Town of Halifax, Vermont

July 17, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards, and Earl Holtz. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Joe Tamburrino, Margo Avakian, Ray Combs, Greg Marguet, Len Derby, Ed DuBois, Kristofer Demasi, Orrin Isles, and Tim Putnam.

Approval of Minutes

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the June 26, 2012 special meeting as written.  Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1 (Sumer abstained), and the minutes were approved.

Sumner moved to correct the minutes of the July 2, 2012 special meeting(previously accepted at the July 3, 2012 regular meeting) to delete item 3. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1 (Edwards abstained), and the minutes were approved.

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the July 3, 2012 regular meeting with a few corrections. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1 (Edwards abstained), and the minutes were approved.

There were no minutes written for the July 10, 2012 meeting regarding Broadband usage held in Brattleboro as there was no quorum.

New Business

Opening bids for the construction of the Reed Hill Bridge
There were five bids submitted:

-Cold River Bridges, LLC from Walpole/Keene, NH $488,822.50

-BUR Construction, Claremont, NH $609,223.53

-Lane Construction, Cheshire, CT $434,611.20

-Renaud Bros, Vernon, VT $402,535.00

-T Buck Construction, Auburn, ME $617,617.00

Tamburrino will take the bids to SVE to have them review them and make a recommendation to the Selectboard. He will also set up a meeting to discuss the bids on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Update on Bridges
Old County North

They received a package from Holden Engineering regarding the installation, painting, materials etc. for a concrete vs. a timber deck. The concrete bridge is estimated at $141,900 to install. Pre-cast deck panels cost about $83,000 (included in the $141,900). The timber deck option is $110,500 to install.

The steel girders will require sandblasting, grinding and paint and there is lead involved, so the cost is about $40,000 to do that. This is included in the above installation costs. It was noted that we can take the beams down and bring them to a shop for painting etc. for a lot less.

It was noted that extra-cross bracing would increase the weight posting to 22 tons versus 8 tons.

Holtz inquired whether we need a 22 ton weight limit on that bridge. Tamburrino replied that although there are only 3 houses on the other side, however, a lot of logging trucks use that bridge.

Edwards noted that she would like to calculate the life cycle of the cost, and inquired whether we have any resources to give us an estimate on how long each type will last with re-decking. Sumner suggested that the engineer answer these questions. Edwards requested that she receive this information before they meet with the engineers to discuss the plans, so that she can use it in her life cycle spreadsheet and have it ready for the meeting.

Tamburrino also noted that Rafus may have some of this information as well.

Combs inquired whether the residents across the bridge were full-time or part-time. Sumner replied that one is a rental unit with two families, so three families are full-time and one is seasonal.

Isles asked what the current weight rating of the bridge is, and whether it would be designed at less than that rating. Sumner replied that no, it would not be rated at less than it is now. It is currently rated for 16,000 pounds. The Selectboard will confirm with Holden Engineering what the weight rating is for the concrete deck.

Marguet noted that many companies do de-leading, and for $40k, we should put the painting out to bid. Tamburrino replied that the $40k was just an estimate, and as stated before, we can reduce the cost by sending it out for re-painting.

Reed Hill

Tamburrino noted that they will have the cost estimate to oversee the project by Friday. He feels that the cost will probably be very high and may not be necessary to have that additional cost. We would just need a thorough inspection at the end. Holtz expressed that he would still like to see the estimate.


Sumner indicated that Bob Fisher had spoken with the landowners to explain the paperwork associated with the easements needed to complete the wing wall and rip-rap work. Fisher indicated that the landowners intend to sign and send the paperwork in.

River Debris Clean Up
Last Friday, Holtz walked five clean-up sites with USDA, and Fish & Wildlife. Only one was rejected due to the steepness of the bank. The other four sites are:

-Green River Rd across from the Lyons property- hemlocks cut.

-Green River Rd- 100ft site, 10-12ft high- they will determine whether to burn or pull out the debris.

-Hale Rd bridge- below and above the bridge are areas that need to be attended to.

-Thomas Hill Rd- a logging bridge has fallen into the stream that needs to be attended to.

Holtz reported that there is a lot of paperwork, and they will need to set up a bank account which the funds will be directly deposited into. Holtz also noted that someone needs to be in charge of signing the paperwork. It was also noted that all of this needs to be done (included getting the work done) by the end of August. Drew Adam needs to write up an estimate and the protocol for getting the work done.

Tamburrino inquired whether the work will need to go out to bid. Holtz replied yes it would.

Edwards noted that we should start getting some of these steps done if we need to finish everything by the end of August. She also inquired whether we have the necessary pemits to go into the rivers. Holtz replied that we do not have the permits and we need DNR approval.

There was a discussion regarding how all of the work can be completed by the deadline when they don’t even have a plan from Drew Adam yet.  Edwards noted that we couldn’t do the work until we had a grant, and we haven’t signed anything yet. She also noted that according to their paperwork, work must be completed within 10 days of receiving funding.

The Selectboard agreed that at this point, they could set up an account for the money, have the paperwork to have Sumner set up as the contact, and they can get a list of landowners involved and talk to them about what they would like to do regarding the clean-up.

Flood Work
Sumner noted that there are a couple of places left that need rip-rap, and ditches alongside the road have been put in. Bids went out to seven contractors for gravel. It was noted that the fabric was accidentally left out of the bid, so Tamburrino sent it out to four bidders for the fabric. All bids are due August 7 so that the Selectboard will have them for the next regular meeting.

Edwards noted that the town received a payment for the Green River Rd project for approximately $898k. This was payment for the bulk of the Green River Road project. It replenishes the town funds to be able to pay for paving etc. Cash flow has been much improved with the receipt of this payment. It was noted that the Selectboard may want to sit down and think about replenishing the equipment reserve fund, the gravel, etc. Edwards also noted that they will need an accounting firm to do the final audit.

Hearing From Visitors
Marguet noted that every year we buy gravel, and asked the Selectboard if they have considered asking the landowners in town if they would be willing to sell gravel to the town from their properties. Tamburrino replied that the main reason they don’t get gravel from landowners is that they need permits from the State to operate as a gravel bank. He also noted that a lot fo the gravel they use is not bank gravel , it is crushed gravel, and it would be very costly to crush it themselves. Isles added that it takes three years to get a permit, and costs $50k.

Marguet asked whether whether the town should pre-qualify town crew for use in emergency situations like floods. If we had them drug tested, checked their CDL qualifications etc we would then have a group of people available. Holtz noted that the town has done this in the past. Tamburrino noted that Rafus has a list of people with CDL’s, and if you have a CDL, all of the drug testing, physicals etc. is done. Combs inquired what the liability is on these temporary people. Edwards replied that they are temporary employees and are covered under the town’s policy.

Derby explained that constables now have to be certified as part-time law enforcement officers, or be in training. Unfortunately, the earliest Derby can get into the police academy is December. The police academy also is required to change their exam, and Derby has to wait for that to take place as well (he is on the waiting list for that). He noted that the test has a 50-60% pass rate and some of these are repeat test takers. The VT League of cities and towns has a list of what constables can do:

-Serve civil or criminal process

-Destruction of Animals

-Killing injured deer

-Assistance to health officer in discharge of their duties

-Serve as district court officer

-Remove disorderly people from town meeting

-Collect taxes when no tax collector is elected

Derby informed the Selectboard that as Halifax Animal Control Officer, eight residences have dogs that are unlicensed. There are 16 dogs involved, and 15 of them are not up to date with their rabies shots. This is a huge liability for the town and he has talked with Patty Dow about it. Two multi-dag owners gave him dates in August when they can comply. The six others are up in the air and said they didn’t know that April 1 was the due date, it slipped their mind etc. Letters have been written to the dog owners stating the liability should their dogs bite someone. The repercussions of non-compliance are also outlined such as removing the dogs and putting them in a shelter or possible euthanasia. Derby also mentioned that he had attended an animal cruelty workshop with the ASPCA and now has a lot more information and tools to work with.

Derby also worked out an agreement with Mr. Dow to provide rabies shots at the clinic price of $30 per dog.

Holtz shared a letter from the Department of Public Health that states that residents should replace their children and adolescent potassium iodide tablets as they can expire.

Old Business

Other Business
Edwards noted that she did not get the paperwork in to participate in the blueberry parade.

Edwards shared correspondence she received from Heidi Joyce, Senior Health Promotions Consultant for the VT League for Cities and Towns. Joyce would like to discuss wellness programs with the Selectboard. Edwards will inform her of our regular meeting dates and times so she may give her presentation.

Edwards noted that there is an informational session for municipal officials on inter-local agreements (agreements with other municipalities to deal with emergency issues) on 7/25/2012 from 5:30-7pm in Landgrove, VT. We need to respond by July 19, 2012 with name of attendees. It was noted that we should ask any emergency personnel if they would like to attend.

There will be a special meeting July 26 at 2pm via a conference call attended by the Selectboard, FEMA, and the State to discuss outstanding questions regarding FEMA public assistance.

Edwards would like to add discussion of the 40 hour workweek and employee compensation to the next agenda


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

Edwards would like the Selectboard to consider setting up a Wi-Fi zone in town so we have more choices for internet access. The town VEM pays for satellite access at the fire department. If we had a Wi-Fi network between fire dept, town building, and garage we would have more options for access. She will get more information regarding cost.

Correspondence was received stating that if the town wishes to appeal a FEMA decision, they need to submit the appropriate documents to Ben Rose ASAP. If we are still seeking to write a PW, should we contact Ben or wait to hear from Bob Fisher? Sumner noted that Bob Fisher has been in contact with the State.

Executive Session

Edwards made a motion for the Selectboard to go into executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

The Selectboard went into executive session at 9:05 pm. The Selectboard returned from executive session at 9:13 pm, no decisions being made. Sumner will follow up with the parties involved in the personnel issue.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno
Selectboard Secretary