OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
May 17, 2016
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Mitchell Green were present; Bradley Rafus was unable to attend. Also present were Sirean LaFlamme, John LaFlamme, Ray Combs, Rick Gay, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Mitch Green made a motion to approve the 5/3/16 regular meeting minutes as written. Lewis Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Sumner made a motion to approve the 5/9/16 special meeting minutes with one correction. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Planning Commission Zoning Administrator Recommendation
The Planning Commission has recommended two individuals—John LaFlamme and William Moore—for appointment as Zoning Administrator. Sumner and Green agreed to postpone this important decision until all Board members were available for the discussion. The appointment will be on the Wednesday, May 25th, special meeting agenda.
Set Hearing Date on Zoning Repeal
The Planning Commission held their hearing on the citizen’s petition for zoning repeal on May 10th. The petition now passes to the Selectboard. The Board scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, June 21st, at 7:00 p.m. The regular Selectboard meeting will immediately follow the close of the hearing.
Discuss DEMHS SAT-Phone
John LaFlamme told the meeting that now Vermont Yankee has closed, the satellite phone at the firehouse will no longer be paid through VY funding. They do not want the equipment back, he said; the phone can stay in place and, if the Town chooses not to pay for service now, the phone could still be reconnected in the future. This is a stationary unit which is seldom used. There is a monthly charge to keep it active, and an additional per-minute fee for actual use. Green made a motion to cancel the satellite phone service. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
LaFlamme also read a VY email advising that the pagers were paid through the end of May. After that date, the town may either transfer the account into its own name, or return the pagers to VY. Green made a motion to discontinue the Vermont Emergency Management pagers. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
There will be a last tour of the power plant on Wednesday, June 8th, said LaFlamme. Sumner said he had been through the plant on three past occasions, and Green will be working that day, so they will not attend.
Tour de Heifer Bike Ride in Halifax
A 60-mile and a 30-mile bike tour will pass through portions of Halifax on Sunday, June 5th. Sumner read details of the tour route for the record. The 60-mile ride will travel west on Jacksonville Stage Road, north on Josh Road, take a left on Deer Park Road, a right on Old County Road to Whitneyville Road, then Brook Road to Reed Hill Road. Riders will come back into Halifax on Butterfield Road to Green River Road, then north on Moss Hollow Road. The 30-mile route will go up Green River Road and north on Moss Hollow.
They’ve done this for quite a few years now, said Sumner; they always let us know where the bikes are. Can we ask them to stay in the right lane? asked Rick Gay. He said he had come around a blind corner a few years ago to find both lanes filled with cyclers. That’s a different group of riders, said Sumner; a tour that originates down-country. We went on a fire call in Colrain one year and came up on riders filling both lanes of Route 112. They didn’t move even when we turned the siren on. The upcoming tour is out of Brattleboro, and they are better disciplined. Green recommended writing a letter requesting the tour director to encourage participants to exercise safe riding practices. Gabriel will send an email to the tour director and also post notices of the event on the town web site and Front Porch Forum.
Executive Session (if necessary)
Hearing of Visitors
Rick Gay praised the town highway crew for their good work maintaining the roads. They have been working together nine or ten years, they work well together, and I’d like to see them stay, he said. We are under budget this year; I hope come July you will be able to give them a decent wage so we can keep the crew the way it is. Reviews come up in June, said Green. If we don’t pay a decent wage we’ll lose the best ones. Ray Combs agreed, saying each crew member knows how to operate all the equipment. And we have a good mechanic, who brings thousands of dollars worth of tools to the job, added Sumner. Green told Combs that VLCT produces a yearly report on highway department wage scales which is helpful in determining whether our employees are receiving a fair wage.
Combs spoke about the poor pavement condition on Collins Road and asked how much of it would be repaved this year. Sumner said the highway crew had marked a section after Hanson Road and up across the flat. We’ll know more after the next regular meeting, when paving bids are opened. Branch Road has some rough spots, too, said Green, and Gay mentioned the Deer Park bridge near Burland’s had holes where the gravel road bed met the bridge.
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed and appropriately filed or signed.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:43 p.m.