OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
July 2, 2019
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green (arriving 7:05), and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Stephan Chait, Ray Combs, Nancy McCrea, Diana Conway, Frederick Aldrich (Mitchell Sand & Gravel), and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Brad Rafus requested that a date be set for employee evaluations, and also wished to discuss selling a used steam cleaner/pressure washer.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 6/18/19 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. (Note: Vote was taken just prior to Mitch Green’s arrival.)
Open Paving Bids
The Selectboard received one bid for paving, as follows:
Mitchell Sand & Gravel, Winchester, New Hampshire: 95 tons ¾” shim, 900 foot length, $91.50/ton, $8,692.00. 440 tons 3/8” virgin mix, $91.50/ton, $40,260.00. Total, $48,952.00.
Fred Aldrich (representing Mitchell), said the bid was a little higher this year (although the project is relatively small) because pricing must account for mobilizing all the equipment. Sumner said the Board understood that factor. Rafus made a motion to accept Mitchell Sand & Gravel’s bid for overlay paving on Green River Road, in the amount of $48,952.00. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Prior to the vote, Stephan Chait asked for clarification of the term overlay. Sumner explained that the roadbed would not be reclaimed; this is a shim overlay on the existing surface, to even things out. Aldrich told Rafus anticipated time frame for the work is October. I won’t have it ready until the middle of August, said Rafus; any time after that is fine.
Mail Discussion—Peggy Rafus
This item was passed over, as Peggy Rafus was not able to attend tonight’s meeting.
Set Tax Rate
This year, the total municipal tax rate is $0.8693. School tax–homestead rate is $1.1682. School tax–non-resident rate is $1.5161. Total homestead tax rate is $2.0375, total non-residential tax rate is $2.3854. Last year’s municipal tax rate was $0.8525; it is about one-and-a-half cents more this year. School tax/homestead rate last year was $1.2290, and school tax/non-resident was $1.4444; this year’s non-resident rate is about six cents more. Total homestead tax rate last year was $2.0815, non-resident was $2.2969. Mitch Green said he thought it unfair that the non-resident rate was higher than the homestead rate. Rafus pointed out that the education tax we pay supports schools across the state. The Board told Nancy McCrea the taxation method is set by the State; non-residential tax pays for education even though those taxpayers don’t have students in the schools. Sumner made a motion to approve the municipal tax rate of $0.8693, homestead school tax rate of $1.1682, total $2.0375; and non-resident tax rate of $1.5161, total $2.3854. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. In discussion, Green told Ray Combs that Patty Dow had compiled the tax figures, which are based on the State’s calculated school tax minus the hold harmless payment, plus the amount determined by the Town’s voter-approved budget and the grand list value. Chait asked if the town-wide appraisal had an impact on this year’s tax rates. The Board told him no; the appraisal will begin this year and will be a two-year process.
2019 Municipal Road Grants-in-Aid Letter
The Board reviewed and signed the 2019 Municipal Road Grants-in-Aid letter of intent from the State. Rafus told Green we expect to receive $16,400 in grant funding this year. Green made a motion to accept the letter of intent to participate in the grants-in-aid program. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Board members signed the letter, which will be submitted to the State. Chait made the point that the requirements are in place, even if we don’t apply for and receive grants. Rafus told Combs the State does not yet know how they are going to enforce the new mandates. Has there been cost analysis to determine the value of pursuing grants?, asked Chait. We have to be in compliance with Act 64, responded Rafus, and we lose 10% of the grant money if we don’t comply with other road and bridge standards. The paving and structures grants are larger amounts, and definitely worthwhile; paving projects are 80% paid by grants.
Town Road and Bridge Standards Adoption
The State Road and Bridge Standards adoption is usually done early in the year; it was delayed this year while the document was revised to include Act 64 requirements. The deadline for adoption this year is July 31st. Sumner made a motion to adopt the 2019 Town Road and Bridge Standards. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The document was reviewed and signed and will be submitted to the State.
The Selectboard scheduled a special meeting on July 9, 2019, 7:00 p.m., at the Town Garage, to conduct employee reviews.
Pressure Washer/Steam Cleaner
Rafus said the Highway Department has replaced their steam cleaner; he asked the Board if they would like to post the old one for sale. We’ve had it for 15-17 years, he said; the steam cleaner part doesn’t work any more and we can’t get parts for it. There is no heat, but you can still use it to wash cars. Pressure is about 3,500, he told Combs—you can take the paint off a car if you use the wrong nozzle. The Board agreed to post the cleaner for sale.
Hearing of Visitors
Ray Combs asked how the new highway employee was doing. He’s working out well, so far, replied Rafus.
Stephan Chait wanted it on record that the contractors doing tree-trimming work for Green Mountain Power had damaged the drainage ditch on Vaughn Road, from Jacksonville Stage Road to the Chait driveway. Chait had spoken with the supervisor, who then talked with Rafus, and the contractor will repair the damage. Combs mentioned that he had notified GMP of limbs on the wires near his house, and they came out and trimmed the trees the same day.
Diana Conway, referring to the upcoming paving project, asked what asphalt overlayment meant. It’s what we call a shim, answered Rafus. It is a ¾” layer put down to level the road and fill in any imperfections, with another 1” layer over the top of it; that’s the overlay.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.