Town of Halifax, Vermont



May 18, 2010

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Others in attendance were Charlene Martynowski, Greg Marguet, Margo Avakian, Earl Holtz, Patricia Holtz, Jessica Bruno, Mike Bruno, Jesse Ferland, Marilyn Allen, Merle Eggert, Rick Gay, Keith Stone, Brad Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

Ms Edwards noted two corrections to the minutes. On page one change ‘hear’ to here, and on page three rewording of the last sentence. With those corrections she moved to accept the minutes of the May 4, 2010 meeting.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.

New Business

  • Loader Bids, repair costs: Mr. Rafus Joined the Board members for the opening of bids.

Bidder – E. W. Sleeper – Model #70ZV-2 Kawasaki wheel loader.  Demo = $119,763 with warranty for 1900 hours or one year; New $133,507 (with trade in allowance of $18,000) with warranty for 1500 hours or one year. (The demo already has 555 hours on it so therefore the warranty number of hours is higher than for the new).

Bidder – Nortrack – Model #JD544K 2010 John Deere – net after trade is $112,500; Second option is Model #JD544K 2009 John Deere with 180 hours on it – net after trade is $106,000.  Warranties on both of these have several options to choose from. List price for this model is $167,500 and with all the ‘goodies’ $209,151.

Bidder – Beauregard – Model #621E 2010 Case – List price is $207,412., cost to town is $130,500, with trade-in allowance of $25,000 the final cost is $105,500.

Model #721E 2010 Case – cost after allowances = $121,500.

Bidder – Milton – Model #9288Z Caterpillar wheel loader – $134,205 less trade-in allowance of $30,000 = $104,205.

Mr. Marguet again raised the issue of hiring a “bank certified” independent appraiser to review and report on the mechanical condition and value of the current loader and not proceed until this report is completed.

Mr. LaFlamme asked Mr. Marguet what advantage there would be with this outside appraisal, when they now have four different firms submitting bids for the equipment.

Mr. Marguet advised that ‘you don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut’.  These firms are interested in selling equipment not repairing it. The bank appraisers have no interest in selling equipment and therefore would give a fair appraisal.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that they had been aware for some time that there were problems with the loader, and this review of costs for repair or replacement is part of the ongoing consideration of whether or not to purchase or repair the equipment.

Ms. Edwards advised that because they did not have the bid figures previously, she had taken the figures that Brad had given them at a prior meeting and worked them into a spreadsheet factoring in costs for repairs and maintenance, and other factors such as lease fees for equipment to use while the repairs were being done.  She then worked up the costs including interest for a new loader.  She advised that the net present worth of the current loader would cost the town $172,000 over the five year period versus a new loader for the same period would cost $145,000 to $146,000. While these figures were derived from ‘ball-park figures’ she advised she would use the new figures and work up the costs with them.  She further advised that given the figures it looks to her as if they would be better off purchasing new rather than repairing the existing one.  A short explanation of the figures followed.  Ms. Edwards advised she had used five years as the term for calculations for both the repair of the existing equipment and the new loader.

Mr. Stone advised that he had worked for a fortune 500 company for 9 ½ years and they sent him to school for training.  They always advised him that when it was budgeting time to let them know all of the things that needed to be done.  That is what he did in this case.  He advised there are problems with the loader and so he brought them to the Board to let them know.  He advised that it is standard procedure with this type of equipment to replace the transmission at the same time as you replace the motor.  If a stronger motor is working with a transmission that has the number of hours that this on has, there are going to be problems with the transmission.  He advised that any of the companies that submitted bids would tell them the same thing.

Mr. Holtz advised that he had given Mr. Rafus information about equipment on eBay and asked if he had followed up on that.

Mr. Rafus advised that he had and the closest to what they were looking for was a 2006 924G at $65,000.

Mr. Holtz advised he had also suggested that Mr. Rafus contact someone in Wilmington who had just gotten a good deal on a used piece of equipment to see if they might find something with whomever they had gotten it from.  And he further advised he had given the Selectboard a notice of a state equipment auction that included a used grader.  Mr. Holtz advised that he felt that by not following through on this they had missed an opportunity.

Mr. Eggert, Mr. Marguet, and Mr. Holtz continued the discussion of whether or not the transmission needed to be changed at the same time as the motor.  The discussion then turned to the schedule for replacement of other pieces of equipment, and reserve funds to cover these costs.

Ms. Allen advised that it was apparent at Town Meeting that the voters are concerned with the ever increasing budget.  She asked if they were agreeable to getting a second repair estimate.

Mr. Sumner advised he thought they should get another estimate and table the discussion until they have that in hand.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to table discussion on this topic until the next meeting and get additional repair estimates.

Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

Mr. Marguet advised he was going to get an estimate for the repairs so there would be something to compare to.

Mr. Holtz asked why not get another estimate, as the usual rule is three.

Ms. Edwards advised it is good to get as much information as possible.  Mr. LaFlamme advised two would be fine if they can get them within two weeks.

  • Marlboro request to purchase truck rack from Halifax

Mr. LaFlamme advised that Marlboro wants to purchase a truck rack that the Highway Department bought in 2005 and is no longer using. The rack goes over the dump body to break up large chunks of sand for winter road use.  Mr. Rafus advised that the cost of a new rack is $2,000 and the cost in 2005 was $978.  No monetary offer has been made by Marlboro at this time.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to invite Marlboro to give an offer for the truck rack.

Ms. Edwards seconded the motion which carried 3-0.

  • Rick Gay, possible violation He advised he has a couple of complaints.  On Hanson Road there are two school buses being used for storage.  The question is whether they come under the junk yard ordinance or if they are under the zoning ordinance.  Mr. LaFlamme advised they will research it further and discuss it at the next meeting.

