TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES—APPROVED
SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
CALL TO ORDER:
Sumner called the meeting to order at 6:01 pm. Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Lewis Sumner, Paul Blais and Tristan Roberts. Others in attendance in person or remotely were Laurel Copeland, Doug and Marilou Parkhurst, Raquel Smith, Stephan Chait, Janice Bliss and Chris Parkins, Edee Edwards and Mike Fournier.
CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
Blais made a motion to approve minutes as written. Roberts read out loud revised edits from his trip to the Vermont Rural Development Summit. Blais proposed minutes be approved with amendments, seconded by Silverberg. Minutes were approved 3-1, with Sumner abstaining due to absence.
The board discussed possible dates to begin progress on the upcoming 2023-2024 budget year. We will have special meetings to discuss on Saturday November 5th, at 10am – 12pm for the Highway Dept. The rest of the budget will be discussed on Wednesday, November 30th, at 6pm – 8pm.
Silverberg took a look at the ditches on Deer Park Rd. They were depressed but looked good. In the wintertime the ditches will fill up with snow and not be as deep. Fournier met with Jeff Nugent from the Windham Regional Commission and did some road inventory. He suggested that we could fill it with stone, which would be an expensive project. Fournier will meet with the state and someone from Better Roads soon and see if they offer up any other suggestions.
Beavers are clogging up culverts on Hatch School Rd. It was cleaned out and a beaver deceiver was placed in. Laurel Copeland said that she took responsibility for funding the project and the town would not be asked to contribute.
Roberts summarized our discussion for retail and non-retail cannabis in the Town of Halifax and what the board’s role is with that. The town has not taken any action and is not required to. If residents would like to have it then they are encouraged to get enough signatures to get it on the ballot.
Road Supervisor and Commissioner job descriptions will be discussed in more detail later when Edwards, who was working on the descriptions, can possibly be present. So far we have looked at two options for the Commissioner job description. We can begin working on the supervisor job description once the commissioners role is defined.
Roberts wanted to revisit the topic of diversity and talk about how we represent diversity, equity, and inclusion in our town. Roberts would like to look further into what we can do to promote that value. It is a community building opportunity that can help create a space for all voices to be heard.
At the last meeting we discussed that there is a fund that is labeled for cemeteries, but nothing on how it should be used. We held off further discussion until we knew how much was in the fund. There is $17,753.06 and about $4,000 in stock that pays about $200 in dividends each year. Discussion ensued on whether the cemetery commissioner or trustee of public funds should oversee this. Podlaski will send a letter asking the cemetery commissioner to write a letter discussing what they would like out of that fund and to respond by November 1st. Having their input would be useful before making a decision. Blais will ask the secretary of state’s office what the role and responsibility of the trustee of public funds has in that before making a decision. A town member stressed the urgency and need for use of the cemetery funds that are currently not being used for anything. Blais will also take a look at the Wicks fund to make sure the $600 was dispersed in the cemeteries fund or specifically for the Wicks cemetery.
Silverberg talked with our insurance carrier, PACIF and VLCT a few times regarding liability forms for volunteers. There is a form that you ask volunteers to sign that defines them as being unpaid volunteers. They should receive training and safety gear to ensure the volunteers are safe. They suggest that there should be a person managing and overseeing that they are safe. Silverberg states that we should have a policy using the VLCT form with some tweaks with a risk management procedure. Blais brought up that the form states no heavy duty equipment which could be hard to oversee. People should volunteer their time and not their equipment to ensure safety. Silverberg will make a rough draft and present later on.
Silverberg gave ARPA funds update. We should have gotten the second deposit, he will check and make sure that happened. We have a quote for the windows at just under $16,000. He would like to get us on his calendar for the spring. Roberts offered another option to look into for restoring the windows. The quote on the highway garage was $123,000. Roberts made a motion that we put out a bid process for the town garage roof for budgeting purposes for the next fiscal year, seconded by Silverberg. Roberts withdrew his motion. Blais made a motion to approve the work on the windows in the town office to match the rest of the school, for $15,863 with ARPA funds, seconded by Sumner, approved 4-0.
Silverberg has not received a response from the Northeast communications person at the US Post Office. He also reached out to Bernie Sanders’ office by phone call and has not heard back from him yet. If he does not hear back within the next week he will reach out again to them. We have a front page ad in the Deerfield Valley Newspaper that he is working with Raquel on.
HEARING OF VISITORS:
Someone mentioned that the Windham Regional Commissions (WRC) is proposing to update their bylaws as is allowed by state statute to allow WRC to serve as a contracting agency for shared services between municipalities. Towns are not required to participate. There will be a public meeting on Thursday, October 13th, at 5:30pm. Information will be sent to the board regarding the meeting.
Roberts is running for State Rep for Windham 6. There is a candidate form this Thursday at 5pm at memorial hall. He would like to invite anyone who can make it to come and ask any questions they may have. Deerfield Valley rotary is hosting a zoom that you can also join.
SIGN OVERWEIGHT PERMITS:
Roberts motioned to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Blais, Passed 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:31 pm.
For the Selectboard