OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
March 21, 2017
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Bradley Rafus were present; Mitchell Green was away on vacation. Ray Combs, Stephan Chait, Everett Wilson, Janet Taylor, Alice Aldrich, Marion Major (Windham Regional Commission), Emily Blake (Deerfield Valley News), and Robbin Gabriel were also in attendance.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 2/21/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Rafus made a motion to approve the 2/28/17 informational meeting/meet the candidates night minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Sumner made a motion to approve the 3/7/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Sumner made a motion to approve the 3/7/18 emergency meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Green River Watershed Cooperative
Stephan Chait and Everett Wilson are the Town’s Windham Regional Commission representatives. Chait told the meeting that, in that capacity, their duties include bringing information about WRC activities to the Town. Presently WRC is working to create the Green River Watershed Cooperative, involving the towns of Halifax, Guilford, and Marlboro. Projects would assist in improving Green River area flood resiliency and provide educational opportunities for residents at no cost to the towns. Financial support would come from High Meadows Fund.
Chait introduced WRC Planner Marion Major, who was present to share information on the Cooperative project. Major opened by describing a similar WRC project in Saxtons River, which included buffer planting, land conservation easements, and education. This effort proved very successful, and WRC would like to initiate a new project locally, as they believe the Green River watershed offers a lot of opportunities for ecological restoration work. Community participation, including that of the schools and their students, is encouraged, but Major said there is no requirement that town officials be involved except by choice.
The Green River watershed venture is still in early stages; Major said WRC will partake in a summit with High Meadows Fund this coming weekend, and will be submitting their grant application to High Meadows in June. Prior to grant submission, WRC would like to learn the towns’ level of interest, and hear about any local projects that have been considered but not undertaken due to lack of funding. Sumner asked whether WRC had met with Marlboro and Guilford. Major said yes, a colleague has been to Marlboro, and a Guilford meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night; both towns have expressed interest in the project. Ray Combs, who knows the Green River from walking, fishing, and salmon stocking, spoke of the condition of various portions of the river. Chait mentioned the potential project includes the entire watershed area, not just the river. Sumner described post-Irene landslide areas along the river.
Major gave the Selectboard copies of WRC’s letter of interest, which has been submitted to High Meadows Funds. The grant application will go in on June 1st, and High Meadows will make decisions by July 31st, with projects to commence after that date. WRC is asking the Town to write a letter to High Meadows indicating support of the project. Everett Wilson recalled a proposal, made after Irene, that Green River Road be moved. That would cost millions, said Sumner, and involve a lot of red tape. We spent almost two million just rebuilding the road after the storm, added Rafus. Rafus asked whether the WRC project would extend to stonework or armoring along the river. Specifics are undefined at this point, answered Major. Funds are more likely to be used for buffer plantings or alternative measures, but the question could be asked. Rafus mentioned the landslide on private property just above the Deer Park bridge. That section continues to slide, he said, and will eventually affect Deer Park Road. Rafus asked who would be responsible for obtaining any necessary conservation easements needed for projects. WRC will be able to do that, Major responded. She told Alice Aldrich that any funding awarded would be shared equally among the towns, and the towns would be working together.
Hearing of Visitors
No further comments.
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:03 p.m.