TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES—DRAFT
DECEMBER 6, 2022
CALL TO ORDER:
Silverberg called the meeting to order at 5:15 pm. Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Patrick McAllister, and Tristan Roberts. Others in attendance in person or remotely were Edee Edward, Sue Kelly, Roza Podlaski, and Gary and Andrea Rand, Andy Rice, and Mike Fournier.
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
Silverberg made a motion to approve both October minutes approved and first November. Roberts sent edits for last minutes that Podlaski will update and get approved at the next meeting. Roberts seconded the motion, passed 3-0.
CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
Roberts wanted to take a moment of silence for a member who died in Halifax while working. The board will put together a gift basket and a letter of condolence on behalf of the town.
Susan Kelly, the Tree Warden, came to ask about adding a new line item for ash tree removal. It makes the most sense to add it as a new budget line. She states it will cost about $5,000 for complete tree removal for one day. She can assess which trees need removal the most and remove them on that day. The board will add this line item to the highway budget for next year. There are about 40 out of 5,000 ash trees that are worrisome and in the way. It is imperative that we prioritize now and plan to remove over a course of 8 years or so.
The board continued where we left off on the Highway budget for FY 23/24. The board will go in with a large number of what we think we need and go back and refine line items as needed. Cold patch and culvert prices have tripled so we will make from $15,000 to $25,000 for now. Road signs will go down from $1,500 to $1,000 because they are not that costly. Safety gear will go up from $1,200 to $1,500 so that we are not short on safety gear. Shop equipment was at $1,000. We will make $0 and put funds into the next line item for shop supplies and tools, from $500 to $1,500. Trucks is on there twice, Silverberg will take a look into that. The new truck that is being built will have to be added to the Equipment lease payment line item. It was a purchase made in February. We don’t pay for it until the truck comes in. Equipment reserve fund is at $0 and will be changed to $10,000 for now. The board will take a look at VLCT about reserve funds. Peter will check what “All Funds” 7660 line equipment is for. We are getting rid of Power Saws line items and using equipment or maintenance line items for that. All Equipment will be remanded to Portable Equipment and changed form $0 to $1,500. VLCT Property and Casualty was at $13,000. VLCT sent an invoice showing it will go up to $17,756 next year. We will update line items to reflect the changes. Repairs and Maintenance will go up to $120,000 from $105,000s since we have already spent $65,000. We will also have more trucks on warranty. Silverberg will check what Finance Charge line item is for and what Interest on Loan is for. We will come back and discuss wages for the Highway Department at the next meeting. Silverberg will also check what Other Funding line item is for.
McAllister looked into the deficiencies in the audit for FY 21 and what the board’s responsibilities are. He found that the treasurer keeps account of monies paid for the town, shall be open to inspection at any time, required to provide quarterly reports to Selectboard on financial statements as well as the budgeting reports, and provide the board the state auditors documents regarding internal financial controls (before January 1st). Internal controls should be kept on a monthly basis in order to find errors that may occur throughout the year. We should adopt an internal review policy. The treasurer should reconcile the account balance on a monthly basis. He suggested we have a quarterly meeting to review the monthly statements. There is a state checklist on mandated internal controls. The next material finding is that internal controls should be in place retarding bank account transfers to other funds as well as approvals of invoices made within town funds. Transactions have taken place between funds without board approval. A town official should attend training annually regarding how we handle these types of transactions. The third suggestion is regarding misleading transactions. There was a lack of transparency and adherence to internal controls. Roberts moved to have the board create an internal control policy. The motion was seconded by McAllister, passed 3-0. McAllister will draft the policy. Included in the policy is that any town employee or officer reviewing payment for the town should initial it. McAllister would like to make a motion to review the financial statements quarterly, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0. Once minutes are approved we will send it to Dow to give to the auditor to show what steps we are making to improve future audits.
The town received the traffic count results. In some areas, paved roads are less costly to maintain than some dirt roads. That should be a driving factor as well in determining which roads we may need to pave. Silverberg would like to know more about what these traffic count results mean. Once we get through the budget we can take some time to review the correct path of action.
Silverberg spoke with Zaluzny and let him know about our cash flow issue. It is not a matter of getting him paid, but where the funds will come from. Perhaps some of the money can come front the ordinance fine. The payment will be added to the order and paid.
Silverberg spoke with Dow about the Selectboard Order process and ways that we can improve so that Podlaski has more time to get the order done before the next regular meeting. One of the issues is that we are accepting invoices up until the same day of the meeting. Dow can scan to Podlaski the invoices the Friday before so there is time to get it done. This will enable Podlaski to be more present during meetings. We will try this new process and see how it works.
Roberts has information on the ordinance fine. There was a question at the last meeting if the junk fine was collected at the last meeting. The town collected just over $27,000 for the fine. We may have to take a look and see if we have to have the voters permission to spend it. The board will look into that more.
No new updates on ARPA Funds.
HEARING OF VISITORS
The order was read and signed.
SIGN OVERWEIGHT PERMITS
No Overweight permits to sign.
Roberts motioned to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Silverberg. Passed 3-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:52 pm.
For the Selectboard