January 6, 2024




Pete Silverberg called the Special Meeting of the Selectboard to order at 9:00 am on January 6, 2024.  Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Edee Edwards, Patrick McAllister, Tristan Roberts and Karen Christofferson.  Others present in person (or remote) were Patty Dow, Gary Rand, and Stephan Chait.



McAllister asked that we go to Hearing of Visitors for Gary Rand first.



Gary Rand, representing the Halifax Cemetery Commission, spoke. He noted they had an initial plan for 5 years to address deferred maintenance. Last year they made progress, but projects to address dangerous situations still need to be urgently completed. After the 5 year plan, the funds requested from the town will decrease. Among the items being requested, $6K+ is required just for mowing, $12K is for donated land that has been cleared to be surveyed, drained, and marked for new grave sites, tree removal estimates include $6K for Hatch Cemetery is part of the total request for $15K. VOCA (Vermont Old Cemetery Association) has small grants available. A $10.4K CD was cashed by the trustee of public funds last year and they have had some donations. Updated request amount: $23,714 for FY25. HCRT (Halifax Cemetery Restoration Team) has continued to volunteer many hours. Refer to the earlier report and/or meeting minutes. Christofferson asked if there is wiggle room. Rand said yes, but $6,600 mowing is fixed, priorities are tree removal; and additional surveying is underway now.



Ongoing Budget Review

Patty Dow offered a thought: Lister’s budget request. Listing wages line: she suggested $5000 decrease from $30K would still offer room for the work to be done. Reappraisal wages are tracked differently. 6130: line new total $25,000.

Roberts asked for clarification on schoolboard discussion for rent. Discussion ensued for preparation for informational meeting and how to defend it.

Dow suggested the lease on copier machine could be put as record restoration expense. $1950 reduction. 6265 account was reduced from $3000 to $1000.

Back to big picture: A worksheet produced by Christofferson, Selectboard Discretionary Amount Analysis, was used for initial discussion.

While the board needs to look at income, grants, and reserve funds for sources of income, we are starting with cutting expenses.

Noted with account 7460 (Resurfacing Reserve Fund): we need to add $300K here instead of below the line.

Discussion about FEMA and Pike and Vaughn Road. Need to fill out EE1 form. Dow and Silverberg to follow up. McAllister noted we may need to finance the FEMA project this year.  This should be a future agenda item.

Back to Halifax Highway Budget Discussion: High Impact Needle Movers that are flexible.

  • Account 7475: Budget 100% of what the project is here—adjust later.
  • Discussion around 7110 wages: Edwards noted that inflation was coming down, and perhaps a lower percent cost of living raise would be more aligned with this after our large adjustments this fiscal year. Roberts noted this was demoralizing, but this must all be done in public meeting as part of a longer process. Silverberg noted a 1% decrease would only amount to a few thousand dollars. The board decided not to adjust this.
  • 7696: Truck(s) Financing has increased.
    • Per our equipment schedule, we need warned article for Excavator $350K with a longer lease. Caterpillar does 10-year loan. Edwards to follow up with VLCT.
    • Need to add to Halifax Equipment Schedule for new Chevy light truck (truck #5 for F550 for $105K), but first payment will be in FY26. This reduced the overall 7696 account by $25K.
    • Today we have a spare truck—when we reduce service life to 7 years, this should be reconsidered and possibly stop having this backup vehicle.
  • 7680 Repairs and Maintenance—many new vehicles in the fleet, so we may not need what we budgeted. McAllister proposed cutting it by $25K, to $125K.
  • 7462 Cold Patch & Culverts—culverts just going up. Keep the same.
  • 7460 Resurfacing Reserve Fund: Discussion to go to $200K, Agreed.

Town budget/meeting preparation: deliverables, timelines, accountability

  • Still need an article non-binding business: Recycling. Edwards to follow up with VLCT, ideally during training.
  • Action item: get password and list of articles from Halifax Secretary to help with catch up and getting the book done: Pete
  • From about 11 AM, we did more work to ensure we had the numbers correct for the budget article and town meeting book, and we have a good basis of comparison for the taxpayers.
  • The Raise and Appropriate amount is: $1,890,337 for FY25.
  • Adding the articles new funding last year to the FY24 budget is $1,679,317, comprised of $328,691 on top of the $1.4M base amount listed.
  • Increases are primarily wages and benefits; equipment and financing; additional increase in repairs and maintenance; and sand
  • Other holes to plug: EMD 2 lines (radio and current request).
  • 6266: Remove $500 for Broadband Committee
  • Shop Equipment: 7644 =this will be removed, and added below
  • Shop Supplies & Tools: 7645 $1500 total.
  • New calculation: $1,889,837—$210,520 increase YOY; 12.54% increase.
  • On our discretion analysis: Need to relink Total DRAFT Budget Amount to another line

HEARING OF VISITORS: No further input


Roberts moved we adjourn at 12:06 PM. Silverberg seconded. The motion carried 5-0.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards, secretary pro tempore

Meeting recording: