January 16, 2024



Pete Silverberg called the Regular Meeting of the Selectboard to order at 6:03 pm on January 16, 2024.  Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Edee Edwards, Patrick McAllister and Karen Christofferson.  Others present in person (or remote) were David Jones, Stephan Chait, Linda Lyon, Detlef Ronneburger and Marilou and Doug Parkhurst.


Silverberg noted the people needed for the Executive Session were not in attendance, so all agreed it was ok for Silverberg to handle offline.

Edwards asked that since David Jones is in attendance if we could move the DVFiber/ARPA discussion to the beginning of the meeting and to move the Approval of Minutes section to the end of the Agenda.  Edee further added that we should add January 2nd to the list of Minutes needing approval.


Halifax proposal for administration of DVFiber-committed ARPA funds (David Jones)

Edwards circulated materials to the Selectboard in advance of the meeting.

Jones proposed a means for the Town’s $50k commitment to be administered. DVFiber does not have the capacity to administer the town’s $50k [commitment] due to how business plans and circumstances have developed.  The proposal suggested a Master Services Agreement amongst the Town, Contractor, DVFiber and the property owners. Discussion ensued.

A further discussion ensued regarding the need for the Town to prioritize the use of these funds. Silverberg noted that we didn’t want to miss any funding deadlines or find that we need to return any funds to the US Treasury.  Edwards noted that the funds had been committed and were in DVFiber’s hands.

Christofferson asked how other towns making similar contributions were handling the administration of their funds.  Edwards responded that, for example, Readsboro provided a sign-up discount on a first come, first served basis that was taken off their monthly bills.  Edwards noted that the initial $40k was to help people in Halifax with paying for connectivity costs to make accessing DVFiber services more accessible.  The $10k addition funding was to ensure connectivity for target groups.

Christofferson noted that at the time the funds were provided, the understanding was that DVFiber would be able to do this.  Jones responded that the Equal Access to Broadband (“EAB”) was in effect and that now EAB no longer exists and the number of people who qualify is limited.

Jones noted that the only other Town that restricted its donation to DVFiber was Jamaica.

Jones noted that if Halifax wanted to release its restrictions on use that we could do that but that we would not then be able to target or require a specific use.

A discussion ensued regarding the Request for Information (“RFI”) process and how contractors would be involved.  Jones noted that an RFI is not unlike an RFP (Request for Proposal). The RFI is to gather information in order to construct the RFP in a productive way.

A discussion ensued regarding the ability to control costs, whether one or more contractors would be involved, and the cost of legal review.

Edwards and McAllister noted the great analytical work done by Jones.

Christofferson asked how many households in Halifax would be involved. A discussion ensued that approximately 30 households could be involved.  Christofferson noted that it would equate to $1,677 per household.

McAllister asked if we could get the money back from DVFiber.

Edwards noted that DVFiber had received matching funds by VCBB (VT Community Broadband Board).

Jones observed that if we try to get the money back we might be able to under the point that the funds are not being used for the express purpose as intended.

Christofferson noted the possible requirement for ARPA allocated funds, committed and subsequently returned for non-use might need to be returned to the US Treasury.

Jones said he was committed to doing the Administration of the Town’s program as the Broadband Committee has been inactive.  He further noted that DVFiber would not administer these funds as they don’t have the capacity to deal with this level of detail.

Silverberg asked how we now best spend the money for the best interests of the Town.  The need for an application form and time frame for submission of the application ensued.

Edwards noted that this funding is only for providing underground conduit as there is no fee for overhead connections.

Christofferson noted that with only less than $1,700 per household, it won’t be a very long underground connection.  Edwards responded that the application process would identify where the most need is and that if only five families were involved it could still be life changing for those families.

Edwards observed that we could take Jones up on his offer to administrate the use of the funds and that if the ARPA funds to other projects don’t have this level of complexity it would be good.

Silverberg noted that it is up to the homeowner to get the work done and asked if there is a list of approved contractors that work with DVFiber.

Jones summarized that we need to:

  1. Have an application process
  2. Get the word out publicly
  3. Know it will be an honor system basis to define “need”
  4. Have some idea of the location of each site and the cost

McAllister suggested a cap on each application and used an example of $1,000 each.

Jones noted that DVFiber will require an invoice for each payment that would not be a payment to the homeowner.

Edwards thanked Jones and Ronneburger for their work and for taking the single contractor concept to DVF.

Jones noted that there is some value for pre-selling a contractor who was doing all the $50k work plus the amount paid by the homeowner.

At about 7:11 pm Silverberg noted that Mike Fournier had joined the meeting. Silverberg asked to move to Old Business for highway budget line items.

Fournier expressed concern about the very long hours and equipment breakdown during every storm. He suggested we should either add another spare truck in the budget or hire a full-time mechanic. He said this was very stressful on staff and on him, and a recent breakdown of the new truck took 5 hours to resolve. Hydraulic lines have been a problem in other situations. Christofferson suggested this be part of the ARPA meeting this week also. Fournier said we are down 2 trucks now.


Emergency Management Director discussion: roles and responsibilities / communications

Edwards reported on the January 5, 2024 meeting Edwards and Christofferson had with Paul Blais (Emergency Management Director).

