OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
March 6, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Stephan Chait, Peggy Rafus, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Brad Rafus added a discussion about the radio tower. Sumner said at the conclusion of planned business, tonight’s meeting would be continued until after the ballots are counted, and the Board would be reorganized.
Open Repeater Bids
Two repeater upgrade bids were received, as follows:
R&R Communications, Inc., Swanzey, New Hampshire: VHF radio system conversion to Motorola MOTOTRBO SLR 5700, $1,960; 12 mobile units, $473/each ($5,676); remove existing repeater mobile equipment, install new units using existing antenna system if possible, $105/each ($1,260). Total, $9,021.
Southwest New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid, Keene, New Hampshire: VHF radio system conversion to Motorola MOTOTRBO SLR 5700, $3,100; duplex, $611; lightning protector, $75.45; 12 mobile units, $6,312; programming labor, $450; travel labor, $440; remove existing repeater mobile equipment, install new units using existing antenna system if possible, $3,675; miscellaneous hardware, $75. Total, $14,738.45.
Sumner advised a decision would be made at the next regular meeting, once all specifications had been reviewed. Chait asked if the bid proposals were based on a defined bid package. Yes, answered Sumner.
Open Reappraisal Bids
The Listers published a newspaper advertisement and sent numerous requests for bid proposals to contractors on the State’s approved list. No bids were received other than the previous bid from NEMRC (New England Municipal Resource Center), located in Georgia, Vermont. That estimate, based on 644 parcels, was $63,000 with an additional $85/per parcel charge for anything over 644 properties, and hearings beyond BCA level billed at $125 an hour. Board members were satisfied that the purchasing policy process had been followed. Is the NEMRC bid still valid?, asked Chait. The Board believed so; NEMRC’s proposal was dated January 25th, with no deadline for acceptance noted. Green made a motion to accept NEMRC’s bid to perform a town-wide appraisal. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Post Roads Notice
Town roads have been posted with mud season weight restrictions, and the notice has been posted on local bulletin boards and the Town web site. Sumner made a motion that roads be posted until May 15, 2018, or earlier if feasible. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Restrictions will either be removed sooner or extended, depending on the length of spring wet season.
Rafus had a conversation with Harry Farrington regarding the fire department repeater tower, which is situated on Honora Winery property on Collins Road. Farrington is upset because the tower has been in place for fourteen years and he has never received any form of compensation or reimbursement for electricity. Farrington has also fueled a backup power generator and the Town’s equipment is in one of his storage buildings. Rafus said Farrington is ready to take legal action if the Town does not respond to the situation by March 15th. Wayne Courser has talked with Keene Mutual Aid, said Sumner; they estimate electricity usage at about $10 a month. He (Farrington) should have written to the Selectboard, Green commented; we didn’t know about this. Farrington also told Rafus there was a verbal agreement, at the time the tower was installed, for $150 a month in compensation. Green recommended further discussion with Farrington, for the purpose of determining a fair recompense going forward, and an agreeable retroactive compensation. Peggy Rafus pointed out that the situation should be settled as soon as possible, given that the Town is in the process of contracting for upgrade work on the repeater system. The tower is a critical necessity for fire department, emergency service, and highway department communication. There is an original contract with the fire department, said Rafus, but it makes no mention of compensation. The Town’s highway department equipment has been in place on the tower for about five years. Chait asked Rafus for a total past amount owed, based on $150 a month. $24,000, responded Rafus. Sumner suggested one approach might be to offer a tax break. Chait offered the thought that the land where the tower was situated could be removed from tax assessment, and Green suggested the same for the building housing the Town equipment. Rafus and Wayne Courser will hold additional discussion with Farrington.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Hearing of Visitors
At 6:28 p.m., Sumner continued the meeting until ballot counting was completed. The meeting reconvened at 8:23 p.m. Brad Rafus nominated Lewis Sumner as Selectboard Chair. Mitch Green seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Sumner abstaining. Lewis Sumner nominated Mitch Green as Selectboard Vice-Chair. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Green abstaining.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.