The second complaint is a light violation.  He wanted to give them a heads up because he has been dealing with it for several months and he thinks it may end up going to court in      which case they would need to authorize him to proceed.

  • ZBA request for legal advice regarding a zoning issue.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to allow the ZBA to consult with Bob Fisher regarding a zoning issue.

Ms. Edwards seconded the motion which carried 3-0.

  • Lister’s request for extension to file grand list Mrs. Martynowski advised that they are almost but not quite finished with the grand list and rather than possibly being late they would like the extension.  This is to cover them in the event they cannot file by the June 4th deadline.

Ms. Edwards moved to approve the requested 30 day extension for lodging the grand list.

Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 3-0.

  • Request for road dept. committee

Mr. LaFlamme advised that this item was requested by Mr. Marguet and he asked him to explain in a little more detail what he is thinking.

Mr. Marguet advised that in talking about the loader with people they have offered some good ideas and given insights.  He thinks that rather than coming to the Selectboard meetings and going on and on as he likes to do, that a committee to meet off-line and concentrate on the road crew issues would be helpful.  He advised the road crew could sit in if they wanted to, and one good idea might save the town thousands of dollars.

Ms. Edwards asked if there were other towns that had such a committee.

Mr. Marguet advised that Marlboro has one.

Mr. Marguet suggested that they table this until the next meeting and he will research how the committee works in Marlboro.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that the place to bring these suggestions is to the Selectboard and they regularly hear comments and suggestions at their meetings.

Mr. Holtz advised that it would be interesting to hear if other towns are doing this and of what issues these committees are.  He further advised he is not an advocate of committees if it’s important you do it yourself, if you have time you appoint somebody, and if you have all the time in the word you form a committee.

Hearing of Visitors

Mike Bruno inquired about the driveway permit he had submitted.  Mr. LaFlamme advised they would probably be signing it later on and mailing him a copy.

Mr. Holtz suggested that the book of ordinances be compiled much like the zoning ordinances and have them available for purchase by the public.

Ms. Edwards advised it would be good to scan them and put them on the website.

Mr. Rafus advised that the Roadside mowing request is posted.  Responses should be ready for consideration at the next meeting.

Mr. Rafus advised that there are two options for black top paving this year. They can reclaim and repave ½ a mile on Brook Road for $101,000, or they can shim coat and overlay 9/10 of a mile for $101,300.  He noted that the shim coat is like putting a band aid on the problem whereas the reclaiming and repaving is the proper way to fix it and it will last much longer. He asked for input from the Board and noted that they had gone for four years without paving and now they are trying to catch up. He also noted that they do not have a grant for paving this year.  This should be on the next agenda because they need to put it out to bid soon.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that given the budget constraints this expenditure will need more careful consideration.  He asked if there were other comments.

Mrs. Martynowski advised the only comment she had was that she lives on Hanson Road and the road right now is the best it has been in years.  The material they put down is solid and the road is fantastic.

Mr. Stone advised that one of the people who had been in attendance at this evening’s meeting had been going around town telling people it was the worst stuff because there wasn’t any stone in it.

Mr. Stone advised that he did not want to come to this meeting but having talked with Brad, and his family he felt he had to bring this to the Board.  He advised that he had a call from an elderly lady and she was very scared this week.  “She got a call from a fellow who was in this room tonight who was trying to get hold of another fellow who was also in this room tonight to discuss the loader.  She lives alone, has lived alone for 15 years”. Mr. Stone advised that this caller kept demanding to talk to her husband.  She said he’s not here right now.  He said well I need to talk to your husband.  She said he’s not here you must have the wrong number, he said no and kept insisting that he needed to talk with her husband. The caller would not leave her alone and she finally said ‘I’m going to hang up now.’  The sad thing is this lady’s husband passed away 15 years ago and she lives alone.  She was very scared.  He noted that he wished that when people want to discuss town business by telephone they would make sure they have called the right number.

Mr. LaFlamme advised Mr. Stone to have her talk to the Constable. This is definitely something that should be dealt with by the Constable.

Mr. Stone advised that he had spoken tonight with the person who was supposed to be the recipient of that phone call and was told that he never got a call from the person.

Mr. Rafus inquired if the Selectboard had authorized any excavation at the site of the old landfill.  He advised that the silt-control barrier that they had installed to meet the state and FEMA specifications has been dug up.  He and Mr. Stone advised they would like the Board to do a site visit to see what has happened.  Mr. Stone advised he thought that someone with an excavator has been hired to do the digging. Mr. LaFlamme noted that this is town property and they will look into it.

Mr. Rafus advised that he and Mr. Stone had sent out spec sheets with the bid information, and two of the bids list smaller machines.  He advised that if they are going to consider different specs they should give the bidders the opportunity to bid on other models.  The other option could be to eliminate any bids that don’t meet the specs.

Mr. LaFlamme advised they should set a meeting time to visit the excavation site and then meet afterward to discuss that and also consider the specs for the loader bids.  They tentative meeting date was set for Wednesday, May 26th.

Old Business

Cael Scholarship application deadline has passed.  They need to schedule a meeting to review and consider.

Bookkeeper duties were discussed, what they expect and what kind of reports they need.

Other Business

The first Broadband Committee meeting was well attended.  Ms. Edwards advised it was a good start she gave a quick synopsis of the meeting.


Mr. Kline’s replacement garage door costs $1200.  Our insurance deductible is $500.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to submit the claim to the town insurance.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0.

It was noted that the location of the garage is going to be an ongoing problem, but it is grandfathered so it will need to be dealt with.

Mr. Rafus advised he had one last thing; they may be able to get a bridge grant or at least a partial grant to cover engineering.

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 9:38 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk