January 4, 2024




  • Pete Silverberg called the Special Meeting of the Selectboard to order at 6 pm on January 4, 2024. Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Edee Edwards, Patrick McAllister and Karen Christofferson.  Others present in-person or remote were Patty Dow and Stephan Chait. In addition, for the meeting with the schoolboard, the following people were present: Chum Sumner, Paul Blais, Sandy Pentak-Cohen, and Andrea Allbee.


  • Silverberg proposed we change the order of the agenda to meet with the School Board regarding their rent request for the town office space. Dow agreed to stay in the Town Office in case others came in person. We turned off the Zoom recording at this point.


NEW BUSINESS: Meet with School Board to discuss Town Office rent

  • The Selectboard members present went to the Halifax Elementary School Library, and there met with Chum Sumner, School board Chair; Paul Blais, School board; Sandy Pentak-Cohen, Principal; and Andrea Allbee, Director of Finance & Operations for Windham Southwest Supervisory Union.
  • Sumner introduced the history of the school charging the town office rent since the school was built and the town office was occupied. The range of amounts has been from no cash but in-kind work such as plowing the parking lots, to acting as project manager and paying for cupola painting, to an early amount of $50,000/year, and other years around $10-11,000.
  • New calculations for school taxes are leading to a budgetary squeeze on the school. Because the school’s “yield” for value against a penny of taxes has dropped, they expect the taxpayers will buy more with the same penny if a direct fee is paid by the town for the Town Office space. We asked the schoolboard to provide a calculation and to speak during Town meeting. This will take taxpayer dollars further, but the increase on the Selectboard side will need to be explained.
  • The school’s request is for $25,000 and continuation of plowing the driveways and parking lot.
  • The Selectboard returned back to the town office at approximately 6:24 and recapped the discussion briefly and poorly. Chait asked questions, and the board said a more detailed explanation at the Informational meeting would be a joint effort but rely on Sumner’s expertise and experience.
  • Edwards noted that follow up with a contract would be needed. These have been written by the school board for the Selectboard, as tenant, to sign.



  • Reserve Funds—Edwards checked with VLCT, and they said adding money to existing reserve funds could either be done through the regular budget, or again as individually warned articles. VLCT thought putting it into the regular budget may be less of a risk for cuts to those items from the floor, but either method of denoting expense requests is possible. The board discussed being consistent and putting the costs for everything voted last year into the main budget.
  • Scott and Eames request amount to Trustee of Public Funds
    • Approximately $300K in Scott Fund principle (stocks) / Eames $128K (just CDs)
    • Edwards suggested a continuation of $14,000 from Scott Fund; $1,700 from Eames for expected income for now, but to have these allocated to the Selectboard expense side (maybe earmarked for office rent).

Remainder of budget items

  • 6420: Elections
    • 3 elections at least this year (Town Meeting Day & Presidential Primary (March 5); August 13, Statewide Primary Election Day, and Nov. 5 General Election.
    • $1800 (ballot clerks) is needed to cover 3 days.
  • 6252: Town Office Telephone/Internet—bring down to $4500 (300 more than spent)
  • 6262: EOC Emergency Operations. Bring in the $1800 for Starlink & landline at EOC (Fire Department) here. Still need to talk to Paul–$5K for trailer may be a legacy note—has anything been done yet? Edwards and Christofferson will ask Blais in a Friday discussion.
  • 9700 Subtotal Payroll expenses—confirmed these numbers (e.g. Medicare) are accurate and updated
  • 6452: Bridge Construction (Reserve) Fund—reduce from $30000 to $5000—flexible, no planned bridge projects, but keep some small flow in since the work is usually a quarter of a million dollars to start. Grants are possible.
  • 6610: Dispatching fees. Added $250 due to past increase, up to $16,250
  • 6850: Removed yellow highlighting for Insurance after confirming it had been updated
  • 6274: Humane Society: $400 from $385 for inflation expectation
  • 6310: Accounting Services (Audit); $5000 (voted as reserve and to do every 3 years). Changed this to a fixed expense.
  • 6410: Moderator. $500 (full year service expected; previous $250 per meeting and unclear to the Town Moderator)
  • 6320: Legal Services $5000 last year. Average $3500, but kept at $5K. Changed to N/A category of expense.
  • 6340: Law Enforcement, left at $10K, $64/hour
  • 6425: Town Meeting Expense-Misc (combined 6430; 6431; 6440); $2650
  • 6440: Special Town Meetings kept at $900
  • 6281: Cemetery Perpetual Care Reserve Fund, $18,691 Per commission request
  • 6620: Special Unleaded Fuel. Keep at $500
  • 6630: Fire Company Fees: $1100 (VLCT)
  • 6640: Uniforms—keep as Flexible and same amount as discussed last time
  • 6710: WSWMD—started with 5320 calculated: $5525 new amount
  • 6715: Contracted Recycling—discussion again to have it as separate article. Trying to both leave the $ AND Work with VLCT to create an article (Edee to follow up).
  • 6720: Landfill Monitoring—change to N/A. $6000, with a note expecting increase.
  • 6730: Other (Brush clearing) Pete to follow up on current project work.
  • 6751: County Tax—updated to $15K based on current year
  • 6753-6755: hide those rows
  • 6820: Rent–$25000 (continued plowing also noted)
  • 6900: Bank charges and fees: All lines above, budgeting zero
  • 7475: Supplementary Road Assistance. We expect the town’s share might be as much as $40K for Pike Road—if we get reimbursement timely. But this should really be in Grants Reserve Fund—Patty will create a new line item/separate account.
  • 9300: Reappraisal—CLA may require reappraisal. There is a reserve fund with $35000. Add $5000.
  • 7120: Reduce to $2000 for Road Commissioner, with the expectation it will be some one or two people from the Selectboard covering this as exempt appointment.
  • 7110: Add $5200 (formerly part of Road Commissioner) to this Highway wages line, noting change of duties in position description, but shifting into an hourly rate to Highway Supervisor role.
  • 7475: Supplementary Road Assistance (FEMA). Keep $190,000 here and add $190K as income against expenses. The third element of what we might actually owe as a town portion, called ERAF, is going to show in a third bucket.

Patrick left the meeting at 8:39 PM.

Next meeting, decided upon this Saturday at 9-11 AM

Hearing of visitors: None


Silverberg moved for adjournment; Edwards seconded. Passed 3-0, and adjourned at 8:42 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards, secretary pro tempore

Meeting recording: