Town of Halifax, Vermont
September 18, 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 (at 6:45 pm), Edee Edwards, and Earl Holtz. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Joe Tamburrino, Margo Avakian, Ray Combs, Orrin Isles, John Angil (VEM), Justin Berry, Ed Mleczko (Bazin Bros Trucking), Len Derby, Patty Dow, Mike Renaud (Renaud Bros Inc.), Ed DuBois (Cold River Bridges), and Daniel Griffin (Beltronics, Inc.).

Approval of Minutes

Holtz moved to accept the minutes of the September 4, 2012 regular meeting with a small correction. Edwards seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the September 11, 2012 special meeting as amended. Holtz seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0-0, and the minutes were approved.

New Business

Opening Bids for Hale Bridge #32

-Renaud Brothers- Vernon, VT $164,180.00

-Bernie LaRock- Guilford, VT $247,746.50

-Zaluzny Excavating- Vernon, VT $208,360.00

-New England Infrastructure, Inc.- Hudson, MA $492,702.00

-Bazin Brothers- Westminster, VT $193,107.85

-T Buck Construction- Auburn, ME $251,860.00

-Cold River Bridges, LLC- Walpole, NH $287,247.50

SVE will review the bids. Tamburrino let the bidders that were present that he is not sure if they can start this year or not as there is an issue with FEMA.

Town Repeater System Bids

-Tower Communications Co- Chicopee, MA $4217.74
-Belltronics, Inc.- Hollis, NH- $8,806.00 plus an additional $95/hr for re-programming other radios, plus $120 service charge.
-Clark Communications- Milton, VT $4928.75

Christina Moore and Justin Berry will be asked to review the bids and bring their findings to the next regular Selectboard meeting.

Lewis Sumer joined the meeting at 6:45pm.

Loan and Town Finance Report

Patty Dow presented a budget analysis to the Selectboard. She reported that the town has withdrawn $1.1 million from the line of credit and would like to pay it off. The town has enough money from FEMA to pay the loan and interest. In November, we can discuss increasing the amount of the LOC. Holtz inquired if there was a downside to paying it off. Dow replied that no there was no downside, and the town can still make withdrawals until the November deadline.

Sumner made a motion to pay off the People’s United Bank line of credit principal and interest in the amount of $1,171,391.39. Holtz seconded the motion which carried 3-0-0.

The Selectboard discussed the year-to-date budget versus actual worksheet with Dow. It was noted that the highway budget from the prior year was overspent by approximately $178k. Dow added that approximately $150k of FEMA funding will be applied to that overage. Edwards added that the Selectboard should note the overage amount for the coming year budget.

Edwards inquired whether we have shifted any funds into the reserve account yet. Dow replied no as she has just barely started collecting taxes. Dow also noted that we did not transfer the $67k into the equipment reserve fund either.

Update from John Angil, VT Emergency Management

Angil wanted to offer an opportunity for the Selectboard to ask any questions they might have. He also let the Selectboard know that each town can participate in a VT Yankee tour. Angil will work with Sumner to set it up.

Angil reported that the 2014 budgets are being input into the budget worksheets. They have a vendor which will provide a place to meet for the budget meeting.

Edwards expressed her interest in attending the VT Yankee tour.

Edwards noted that after Irene they had a local lessons learned meeting. It was discussed that our Emergency Center location (in the fire house) is challenging from a logistical perspective. Water was coming up, it was noisy, insects were a problem, and there were network and internet problems. She inquired what the process is to move the emergency operations center?

Angil replied that it’s your center, and they will support us. He can help with EOC design and added that we should just make sure we have the infrastructure to support it.

Holtz expressed that he would be interested in the VT Yankee tour as well. He added that he had to take work home from the EOC as he had more bandwidth there than at the facility. He hopes that VEM can support us and that we will get the grant we asked for. Holtz also added that we had tried to get the Reverse 911 checked out, but we have not heard back from the EOC. Justin Berry noted that he is setting up a training session with Mark Gilmore on that issue. Angil added that at town meetings, you can have devices self-register and then log them into the system.

Angil explained the RENTS system involving three states which work in coordination with each other (VT, NH, MA). He added that the reverse 911 system belongs to the town and they can update and change it as they see fit.

Edwards noted that Dummerston has expressed concerns whether their emergency plan would work. Edwards noted that we have attended VT Yankee drills, but there are a lot of things we have not considered in detail. For example, the fire dept and road crew are supposed to track evacuations, but they don’t have any forms to do this. She noted that we are also not clear about how well the public will respond to our directions. Angil discussed the shelter in place plan and ways to communicate with the public during an emergency. Edwards also expressed that the Vermont Yankee drills are very scripted and not realistic, and inquired whether there is a way to plan a Vermont Yankee training in order to come up with scenarios to address gaps and concerns. Angil agreed regarding the drills, but expressed that is how the federal govt wants them to demonstrate from notification to evacuation. He added that they may do another training scenario for the All Hazards Plan. They would be glad to facilitate a separate training, but they can’t fund it.

Edwards inquired how we can alert our citizens of things they might be asked to do? Angil replied that they get the VY calendar, tone alert radios and batteries. There was then a discussion about route alerting.

Edwards noted that we need to test our phone alert system. Edwards thanked Angil for coming and expressed how important it is to continue to find ways to enhance their system.

Angil noted that the Selectboard can go the state emergency management center and watch a drill. He also expressed that they will help them facilitate any changes they want to make to their plan.

Snow Plow for One Ton Truck

Tamburrino expressed that he spoke to Rafus concerning the plow bids. AutoMall only offers a trip edge blade. Briggs offers a full trip, carries more spare parts, they have more open hours for service, and we don’t have to travel as far for service. As the cost difference is only $261, he recommends we go with Briggs for service reasons and a better plow blade. Rafus added his concerns about a trip blade. He would like to stay with what they have (full trip) and added that the service at Briggs is better.

Sumner made a motion to accept the Briggs Automotive (Jacksonville, VT) bid of $3,650 for the snow plow for the one ton truck. Edwards seconded the motion which carried 3-0-0.

It was noted that at the last meeting they had made a motion to go with AutoMall, pending any issues with the bid specifications. Due to the service issues and the difference in the plow blade, they are going with Briggs Automotive.

Bridge #37 North End of Old County Rd

Tamburrino shared the information provided by Holden Engineering regarding the galvanizing processes. There are 4 beams that are 65 feet long and 9 steel channels.

Option 1- One company has a 43 foot long tank. They would have to dip one end in, then lift and swing the beams and dip the other end. However, there is overlap and galvanized doesn’t stick to galvanized, so there may be flaking where it joins. This method is $10,500.

Option 2- Ship everything to a company in Pennsylvania for galvanizing. Cost is $10,351 for galvanizing plus $2,000 for shipping for a total cost of $12.351.

Option 3- Painting $19,000.

Tamburrino expressed that the advantage to galvanizing is the 35 year life, there is no re-painting, and no corrosion. He added that there are several decisions that need to be finalized on this bridge including choice of deck, galvanizing vs painting etc. He also noted that if we go with a wood deck, the treatment material is mixed with diesel fuel. There is a possibility of diesel going into the river (especially if we re-treat every three years).

Edwards and Holtz asked Tamburrino for a clear matrix so they can compare options.

Edwards inquired whether we have a letter for the grant for the building of the bridge. Rafus will give John Alexander a call if they can’t find it.

Deer Park Bridge

Tamburrino reported that they received a letter from Cold River Bridges. They have expressed that they want to start now. Tamburrino stated that we have not awarded the contract. FEMA states that before we make the award, everything has to be approved by FEMA and the State.

Tamburrino also reported that SVE’s quoted price for the cost differential analysis between existing and improved projects is $1,750 for Hale Rd Bridge, and $1,750 for Deer Park Bridge. SVE can’t start the cost analysis until October 1st. Tamburrino read several sections of the bid packages related to modification and withdrawal. He added that Cold River has not asked to be relieved from obligation yet, but they are complaining that the bid was not fair. Tamburrino added that we do have 120 days to place the purchase order, but we may not have approval from the State by then.

Edwards stated that she believes we have the legal ability to say we are not ready to award the contract but we can try to address their concerns. Regarding the variant cost estimates from SVE, she inquired whether anyone else can provide those cost estimates. She noted that we have replacement costs from FEMA- does that piece really need to be re-done? Tamburrino expressed that if we already have an estimate from FEMA, why do we need to spend more money to have SVE come up with an estimate? Avakian added that Christina Moore thought FEMA’s estimate for the unimproved projects was too low. She inquired whether the Selectboard thought the cost for figuring out the difference between FEMA’s estimate and SVE’s estimate, may not be worth the hassle? Edwards replied that it will cost $1,750 to get the estimates plus the time factor. Tens of thousands of dollars may fall to the taxpayers, but regardless of the cost estimates, that still might happen. Rafus added that there is no guarantee that SVE’s estimate will be higher than FEMA’s. Holtz added that there is a $40k difference between Cold River and the next lowest bidder which is a lot more than the $18k difference between the improved project versus what FEMA will pay for. The Selectboard will meet with Christina Moore to discuss this issue and find out if the data from the FEMA estimate for replacement cost versus the bids we have for the improved project are enough for the State.

Constables Budget

It was stated that at town meeting they voted for a $2,000 constable budget last year. Roy Richardson submitted a bill for $1,000 for May, June, and July of last year. Edwards expressed concern that we are getting billed from two different people for the same service. She added that they do not want to take action to pay that bill because we have expended that budget. Derby will communicate with Richardson and meet with him to discuss.

Hearing of Visitors

Combs inquired whether the property owner on Branch Road building a bridge has the proper permits and whether that is their property? The Selectboard explained that the abutment is in the town’s right of way, but in a previous meeting, the owner told us he had the proper permits, funding assistance, and an engineer. Sumner reported that the state stream alteration individual was there and he got the permit.

Holtz led a discussion concerning the enforcement of our town ordinances. He brought up issues with dog licenses and bridge weights. Options were discussed concerning what action to take concerning the people in town that refuse to get rabies shots for their dogs and get them licensed. Sumner explained that bridge weights are not ordinances, but State law. Edwards suggested contacting the State police to ask for guidance on bridge weights or explain where liability lies.

Edwards brought an invitation sample that she would like to send to various people for the tropical storm commendation event. She noted that it’s not the town holding the event, but rather a gathering of the community. She read a list of people she would like to send the letter to and noted that she is signing it as a member of the event committee and not a Selectboard member. The other Selectboard members agreed the letter and list of recipients was appropriate.

Sumner reported that the river debris clean-up project is complete. They received the bill and he forwarded all the required paperwork to the State. Holtz will write a letter to the involved landowners thanking them for their cooperation and letting them know it is complete.

Old Business

Other Business


The Selectboard had a discussion concerning e-mails they received looking for support of rail transportation. Edwards will make a follow up call letting them know they are free to contact the townspeople themselves, but they have not received any feedback that this is an issue for people in our town.

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 10:08 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary