TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES—APPROVED
JANUARY 17, 2023
CALL TO ORDER:
Sumner called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Selectboard members present were Lewis Sumner, Pete Silverberg, Paul Blais, and Patrick McAllister. Others in attendance in person or remotely were Edee Edward, Patricia Dow, Roza Podlaski, Gary and Andrea Rand, Deborah, Raquel Smith, and Bob Teree.
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
Blais made a motion to approve the January 3rd minutes for signing of the Selectboard Order with amendment to add Sumner in attendance. The motion was seconded by Sumner, passed 4-0, with Roberts abstaining.
The January 5th meeting had the spelling of Paul Crosier’s name with a “z”. The minutes stated that Blake Janovsky has received his CDL license. It is meant to state that he has signed up for the CDL class. The minutes also stated that McAllister would revise Javonsky’s contract and have him sign. However it is meant to state that Silverberg will be the one doing this. We removed redundant statements for salvage yard permit renewal and changed wording for posting of the roads discussion. Blais made a motion to approve the January 5th meeting as amended, seconded by Sumner and passed 4-0 with Roberts abstaining.
CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
DV Fiber update from Edee Edwards.
Blais reminded us that we must add to the next agenda (since it was not added to this one) to reaffirm the decision from the December 20th meeting for signing the highway mileage certificate. Any action items that have been added during a meeting that was not originally warned, must be warned on the next agenda.
The board went over the budget for the Highway and Selectboard to update some missing numbers. We are hoping to finalize the budget at our special meeting next Tuesday, January 24th. The draft budget worksheet is available on the town website under Selectboard Communication and on the Highway Department page.
Blais requested the Town Treasurer remind the Selectboard of the current tax rate. The Town Treasurer advised the current tax rate is 1.0834. A very rough rule of thumb is that the rate increases or decreases $0.01 for each $12,000 or $13,000 in budget increase or decrease.
We will review the 2nd quarter financial statements at the next regular meeting.
Roberts would like to add a local 1% tax option on room rentals as discussed in a previous meeting. There is no good data on how much income it can generate for the town. There will be no costs encumbered for residents, only those who rent short term rooms. Elmore is a town of 800 people in Vermont. They collected $8,300 in revenue and are expecting to generate more this year. There will still need to be additional approval on the state level if the taxpayers vote to approve this article. Someone asked if there would be any overhead from town employees. Roberts stated that it is state department taxes and they will reimburse us. The town will not have to file any additional paperwork. Roberts motioned to add an article that states “Shall the town assess a one percent (1%) tax on rooms pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 138(b)?” The motion was seconded by McAllister, motion passed 4-0, with Sumner abstaining.
No new update on ARPA funds.
Edwards gave an update on DV Fiber. There was a press release that recently went out that stated they have connected their first users. There are pilot users in Readsboro, who are testing their connection, call response, care, billing, and customer support. Halifax will be part of the first build out that is expected to roll out in 2023. They will be doing build outs annually. Some Halifax residents will have an option to connect in 2023, 2024 or 2025. Some residents will have a partial build out, and others will have a full buildout. It is unclear at the moment which areas these buildouts will be in and whether all of Halifax will be covered or if there will be some pockets. To stay up to date with what is going on, you can go to dvfiber.net and join their newsletter. You can also attend Halifax’s Broadband Committee meetings.
HEARING OF VISITORS
Roberts states that The House of Representatives has decided to move forward the bill that would extend Covid era open meeting law remote meeting rules to July 1, 2024. That bill is now in the Senate.
He is on the corrections and institutions committee in Montpelier. He has a focus on our 2 year capital budget as well as our corrections system. He encourages anyone who has any questions or issues on a state level to reach out to him at email@example.com. You can also join his email list on his website at tristanroberts.org.
The order was read and signed.
SIGN OVERWEIGHT PERMITS
One Overweight permit signed.
Sumner motioned to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Roberts. Passed 5-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:13 pm.
For the Selectboard