Office of the Broadband
Town of Halifax
PO Box 127
West Halifax, Vermont 05358
Approved: February 21, 2020
Date: Friday, February 7, 2020, 3pm – 4:30pm
Place: Town Office, 246 Branch Road
Attending: Stephan Chait
(by phone) Cara Cheyette
(by phone) Tristan Roberts
Notes By: David Jones
Call To Order
Tristan Roberts called the meeting to order at 3:04PM.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Tristan asked to review the meeting schedule.
Review and Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Cara Cheyette asked for a revision of the minutes of the January 31 meeting. Her intention was to make the Open Meeting Law section more accurate. We decided to shorten this section to describe the discussion more briefly. Cara moved to approve the January 31 minutes with the agreed-upon revisions. Bob Teree seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Review meeting schedule
Our next meeting was scheduled on the same day and time as the Informational Meeting that precedes Town Meeting. We agreed to change the meeting data from February 24 at 7PM to February 21 at 9AM. In addition, the planned March 16 7PM meeting was mistakenly omitted from the scheduled. ACTION: David Jones will confirm availability of the town office on these dates. David will post an updated meeting schedule.
This discussion was postponed to the February 21 meeting so we could focus on the presentation at Town Meeting.
Presentation to Town Meeting
Tristan will make the presentation at Town Meeting but cannot attend the Informational Meeting. David, Cara, and Stephan will coordinate the presentation to the Informational Meeting. ACTION: We will run through the presentations in the February 21 meeting.
Stephan Chait recommended that we should ask town Moderator Paul Blaise about the guidelines for presenting the Committee’s report and recommending approval of Article 3. Blaise should also be consulted about the ground rules for making the case for Article 3 at the Informational Meeting. We would like to make brief verbal presentations supplemented by printed handouts. We may want to place a handout on every chair but need to know if this is permitted. There is more opportunity to make a complete case at the Informational Meeting because the Committee report at Town Meeting will be brief and discussion of the Article can be cut off at any time after it is offered for a vote. ACTION: Tristan will ask Paul Blaise for guidance. Stephan will ask the Selectboard for their view. Both will report out the outcomes of these conversations. Committee members should reply to them directly if they have unanswered questions.
The draft handouts were accepted in concept. They show it is possible to deliver internet in Vermont. ACTION: Committee members will send suggested changes to David by Tuesday, February 11. Cara and David will consolidate the input and produce the finished versions by Friday, February 14.
Stephan would like to email the handouts to voters in advance of the Informational Meeting to give ample time for review and consideration. Cara maintains an email list for a subset of Halifax residents. ACTION: Stephan will ask Susan Kelly if her list can be used. Cara will post on Front Porch Forum to ask Halifax voters to provide their email addresses to receive information about the Article and the survey.
Bob maintains an unofficial town Facebook page and can post our messaging there. Tristan suggested the key initial message is, “Be present at Town Meeting.” Making the case for Article 3 too stridently over social media or on signs might feel too heavy. Person-to-person networking will set the best tone. David suggested that Bob should run each post by at least one committee member; there was always a positive benefit from collaborating with Cara on the handouts. Cara said that, in addition to Bob’s unofficial Halifax page, Patty Dow also maintains a page under the personal name Halifax Vermont. ACTION: Bob will take charge of posting on the town Facebook page. Bob will check whether one or both Halifax Facebook pages can/should be used.
Outreach to Broadband Survey Respondents
David reported that the WRC meeting to introduce the demand survey was postponed by one week to February 13. We can’t finalize the messages to provide to respondents until we see the survey but our draft message is close to a completion point. ACTION: We will finalize our communications material in the February 21 meeting.
Tristan provided a list of groups, media, events, collection places, and address lists that can help us to produce a high survey response rate.
- Selectboard: At the next Selectboard meeting, Stephan will ask the Selectboard to commit funds to pay for mailing the survey to second homeowners.
- Community Club: David will contact Joan Courser
- Fire Department: David will contact Wayne Courser
- School: Bob will contact Chum Sumner and Sandy Pentak
- West Halifax Bible Church: David will ask Joan Courser for an introduction to Pastor Mark Monroe
- Town website: David will coordinate posting of link to survey.
- Town Facebook page: Bob will post link to survey with a brief message.
- Front Porch Forum: Cara will coordinate. Multiple posts will improve comprehension. We can remind residents about the survey and offer help.
- Halifax News: David will submit a short article for the March issue.
- Brattleboro Reformer, The Commons, Deerfield Valley News: Tristan will write letters to the Editor. He and others who write will identify themselves as Broadband Committee members.
- Multiple repetitions of the message will have a greater cumulative effect.
- Senior Meal: David will ask Joan Courser if we can collect survey responses. The March 20 meal may be after the deadline. The February 21 meal might work if the surveys are provided to us at the WRC survey meeting that was postponed to February 13.
- Town Meeting and Informational Meeting: Tristan will take the lead for Town Meeting. Other committee members will attend the Informational Meeting. We did not name the presenter(s) at that meeting.
- Town Office: David will ask Patty Dow if this can be a pickup / drop-off point.
- Post Office: We agreed that items can be posted on the bulletin board but did not know what options are available for distributing surveys or collecting them when completed. It seemed likely that the Post Office would want items to be mailed, not left. We did not assign the task of finding out.
- Jacksonville General Store and Library: Cara can schedule dates/times when she will be present to distribute the survey and provide support.
- Door to door: Bob suggested we could personally deliver surveys to houses in our area.
- Grand List: David will complete processing of the Grand List. Cara has a supply of labels. David will finalize the draft copy based on the best materials we have written so far.
- Email list: Cara will update her email list based on responses from Front Page Forum and will draft a concise email based on our best materials.
- Other: Each committee member should reach out to the people they know and encourage them to spread the message to people they know.
Hearing of Visitors
There were no visitors.
Stephan motioned to adjourn the meeting. Bob seconded the motion. All present agreed. The meeting adjourned at 4:46 PM.