  • We discussed roles and responsibilities amongst the EMD, Selectboard, Road Commissioner
  • The need to streamline and eliminate duplication of communication efforts was expressed
  • The EMD noted the need to participate in VT Alerts and Green Mountain Power digital communications
  • Christofferson noted there are needs for radios as well.Edwards expressed the need for “tabletop” training
  • EMD said he would be promoting VT Alerts and the statewide registry for those needing help during emergencies at the Town Meeting
  • EMD noted that various state agencies can release names of residents who may be in need for specific situations.

Notice and Warning for ARPA funding decision meeting on Saturday 20JAN2024 at 10:00 AM

Silverberg noted the facilitator for the meeting will be Gretchen Havreluk.  Edwards noted that community leaders who requested funds should be separately notified.  Christofferson asked that the January 20th Special Meeting warning make clear that all funding requests are competing with town budget needs in an effort to limit tax increase.

Edwards offered to warn the January 20th meeting and noted the Selectboard had not received a final report from Havreluk following the Selectboard’s meeting to develop a view on Town Projects and priorities.



Town Meeting report printing and deadlines

The following dates were identified as deadlines:

  • February 5th for Minuteman press to receive the print ready Town Meeting Book
    • Last year the Town ordered 200 books for $1,750
    • This year 200 books would cost $1,799
    • It was noted that 200 books could be a minimum. We still have copies of last years book so we may be able to order fewer books to limit costs
  • January 26th (Friday) is the last day to make a submission of material for the Town Meeting so that the book can be assembled for delivery to Minuteman press.

Stephan Chait asked the SB to confirm that we are in receipt of the Conservation Commission Report.  Christofferson confirmed the November 15, 2023 email receipt at 9:57am

Edwards reconfirmed her offer to put together a checklist of components for the report, and Silverberg confirmed he would write the Selectboard Report.

Town Meeting Articles

Borrowing for > 5 years by Australian Ballot (bond) for Excavator

Edwards noted that if we want to borrow for more than 5 years it must be by Australian Ballot and used the example of a new Excavator.  She further noted we would need to contact a Bond Attorney for specific language for the warnings.

McAllister commented on Municipal Bond Rates.

Social service agency removal process

Edwards reported that VLCT said that if we want to remove a donation to an entity previously approved at a Town Meeting, that such removal would require a letter from the Executive Director of that agency.

Edwards noted she contacted Visiting Nurses who sent a report dated August 2023 with a funding request.  Edwards further noted that all funding Articles must be worded neutrally..

“Advisory” Articles

With respect to Advisory Articles, Edwards reported that VLCT thought they should be avoided.  One suggestion is that after Town Meeting ends you warn a Special Selectboard meeting immediately after to discuss the issues.

  • Recycling containers discontinuance

The Town Recycling program at the Halifax Garage costs $20,000 a year.

Chait asked if the Selectboard wanted the Recycling Containers or not and noted the use of the word “discontinuance” as a non-neutral wording. Edwards agreed and thanked Chait for his observation.

  • Inclusivity

Edwards noted the Declaration of Inclusion is a common request which other Towns have also asked about doing as an “advisory article.”

Local option tax on short-term rentals – add again

Edwards brought up the possibility of including the Local Option Tax to the Town meeting discussion again. Last year it voted to “pass over” after some discussion. It seemed to be unclear how much of this Local Tax would come to the Town, and how much to the State.  Edwards noted that both AirBNB and VRBO take the tax out and remit the 1% to the Local Option Tax authority.

McAllister suggested that if Edwards wishes to pursue adding it to the warning again and supporting another townwide discussion, he would support that.

Emergency shelter amidst other town projects

A discussion ensued regarding the difference between an American Red Cross designated Emergency and the use of the Community Hall, for example, as a warming shelter.



None noted.



None noted


January 2, 2024 (Tuesday) Selectboard  Meeting Minutes

  • McAllister requested the word “tax” be removed from the Wheeler Road discussion. McAllister submitted suggested edits with Track Changes.
  • McAllister moved the minutes be approved with noted changes, Silverberg seconded. Approved unanimously 4-0

January 4, 2024 (Thursday) Selectboard Special Meeting Minutes

  • McAllister noted we don’t have specific calculation of the School Board vs Selectboard inclusion of a $25k cash amount in their respective budgets. Christofferson and McAllister noted that the School Board agreed to provide us with the calculation and rationale for the request that the Selectboard include it on their budget for FY25.
  • McAllister moved the minutes be approved with noted changes, Silverberg seconded. Approved unanimously 4-0.


January 6, 2024 (Saturday) Selectboard Special Meeting Minutes

  • Amend the Hearing of Visitors
  • McAllister moved the minutes be approved with noted changes. Silverberg seconded. Approved unanimously 4-0

A discussion ensued regarding the difficulty reviewing the minutes for prior to December 19th without access to the Zoom recordings.  Edwards will reach out to Cara for help getting access to the YouTube videos.


8:32pm Silverberg moved to go into Executive Session for a personnel matter.

Edwards Seconded. Unanimously approved 4-0

Recording stopped.

8:42pm came out of Executive Session with no decisions made.



Silverberg read the orders into the record.

  • Selectboard = $10,865.72 – add back $1,900 for Visiting Nurses Association
  • Highway = $8,200.45



8:47 pm Silverberg moved to adjourn. McAllister seconded. The motion carried unanimously 4-0.

Recording Stopped 8:47pm

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Christofferson, secretary pro tempore

Meeting recording: