Town of Halifax, VT

Minutes – Special Meeting

January 24, 2012

Call to Order

A special meeting of the Halifax Selectboard was held at the Town Office to meet with two representatives from SAIC offering assistance regarding Hazard Mitigation Grants.  The meeting was called to order at 10:05 am.   Present were Selectboard members John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner and Edee Edwards, and Christina Moore, Joe Tamburrino, and Everett Wilson from Halifax.  The SAIC employees were Tamara Habib and Lisa Danner.

New Business

Tamara Habib outlined the role SAIC had been asked to play, to assist towns with understanding the various grants and the grant process, reviewing applications and even in writing grants or helping with the Benefit-Cost Analysis.  The state will pay for their time, rather than the town.

Everett Wilson also noted his past experience in writing grants, working on grants programs, in the federal government.

Three proposals for Hazard Mitigation Grant Projects were submitted by Brad Rafus, who was not present.  These included upgrading culverts on Hubbard Hill Road, Winchester Road, and Stark Mountain Road.   Everett Wilson asked about culverts on Green River Road that were not part of the emergency repairs nor routine maintenance.

SAIC said that things like upsizing culverts, or mitigation for bridges, for areas damaged by Irene should be submitted as “406” Mitigation projects within the FEMA program if possible, but you could also apply for HMGP grants as well.

At this point, Halifax’s Irene projects and status, including bridges, were reviewed.

The new deadline for the first round of Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs is February 17th, and the second round is March 16th.  Tamara confirmed John LaFlamme’s question that the state’s priority with this grant program is to help with home buyouts and other property acquisitions first.  The amount of money available has been changing.  It might be $16M or $23M.  It is a competitive process.

As we walked through the 3 new projects submitted by Brad Rafus, SAIC noted that one requirement of the HGMP grants is that the town can prove past damages, and a benefit-cost analysis for making the repairs.  That means you need a date and cost estimate for each prior flood.  You can use traffic data/counts for some of the benefits analysis.  SAIC also has engineers we can consult with if we want a second set of eyes to review engineering information. Hydrology studies might be needed for the 3 new projects.

Another requirement is that you prove that you must fix all of the culverts on a road together in order for flood relief to happen.  They cannot be phased projects.

In the end, SAIC’s assessment is that Halifax should request 406 funding on appropriate projects, but we should feel free to contact them if we decided to proceed with anything for the Hazard Mitigation Grants Program or need other assistance as outlined above.

Because of the nature of the Town’s current needs, the Selectboard members generally noted it did not seem fruitful to take additional time to apply for HGMP grants that would be difficult and time-consuming to justify through a cost-benefit analysis.  However, if the situation with the bridges changes and begins to look problematic for getting a 406 grant if our hired engineers say lengthening a bridge or otherwise mitigating it is needed, then we should contact SAIC as soon as possible before the HGMP deadline in mid-March.

Old Business

Other Business

No formal motions were made or action taken.

The meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Edee Edwards, Selectboard member