OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
April 18, 2017
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Ray Combs, Stephan Chait, Ross Barnett, Everett Wilson, Trevor Mance and Mary Beth Maguire (both of TAM, Inc.), Craig Goodenough and Nicholas LaFlam (both of Goodenough Rubbish Removal), Shawn Allen (Triple-T Trucking), and Robbin Gabriel. Christina Moore arrived later in the evening.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 4/4/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Recycling Discussion with Vendors
In advance of choosing a contractor for Town recycling service, the Selectboard invited representatives from three companies to share information and answer questions about recycling in an open meeting. Sumner welcomed each visitor and thanked them for coming as they took turns sitting with the Board for discussion. (Note: Later in the meeting the Board considered an offer from WSWMD to loan roll-off bins to the Town. This possibility was taken into consideration during the following conversations.)
Trevor Mance, of TAM, Inc., in Shaftsbury, was first to speak. In response to questions from Sumner, he told the Board TAM offers both single stream and dual stream recycling. Single stream has the advantage of being more convenient for customers, but it means materials must be separated after pick-up, which adds to the cost. If the Town has its own roll-off bins, there would be no rental fee. Town bins would go into TAM’s rotation. What about contaminated loads?, asked Rafus. Mance defined a contaminated load as one which contains more than 5% non-recyclable items. We would accept the load, he added, but you would be assessed a contamination fee. If a load is rejected, the Town would receive pictures of the contents. Mance said such loads were rare. Mitch Green asked about price fluctuation for paper recycling, as that price would offset some of the Town’s recycling expense. The value of recycled paper changes on a weekly basis, advised Mance. The price is based on a “yellow sheet”—an industry-wide publication tracking current pricing. Our turn-around time is 24 hours; if you call today you’ll get picked up tomorrow. Can your trucks handle any size container?, asked Stephan Chait. Yes, answered Mance. He also told Chait it was acceptable to put aluminum in the glass/metal bin. We will take plastics 1-7, he said; anything but styrofoam. Ray Combs asked if TAM shipped its cardboard to Canada. No, responded Mance; it goes from here to Pownal, then in bales to New York.
Shawn Allen, from Triple-T Trucking in Brattleboro, introduced himself and answered the same series of questions from the Board. Triple-T would offer single stream; everything mixed together, and all grades of plastic (1-7) would be included. We send it to Casella’s, in Rutland, Allen said. Cassella’s specification for contamination is 2% by volume or weight. It would have to be pretty bad, he said; we’ve never had a load turned away. Pricing is based on the assumption the Town would have its own boxes. Do you pay anything for recycling (paper), asked Sumner. No, answered Allen, we charge a $40 shipping and handling fee, and then we pass on whatever Casella charges. So if we’re paying $15 a ton, your price would be $55. Last month they (Casella’s) paid us $9 a ton, so the customer’s price would have been $41. Twenty-four hours would be the maximum time between call-in and pick-up. Yes, Allen told Chait, our trucks can handle any size boxes.
Craig Goodenough, of Goodenough Rubbish Removal, said his business is offering dual stream recycling. We bale our cardboard and it goes either to Claremont, NH, or Putney’s mill in New York, and our paper goes to Putney Paper in Putney, VT. We try to do a lot of green stuff locally. We pull metal, aluminum, and nickel bottles, and try to send as little to Casella’s as possible. There is no tipping fee on mixed paper. Goodenough’s pick-up time will be within twenty-four hours after call-in. He advised that the Town should ask for loaner roll-off bins in the best possible condition from WSWMD, and said he intends to buy some bins to be used for swaps. We’ll get something that’s comparable to what the Town has, he added. Goodenough said he is also handling compost now, although that is not a concern for Halifax as the town does not have a transfer station. Goodenough is also involved in attempts to amend Act 148 and slow down the timeline for upcoming changes in waste handling.
