Town of Halifax, Vermont



October 13, 2011

Special Meeting

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 11:02 AM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, and Edee Edwards. (Mr. Sumner was with FEMA representatives and would join the meeting following that session) Others in attendance were Bradley Rafus, Joseph Tamburrino, Christina Moore, Earl Holtz, Charlene Martynowski, Robert Martynowski, Orrin Isles, Nathan Isles, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that this meeting was at the request of Mr. Rafus for the purpose of organizing the emergency road and bridge repairs and to decide on specific plans for these projects.  This would end the need for all of these extra meetings.

Mr. Rafus gave an update on the work.  The Green River Road is 1 ½ car widths but is still being worked on.  He wanted to know what the Boards’ plan is now.  He thought that when they hired the extra equipment and operators it was for the purpose of fixing the road, but after reading the minutes of the last meeting it appears they are going in a different direction.  He would like clarification so that he can advise the crews of what is expected of them.

On most of the other roads it is mainly culvert replacement and grading before winter.  There will be additional work in the spring but this will prepare the roads for winter plowing.

Mr. LaFlamme noted this is all still emergency repair work.

Ms. Edwards requested a clarification on the difference between emergency repair and finished products.  When does emergency repair end and work toward a finished product start?

Mr. LaFlamme advised that on blacktop roads the finished product is the top three inches of blacktop   and on gravel roads it is the finish topcoat of three inches of crushed gravel.

Mrs. Moore advised that they have been receiving different formulas for reimbursement from different sources.  Early on they were told by Kenneth Pinkham of FEMA that emergency repairs in category a and category b were reimbursable at 100%, later on Chris Cole, Planner at the Agency of Transportation advised that if the damages reach the $79 million threshold then the match goes up to 90% on reimbursement with the town splitting the remaining 10% with the state.  Just a few days ago

FEMA advised they didn’t know what we were talking about.  There is no other threshold than the 75% as it states clearly in the statutes.  This is in contradiction to what we were told originally.

Mr. LaFlamme noted we are getting confusion from both the bottom and the top. No matter what the rate of reimbursement is we need to continue the work and get the roads ready for winter plowing and driving.

After a short discussion regarding the motion passed (2-1) at the October 6th meeting, and its impact on the decision to hire extra equipment and manpower that had been approved at the October 3rd meeting, it was agreed to wait until Mr. Sumner arrived at the meeting.

Mr. LaFlamme suggested they move on to discuss the lower Green River Road area.

Mr. Rafus advised that the report from the Army Corps of Engineers gave them an “either-or” choice so they need to decide what plan they want to implement for Green River Road.  Do they want to have Concrete Walls put in where needed or do they want to do the whole thing with rip rap?

Ms. Edwards advised they should wait until Mr. Sumner arrives and then take a look at the whole Green River Road before making any decisions.

Ms. Edwards would like to see a list of all of the projects involved in the total recovery from Irene.  With a full list for all to see, it will be easier to prioritize them and also make it easier for everyone to know what and when things are being done.  Mrs. Moore offered to list the priorities as they presented them.

Mr. Rafus advised that blacktop reclamation is a top priority to get ready for being able to plow it this winter.  He is a firm believer in reusing the materials they have.  The blacktop can be ground in place and then compacted which makes an excellent base for the road.  Except for Green River Road he has marked and measured the areas.  He advised there are a number of areas on Green River Road that should be done also, these have not been marked and measured yet.  The marked areas are on Branch Road, Collins Road, Brook Road, and Jacksonville Stage Road.

Mr. Tamburrino advised the easiest way for bid purposes would be to lump them all together and give a total amount.  It could specify the amounts for each road, but bid it as a package.

Mrs. Moore advised she needs it to be by road, with start times and end times for the work sheets for FEMA.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that they can work that out later, right now they are trying to get a specific game plan established so that Mr. Rafus can direct the crews in what needs to happen, not only now but what will happen in the spring.

Mr. Rafus advised the next objective is Stowe Mountain.  He advised that if it is possible they would like to repair it, or at least create two turnarounds for winter plowing purposes.  They have a lot of gravel in their own bank that could be used to fill in the middle, and they are at a point where they could have a crew working that area.

Mrs. Moore advised they should have a hydrology study done.

Mr. Rafus advised there is mostly ledge so mitigation would be a major project.  The objective is to get it fixed before winter. If not they at least need to make a turnaround at each end.

A discussion of private bridges versus town bridges followed and in particular the town owned bridge to the Wineburg property.  The problem is that the town could be liable if something happened and there was no access.

Questions regarding why the town owned this bridge were raised.  Mr. LaFlamme advised that due to the massive damages from the 1938 hurricane, the state caused the situation and as a result they own that bridge and also the Sumner farm bridge.

Debris removal is the next priority on Mr. Rafus’ list.  Down below Dawn till Dusk, there is a large amount of debris that should be removed to alleviate any spring thaw problems.

Mr. Rafus advised that regarding gravel needed now is 2,000 to 3,000 yards, and he will need a lot more in the spring.

Mr. Sumner returned with the representatives from FEMA, Warren Summers and Michael Eagan.  Mr. Eagan gave a report on the bridges he had visited.  He advised they will get a report on his inspections.

Reed Hill Road – possibility of salvaging it, he’ll check into it.  This could come under the 50% replacement cost rule.

Wineburg Bridge – complete failure; needs to be replaced. Temporary bridge would be a category B.

He advised that Category C permanent work hydraulic study fees are covered.

Deer Park Bridge – complete failure; FEMA will make a determination if it meets the 50% rule for repair or replacement.

Hale Road – complete failure.

Bridge spans greater than 20’ – require 2 years inspection reports for FEMA.  Mr. Sumner will send them to them.

Mr. Summers advised that regarding the debris in the river can be removed if it was within a certain distance from the bridges to be improved.

A short discussion of requirements followed and then Mr. Eagan and Mr. Summers left the meeting.

Mr. LaFlamme gave Mr. Sumner an update of what they had discussed so far.

Blacktop reclamation

As long as all roads are listed with the amounts it can be one project, one P.O.

Wineburg Bridge

This will be kept on list but wait for hydrologic study.


Mr. Rafus would like direction on disposal.

Crushed gravel

Mr. Sumner was present for that portion of the discussion.

Ms. Edwards advised there could be other ways to divide up the projects such as school bus routes.  She noted there is a grants workshop on mitigation in Brattleboro next Tuesday.  Board members might benefit from attending this session.  She advised that she would prefer not to be the one to attend, but brought it up in the event another member wanted to attend.

Mr. Tamburrino advised all three should go so that they are all on the same page.

Ms. Edwards advised that Stowe Mountain Road could be added to a mitigation list.

Other items on the list of projects were:

Perry Road

Deer Park Bridge

Hale Road Bridge

Hydrologic study

Jacksonville Stage Road

Deer Park Road

Ms. Edwards advised she wants to see an overall picture of what, when, and where work will be done so that when people ask her she has a clear view of the work so she can answer their questions.

Mr. LaFlamme advised he was looking to give Mr. Rafus a definite list of work to be done now so that it will be ready for winter.

More discussion of what and how things should be done followed.

Mr. LaFlamme asked Mr. Rafus for his opinion regarding how to repair the upper section of Green River Road.

Mr. Rafus advised he would prefer 4’ to 6’ rip rap surface over stone at a 1 to 2 slope.  He advised that a detriment to concrete is salt, so that a protective coating would have to be applied to retard deterioration.

Ms. Edwards asked Mr. Sumner if he still felt they should put this project out to bid or if he has changed his mind on what they decided at the October 6th meeting.

Mr. Sumner advised he felt they have come a long way since the last meeting and he felt that they should continue with the rip rap and ready it for winter.

Mr. Sumner moved to do the repair on Green River Road with rip rap instead of concrete.

            Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 2-1 with Ms. Edwards opposed.


Discussion of putting it out to bid for the rip rap followed.  Quantities will be available for Tuesday night at which time they hopefully will make a decision.

Mr. LaFlamme advised they should discuss the option of guardrails.

            Mr. LaFlamme moved to continue staff augmentation to get Green River Road to a 22’ wide two-lane passable, unfinished road, including rip rap where needed.

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


            Mr. LaFlamme moved to install steel-band guard rails using used material if available, 

 as needed and necessary following the disaster for all roads.

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


            Mr. LaFlamme moved to reclaim blacktop to create a winter surface, not a finished surface, as needed on all blacktop roads in Halifax and put it out to bid.

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


            Mr. LaFlamme moved to include repairs to Perry Road if possible using the staff augmented crew and equipment already working in that area.

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

Regarding Stowe Mountain Road Mr. LaFlamme advised that Mr. Rafus feels that can be open before winter.

Mr. Sumner suggested that the other roads should be done first because there are other ways around if Stowe Mountain Road is not open.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that they would need to create a turnaround at each end if it is not opened.

Mr. Rafus advised that with the contractors he has working now, and with most of the roads just needing grading, he has a couple of trucks available and a bulldozer in the center, so they could start laying material in.  He advised the other roads are priority, but if possible they could at least start laying material in the center.

Ms. Edwards advised that now that they have a good set of priorities she would like to know how many person weeks will it take to get the grading done to the point they will be able to plow all of the roads for the winter.

If weather cooperates, Mr. Rafus advised he believes that winter grading on all of the dirt roads can be completed in three weeks.

Mr. Rafus advised that the large area of debris will not interfere with their work on the Green River Road, but it should be removed to insure that there isn’t a recurrence of the damage during the spring thaw.

Regarding the time to finish the work on Green River Road, Mr. Rafus advised it will depend on the availability and procurement of the rip rap.  He will have more information on that for the next regular meeting.

            Mr. LaFlamme moved to put the debris removal out to bid.  

The motion died for lack of a second.

Ms. Edwards moved to have Mr. Rafus scope crushed gravel and to have Mr. Tamburrino request bids for enough crushed gravel to prepare the roads for winter access.   

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


            Mr. LaFlamme moved to if possible use the augmented staff to repair Stowe Mountain Road before winter if other work has been completed.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

Ms. Edwards advised that she feels that one of the things they could do better is to be sure they get the most peopleto bid on work.  She wants the work to get done, but also wants it done in the most cost effective manner and she feels it could have helped them in this situation.  She feels they should be trying to do more work in a project oriented perspective.

The motion carried 3-0.

Mr. LaFlamme asked Mr. Rafus if there was anything else that he needed.

Mr. Rafus advised that “if we get a decision on the gravel on Tuesday, and get a decision on the rip rap, we can do the reclaiming, we should be set.  At least now I’ve got a direction.”

Mr. Tamburrino advised he will get the bids out as soon as he has the quantities and specifications from Mr. Rafus.  He further advised that he had some price quotes for the base radio and related equipment they had authorized him to get but not to exceed $1,000.  He advised that all of the quotes he got exceeded that amount.  The three quotes were for $1,646.00 installed; $1,682.00 plus installation; and $1,785.95.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that they would also need permission from the school to mount an antenna on the building.

Mr. Tamburrino advised he also would need a copy of the town’s FCC license.

Ms. Edwards asked if he has been able to communicate using the portable radio he was loaned.  Mr. Tamburrino advised he has been able to.

Ms. Edwards moved to table this matter due to the higher costs and added complications not previously known.

            Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion.

Mrs. Moore advised that the prices quoted were way off, they didn’t pay anywhere near that for the radios they purchased last year.  She further advised that whether or not the expense would be covered by FEMA, they should consider the purchase so that communication through the town clerk to the fire department or to the highway department could be established.

The motion carried 3-0.

Ms. Evanuk advised that she had reviewed the Municipal Planning Grant application with Kate McCarthy at Windham Regional Commission and the budget proposal is over the $8,000 mark meaning that for the amount over that figure the town would need to match 50%.  The item that is putting it over is the legal review by the Town Attorney. There are two possibilities; they can agree to the overage and pay half of it or that item can be deleted and the town would then have to pay the full amount of attorney fees at some point.  As this was not an agenda item she just wanted to give them a heads up so that they could think about it before the next regular meeting.

Mr. LaFlamme advised they will decide at their next regular meeting.

A short discussion of the Wineburg Bridge followed, but as it also was not a specific agenda item, they will add it to the regular meeting agenda for discussion.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:17 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk