Town of Halifax, Vermont



October 6, 2011

Emergency Meeting

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 PM.  Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Others in attendance were Joseph Tamburrino, Christina Moore, Warren Summers, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Mr. LaFlamme advised the main purpose for this emergency meeting was to make a decision on a temporary bridge to the Wineburg property and possibly others.  He advised that at this time there is no alternative access to the Wineburg property and no way for fuel trucks or emergency vehicles to reach the dwelling.  The bridge has been completely washed out but parts of it could be utilized in the temporary construction. If they install a temporary bridge the costs should be covered because this would be an emergency access.

Mr. Summers agreed with that interpretation.

Mr. LaFlamme advised they can now move forward on the Wineburg bridge.

On another note Mr. Summers advised that there is some question about the product being pulled from the river.  He suggested that a ‘bridge specialist’ would have information on that.

Ms. Edwards asked what the river product problem is and if it is a reimbursable item.  Mr. Summers advised he would check for clarification.

Mrs. Moore noted that there are river work guidelines.

The discussion moved to the Hale Road Bridge and whether or not a temporary bridge would be possible for that location. It requires a hydrologic study and engineering before construction.

Ms. Edwards advised she would like the same scope for Deer Park Bridge.

Mr. Summers advised there is a qualified person, Michael Eagan, who is working with FEMA on the recovery and could be brought in to assist with the engineering at no cost to the town.  He further advised that hydrology costs, if reasonable, can be included in the project description/costs.

Discussion on funding the projects followed.  It was noted that Vermont Agency of Transportation was a possible source for loans to scope projects and hire contractors.

It was also noted that if the total amount of damages for the entire state exceeds $79 billion FEMA will reimburse up to 90% leaving 10% to be paid by the state (5%) and the town (5%).

Mr. Summers left the meeting at 2:45 as he had another appointment.

On the topic of Green River Road, Mr. LaFlamme advised that the project is large enough that it should be considered as a separate project with a separate project manager.  He further advised that under the staff augmentation plan Mr. Rafus is spending most of his time going from site to site to ensure that the work is progressing as it should.  If a project manager was assigned to Green River Road exclusively, this would alleviate some of the pressure, and lessen the travel time for the Road Commissioner.

Mrs. Moore suggested that they use the contractors on the purchasing list as the request for quotes list and have Green River Road as a separate project.

Mr. Tamburrino advised it could include two projects: emergency and permanent.

Ms. Edwards advised she wanted to see specs for a finished project on Green River Road.  She also advised they could then take the manpower and equipment currently there and use them to fix other areas.

Ms. Edwards moved to hire a professional to be project manager to develop the scope of work to complete a finished product, and put it out to bid.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion.

Discussion followed and the following points were raised:  By putting it out to bid, ongoing work is essentially halted; the time lost by the bid process will possibly cause the work to be delayed until spring at the earliest; emergency work under staff augmentation is 100% covered by FEMA, whereas once it is developed as a project they only cover 75% of the cost; the usual time for stopping work in the rivers is October 15th, by waiting on bids the short time remaining will be wasted and the road may not be completed enough for access for the winter; Green River Road is an evacuation route for VY and therefore a priority.

Ms. Edwards moved to amend the motion.  She moved to hire a professional to be project manager to develop the scope of work to complete a finished produc5t for the section of Green River Road from Thurber Road to Thurber Trail and put it out to bid, and continue the staff augmentation on the remainder of the road.

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

Mr. LaFlamme advised that he was interested in the project manager position.   He advised he had experience in this area as he had done the job during the Ice Storm recovery.

Ms. Edwards immediately advised Mr. LaFlamme that she wanted him to recuse himself from the discussion. Mr. LaFlamme replied that she did not have to ask as he would have stated he recused himself, had she allowed him to finish.  Ms. Edwards asked him to leave the room, which he did, and closed the doors on his way out.

Ms. Edwards advised that she felt that she was being pressured to appoint someone to a position just because that person wanted it and not necessarily because of qualifications.  Her feeling was that if they felt there was a need for another project manager it should be put out to bid and all qualified applicants considered.

Mr. LaFlamme interrupted the meeting to ask if they were still in open session or in executive session.

Ms. Edwards advised it was open session.

Mr. LaFlamme reminded her that if it was open session, a public meeting, he was allowed to remain in the room although not sitting with the Board. She could not ask him to leave.  In order to exclude someone from a meeting it must be an executive session.  With this point made, he advised he had to leave and would be back in about 20 minutes, and he left the building.

{A discussion followed which was mostly of a personal nature and as the meeting was not recorded, this transcriber chooses not to attempt to paraphrase the content.}

Ms. Edwards stated that if they felt the need for another project manager they should put it out to bid.

Mr. Tamburrino advised that his main concern is that with Mr. Rafus being out overseeing the various contractors, some of the contractors are coming to him for answers when they can’t contact Mr. Rafus.  He advised that it would solve a lot of problems for the town clerk, Mr. Rafus, the contractors, and him if he had a radio so that he could be in contact with Mr. Rafus when the need arose.

A discussion of what was needed to implement this and what to do in the meantime followed.  It was agreed that as a temporary measure Mr. Tamburrino would be provided with one of the portable units available.

Ms. Edwards moved to purchase a base radio and antenna to match the radios used in town at a cost not to exceed $1,000.00.

            Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 2-0.


Mrs. Moore left the meeting at this time.

Mr. Sumner entertained a motion to adjourn, but Mr. Tamburrino advised he has another matter he wanted to apprise them of.

Mr. Tamburrino advised that he was concerned that Mrs. Moore had not submitted pay requests for the people who worked in the EOC or those who have been hired for assistance during the flood recovery, except for her own request.  He advised he thought it was unfair to not have those requests submitted at the same time.

Ms. Edwards advised that paperwork for the EOC payments has not been collected yet.  Mr. Sumner needs to do that part and also determine which of those people want to be paid and which would prefer to be classified as volunteers.  The value of the volunteer hours is used as a portion of the payment that the town is responsible for.

Mr. LaFlamme re-entered the meeting at 3:35 PM.

Mr. LaFlamme asked what they had decided regarding the Green River Road project.

Ms. Edwards advised that at this time they chose not to add another project manager for Green River Road.  She further advised that to help alleviate the communication problems between the Road Commissioner, the contractors, and Mr. Tamburrino it was agreed to purchase a base radio and antenna for the town office and to provide Mr. Tamburrino with a portable radio to use until the base radio was installed.

{Another conversation of a mostly personal nature followed.  Again, this transcriber chooses not to attempt to paraphrase those involved.}


The meeting was adjourned at 4:04 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk