Town of Halifax, Vermont

February 19, 2013

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Earl Holtz, and Lewis Sumner. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Margo Avakian, Joe Tamburrino, Laura Sumner, Wayne Courser, Patty Dow, Ray Combs, Nick Bartenhagen, Maggie Bartenhagen, John LaFlamme, Justin Berry and Tim Putnam.

Approval of Minutes
Sumner made a motion to accept the minutes of the February 5, 2013 regular meeting as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards made a motion to accept the minutes of the February 6, 2013emergency meeting as amended. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards made a motion to accept the minutes of the February 11, 2013special meeting as amended. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

New Business

Report on Moving the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Justin Berry, Co-EMD, presented a spreadsheet to the Selectboard outlining the resources required of an EOC and presenting the resources currently available at three potential EOC locations (town garage, town office, and fire department). Attached to the spreadsheet are additional notes indicating how to go about improving each site to meet the criteria of the after action plan. A copy of the spreadsheet can be found attached. Berry noted that each site has the potential to be the permanent location of the EOC. Berry’s recommendation is to move the EOC to the town office as the fire department has been deemed inadequate. His secondary recommendation is the highway department.

Patty Dow presented a document to the Selectboard written by Taralee Lane, current President of the Halifax School Parent Teacher Group, which appears to have been intended for presentation to the school board. The document outlines Lane’s concerns about moving the EOC to the town office. Some of her concerns are the potential inadequacy of the parking lot and flow of traffic, responsibility of who will have access to the building, safety for the children, additional wear and tear or the school grounds and other matters. Her document is attached. Dow reported that according to Lane, many parents have called her with concerns about moving the EOC to the town office.

Patty Dow, Town Clerk/Treasurer, presented a letter to the Selectboard outlining her concerns about moving the EOC to the town office. Among her concerns are safety of books and documents, lack of space available for researchers if the meeting room is used by the EOC, building security, security of the school grounds and the children, etc. Dow believes the fire dept is the best choice for the EOC and would be interested in assisting with upgrades to that space to make it more functional. Dow also believes having the conference room open during a disaster is beneficial so it can be used separately from the EOC, and agrees to designate the town office as a secondary site should the firehouse be compromised. Her letter is attached.

Berry noted that in an emergency, the school would be closed and no children would be here.

Courser presented a letter to the Selectboard which is attached. He noted that the VY drill went well. He does not see any reason to move the EOC to make one member of the Selectboard happy, and does not feel we need a storage trailer.

Holtz responded that they are trying to make sure we a re flexible enough to handle an emergency should the firehouse not be available. We need to find potential sites and identify how to make them functional to protect the town. They are looking for the best situation for the town in any emergency.

Laura Sumner, as former Town Clerk and participant at VY drills, read her letter to the Selectboard (also attached). Her concerns include the safety of the town’s records, supplies, and equipment, security of the building, lack of space, security of school children, lack of resources at the town office during drills, and other matters. Her recommendation is to work with the fire department to find ways to make the fire station more efficient for the EOC. She also noted that the vast majority of the people involved in emergency operations or drills are firemen, EMS, and road crew members who are all very comfortable at the fire station.

N Bartenhagen noted that there are a lot of emotions/feelings around moving the EOC. He wondered if there is a way to address the concerns of the parents. Berry suggested holding a metting with the Selectboard, PTA, School board and parents.

LaFlamme suggested adding security of the EOC to the matrix that Berry presented. He also noted that they can hold their own drill and don’t need to wait for VEM.

M Bartenhagen expressed that Irene happened 1 ½ years ago so there has not been a rush to move the EOC. The task force report has good solid reasons why the EOC was not adequate at the fire station. It shows where the gaps are and what needs to be addressed. She is concerned about the resistance to relocating because it could mean that we have not learned anything. With the strong likelihood of flooding again, it makes sense to look at other locations for something as vital as the emergency operations center. Everything is suspended when the EOC is operating and the EOC is the only thing functioning. She urges the Selectboard to keep in mind what we experienced during Irene and what we learned from it when looking at where we go next. She also mentioned that she has talked to Stephanie Aldrich, School Principal, on several occasions and she was very willing to offer space for file storage and use in an emergency.

Edwards noted that she would like to document in detail her experience in the facility (Fire station) during Irene.

Annual Highway Mileage Report
Edwards discussed dedication and acceptance to prove we’ve been maintaining Sumner Farm Rd and Weir Rd. She proposed to send the certificate in but go to Bob Fisher for the language needed to dedicate and accept, despite the fact we’ve done it in the past but can’t find documentation.

Old Town Garage Monitoring Well and Groundwater Testing
Edwards made a motion to sole source justify with KAS Consulting for monitoring well replacement and groundwater testing of the old Town Garage including using our own excavator if feasible and having KAS pursue invoice reimbursement. Holtz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0-0.

Expenditures for FY13 (1st 6 months)
Edwards shared some notes concerning the expenditures for the first half of FY13.  The Selectmen’s expenditures are less than half of the budgeted amounts. The highway budget is significantly overspent. Line items significantly overspent include gravel ($20k budget vs $83k spent to date), and maintenance ($50k budget vs $43.5k spent to date). Her assessment is that it does not look likely that there will be the possibility of squeezing in another truck. They can ask Dow and Rafus for additional detail on the spending.

Dog Issues
Deferred to the next meeting.

VY Drill
Edwards had the following concerns/observations after the VY drill:
Edwards felt that they should have pulled together as a group and talked about who was responsible for what.
She inquired whom someone should contact if they need special assistance and they are not on the list? Sumner replied that they should contact Lewis Sumner or Justin Berry.
She inquired about the functions of the constable due to the state limits. Is he able to direct traffic in an emergency? Do we have a role of constable anymore?
The printer is an issue at the EOC as it is not operational.
D-Lan- we have to think about how we want to use it in the next drill.
Password to the EOC mailbox? There is also now a password to get onto the network at the firehouse. We need a phone number of who to call with issues.
Radiological Response Plan- we need a cheat sheet of who is trained.
She noted that we get into a lot of side conversations not associated with the drill- we should ask people to focus on the drill.
We need to think about who should document which pieces.

Berry asked Sumner to bring the projector and screen to the next drill.

Old Business

Irene Update
Sumner reported that the Deer Park Bridge deck is on. He thinks it may be completed in early June.

Edwards inquired whether the pre-construction meeting has been scheduled for Hale Rd yet. Sumner replied that it was not scheduled yet.

Hearing of Visitors

Berry would like to meet with the Selectboard, School board, and PTA to address concerns about moving the EOC to the town office.
Edwards suggested talking to the School board at the February 26th informational meeting at 7pm at the multipurpose room. She also noted that it could be addressed as non-binding business at town meeting.

The Selectboard noted that people with an interest in appointed positions (especially with compensation) should send a letter of interest to the Selectboard. The appointments will be posted on the website.

Berry suggested changing from Co-EMD’s to an EMD and an assistant in order to stop some of the pulling and pushing.

Other Business


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Holtz made a motion to have Bob Reuter with SEVCA send the Selectboard a contract to sign to perform the town garage energy audit for $500. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary

2-19-13 RESOURCES      2-19-13 LETTER