Town of Halifax, Vermont

October 1, 2013

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:33 pm at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Earl Holtz, and Lewis Sumner. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Ross Barnett, Margo Avakian, Bill Moore, Christina Moore, Nick Bartenhagen, Maggie Bartenhagen, Brad Rafus, Wayne Courser, and Ray Combs.

Approval of Minutes

Edwards made a motion to accept the minutes of the September 17, 2013 regular meeting with a correction. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Holtz made a motion to accept the minutes of the September 23, 2013 regular meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Sumner made a motion to accept the minutes of the September 24, 2013 special meeting as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

New Business

Road Name Issues

C. Moore discussed a recent ambulance call that had a delayed response because they were unable to determine how to get to the address. This is due to roads that are “broken/inaccessible” in the middle whereby addresses need to be approached via an alternate route. There are approx six roads in Halifax with this issue- Hall Rd, Josh Rd, Perry Rd, Old County Rd, Thurber Rd, and Bell Rd. C. Moore noted that 90% or more of all 911 responders are from out of town.

Courser noted that he talked with the dispatcher of mutual aid, Bonnie Johnson. She indicated that they can tell whether roads are through roads and have highlighted those non-thru roads for Halifax. The responder needs to ask which way to approach it. C. Moore noted that they do not have a way to communicate with the State police when they are responding to a call. The group discussed potential re-naming and re-numbering roads but agreed this would be difficult task. C. Moore sent a letter to Deerfield Valley Rescue and Bonnie Johnson so that they can avoid some of the trouble spots. Courser, Rafus, Barnett, and C Moore will come up with property owner names and addresses of those that may be affected by a road name change and will come up with a procedure for possible road name changes.

Purchasing Policy Revisions

The Selectboard discussed whether the $3000 threshold makes sense for all departments or whether the highway department should have a higher threshold (before a bid is required). C. Moore presented a vendor evaluation formthat could be filled out for town vendors and kept for future reference. The Selectboard will update the purchasing policy and figure out how to implement the vendor evaluation form. Holtz will work with Dow, Rafus, Tamburrino, and Gay to work on the revisions. Edwards asked that the meeting be warned and minutes be taken.

Sunshot Solar Workshop

Edwards attended a workshop that discussed resources to help communities promote solar power in their neighborhoods. She discussed PACE districts and the mechanism which works with Efficiency VT to streamline funding to get financing for residential solar. Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of up to 20 years. The group discussed solar power options. The Selectboard will consider offering an informational meeting on the topic of solar power and PACE financing.

Hearing of Visitors

C Moore reported that she completed the progressive billing for all of the projects she could as the Selectboard expressed interest in paying off the line of credit. The town recently received $302,904. The state authorized the release of the state funds that were held. We may see another $50k for another progressive bill. The Deer Park bridge appeal has a small improved project component. FEMA capped the improved project value at $1203 and is processing the formal change request. In the next 2-3weeks, the closeout books for Deer Park temporary bridge and Reed Hill bridge will be complete.

Edwards made a motion to modify the acceptance of the September 17, 2013 minutes to be as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Barnett submitted the EMD’s report and quarterly checklist for Selectboard signature. He noted that a large part of the report deals with the town repeater system. The after action review from the last drill is included.

Barnett requested a meeting with Holtz to review tree warden paperwork.

Rafus requested a meeting at the old town garage. Someone filled in all of the ditches and moved trash in front of the igloos. The Selectboard will meet Wednesday at 7am at the old town garage site to view the damage to the town property.

Old Business

Public Hearing for Town Plan

The public hearing for the town plan will be set for October 29, 2013 at 7pm at the town office. The Selectboard had a discussion regarding the map of town facilities.

Highway Department Salaries and Hours

Holtz went through the data for towns from VLCT regarding wages and insurance. He revised his wage budget worksheet to show where we are today, where we would be if we made an adjustment to 40 hours in July, and where we would be after adding a 3% increase.

Edwards expressed that starting a procedure like this in a quarter with no overtime could be a big burden on families. However, we are looking at a substantial increase from a taxpayer perspective as we have increased budgeted wages 8%, 4%, 7% over the last few years and have been overbudget by 14%, 11%, and 23%.

It was noted that it would be important to tie this change in with a winter operations policy. Rafus offered to submit his draft of a winter roads policy.

The Selectboard will meet on November 16, 2013 at 6:30pm to discuss wages and the 40 hour week policy.

Town Garage Roof & Salt Shed

Edwards noted that doing one side of the salt shed and the roof repair would be an $18k hit to the highway budget. Rafus noted that they only spent $28-29k on gravel so far and they probably have enough to last until next fiscal year. They are also under budget on stone.

Edwards made a motion to award the bid to fix the town garage roof, including a 10yr watertight warranty that addresses the air flow issues, to All Roofing Inc. from Windsor, VT for $41,500. There was no second to the motion.

Sumner would like to see a roofer take the cap off and seal it (as well as the roof edge). He feels that the rest of the roof is in good shape.

Rafus expressed that he feels there is a lack of support under the roof and snow puts weight on it and opens up the panels.

Holtz would like to hold off on replacement for a year, reserve another $20k and try and get another solution.

Edwards made a motion to award the bid for a single side salt shed roof to All Roofing, Inc. from Windsor, VT for $9450. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.

Bridge Guardrails

The Selectboard decided that the highway department should fix the guardrails at Hubbard Hill/Branch Rd and Green River Rd/Balou Mtn Rd (bridges 13 and 15) to state specification alternatives.

Municipal Planning Grant

Edwards reported that she submitted the municipal planning grant application to help with zoning and subdivision regulation updates with the help of Maggie and Nick Bartenhagen, Brian McNeice, and John Bennett.

Old County North Bridge

Edwards noted that we do not have the hydrology report from the state yet which may be an issue for getting the work done and is holding up Holden Engineering from continuing their work.

Resolution on Hale Rd

Holtz will talk to Dow regarding getting a copy of the original resolution regarding a weight restriction on Hale Rd. The Selectboard is looking to resolve to remove the weight restriction.


Edwards reminded the Selectboard that a bid needs to go out for a full audit as a result of FEMA projects.

Liaison Reports

Bruno asked the Selectboard to approve the purchase of the GoDaddy Ultimate plan for hosting of the new town website. She suggested that we discontinue the Weebly Pro plan at the end of the contract term and return to the free plan if the new website is not up and running.

Bruno reminded everyone that there will be a public forum on the new town website on October 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm at the town office. Edwards asked that she communicate (with forum participants) coordination of the front porch forum as a way for people in town to communicate with each other.

Edwards noted that there is a school board vacancy and the notice is posted on the bulletin board.

There was a discussion concerning employee types and benefits.

Edwards noted that the Monday November 11, 2013 meeting was moved to Tuesday November 12, 2013 due to the holiday.


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 10:03 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary