Town of Halifax, Vermont
November 15, 2016


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, Emily Blake (Deerfield Valley News), and Robbin Gabriel.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda


Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 11/1/16 regular meeting minutes as written. Mitch Green seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1. Brad Rafus, who was not present on 11/1, abstained.

New Business

Review 2017 Health Insurance Plans
The Board has received the Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance renewal packet for 2017. As Sumner opened this discussion Rafus said he would recuse himself. The 2017 premium rate increase is 3.9%, which Green said comes to $7,801 monthly under the current plan, or about $342 more a month. Sumner and Green agreed town employees like this plan. Several neighboring towns have returned to it after experimenting with less satisfactory alternatives. We will look at it again when we review the FY18 proposed budget, added Sumner. Green made a motion to have Gabriel renew BCBS health insurance online, with no changes. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus abstaining.

WSWMD Solar Project Participation
Sumner attended the November 10th WSWMD meeting, and learned that the solar project is proceeding well, though it is possible the town will not receive a final contract until slightly after the original November 30th deadline. Attorneys are still reviewing the contract, and a necessary stream alteration permit has been approved. Sumner made a motion to have the Selectboard sign the WSWMD solar contract when it arrives. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Ray Combs asked where the solar panels would be located. On about 18 acres on Old Ferry Road in Brattleboro, answered Sumner. The project is on schedule to go live in September or October 2017. Gabriel will be verifying that Attorney Fisher has reviewed and approved the proposed contract.

Set FY18 Budget Meeting Dates
Sumner recommended a first budget meeting on Saturday, December 3rd. Green suggested setting the second meeting for December 17th. The Board agreed to meet on the two Saturdays, December 3rd and 17th, at 8:00 a.m. to work on FY18 budgeting.

Executive Session

None held.

Old Business

Town Garage Landfill
Sumner asked Gabriel for an update on the PFC testing at the town garage landfill. After tests on the MW-4 monitoring well at the landfill showed higher than permissible PFC levels, the State is requiring additional testing of two private water supplies. KAS Engineering has submitted a work plan for these further tests, and will conduct the testing once State approval of the plan has been received. Sumner asked Gabriel to find out whether any financial assistance is available from the State, as the cost of the tests will be over $7,000. The Board told Combs a further course of action will be determined once the newest test results are in.

Town Garage Roof
Melanson sealed the damaged roof seam last week and Rafus reported that there has been no leakage following today’s hard rain. Rafus noted the final cost was less than estimated. Gabriel will ask Melanson to provide an estimate of the cost of sealing all the roof seams, and the Board will consider that figure during FY18 budgeting.

Other Business


Hearing of Visitors

Combs thought the WSWMD solar panels would be installed on the Halifax town garage site. Sumner explained the actual panels would be in Brattleboro, but, as a member of the waste management district, Halifax would be eligible for discounted rate and could expect to see reductions in monthly electric bills once the project was up and working. There are some solar panels installed at the town garage, but those panels are not part of the WSWMD solar project. Rafus said the Town’s panels produced 30 kilowatt hours of power last month. While the savings from the panels is not large, the garage electric bill has been reduced by about 35% monthly since the conventional lighting in the building was replaced with LED lights. In addition to the cost savings, Rafus said the LED lighting is most satisfactory.

Sumner also told Combs the grant application for VY/DEMHS funding is in process; we have two quotes for a larger generator in hand and are waiting for a third.

Combs asked if the Town would be keeping the recycling bins. Sumner said it looked likely, as a preliminary vote of member towns was in favor of retaining recycling at the Brattleboro facility.

Sign Orders to the Treasurer

The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed. This order included the year’s first State Education Property Tax payment in the amount of $200,500.00.


Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed and filed.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:52 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary