Town of Halifax, Vermont
November 1, 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, Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, Christina Moore, Bill Moore, and Chris Mays.

Approval of Minutes

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the October 16, 2012 regular meeting as written. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the October 20, 2012 special meeting as written. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the October 22, 2012 special meeting with a few small corrections. Edwards seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the October 27, 2012 special meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

New Business

Update on Sandy Storm Damage

Rafus reported that there was no road damage. There was some tree damage, but nothing severe. Everything is cleaned up at this point. Sumner reported that he was in contact with the weather bureau in Albany, with VT Emergency Management, and with John Alexander on several occasions, but had no issues to report. Edwards reported that many residents were without power for 26-48 hours. She inquired whether there is anything the Selectboard should do as follow up with the power companies. Sumner replied that he had talked with GMP during the storm and they had crews in the area. Edwards also inquired whether we do checks on people who are vulnerable. Sumner replied that he does check on some of the elderly people in town.

Edwards expressed that she would like to follow-up on some of the ideas they had in their disaster planning meeting such as setting up equipment, getting radios for herself and for Holtz, and practicing getting the EOC up and running. The Co-EMD’s will work together to set a practice drill up. Edwards also inquired whether the same places in town get hit over and over with power outages, and whether they should contact the power company to do some maintenance and tree cutting. Holtz added that he spoke with an EMD in Marlboro and was able to get power outage maps by county through DisasterLAN.

Reed Hill Bridge Completion

Reed Hill bridge has been opened as of last Friday 10/26/12.

Edwards expressed her disappointment that there was a ribbon cutting ceremony and several parties who had spent a lot of time and effort on the project were not invited (including herself), especially since they had talked about doing a ceremony as a Selectboard. Holtz and C. Moore expressed that it was an informal and unplanned gathering and apologized for not getting the word out Edwards and others involved.

Edwards made a motion to update the Resolution for Temporary Highway Closure to read that “all motor vehicle travel on the following highways is restricted until further notice: 1. Town Highway No 13, also known as Hale Road from the short structure at the Halifax, Guilford Town line to the Guilford Town line, to vehicles weighing 14,000 lbs. Or less, due to temporary repairs.” Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0-0.

Deer Park Bridge

C. Moore reported that SVE submitted their scope of work and submitted some pictures today. It was noted by Moore that the pictures were 5 days late and meet only the minimum specifications.  They don’t match the verbal discussions in June/July/August about what was needed. She expressed again that she needs photos and descriptions for each aspect of the scope of work (gravel was used here, this size rip rap used here etc). She has merely a log of construction, not the materials used as per the scope of work. However, the photos should support our process to get payment.

Attached is a copy of the scope of work document from SVE. (See bottom of this page).

Edwards requested that any communication to/from SVE be CC’d to Edwards and Holtz so they can be aware of the communication happening. She recognized that there may be issues with documents being received due to large file size.

Holtz led a discussion about SVE providing a bid for inspection without receiving a project plan from Cold River. Holtz asked C. Moore to find out if SVE ever did receive the project plan, as he would like a tie in from the proposed work performed by SVE to the project plan. SVE’s billing in excess of their estimate was discussed. Edwards pointed out that it was a time and materials agreement, and some of the time delays and overpayment have to do with nature of an unfolding project. Moore expressed that the bridge design was done, there were no change orders, and it seems odd to her that they went over compared to their estimate. In looking to hire them for future work, she would like the Selectboard to be cognizant of their pattern in the past so it doesn’t happen again. Edwards expressed that she went back to the original estimates, and they were cost competitive. She does not believe that the overages meet the next highest bidder, but she would like to review the invoices and be comfortable with them. C. Moore noted that their invoices do not describe the tasks completed. She would like greater detail on invoices on activities, and would like to describe the records required by the town and FEMA in the scope of work document. She also expressed that the objectives are not measurable and have no timeframe. C. Moore’s opinion is that SVE’s performance quality, timeliness, and billing is substandard. Edwards expressed that our other options of going out to bid or having someone local do a portion of this project is not feasible at this point for Deer Park. Edwards is not willing to say it has been a painful process working with this firm as the bridge is in place. She is confident that we can get the issues addressed in a more documented and formal fashion. Holtz agreed that we are past the point of easily getting another person in to complete the work for Deer Park. We need to get what we need when we need it at the price we agreed on. Edwards asked everyone to think of the most effective way to communicate with SVE going forward. She asked Moore to be extremely explicit about how/what specific action she (Edwards) can take. C. Moore recommended hiring a local resident as clerk of the works. He has done work for the town, and he was a selectman for many years and has experience in this area. If there is a problem with the bridge, the engineer can step in. Edwards expressed that liability is important to her. She does not know the credentials of this person, and does not know whether that would work. She added that if we are creating a new position in town, we need to advertise it, and that adds time to getting something in place. C. Moore was asked if she would still be comfortable playing liaison with SVE if they decide not to go that route to which C. Moore replied yes.

Rafus expressed his disappointment in the I-beam situation. He explained that we had a pre-bid meeting where we expressed that we wanted to keep the beams and Peter Boemig from SVE was there. We also had a pre-construction meeting where it was discussed. No one should have been doing any work before the pre-construction meeting and Cold River was already working. Rafus would also like to know where all of the debris went that was on the bridge. Nobody knew they were working, and the engineer should have been setting up the meetings. Rafus also expressed that the road detour is dangerous. If they wouldn’t have started work before the pre-construction meeting, this would have been resolved. Rafus does not like the transition there and there is no line of sight when they are working. Rafus added that it is dangerous, there is no traffic being orchestrated, and no flashers are up at night. If they followed the rules, the problems we are having now would have been discussed at the pre-construction meeting.

Sumner made a motion to write a letter to SVE and Cold River Bridges, LLC requesting that they return the  four I-beams to the town garage. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 3-0-0.

The group discussed flashers on barrels at night and tree removal. Holtz informed the group that the tree warden sheet has been done and they could extend the order with a few phone calls. Rafus and C. Moore will do a safety site visit on Friday 11/2/12 with their guide books and give the Selectboard their recommendations.

Hale Road Bridge

C. Moore reported that they got a rejection on a $2,000 portion of the $220k Hale Road Bridge. She talked with VEM who explained that FEMA is taking a new position and going more formal. FEMA rejected that we had to extend the length of the bridge 6 ft to meet the ANR requirement. They rejected it as a change of scope and stated that we are responsible for paying that part as an improved project. C Moore followed up by asking them to accept it as an improved project.

Edwards inquired whether they are still inspecting the Hale Road bridge fix regularly to which Rafus replied yes. Edwards also asked whether we have the river permits to which C. Moore replied that we should have them shortly.

Hearing of Visitors

Old Business

Other Business

Edwards reported that the municipal energy efficiency training was cancelled. She also reported that there is a wellness workshop in Stowe, VT for municipalities and the deadline to sign up is Friday 11/2/12. She has served as wellness coordinator, but may want to find someone else to do this in 2013.

The Selectboard scheduled a budget meeting for Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Holtz reported that Brattleboro Development Credit Corp wants to get on our agenda. Edwards expressed that we should be thinking about economic development and it might be worthwhile for them to come.


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 8:40 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary