Town of Halifax, Vermont



October 18, 2011

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7: PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Earl Holtz, Brad Rafus, Peggy Webber, Tristan Roberts, Joe Tamburrino, Timothy Putnam, Wayne C. Corse, Brian Si(can’t read writing) – Lane Construction, Orrin Isles, Nathan Isles, Rick Gay, Ray White, Mitchell Green, Jesse E. Boyd, Cara Cheyette, Janet Taylor, Carol Wright, Peter LaFogg, Joan LaFogg, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

Due to the number of sets of minutes to review and approve, and the number of items on this meeting agenda, the Board decided to postpone approval of minutes and go straight to the New Business.

New Business

Update on road repairs: Visitors raised questions regarding various areas in town and what the schedule for repairs was.  The main issue raised was the Deer Park Bridge and what alternatives there are if it doesn’t get repaired.  Questions regarding plowing, pedestrian access, and parking areas for vehicles on the Green River Road were all put forward.  No specific answers were provided, but Mr. LaFlamme advised they are waiting for hydrology and engineering studies and plans as required by the state, before they can proceed. A new bridge will not be in before winter.

Tristan Roberts, Thurber Trail, repairs from usage:  Mr. Roberts advised there is a unique situation on Thurber Trail.  While it is not maintained by the town, during this emergency period it has become heavily used by emergency services and people in general to get to Brattleboro.  Due to the heavy traffic the road is barely passable now and he and the other property owner on the road are requesting the town contribute some gravel the property owners will apply it to make the road at least passable for those who need to use it. He advised that the gravel could be left at the Ray farm and they would take care of putting it down.

Mr. Sumner moved to have Mr. Rafus bring a few loads of gravel to repair the Trail.

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

Earl Holtz:  Mr. Holtz advised he was seeking clarification of the mandate the Board had given the Broadband Committee.  He advised that recently they had offered to assist the school board monetarily if they would accept the Sovernet grant option, which they declined.  Now they are considering a verbal commitment from Fairpoint. He advised that the Broadband Committee is getting ready to send out a survey and to that end, they would like to see a meeting of the Committee, The Selectboard, and the School Board to come to an understanding of what may be best for the town.

After some discussion it was clear that the Selectboard has not changed its stance, which is to support the school in bringing in high speed internet to the town, but that it is ultimately a decision for the School Board to make.

Vacancy – Auditor’s position: Mr. Sumner advised that a phone message received by the town clerk noted that Margo Dunn was interested in the position.  No one has had an opportunity to follow up on that.  In order to be sure all interested people have an opportunity to apply, the notice will be posted and a decision will be considered at the next meeting.

Local donation for flood recovery: Mr. LaFlamme advised that there is a local business that had a fund drive and wants to make a donation to the town to distribute to people that need help in flood recovery.  In addition, the Town Treasurer has received extra funds with tax payments to also be used to assist in flood recovery.  He asked for suggestions on how to set up an account to handle this money and who would be responsible for overseeing the distribution.

After a short discussion they decided to set up a separate bank account for these funds as a first step.  It was also suggested that the Town Service Officer be asked if he was willing to be involved in the screening and/or distribution of funds.  It was also agreed that there should be a committee to oversee this rather than put the burden on one individual.

Ms. Cheyette offered to gather information on how other organizations handle screening and distributions such as these.  She will bring the information back to the Board.

Original Documents from the flood: Mr. LaFlamme advised that the original documents from the flood should be kept in a secure place.  The Town vault is the proper place for original town records should be kept.

Ms. Edwards advised that the records are electronically stored at a place on the web, but agreed that the originals be brought back to the town office for storage.

Rip rap material bids:


Bartlett and Boyd Excavating:           6,000 – 8,000 yds. 4’ to 6’ rip rap @ $28.00 per yard del.

Zaluzny:                                              6,000 – 8,000 yds. 4’ to 6’ rip rap @ $29.50 per yard del.

Travis Bristol:                                                                                             @ $25.00 per yard del.

Cersosimo:                                                                                                 @ $35.00 per yard del.

Lane Construction                                                           4’minus

D Ray                                                                                                         @$33.75 per yard del.

Of the five bids meeting the request parameters, the low bid was Travis Bristol.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to award the bid to Travis Bristol for rip rap at $25.00 per cubic yard delivered.

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

Crushed gravel bids:

Zaluzny:                                  $10.50 per cubic yard FOB-Mercury Drive, Brattleboro

Colrain Sand & Gravel:          $14.00 per cubic yard FOB-Colrain, MA

D. Ray:                                    $11.20 per cubic yard FOB-Thurber Road

Cersosimo:                              $10.75 per cubic yard FOB-Chesterfield, NH and Vernon, VT

Mr. Rafus advised that most of the material is going to Green River Road so the D. Ray pit would save on trucking.  He advised that his biggest issue is time.  If he can haul several loads in the same time it takes to haul one from farther away, he is better off.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to award the bid to D. Ray for crushed gravel at $11.20 per cubic yard, FOB.

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

Hydrology analysis: Mr. Tamburrino advised that they need to put this back out to bid.  The one bid that he has received was as a package for all four bridges and it is $293,000 before construction begins.

The town has asked the state for help but they don’t have the resources or personnel to assist.  After a short discussion of whether or not the bridges need to be engineered and have hydraulic studies done, the Board concluded that they should get this process started as soon as possible.

Ms. Edwards moved to have Joe go out to bid on the hydrology analysis and design engineering for the bridges.

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

A lengthy discussion regarding temporary versus permanent bridges followed.  This in turn led to a discussion of the need to complete the studies for temporary bridges, and a discussion of how long a time frame should be stipulated for return of bids.

It was also suggested that a foot bridge be constructed at the Wineburg property and that a temporary bridge be installed at Deer Park Road.

Mr. LaFogg advised that he had removed and replaced a culvert in another town and he has the one that was removed.  He will donate the bridge to the town for use at the Wineburg property if they want it.

Ms. Edwards moved to put the temporary Wineburg Bridge out to bid.

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

The specifications will be in the bid request and bids will be due on November first.

Debris Removal: Mr. Tamburrino advised the bids are due Saturday at 10:00 A.M. and they are for a debris area 100 feet wide by 15 feet high by 300 feet long.

VEM Budget requests: The one item that should be included on this request was evident after the experiences of Irene.  An additional repeater is needed to insure communication throughout the town.  The Board estimated the cost at $4,000 of which VEM will cover 50%.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to include a repeater system in their VEM budget request.

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

Planning Grant:

Mr. LaFlamme advised that regarding the Municipal Planning Grant application, the budget may go over the limit of $8,000.00 they had agreed to.

Ms. Evanuk advised that the amount budgeted for legal review will put it over and the Town will be required to pay 50% of the overage.  As they have not received the actual figure from the Town Attorney, the calculated overage may be more than the actual amount.  The worst case scenario is that the Town would be liable for $950.00.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that basically the two options are to not include it and pay the entire amount for legal review or include it in the grant and pay 50%.

Mr. LaFlamme moved to include the legal review in the grant and accept responsibility for 50% of the overage.

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

Vermont Cleanup Day: Ms. Edwards advised that this Saturday is VT. Cleanup day and she would like to enlist volunteers to do things like take down the rest of the direction plates and stakes that were marking the roads, and other things that might be needed in preparation for winter.

Hearing of Visitors

Because of the late hour, all of the visitors were gone.

Old Business


Other Business

Mr. LaFlamme advised that in reviewing the invoices submitted for payment he noticed that Christina Moore had billed the town for 50 miles travel plus $20 per hour to set out cones and barriers.  He asked who had authorized her to do that.  Ms. Edwards advised that she had not spoken with her about it.  She further advised that that particular task was something that had been done through EOC and the rate was $12.50 per hour. Mr. LaFlamme advised that he questioned it because when he had asked Mr. Rafus if he needed help with anything he had been told that no help was needed.  Mr. LaFlamme further advised that he knows she did it with good intentions but this was not work that she was hired to do.  Ms. Edwards advised that Mrs. Moore should be requested to resubmit that portion of the invoice and that they should only authorize the remaining portion for payment.

Ms. Edwards reminded the Board that she will be out of town but wants to participate in the next meeting by speaker phone.

Ms. Evanuk advised that the Resolution accepting the Municipal Planning Grant will be ready for signature by the Board on Friday.

A short discussion of NFIP requirements followed.  They are waiting for more information.


The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.

While the Board was reviewing the mail Rick Gay returned to the meeting to advise them he had been informed that D. Ray has no town permit for his gravel pit, which is a problem.  He advised he thought they should be informed.

Mr. LaFlamme advised that the state has waived permit rules in this situation so as far as the town it is the Zoning Administrator’s decision.

Mr. Gay advised it is not his decision it is the Planning Commission’s.

Ms. Edwards asked if they should rescind their decision and award the contract to another bidder. They were still in open meeting so they could make a different decision.  She advised that this is a valid problem they should consider.

Mr. LaFlamme suggested that they inform the Planning Commission and if they see it as an immediate problem then they will reconsider the bid award.

Mr. Sumner advised that the state has urged town planning and zoning boards to make it easier on the towns in this situation.

Ms. Evanuk advised that she felt that if the state was waiving the permitting process in this instance, it would seem logical for the ZBA to also waive on condition that once this situation is dealt with if he wants to continue the gravel operation he would need to apply for and have a conditional use permit approved.

Ms. Edwards noted that the Healthy Rewards program proposed for the road crew is a no go as they are too busy.

Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk