TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES—APPROVED
SEPTEMBER 6, 2022
CALL TO ORDER:
Silverberg called the meeting to order at 6:02 pm. Selectboard members present were Pete Silverberg, Paul Blais and Tristan Roberts. Others in attendance in person or remotely were Stephen Chait, Mike Fournier, Penfield Chester, Raleigh Brown, Patty Dow, Meg Staloff and Dave Meyer.
CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:
Blais moved to add August 30th Special meeting approval to the agenda, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:
August 16 regular minutes and August 30th special minutes were approved. The motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0. Blais moved to add August 30th Special meeting approval to the agenda, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0.
It was brought to attention that minutes for July 19th had minor errors that did not reflect what was approved at the meeting. Podlaski wrote $36,160 for the ARPA proposal, revised to be $40,000. BDCC (Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation) should be written as VCBB (Vermont Community Broadband Board). Podlaski will make corrections.
Meg Staloff from BDCC requested funding from all 27 towns in the Windham Region as they do annually. As long as the $ amount on the warning for the town meeting matches that from previous years, then a new petition is not needed. They are using the 2010 census to keep the amount the same for most towns. They need funds to help fill in the gaps for their initiatives, such as DV Fiber for rural towns. Asking for just over $2,000. They help municipalities prioritize their projects. Staloff provided the board with their annual report from last year because they are still working on this year’s report.
Newspaper/front porch forum post for the highway department job advertisement. Silverberg asked if a CDL license can be considered workforce development. Staloff will look into it more to see if that can help shoulder some of the costs. Roberts moved that we post an advertisement for a highway position in a newspaper and other online advertisements (Front Porch Forum). Blais suggested we state “CDL preferred but all candidates are encouraged to apply”. At this time we don’t have the groundwork to have the agreements in place to be able to offer that. Roberts will email Bob Fisher and ask what the liability is for the town to offer the possibility of this kind of contract. Motion was seconded by Silverberg, passed (3-0).
Town generator will be discussed later on.
Silverberg showed an email regarding liability agreement for volunteers from the VLCT.
At the April 19th meeting we discussed updating road supervisor and commissioner job descriptions with no decisions made. Roberts would like us to revisit and make a decision.
Roberts reported that many towns are taking action with regard to new state laws around licensing cannabis in town. He reported on the results of his own research into next steps that the town may want to consider. Non-retail cannabis licenses are outside of the town’s control and must be treated like any other business under zoning. Roberts suggested that if the Planning Commission wants to review the town’s zoning with regard to where cannabis establishments can be allowed, that would be the only consideration the town can make for these establishments. There can be no specific zoning for non-retail cannabis, however.
Retail cannabis must be approved by a town-wide vote. The town is not obligated to vote on it. Until we vote on it, no one can set up a retail shop. This can be voted on in a town meeting or special meeting.
Roberts reported back from the Vermont Rural Development Summit. He said it was a welcoming event with 500 attendees from all parts of town and state government. Three takeaways he came back with include ideas for fundraising for town needs, the idea of having a welcoming committee, and how towns are welcoming diversity. Discussion ensued about how to move forward on items that may be useful to the town.
The Celebration Committee requested to close Branch Rd for the town celebration on October 1st. It will start at 11am until midnight ending with a band at the firehouse. From the intersection of Branch Rd, Collins Rd, and Brook Rd, and the community house, through the parking lot at the school to the Crosby house. The parking lot will be used as parking this year. Roberts moved that we close the road, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0.
Silverberg read a letter regarding Bill Moore, trustee of public funds and how to handle an investment for the cemetery funds. This fund has been sitting around for years and has never been transferred to the town’s cemetery fund for replenishment. The cemetery fund folder does not have any originating paperwork on this investment and what/how it should be used, only that is specifically to be used for the town’s cemeteries. It falls on the Selectboard as the governing body to make a decision on how to allocate funds if there are no instructions on how to use the money. The trustee is requesting to move the interest from the funds so they can be used for cemetery maintenance costs, or just a portion of the interest. The board will take a look at the folder or speak with Bill Moore at the next meeting to see how much is in the fund before making a voting decision. If a decision is not made, the funds will not be available for use and the town cemeteries can really use the interest funds for maintenance.
ARPA Funds – Nothing new, except to work with Meg Staloff to help leverage and prioritize what we are doing.
Post Office Update – Lease will expire in November. Silverberg stated that the landlord is not interested in doing an extension. Silverberg reached out to 3 different media outlets, the Reformer, Deerfield Valley, and The Commons, and is hearing that this is happening to other towns. Congressman Welch’s office stated they have done as much as they can do. Silverberg would like to bring attention to the media of this issue to try and get a response from the Post Office. Residents are welcome to help make noise to the USPS and state congressional office. We have been unable to get a response from the Post Office as to what the specifications are for establishing a new post office. Silverberg spoke with a Public Communications person in Boston at the Post Office that was not aware of our situation, and we are in his territory. He will look into it more and get back to us.
HEARING OF VISITORS:
A resident is concerned about the depth of the ditches on the road, in Deer Park and Stage Rd going towards Brattleboro. She is concerned that the roads will not be marked clearly and if a car goes off the road in the winter, they will go on their side or flip over. Fournier states that the only solution is to stone line it all the way up which would be very costly. Someone suggested putting more signs up to warn about how narrow it is. Fournier is meeting with someone from Windham Regional Commission and will show him that and see what they suggest.
Silverberg read heating oil for the town garage bid. Fixed price pre-buy fuel oil from Guy Nido at $4.405 gal. It was crossed out and written $4.05 over the $4.405. Fournier called to get confirmation that it was meant to be $4.05. The Budget Program is $4.59 for the entire heating season. We have $6K in the budget. This will put us about $2K over our budget. We can move line items across the budget as long as the budget is approved, in order to help cover costs across the board. Blais motioned that we go with the pre-buy option from Guy Nido, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0.
Roberts moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Silverberg, passed 3-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:43pm.
SELECTBOARD’S ORDER SIGNED
NO OVERWEIGHT PERMITS TO SIGN
For the Selectboard