Discuss WSWMD Roll-Off Bin Loan
Windham Solid Waste is offering to loan roll-off bins to district towns at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. The Town has until May 5th to submit a request. Green speculated we would need to buy them eventually, but Sumner said no decisions have been made about that yet. The loan will probably be good for a year. Combs asked if WSWMD would deliver and Sumner said yes. He (Sumner) recommended getting a 30-yard bin, but said there aren’t that many; we usually end up with the 20-yard size. Whatever we get, they should be in decent shape, said Green. Sumner made a motion to request two roll-off boxes from WSWMD as loaners. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Is there any point in having a spare?, asked Chait. Sumner said the District was offering two. He told Chait a bin costs approximately $7,000.
Recycling Contractor Decision
Do we want to make a decision on a recycling contractor tonight?, asked Sumner. Board members reviewed what they had learned about the various operations. Green made a motion to enter into a contract with TAM, Inc., for recycling service for one year. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. In discussion, the Board agreed the Town should request a written contract. Rafus pointed out the Board would be making budget decisions for FY19 before a one-year contract expired. We’ll have at least six or seven months to see how things are working before then said Sumner. He told Christina Moore the Town had approved the money for recycling at Town Meeting, not the contractor. The estimates we received from vendors were based on an average of what WSWMD has picked up in the last few years, said Sumner. We can’t predict how many loads we might have in the coming year.
Adopt and Sign 2017 Local Emergency Operations Plan
To remain eligible for State matching funds from the Emergency Relief Assistance Fund, Vermont towns must update and adopt a local emergency operations plan each year. Ross Barnett, the current Emergency Management Director for Halifax, has reviewed the 2017 updated plan; there are few changes other than contact information. Board members reviewed the document, and Gabriel made several changes. Sumner made a motion to adopt the 2017 Local Emergency Operations Plan. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Sumner signed the plan.
In related discussion, Barnett advised we needed to locate one more laptop computer. Three of those originally provided by Vermont Yankee are available; there were originally four. There is also a question about four copies of the Microsoft Office program, which had been installed on all laptops, but have either been removed or are showing as unregistered. Gabriel will ask former EMD John LaFlamme whether he has any information on the computer and programs. Christina Moore said Microsoft is attempting to switch users to subscription mode for their Office program; our only choice may be a subscription now. However, she continued, free or reduced-price software is available to non-profits from several organizations, including Techsoup. She recommended investigating that avenue.
WRC/Green River Watershed Alliance Support Letter
Sumner asked Chait for an update on the proposed Watershed Alliance project. Nothing new, responded Chait. Windham Regional is compiling the grant application, which will be submitted to High Meadows Fund by June 1st. Halifax, Marlboro, and Guilford, are providing support letters for the project. Chait said he is available to anyone who has questions, and he will bring a copy of the grant application for Board review after it is complete. Everett Wilson said most planned activities will be on private land; WRC is doing surveys to pinpoint the most important projects. Private landowner participation is completely voluntary, said Chait. Several landowners in the Saxton’s River project declined to participate, added Wilson, so plans for those properties were dropped. Sumner made a motion to sign the support letter for the Green River Watershed Alliance project, and send it to Windham Regional. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Green said he would be opposed to the venture if it ever became mandatory.
Chait advised that Town Planners had received notice of a WRC Act 174 energy training event scheduled for May 3rd at the Dover Town Hall. Chait plans to attend, and asked whether any Selectboard members were going. Rafus said he would go, as will Wilson. Wilson said WRC will also be supplying Towns with information about energy use and planning and the requirements of Act 174.
Hearing of Visitors
Christina Moore spoke of a spot on Hatch School Road where water is undercutting the road. There are two culverts at that location; Rafus confirmed they were scheduled for replacement this summer. Moore recommended directing water flow across a field on her property, and said she would give permission for the Highway Department to work on her land, outside of the Town right-of-way.
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Various pieces of correspondence were reviewed. The modified post-closure plan for the landfill has been received from KAS, Inc.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:41 p.m.