Town of Halifax, Vermont

October 2, 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, Joe Tamburrino, Margo Avakian, Ray Combs, Orrin Isles, Bill Moore, Christina Moore, Maggie Bartenhagen, and Nick Bartenhagen.

Approval of Minutes

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the September 18, 2012 regular meeting with a small correction. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the September 20, 2012 special 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 September 26, 2012 special meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1, (Holtz abstained) and the minutes were approved.

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the September 27, 2012 special meeting as written. Edwards seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-1, (Sumner abstained) and the minutes were approved.

New Business

Town Repeater System Bid Award

Sumner reported that a bid was received on time from R&R Communications in Swanzey, NH in the amount of $3,070.45, but it was accidentally filed with some other paperwork by the town clerk so they did not have it at the last meeting when they opened the other bids. Christina Moore and Justin Berry were asked to review the bids. Moore reported that the bids did meet the town’s needs and she prepared a cost matrix for the Selectboard. She noted that the bid did not call for re-programming the radios the town already owns with the new frequencies. Moore asked R&R to provide a quote for the re-programming. It was determined that the re-programming cost is not a significant oversight in the bid.

Sumner made a motion to accept the R&R Communications of Swanzey, NH bid of $3,070.45 for the town repeater system. Edwards seconded the motion, which carried 3-0-0.

Sumner will meet with Tamburrino to go over the process of bid acceptance with vendors.

Bridge #37 (Old County North) Update

Tamburrino prepared a cost analysis of the bridge beam and decking options for the Selectboard.

The timber deck with galvanized beams is the cheapest option. The Selectboard discussed the options including maintenance, galvanized versus weathered steel, concrete versus timber deck, and analyzed the costs.

Edwards made a motion to have Holden Engineering in Concord, NH, complete the engineering work for Bridge #37 with a timber deck and new galvanized steel beams. Holtz seconded the motion which carried 3-0-0.

Deer Park Bridge Update

Moore reported that she received communication from Ben Rose from the State of VT. We do not have clearance from FEMA to start construction on this bridge. Moore asked Mr. Rose if we can start construction without their full support. There is a 4% difference in cost (about $20k) for the 7 foot length adjustment and the concrete versus wooden deck option. Rose expressed that there is risk to the town if there is construction without approval. FEMA does have a right to reject 100% of the funding, but Moore believes they would have to find something of great magnitude in order to justify that rejection. Moore expressed that she feels there is little risk to the town that FEMA would reject 100% of the funding and the town’s risk is limited to the $20k cost mentioned above. She recommended that the town issue notice to proceed to the construction firm to start construction.

Edwards expressed that since any construction without approval could jeopardize their funding, she is not willing to risk the town losing their funding and having to pay $462k. There is a bridge in place and the people are safe. We have not actually awarded the bid and we have 120 days to do so (90 days left at this point). Her recommendation is to wait and see if we get some additional information from FEMA in the next few weeks. The Selectboard, and the members of the public, discussed risk, timing of bridge construction, the temporary bridge costs, and the bid process.  It was agreed that the Selectboard will wait and see if any additional information comes in from FEMA in the next few weeks. Edwards asked Moore to notify them right away if she hears anything and was asked to inquire how long the review might take. If they do get FEMA approval in the next few weeks, they are willing to hold a special meeting and complete the award process.

Hale Bridge Update

Moore reported that she is working with Mike Renaud to get a pricing structure. She added that this should be a simpler process as the only change is the change required by ANR. The Selectboard discussed the weight limit on the bridge and Sumner reported that there is still a sign posted that says ‘No Trucks Allowed.’

Reed Hill Bridge Update

Tamburrino reported that they seem to be ready for the beams. Sumner added that the contractor hoped to get to the cement deck this week, but he hasn’t seen that happening yet.

Edwards led a discussion regarding who will take responsibility for communicating with vendors in regard to the open purchase orders as Joe Tamburrino has resigned as purchasing agent.

Christina Moore expressed that she would be willing to take up some of the responsibility of communicating with vendors on the bridges or the repeater project.

Sumner will be the contact for Bridge #37.

Hearing of Visitors

Nick Bartenhagen asked is any action has been taken on the issue of large equipment traveling over the Josh Rd bridge. Holtz reported that he contacted the VLCT which replied that any law enforcement officer can enforce the weight limits by issuance of a ticket. The town enforces the limit by way of overweight permits. If the bridge is damaged, the person causing the damage would be liable to the town.

Holtz made a motion to write a letter to the owner of the excavator regarding the violation of the weight limit of the Josh Rd bridge which is 6,000 lbs. The letter will notify the owner that they need an overweight permit from the town and will express that they are responsible for any damage caused by going over the bridge with large equipment. Edwards seconded the motion which passed 3-0-0.

Holtz also reported that he had some additional information concerning the unlicensed dog issue. According to the VLCT, if someone is bitten by an unlicensed dog, the Selectboard and the town clerk could be liable for neglect of duty. An officer should take action within 90 days. Dogs have to be inoculated and licensed, or they will be impounded. Holtz will ask Derby for a list of people with unlicensed dogs including dates of contact and any letters sent by him or by the town clerk.

Sumner reported that there will be a special meeting on October 11 at 6pm at the VT Yankee Emergency Operations Facility on Old Ferry Rd to discuss the emergency management budget.

Holtz reported that he contacted Fish & Wildlife and ANR regarding the beaver issue. The ANR requires us to petition them for support. They meet every third Thursday of the month to look at the petitions and then they will tell us what they might help us do. Holtz will write the petition to get on the ANR list. He will also talk with the private citizen which offered to help regarding the beaver issues. Edwards added that she had an article showing how to deal with beaver issues with water flow control devices. The article also pointed out the trapping only failed 84% of the time, but culvert devices only failed 3% of the time. The culvert fences are also relatively inexpensive.

Edwards reported that according to the VLCT, a single audit needs to be done if a town receives over $500k in grant funding. We will need to have a single audit done within the next 6 months. The VLCT has model requests for proposals for auditing services as well as a list of firms that do auditing for towns. At the next Selectboard meeting, she would like to have an understanding if it is ok to proceed with our audit person in town.

Edwards made a motion to sign the Rescue, Inc. contract for the coming fiscal year for the Thomas Hill area in the amount of $1,000. Holtz seconded the motion which carried 3-0-0.

Edwards made a motion to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0-0.

The Selectboard went into executive session at 8:30 pm.

The Selectboard came out of executive session at 8:47 pm, no decisions being made.

Edwards reported that the municipal planning grant request has been submitted.

Old Business

Other Business


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 9:27 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno
Selectboard Secretary