Selectboard would like more clarity on when an entity should require a new petition vs. when the Selectboard could approve the increase. This item will remain under old business.

The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Bruno was asked to communicate with Patty Dow regarding signing up for Weebly Pro for  a 1 year term before January 7, 2013 to lock in pricing at $3.99/mo (before the rate goes up to $8/mo).

Further action may be required to get a time extension for the remaining FEMA projects outstanding. They will ask Moore to prepare the documentation. Bruno will e–mail the documents and leave originals in Moore’s mailbox.

Edwards made a motion to approve the liquor license renewal application for Avigliano Catering, LLC. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 2-0-0.

Edwards made a motion to authorize the town listers to purchase a computer now, with a limit of $1,000, pending confirmation of available funds in account 6250 Town Office Expense, or 6256 Listers’ Supplies. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 2-0-0.

Edwards reported that she attended a conference with Tristan Roberts concerning energy efficiency, and they may move ahead with an energy audit before putting on the garage roof.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment
The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:37 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno
Selectboard Secretary