Town of Halifax, Vermont


February 7, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Others in attendance were Joe Tamburrino, Bradley Rafus, Mitchell Green, Margo Avakian, Leonard Derby, Timothy Putnam, Ray Combs, Norman Fajans, Carol Wright, Paul Taylor, Jesse Ferland, Marilyn Allen, David Wright, Rebecca Wright, Maggie Bartenhagen, Earl Holtz, Bill Moore, Liz Laona, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

Approval of minutes was deferred to allow sufficient time to cover the items on the agenda.

New Business

·        Temporary bridge for Deer Park Road:  Mr. LaFlamme gave an update in regard to what has transpired regarding this topic. The estimate from the state for installation of a temporary bridge at $61,648.75 and a rental fee of $170 per month.  Assuming a rental for 18 months, and assuming the same cost for removal of the bridge, the total cost would be $127,000.  Mr. LaFlamme noted that he assumed the same cost for removal as for installation which could in reality be lower.  He further advised that if town equipment and crew members can be used for some of the process that could further lower the costs estimated.  It will take 2 days for preparation and set up, and then 3 days during which the Green River Road will be closed for the actual installation.  The question had been specifically put to representatives from FEMA regarding if this temporary bridge would be covered under the reimbursement criteria of FEMA.  The general feeling was that based on the justification the town had submitted it would not qualify for reimbursement.  The Board is working on a revised document that hopefully would address the criteria called for so that a percentage of the costs would be reimbursed.

To reinforce the need for the bridge, Norman Fajans, Carol Wright, Paul Taylor, and Liz Laona all submitted letters, to be a part of the minutes and for submission to FEMA to show the need for the bridge.

Discussion of this project continued with input from visitors and from Board members.  Ms. Edwards explained the rationale of the FEMA representative regarding the necessity for a temporary bridge.  The question was raised regarding the length of time before the permanent structure would be completed.  Mr. Tamburrino advised that SVE Associates will be meeting with the Selectboard to discuss and determine the design for the bridge.  The final design would be ready around June 2012, and then it would need to be put out to bid for construction.  Then it would be about another month until bids are opened, and then construction should be completed by the end of summer or into the fall.

Mrs. Bartenhagen reminded the Board that Windham Regional Commission is there to assist towns and much of the responsibility for coordinating between towns, the state, and FEMA has fallen to them.  She suggested that if they need assistance in writing a justification for need, or for any other flood related things they should call WRC and ask for help.

The discussion continued, touching on the money situation and progress on the permanent solutions.  The consensus of the visitors was that the temporary bridge is a necessity and should be procured as soon as possible to help alleviate the deterioration of Deer Park Road due to the heavy use of the alternate route for residents.  Mr. Rafus noted that a majority of the residents live on the end closest to Green River Road and having the bridge in place would be beneficial to the residents as well as the town, as the road would be less damaged by heavy traffic.

Ms. Edwards questioned whether by signing the state contract before they have resubmitted justification to FEMA they might not be approved for reimbursement.  Mr. LaFlamme advised that if they waited for FEMA to approve or disapprove, they would be outside the six month window for emergency/temporary projects. If they sign it now they will be inside that window and then they will have to justify it to FEMA later.

For clarification Mr. LaFlamme restated the motion which had been made at the February 3rd special meeting with the vote being tabled to this meeting to allow for further discussion.  Mr. LaFlamme moved to go forward with a temporary bridge for Deer Park Road.  Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

The motion carried 3-0.

Visitors thanked the Board.  Mr. LaFlamme advised they will sign the contract at this meeting and he will be in contact with the state in the morning.

·        Weir Road bridge: Mr. LaFlamme advised that the town had put in paperwork for reimbursement for the temporary bridge (formerly referred to as the Wineburg Bridge) and had been informed that the state determined that it was not a town road and bridge as it did not show up on the state’s inventory of roads.  Mr. LaFlamme further advised that while researching the status it was found that this was an old road listed as a class 4 and because the state does not include class 4 roads in the calculation of highway aid to the towns, they had not included it in the mileage reports.  The most likely next step is to appeal to Gary Shelley at VTrans to prove that it should be a reimbursable item.  Mr. Sumner advised that on the old maps it was included, but at some point between 1980 and now it has been dropped from the state road maps.  The Board will continue to pursue justification so that FEMA will reimburse.  The subject will be revisited under old business at future meetings.

·        Change Purchasing Policy from $2,999.99 to $25,000: Mr. Tamburrino suggested that a task force be formed to work on revisions to the policy and then present their recommendations to the Board.  He felt that it would be more productive than to have these back and forth discussions regarding each item rather than a composite of the document for review and comparison.  He will read and incorporate suggestions from Ms. Edwards’ notes and the results of the task force’s brainstorming will be presented at a future meeting.  Ms. Edwards advised she is quite happy with the language that came from the VLCT.  She has a concern regarding the change in the dollar amount.  She advised that she went through all of the highway purchases for fiscal year 2011 and discovered that of the 133 transactions during that time there were 45 that were over the $3000. cap currently set which translates to 14%.  Of those 45 quite a number of them (31) were already bid out or single source provider purchases. The remaining 14 were for a total expenditure of $83,000.  She noted that these transactions were before the town had a purchasing policy.  Mr. Rafus advised that tires, sand, salt, culverts, asphalt and equipment are all under the state contract which usually gives them the best price.  Ms. Edwards advised that in some instances the Board might choose whether or not a formal bid is required and could make a decision per request.

Mr. Tamburrino asked for permission to form the task force and requested that Earl Holtz who has a background in purchasing be a member and maybe one other.  Mr. Holtz agreed to volunteer.

·        Job Description for Selectboard Secretary:  Ms. Edwards advised that she found a description for the town of Vernon, which may be a little more than we would need.  She suggested that website maintenance be included in the duties.  The Vernon description will be reviewed and “redlined” for discussion at the next meeting.

·        Windham County Humane Society Contract:

Ms. Edwards moved to renew the contract with the WCHS for January 1 through December 31, 2012.

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


·        Halifax Highway Mileage Certificate:

Mr. LaFlamme moved to approve the adjusted mileage.

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

·        Email re: Project Worksheets: Mr. LaFlamme advised that through emails he has received and replied to he became aware that PW’s have been submitted and approved without the Selectboard seeing and approving them.  He expressed concern that they did not have this information and wanted input from the Board members.  He advised that in the past it has been the Selectboard who approves and signs them, as the Selectboard is the only entity in the town that has the authority to commit town money.  Mr. Moore gave the Board some information that pertained to the PW’s for their review.  It was decided to have a special meeting with all of the concerned parties to review what has been done and where they are, and where they go from here.

Project Worksheet and information on Stowe Mountain bridge was reviewed, approved and signed as requested by Mrs. Moore.

Ms. Edwards advised they should set up a meeting to get them all back on track and possibly meet once a week for a while to be sure they are all up to speed.

Hearing of Visitors

·        Mr. Tamburrino: advised that the deck slabs removed from the Reed Hill Road Bridge cannot be reused according to SVE Associates.  They will submit a report to that effect.

Old Business


Other Business



Hazard Mitigation Plan was reviewed and typographical errors were noted.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to adopt the Hazard Mitigation Plan with typographical errors corrected.

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

A request from KAS Inc. was received to be hired to recertify the Halifax Land Fill.  Mr. Sumner advised they are the ones who performed the testing in the fall and had been recommended by the firm that used to do the work.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to hire KAS Inc. to perform the post-closure recertification of the Halifax Land Fill.

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

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 10:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Phyllis H. Evanuk