TOWN OF HALIFAX, VERMONT
INFORMATIONAL MEETING FOR TOWN MEETING DAY—FINAL
FEBRUARY 28, 2023
Blais introduced himself as the moderator and asked everyone to turn to page 8 in their Town Meeting Report. Patrick McAllister, running for a 3 year term, introduced and spoke about himself. He was appointed to Selectboard last year as well as the Cemetery Commission. He has a background in finance and would like to help in regards to strengthening and improving the towns finances as well as the annual audits.
Edee Edwards spoke next, running for a 2 year term. She ran in the past and was on the board from 2010-2015 as vice chair and another year as the chair of the board before moving away. She moved back in 2020 and is ready to offer the town her experience and knowledge again. With Sumner resigning from the board and taking his knowledge with him, she knows that she will be an asset to the board. Her goals are to have a roadmap for the plan on coming out of Covid. Covid has affected a lot of families, including her own. Along with Covid recovery, we should take some time to celebrate. WIth DV Fiber coming to town, that could be a great way to celebrate for the town.
Karen Christofferson, running for two years, spoke. She has been coming to Vermont for 30 years prior to moving here a couple of years ago. She would like to join to learn and support the board. She has a background in finance, working for small firms and multinational banking firms. Her skills are with taking data and turning that into something different constituents can look at. She worked as Chief Financial Officer for several years and would be an asset to the board.
Patricia Dow is running for a 3 year term as Town Clerk.
Patricia Dow and Bob Teree are running for Treasurer for a 3 year term.
Bob Teree is thankful for the opportunity to be able to run for Treasurer. He has had a long career in management consulting mainly in media and technology. He is a project manager, managing people and budgets. He has a MBA in Finance. Over the last few years we have had some challenges through this difficult time. He sheds light on complex issues and helps the town save money, for example, the gravel pit deal. He helped with analyzing and making the right decision to help the town save money. He helped the town launch the website. He was a member of the broadband committee. What he would like to achieve is to move towards an open book world by helping the town leverage their website. He would like for anyone to be able to look at the website and be able to see where we have been and where we are going in terms of budget and deficits. He would like to help the town close the books on time. He would like to automate payments on the town website, making it easier and faster to get payments. He states that every reserve fund we have increases the complexity of our budget.
Patricia Dow has been the town treasurer since 2005. She would like to form a reporting system for the townspeople in a way that is easy to understand for everyone. She would like to gather data in a way that will help people understand the town’s finances. People can sign up for a newsletter to get town finance data.
Tina Blais is running for Lister. If she is elected, it will be her 3rd term and 7th year as lister. She treats people fairly when they are applying for new projects. She is in the process of learning new software to keep up to date. She enjoys helping people with their building projects and helps keep their taxes lower.
Three auditor positions are all write-ins.
Mary Brewster is running for town delinquent tax collector position.
Patrick McAllister is running for Trustee of Public Funds position. Until he became a Cemetery Commissioner, he didn’t really know what this position entails. He thinks that the town needs to know what these funds are and what they are intended for. Do we want to continue using some of these funds or should we and how should we liquidate them? He would like to understand it more for himself and help others understand them as well.
Laurel Copeland is running for Trustee of Public Funds.
Linda Swanson and Gary Rand is running for Cemetery Commissioner for 3 years.
Paul Blais is running for School Director. He has been School Director for the past 15 years. He has learned a lot from Chum Sumner and is happy to keep doing this as long as the town would like.
We are on page 5 of the annual report. This lists all of the different positions that we have and will be voting for in the Australian Ballot from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM in the Halifax Elementary School Multipurpose Room.
Blais read the town articles for Town Meeting Day that will be voted on.
A resident asked why the town is proposing to cut the highway budget by $100,000 when we have already overspent on that budget for last year. On voting day, if someone would like to amend the budget, say increase the gravel line, they would write down what line they would like to amend and the amount.
A resident asked about the 1% local tax option article 6 and what kind of revenue that might bring in. Roberts conducted research that a town in Northern Vermont that is similar in size to Halifax brought in $8,600. This would be reimbursed by the state and is an easy way for the town to diversify their income. That way it doesn’t fall completely on the residents to supply the budget.
A resident asked if you had to fire appointed auditors every 3rd year for article 7, and if you could have two separate auditors at the same time. Unless the town has voted to eliminate the auditor, hiring a professional accountant will not relieve the appointed auditors from their elected duties. However, it is rarely the case that auditors would duplicate each other’s findings, but rather the elected officers can take the professional auditors work and use that to create their findings in the annual report to the town voters (Source, VLCT). If no one writes in to conduct an audit, we will ask if someone will volunteer. If we cannot get a local, then we would have to hire an auditor.
There was also a question about whether we need 3 elected auditors or if fewer is possible, and the response was that 3 elected auditors are required by statute.
Blais read the articles for the school district and funds would be used for, such as new tiles for the school.
For the Selectboard