OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES–DRAFT
November 5, 2019
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Ray Combs, Peggy Rafus, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Mitch Green made a motion to approve the 10/1/19 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Lynda Copeland—Unrestrained Dogs
Lynda Copeland was not able to attend the meeting. Mitch Green said the Board could talk about the situation anyway; he had heard that the Copeland family was having difficulty with dogs bothering them when they were out walking on the roads. Green suggested learning who the dog owners were and sending a letter stating the dogs need to be restrained. Has this been brought to Andy’s (Animal Control Officer) attention?, asked Rafus. That should be the first step. There’s not much you can do unless you have a leash law, said Ray Combs. Several people thought the Town does have a leash law; Sumner thought not. (Note: The Town’s dog ordinance was repealed on June 21, 2016. The repeal became effective August 20, 2016. See https://halifaxvt.com/selectboard/meeting-minutes/2016-06-21-selectboard-regular-meeting-minutes-draft/). Green said the law states dogs have to be under control, which is not the same as a leash law. I have collars on my dogs, said Combs; if they cross the invisible fence, they get zapped.
Halifax Celebration Committee Appointments
Sumner read the names of six individuals submitting a request to be on the Halifax Celebration Committee: Andrea Rand, Gary Rand, Patty Dow, Tina Blais, Joan Courser, and Paul Blais. Jason Ashcroft, who has worked with the group in the past, declined. Sumner told Green the Board could make a blanket motion appointing the applicants. Sumner verified for Rafus that the new committee would appoint their own Chair, produce agendas, and set meeting dates. Green made a motion to appoint Andrea Rand, Gary Rand, Patty Dow, Tina Blais, Paul Blais, and Joan Courser to the Celebration Committee. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Rafus suggested the Committee should report financials—income and expenditures–in the same manner that other Boards and Committees do, for inclusion in the yearly Town Report. Green and Sumner concurred, and said that topic could be discussed in more detail once the Committee is operational. Rafus said that as the Celebration is funded by a combination of Town money and donated dollars, there should be a way for taxpayers to review those figures. How much money was allotted?, asked Combs. $5,000, Board members responded; that amount was approved three years ago. Green said the Town didn’t actually spend anything, as the event brought in that amount and more. As next year’s event will be a combination of the ten-year Old Home Day event and the yearly community Celebration, there will be a greater outlay, but the Committee needs to determine how much various fund-raisers bring in before it knows what additional monies it might request at the 2020 Town Meeting. Sumner and Rafus explained that prior Old Home Day celebrations were town-funded—presented as an article to the voters at Town Meeting—but after the event monies were returned to the Town.
Planning Commission Vacancy
We have been advertising a Planning Commission vacancy created by Alice Aldrich’s resignation, advised Sumner, but thus far have not had any response. Jason Ashcroft has not been able to attend a meeting since April; Sumner shared a copy of a letter Planning Commission Chair Turner Lewis sent Ashcroft asking whether he would be able to continue serving. Sumner told Green the full Planning Commission has five members. It’s hard to find people with time to do it, said Rafus. Several meetings this summer were not held due to lack of a quorum. Originally, Sumner told Rafus, the Commission was made up of nine members, then it was reduced to seven, and now it is five. The Board agreed to keep the vacancy posted and encouraged those present to search for people who might be willing to serve.
Hearing of Visitors
Emergency Management Director Peggy Rafus said she needed to purchase a laptop computer capable of handling the programs she uses as EMD. After discussion, the Board agreed the purchase could go on the Town’s account with Staples, and would be paid on a Selectboard order. Sumner made a motion to have Peggy Rafus purchase a laptop computer from Staples, using the Town’s Highway card. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Peggy also told the meeting the Town should be receiving final reimbursement (for 2017 storm damage) from the State at any time; she recently received the approval. Peggy will be attending Red Cross training on November 18th in Brattleboro; that training will bring the Town a step closer to getting Red Cross accreditation for the school as an emergency shelter. Peggy said after the training she needs to arrange a meeting with the School Board to discuss details such as storage space for supplies. Sumner thanked Peggy for her efforts in obtaining the reimbursement funds. I think they forgot about us, said Peggy.
There was some general discussion about generators at the School, Firehouse, and Town Garage—who funded them, when they were installed, and how they are maintained. Peggy praised the new handheld radios which are performing very well and have eliminated the problem of communication dead spots in Town.
Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed. This order included a $147,570.00 Vermont State Education Tax payment, and the payoff on the People’s Bank line of credit.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed. The Board received information on health insurance costs for the new year. Enrollment runs November 1st through December 16th. Rafus has received notice from Windham Regional Commission that a $19,700 grant has been approved for work on Pennel Hill Road. The project must be completed before July 1, 2020. Rafus said the portion of Pennel Hill where the work is to be done is a 19.8% grade. Sumner has had word from Animal Control Officer Andy Rice that the problem of John Betit’s cows escaping their pasture on Route 112 has been resolved.
Green made a motion to enter executive session, including Peggy Rafus and Gabriel, to discuss land acquisition. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board entered executive session at 8:03 p.m., and exited at 8:18 p.m., with no decisions made.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:18 p.m.