Town of Halifax, Vermont

February 1, 2011

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7: 32 PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Others in attendance were Earl Holtz, Mitchell Green, Greg Marguet, Andy Rice, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

Ms Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the January 18, 2011 meeting with the following corrections: on page 2regarding the employee health savings accounts HAS should be HSA, and under visitors Andy Rice was listed with nothing following it.  Ms. Edwards noted that what she had in her notes was a summary of the comments.

            Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion.

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


            Mr. LaFlamme noted the misspelling of Ms. Edwards’ last name.

            Ms. Edwards moved to approve the minutes of the January 21, 2011 special meeting with the following corrections: the spelling correction and to add to the statement regarding the deposit of funds into the employee’s health savings accounts as decided at the January 18th meeting was signed by the Select Board members.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

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

New Business

Mr. LaFlamme advised that nothing had come to his attention for inclusion as an agenda item

Mr. LaFlamme advised that he had been approached by members of the school board about an informational meeting prior to Town Meeting.  He advised them that the Selectboard would discuss it at their next meeting and inform them of their decision regarding a date.

The Board checked their schedules and tentatively set February 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM if that date is agreeable to the School Board members.  Mr. Sumner noted that there is no school that week so there should not be a conflict in use of the multipurpose room.

Ms. Edwards advised that she had been seeking clarification regarding how the Vermont Fiber Connect grant applied to municipalities.  She received a response from Gregg Noble of Sovernet.  She was surprised by the information she received.  She advised that she had been under the impression that the municipality was an ‘anchor institution’ but was informed that the school is the anchor institution.  Her interpretation of this is that if the school does not sign on for the grant and accept the installation of the service that means there will be not connection for Halifax.  She added that rates for the service have not been finalized.  She had also inquired about the ‘e-rate rules’ and wanted to know if the town offices would be able to get the same rate. If they can’t be connected, will this be another instance of having service ‘on the other side of the wall’ but not being allowed to use it on the town office side? The reply she received basically says that the e-rate cannot be extended to other than educational entities. She advised that there are many unanswered questions but she will keep working on it.  She also noted that the representative from Great AUK will be at the next Broadband Committee meeting.

Mr. Holtz suggested that they should get a copy of the grant to see exactly what it says.  The interpretation by Mr. Noble might not be the only one.

A short discussion of the peculiarities of the municipal offices sharing a building with the school followed.

Hearing of Visitors

  • Earl Holtz advised that a neighbor wanted to know if the approval for snowmobiles to use Collins Road was an annual thing.

Mr. LaFlamme advised there was no time frame stated on the approval.

Ms. Edwards advised she had looked in the past minutes and found the approval had been granted at the September 16, 2008 meeting.

Mr. LaFlamme gave Mr. Holts a map showing where the snowmobile trail goes.  Mr. Holtz advised he would share this information.  He advised that part of the issue he thought involved the noise with them passing within 50 feet of a home.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that law enforcement is now monitoring and citing snowmobilers for safety and noise issues.

  • Andy Rice advised that the reason the snowmobile trail had been changed was due to having to get property owner permission.  They are working on getting approval from a property owner to be able to reconnect the trail.  The signs had not been put up and that caused a problem (signs are now up).  He also spoke with Brad Rafus about the situation and Brad advised that in as much as it is possible, they will try to leave a plateau of snow on which the snowmobiles can ride, rather than being so far into the roadway.
  • Dog Bite issue: Someone in town got attacked by his own dog and Mr. Rice was called by the hospital. He contacted Sue Kelly after he had done some research regarding the veterinarian and rabies shots.  They were concerned about the dog, because even if the owners wanted to destroy it by law it can’t be done for ten days and the dog has to be confined.  An arrangement was made with Puppy Acres for the confinement and Ms. Kelly was agreeable and will stop by to monitor the situation.
  • Mr. Rice advised that this situation brought up the topic of having a restraint pole for the Animal Control Officer and/or Health Officer to use in situations like this.  He advised that after searching on line he found one for $89.50 and it is something that both he and Sue Kelly feel is needed.  He advised that the Treasurer said if the Board approves the expenditure she would use the Town credit card and order it for him.

            This brought up the issue of credit card use.  It was noted that originally the reason the credit card was procured was because Hughes Net required it in order to have satellite internet service.  That was supposed to be the only thing that it was used for.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Animal Control Officer is an unfunded position separate from the Constable and the question is does the Board want to buy this piece of equipment for the Animal Control Officer.  Basically it should come from the dog license fund if there is any money left in that fund.

Ms. Edwards moved to approve the purchase of an animal restraint pole by the Animal Control Officer.

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

Mr. Rice advised he will purchase the animal restraint pole and then submit a bill from the Animal Control Officer.

Old Business

The culvert issue at the Ann DeWitt property was deferred to another meeting.


Mr. LaFlamme advised that Mr. Rafus informed him that the new water filtration system was installed at the Town Garage on January 31, 2011.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that there was an incident with Town truck #4.  The front wheel went off the road into a ditch.  The ditch was three feet deep with mud, the ground had not frozen.  A tow truck was required to pull the truck out.  The wing on the passenger side hit a tree and was pushed back into the passenger-side door.  Paperwork is being drawn up for an insurance claim to have it repaired.  This was the only damage and the truck is still in service.

Mr. LaFlamme advised there was a Public Hearing by WRC will be held at the town office on Thursday, February 3, 2011.  Ms. Evanuk advised this hearing is required by state statute in order for the WRC to give approval to the readopted Town Plan.

Ms. Edwards advised that a request letter from the Green up Vermont committee had been received.  They would like the Town to give them $50.00 to cover the cost of bags to be used in the Halifax clean up crews.

Ms. Edwards moved to give Green up Vermont $50.00 as requested.

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

The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

Mr. LaFlamme advised that he felt the use of the credit card is getting out of hand from the original intent, and there are no invoices to accompany the bill.  Ms. Edwards suggested that a future agenda item should be a Town Purchasing Policy which would clarify procedures.

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk