OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
January 20, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:26 PM. Board members in attendance were Mitchell Green, Lewis Sumner, and. John LaFlamme. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Timothy Putnam, Greg Marguet, Brad Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the January 6, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. Green seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Hearing of Visitors
1. A group of people were in attendance representing area trash haulers, including Tim and Cheryl Franklin, Reed Cutting, Craig Goodenough, and Cliff Inman. They advised that the Windham Solid Waste Management District has informed them they will be levied a surcharge of $17 per ton in addition to the regular tipping fees they already pay. This surcharge is WSWMD’s solution for attempting to make up for budget shortfalls, while municipalities that pay for trash pickup as part of the budget will not be seeing this increase. They advised that this additional cost will make it necessary to charge customers a higher rate, and that with the economy the way it is they feel it is unfair to put the burden on the homeowners and small businesses to make up for poor management on the part of the WSWMD. This group advised that it would be much less of an impact on residents to have the increase covered through taxes rather than putting the burden on the small haulers which in turn would be passed on to the customers as an increased monthly cost. The District doesn’t have enough money to finish out the fiscal year, and are planning on this surcharge to make up the shortfall, both this fiscal year and next. The District is proposing to reduce the assessment on member towns and then put the burden onto the private haulers, which in reality will be paid by taxpayers in raised rates for services.
The haulers advised that they were not invited to the budget meetings and were only advised of the surcharge after the budget was set. They are suggesting that if the member towns withdraw from the WSWMD, they would then not be liable for payments to the district. Act 78 states that if you do not belong to a District, you must have your own facility. They would like the Board to put an article on the Town Warning to make the voters aware of the situation and see if the voters would approve withdrawing from the district. They advised that Jamaica has decided to withdraw. The Haulers were asking the Board to put an article on the Warning regarding the WSWMD situation.
Mr. Green advised that the way they could do it would be to put an article on that states in part “to see if the voters recommend withdrawing from the District”. He further stated that if the voters support withdrawing, then the Board would have the backing of the community if they decide it is in the best interest of the town to do so. Mr. Sumner advised that it may cost the town more to withdraw then it would to stay in the District.
The group thanked the Board for their time and advised they would be trying to visit all of the area towns to speak to the issue in time to get articles on other town warnings as well.
2. Mr. Rafus advised that he had information on and proposals for a replacement excavator. He submitted them to the Board for review. He advised that the quote from Caterpillar (CAT) was $115,000 for a 2005 (with 2900 hours of operation). He advised that the CAT excavator they are leasing is $177,000 and if they purchase there would be an $8,000 credit because they are leasing it, making it $169,000. He advised that the reason it costs more is because it has many more standard features. As far as the actual payment amounts and schedule, he will advise as soon as he receives it. He also had information on several John Deere models.
The Board will review the information and discuss it at the next meeting.
Mr. Rafus advised that the grader and the truck with the frame problem should both be back at the end of the week.
Mr. Green spoke with the Treasurer and from what she could see the town hasn’t received the $15,000 yet.
Mr. Sumner advised he would like to see some sort of report that would show when the payments have been received. This would make it easier to keep track of what may still be outstanding.
Mr. Green advised he would check to see if they need to pay the money out first and then get reimbursed.
The Board reviewed the figures and setup of the financial report for the year and the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The Board will meet on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 7:30 to finalize the budget and language for the Town Meeting Warning and their narrative for the Town Report.
Mr. Sumner advised that the request for FEMA funds to recover from the ice storm has been approved.
A proposal from Rescue Inc. was received for service to a portion of the town. This area covers the east side of town from Moss Hollow and Old County Roads to Jacksonville Stage Road, and to the town border.
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 9:07 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk