OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
October 20, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Mitchell Green, and Lewis Sumner. Others in attendance were Margaret Squiers, Howard Alboum, Christina Moore, Margo Avakian, Bradley Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the October 6, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Mr. LaFlamme noted that the format of the meeting has changed. The Board will attend to new business before they hear visitors. In the past those people who have requested to be on the agenda have had to wait until all visitors had spoken. The Board hopes that this new format will encourage people who would like to be heard to call and request being added to the agenda. He advised that after those formally on the agenda are heard, other visitors will have their opportunity to speak.
Ø George and Margaret Squiers: Request for change of speed limit on Wheeler Road
Mrs. Squiers was in attendance to hear what could be done to alleviate the speeders on Wheeler Road. She had formally requested that the speed limit be reduced to fifteen miles per hour. She has a day care at her home and there are some handicapped children attending. She has voiced concern for their safety.
The Board advised that the lowest speed that they can request is twenty-five miles per hour, and a traffic study would need to be done as well as formal paperwork to request the state to consider and allow the reduction in speed (which is doubtful that it would be approved). The Board suggested that a better solution might be to post signs alerting drivers that there are handicapped children in the area.
Mrs. Squiers advised she just wants to have some protection for her day care children and if the signs can solve the problem she would appreciate having them installed. She wants drivers to be aware that there are children in the area.
Mr. Rafus advised that he can order the signs which usually take about two or three weeks to arrive. The Road Crew will install the signs along the road.
Mr. Green moved to approve having two ‘handicapped children’ warning signs ordered and installed on Wheeler Road.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.
Ø Howie Alboum: Planning Commission survey funding
Mr. Alboum advised he had filled in at the last Planning Commission meeting as Mrs. Moore was unable to attend. At that meeting they had discussed the direction of the Commission in re-writing the Town Plan. They decided that one of the most important matters for them to address is the concept of a commercial zone in the town. Because they feel it is going to be a hot topic, the sooner it is addressed the better. To that end the Commission would like to send out a short, and clearly stated survey to all landowners and voters in the town. As they have no budget of their own, the Commissioners are requesting the Selectboard approve the purchase of postage to send the surveys. He advised that the Commissioners are working very hard on the plan and he feels that they have a good working relationship. They have different opinions, but are courteous and listen to all of the members. He feels that they are making progress and that this survey is a positive step in getting early feedback from the citizens.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Planning Commission is doing a good job and they should continue. The Board will approve the postage expense (approximately $300) when it is forwarded to them for payment.
Mr. Alboum thanked him for the kind words and advised he would pass them along to the other Commissioners. He then advised there was another item he wished to discuss.
He advised that the Halifax/Whitingham Lions Club is acting as the contact for the state through Rep. Anne Manwaring for information regarding bringing broadband service to this area. He advised that he had some information from some representatives who would be willing to come to speak with them about the problems with bringing it to the area. He left some information with the Board.
A brief discussion of the capabilities of the different types of internet access followed. Mr. Alboum advised that the towns have to first decide what it is that they want, and then band together and push for it to happen. He advised that in his opinion that the best option for Halifax is Fairpoint. He advised that he would keep the Board informed of any information he gets and about what the other towns in the area are doing.
Hearing of Visitors
Ø Christina Moore was in attendance to submit EMS reports. She noted that WASI hasn’t missed a call in Halifax in 18 months, and their response times are very good.
Mrs. Moore advised she wanted to say thank you to the road crew for making Gates Pond Road and Hatch School Road the same level. After paving there was a big gap. There was not enough gravel put down when they paved. Mr. Rafus advised they had to put a lot more gravel down in order to raise it up approximately 8 inches to even them out.
Ø Mr. Rafus advised that the final paperwork for FEMA was finished and submitted.
The driveway permit for their approval is on a trail off Josh Road. It was noted that from the bridge to the point they are installing the driveway is to be maintained by the applicant. The Town only maintains to the bridge.
Mr. Rafus inquired where he should charge the gravel for the right of way to cemeteries, town funds or cemetery funds?
The Board advised that highway funds should cover that.
Mr. Rafus gave an update on the Reed Hill Road Bridge: Curbing was poured today and the decking is proposed to be black-topped on Friday.
Ø Update Employee Handbook: Mr. LaFlamme advised that the hopefully final draft of the Employee Handbook was completed and they should review it for approval, or revisions, at the next meeting.
Ø Mr. Green asked if they wanted to discuss the lot line adjustments that Merrill Mundell had apprised them of at the last meeting. It was decided that because they are not really using that small piece of land, it is not really a big problem.
Mr. Rafus asked what the plan for the old town garage is. He advised that the back end has a rotten roof over the extension that was added on. Currently they are using it for storage of out of season equipment. He advised that the condition of the extension roof might become a liability issue at some point.
Ø Mr. Sumner advised that Whitingham was holding a hearing on discontinuing their end of Aldrich Road. He advised that it has been advertised in the paper, but they haven’t notified Halifax. The road can’t be legally discontinued without approval from Halifax.
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 8:45 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk