Town of Halifax, Vermont

January 15, 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, Wayne Courser, Christina Moore, Bill Moore, Brad Rafus, Patty Dow, Mark Halverson, Ray Combs, and Tim Putnam.

Approval of Minutes

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

New Business

Vermont Home Energy Challenge

Mark Halverson reported that he attended a meeting for the VT 2013 Home Energy Challenge in Brattleboro. Governor Shumlin is leading an initiative to weatherize 80k homes by 2020. Efficiency Vermont has started a challenge to meet this goal. They went though every town and identified the number of year round occupied homes and determined that if 3% homes per year are weatherized, they will meet the goal. Halifax would have to weatherize 12 homes to meet the challenge. Competitions have been started between towns to meet goals and Efficiency VT is providing ways that the energy coordinators can conduct outreach and lots of training sessions will be available. There is no formal commitment on the part of the town. Interested homeowners would bear the cost of the home energy audit conducted by a qualified contractor plus the cost of making any energy efficiency improvements to their home. Rebates and tax credits may be available- check more details. Non-resident homes will count toward the total, but low-income weatherization is not included as there are already programs for that. Paul Cameron is the coordinator for the home energy challenge (in Brattleboro).

Holtz made a motion for the town of Halifax to participate in the VT Home Energy Challenge. Edwards seconded the motion, which carried 3-0-0.

Update- Deer Park Road Bridge
Edwards and Sumner reported that the contractor appears to be putting in forms and pouring concrete.

Irene Update
Moore reported that regarding the Hale Road project, Ben Rose from the State of VT assured her that the town can appeal and not have disruptions in the payment process.

Moore reported that she closed out four projects last week- Green River Rd, Weir Rd, Brook Rd, and Reed Hill Rd. Collins Rd has not been submitted yet.

Old Business

Update on Replacement of Town Truck
Rafus reported that they do not have final approval from VLCT on the total amount they will allow for replacement, but the verbal number is approximately $105k. He also reported that the town can buy the truck back for the salvage value and suggested looking into the cost to re-chassis it. Potential salvageable parts were discussed.

Edwards expressed that she was surprised to see the bid go out for two trucks as they had discussed that there would not be much of a price differential for two. Holtz inquired whether they could modify the RFQ to say 1 or 2 trucks and Tamburrino replied that it would not be a problem to make the modification. Edwards added that the town may not award both of them. Tamburrino reported that he sent bids to six suppliers last Friday and sent out another bid today for a total of seven.

Reserve Fund Shift
Dow reported that she has enough money to fund the $10k bridge reserve fund and the $67k equipment reserve fund from FY12 which had not been shifted. She also reported that the blacktop reserve is current but they spent the blacktop and gravel reserves for FY12.

Edwards expressed that she needs clarification on what to consider shifted or spent and when. She does not want to present the budget incorrectly by counting that money twice. Two items still needed are the amount of money still owed at the end of this fiscal year and how much money we can expect from FEMA in FY14.  Moore predicts that when we finish the last two bridges and close out the projects in Nov/Dec, that approximately $500k will be paid out to the town. It was also noted that we are unsure if Old County North project is eligible for the grant and the town may have to budget it as all town cost.

Meeting to Finalize Budget FY14
A meeting has been scheduled to finalize the budget for FY14, and prepare the warning. It will take place Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 9:00am at the town office.

Whitingham Ambulance Service
Moore reported that Whitingham ambulance service (WASI) has a probationary license good for 90 days. According to the State, three conditions must be met:

-Improve staff sustainability
-Change crew configurations to comply with the new law changes
-Report minutes and efforts to the state agency

The conditional license is good for 90 days. After that they will either lose their license, get a new provisional license, or be fully licensed.

Moore expressed that they are looking at a tough situation but are working toward a proposal where the two towns collaborate. Moore asked the Selectboard to attend a meeting on Wednesday, 1/23/13 at 7pm at the Jacksonville fire station to discuss further.

The Selectboard will hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 6:00pm at the Halifax town office to open the bids for the new town truck. The Selectboard will then attend the 7:00pm meeting at the Jacksonville fire station to discuss Whitingham Ambulance Service.

Contractor vs Employee
Moore sent the Selectboard the scope of work, contract, and insurance documents that they requested. Edwards asked various questions about the contract and scope of work. Edwards made the Selectboard aware that if we ask Christina Moore to do activities related to the hazard mitigation grant and we don’t get the grant, then the town is responsible for that cost.

Edwards made a motion to hire Storm Petrol, LLC as a subcontractor for FEMA public assistance work for the town of Halifax with a contract end date of 06/30/13 for an amount not to exceed $13,500. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Christina Moore resigned as an appointed employee effective 12/31/12.

Hearing of Visitors
Wayne Courser read a letter he prepared expressing his dissatisfaction with several recent Selectboard decisions. A copy of the letter can be found here.

C Moore and Edwards attended a webinar on the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. Moore will be attending the Waterbury seminar for the cost benefit analysis training. Edwards reported on two potential projects that we may consider adding to the letter of intent. One is to turn the old town garage area into a green space. There is the potential for funding to remediate and turn it into a parking area. The second is to purchase a cargo trailer for storage as part of the mobilization of the emergency operations center. The front third of a 20 ft trailer could be for office equipment and radios and the back 2/3 would be useable storage for easels, maps, file cabinets etc. This would make the EOC portable/mobile as you could drive it to whatever location you wish to use as the EOC. This can be part of the hazard mitigation grant program as it falls under protection of the EOC.

Edwards made a motion to direct our FEMA project consultant to either amend or send an additional letter of intent for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program by adding an Emergency Operations Center mobile unit for a cost of approximately $20k, and to add a project for the removal of the old town garage for a cost of approximately $20k. The letter of intent should be sent to Ray Doherty by the deadline for the filing of the official letter of intent. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.       

Moore reported that the hydrology studies are done for the culverts.

Other Business


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Edwards made a motion to renew the town’s contract with Windham County Humane Society for the impoundment of animals. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Edwards reported that Travis Briggs agreed to be the town health coordinator for the current calendar year.

The Selectboard discussed adding a form to the website so that townspeople can let them know which newspapers they rely on for local information. A form will be available at the town office as well for those without Internet access.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary

1-15-13 LETTER