OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
December 18, 2018
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 Stephan Chait, Ray Combs, Nancy McCrea, Diana Conway, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Lewis Sumner has the fall PFC monitoring well report for the landfill.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Sumner made a motion to approve the 12/4/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
KAS Old Town Garage Monitoring Reimbursement
Monitoring at the Brook Road old Town Garage property has been discontinued, and the pipes were removed this year. KAS has forwarded a final close-out paperwork invoice for $110.50 that, with Selectboard approval, will be submitted directly to the State for reimbursement. Sumner made a motion to approve direct State reimbursement to KAS Environmental for final paperwork on the old Town Garage monitoring wells. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Rafus told Stephan Chait there were two underground tanks on the property that were removed 28 years ago. Monitoring wells were then installed and tested yearly to detect ground contamination. Sumner signed the reimbursement form for submission to the State.
Set Dates for Budget Meeting and First January Meeting
The Board’s second budget meeting, originally scheduled for December 15th, was postponed, so Board members discussed possible new dates. Also, as the first Tuesday in January 2019 falls on New Year’s Day, that regular meeting needed to change. After consultation, Sumner made a motion to hold a budget meeting at 6:00 pm and the regular meeting at 7:00 pm on January 2, 2019. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Gabriel will provide the Board with updated highway proposed budget spreadsheets for review prior to the meeting. Rafus advised his proposed numbers are slightly lower than last year’s.
PFC Monitoring Report
The Board reviewed KAS Environmental’s fall report on the old landfill monitoring well (MW-3), noting that the test results were lower than the spring 2018 tests. The most recent reading is 140.6 ng/l (nanograms per liter), while the spring test reading was 227.25 ng/l. Sumner made a motion to have Gabriel notify KAS the report is approved and ready to be submitted to the State. Mitch Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Executive Session (if needed)
The Board has received a draft of the WSWMD proposed budget, which was presented at the District’s public hearing last week. No one attending the hearing spoke in opposition to the proposal, which, in accordance with WSWMD bylaws, will be voted on next month. Halifax membership cost for the year is $5003.56, a reduction of approximately $1,300. Diane Conway asked for an explanation of the membership. As a WSWMD member, said Sumner, Halifax residents can take their trash to the Ferry Road facility for a fee. The District also provides hazardous waste collection days; as of July 1, 2019 the requirement is four days a year. Asphalt shingles can no longer be disposed of in the main trash stream; they must be sorted and handled separately. What about tires?, asked Conway. They will take tires, but they charge. Rafus said Pete’s Tire Barn in Chesterfield will take tires for a lower fee than WSWMD. He told Ray Coombs he didn’t know whether shredded tires were still being used on running tracks for high schools. Green said there is too much steel in the sidewalls today. Some used tires are going to third-world countries, added Sumner. WSWMD Executive Director Bob Spencer has offered to attend a Selectboard meeting to talk about waste disposal; the Board was in favor of the idea and Sumner will arrange a date. Conway asked for detail on the Town’s solar arrangements. Rafus said the Town has credit-generating solar panels on the Town Garage, and also has a contract with the WSWMD solar project (Sky Solar). Credits from the two installations have considerably reduced the cost of electricity; last month’s bill was $70, while a year ago it was between $250-280. Sumner remarked that the savings almost pays for our WSWMD dues.
Sumner had researched Town land records and provided the Board with a copy of a 2005 reclassification action on Thurber Road. At that time, the Selectboard moved to reclassify the eastern section of Thurber to Class 4, but after a public hearing the decision was made to retain a legal trail classification from the eastern junction of Green River and Thurber roads to the boundary of the Roberts’ and then-Luther Ray property (now owned by McCrea). Green read a portion of the ruling for McCrea, as follows: “Beginning at the junction of Town Road #10, State Aid Highway #1, near the home now or formerly of Thomas O’Brien, and being near the northeast corner of the bridge on State Aid Highway #1, thence extending northerly and northwesterly approximately .750 miles to the lands now or formerly of Luther Ray.” McCrea and Board members speculated that the balance of Thurber, from the property line to the western junction with Green River Road is therefore Class 3; more research is needed to confirm.
Hearing of Visitors
Ray Combs asked if there was a list of activities for which Town permits are required, for example, electrical work. Sumner said that permits for installing power or constructing a driveway are issued by the Selectboard. A permit for building a house would be issued by the Zoning Administrator, added Green. Stephan Chait said that also applies to sheds larger than 100 square feet.
Did Town figures on damage from the recent storm get submitted to Windham Regional Commission for FEMA consideration?, asked Chait. He said if the region’s damage costs were at least $170,000, and the State’s overall total at least a million dollars, there would be a declaration and federal reimbursement. WRC requested a ballpark figure, replied Rafus; I gave them an estimate of $10,000 last week. If there is no FEMA declaration, we wouldn’t have enough damage to qualify under State guidelines; the figure has to be at least 10% of the Town’s general budget. Rafus said creating an estimate was difficult, because the only thing covered is tree damage, and the highway crew was doing that work at the same time they were clearing roads.
Diana Conway asked whether EMD Peggy Rafus had found out anything further on Red Cross certification for emergency sheltering at the School. She’s still working on it, answered Brad Rafus.
Gabriel told the Board that the Town Clerk had received an email appearing to come from Homeland Security’s Kim Canarecci. The email contained a link, purportedly to an invoice, which did not appear to be legitimate. Canarecci said one other town had received a similar email, and on examination her IT department advised both were “spoof” emails that could contain viruses or malware. Gabriel asked that Town officials be aware of the situation and avoid opening links or attachments in questionable emails.
Rafus mentioned that FEMA reimbursement for the October 2017 damage has not yet been received, although documentation was completed and FEMA signed off on the claim in August. Paperwork has been resubmitted several times. He said there appears to be a problem with communication among various State entities.
Chait wished everyone a wonderful holiday, and Conway said the road crew is doing a really good job of maintaining the roads. Sumner wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed. This order included the first 2019 VLCT quarterlies; total VLCT insurance costs have decreased, in part because the Town received $6,250 in credits this year.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed. The auditors have requested that town officials’ reports for the 2019 Town Report be submitted by January 15, 2019.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:47 p.m.