Town of Halifax
Regular Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2014
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 5:40 p.m. at the town office. Board members present were Edee Edwards, Curtis Carroll, and Gretchen Becker.
Approval of Minutes
Becker moved to accept the minutes of the Aug 13 meeting, Edwards seconded, and the minutes were unanimously approved as written.
Vermont Telecommunications Plan
Becker reported on a Public Service Board public hearing on the proposed Vermont Telecommunications Plan that she attended in Brattleboro on Aug 26. She told the PSB she hoped they’d work to bring basic broadband to everyone before they worked on getting superfast broadband to the more urban areas. She also got copies of the proposed 2014 Telecommunications Plan, as well as copies of several telecommunications surveys of residents and nonresidents. Anyone interested in seeing them can contact Becker or Edwards.
Windham County Economic Development Program
Edwards reported on this program, which has an upcoming application deadline and noted that the minimum sum for applications is $25,000, which might mean we could do something significant if we applied and were awarded a grant.
The proposed online survey was worked on. In final proposed form, the survey is as follows:
Economic Development Survey:
The Halifax Broadband / Cell / Economic Development Committee is trying to figure out what sort of economic development activities make sense for Halifax. Please answer our short survey.
By “economic development” we don’t mean encouraging strip malls in Halifax but rather, as noted in the town plan, economic development is “…a process through which a municipality plans for and takes action to improve the standard of living within the town.”
Link to Town Plan Economic Development Section
How important is economic development to you?
• Very important
• Not important
• I feel economic development is detrimental to the town
What would help you?
• Cell service
o Resume writing
o Interview skills
o Business set-up
o Getting loans
o Employee/employer issues
o Computer and device instruction
• What are your main economic priorities?
o Getting a job
o Maintaining my job
o Advancing my career
o Starting a business
o Maintaining a business
o Getting a degree or certification
o Making my retirement money last
• What kind of work do you?
• Southeastern Vermont has some regional economic strengths. Would you like to learn any more about these areas?
o Precision Manufacturing (Optics, Medical Devices, Aerospace)
o Green building products and services
o Niche agricultural products
o Hospitality, retail, arts and tourism
• How old are you?
• What is your last completed year of education?
High school or GED / Some college / College degree / Graduate degree / Trade school
• Are you a full-time or part-time resident?
o If part-time would you like to live here full-time? If not, why not?
• Do you telecommute?
• Would you be interested in having some rentable office space in town with broadband and phone capabilities?
• Any other comments?
Edwards will show the survey to the Selectboard for approval.
Jessica Bruno reported via email on her meeting with the Southern Vermont Broadband Cooperative in Stamford on Aug 20. She said they were very willing to help Halifax if the town could provide someone for troubleshooting and set-up/installs. They would train that person and obtain equipment for those who signed up. SVBC bought into a fiberoptic line and serves it out wirelessly. It would cost $500 a month to buy into the Sovernet line, so Halifax would have to subscribe enough people to cover that fee.
Route 112 Cell Tower
Edwards hasn’t heard back on this.
The PSB has approved the VTel monopole in Halifax Center. VTel said they would make it a breakaway pole, but the PSB did not mandate such in their approval report.
Edwards reported that usage of the hotspot near the town garage was 21 in August and 25 in July. It is not clear if this is a trend or just random variation.
Vermont Connect Summit
Edwards announced a Vermont Connect Summit on Sept 23 in Montpelier. Information is available at http://blog.commongoodvt.org/2014/08/vermont-connected-summit-envisioning-the-future-of-vermonts-digital-economy/
The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.