OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
October 17, 2017
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Stephan Chait, Raymond Combs, Penfield Chester, and Robbin Gabriel. Andy Rice and Pete LaFogg arrived shortly after the meeting opened.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Brad Rafus added discussion of the Stowe Mountain bridge, and Lewis Sumner requested a decision on 2020 census participation.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Mitch Green made a motion to approve the 10/3/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Town highway crew employees must have a DOT physical every two years, said Sumner; it’s not cheap, and they have been paying out of their own pockets. A lot of businesses pay for their employees physicals. It is a requirement for the job, added Green. Ray Combs recommended the Town pay for DOT physicals. Green made a motion that the Town cover the cost of employee DOT physicals. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus abstaining. Does that include eye exams?, asked Stephan Chait. There is a basic vision test, replied Rafus; if you don’t pass that, a more extensive exam is required. Hearing is also tested.
(Note: The EMS discussion was briefly postponed in anticipation of Andy Rice’s arrival.)
Old County Road Right-of-Way
Rafus told the Board the property owner at 41 Old County Road wanted to plant grass seed in a four-foot width of the Town right of way, narrowing the road by that width. They are asking the Town not to plow or grade that section. We just can’t do it, said Rafus; the right of way is 66 feet and we are already well within that. The current road surface is 21 feet now, and it is supposed to be 22 feet. Green suggested drafting a letter explaining the Town cannot make this change, and Rafus said the town attorney should handle that, as he has already had some involvement in the conversation. Town Attorney Bob Fisher is not immediately available due to a family emergency, but Gabriel will ask him to respond when he returns.
After a conversation with Christina Moore, Andy Rice said he will find out–from the people who donated the Tahoe squad car to Halifax EMS—whether there are any restrictions or conditions on its future use. Rice said the EMS board needs to meet to make decisions about the Tahoe, funds donated to EMS, and the dispensation of the pager/radios. Moore is expected to be in Puerto Rico for an extended period of time; Rice said he would attempt to arrange an EMS board meeting early in November when Moore will be returning to Vermont briefly. Sumner said the Selectboard needed a decision on the squad car because the vehicle is registered to and insured by the Town.
Rice also reported that, as Constable, he has met numerous times with the current residents at 194 Old Green River Road, and while the fire-damaged car has now been removed, the dumpster and building still need to be dealt with. According to the conditions of an existing permit, a storage building must be removed before November 1st or the first snowfall, whichever comes first. Rafus said if the dumpster is not moved, Triple-T will come get it. Rice noted that awning supports are also in the right of way at that location.
Rice said he would be spending more time on the roads, as there have been increased incidences of speeding on Town roads lately, and he is working with Vermont State police regarding the recent spate of robberies. Have there been additional break-ins?, asked Chait. A few, Sumner replied. He mentioned a newspaper report of a burglary on Old County Road.
Rice also confirmed for Gabriel that first aid and CPR classes will be held at the fire department on October 23rd and October 30th. Anyone interested in a higher level of training can do so through Deerfield Valley Rescue.
Deer Park Road Bridge Replacement
Pete LaFogg advised work began on the bridge replacement on Monday. Everything is prepped, and the slabs are arriving Wednesday morning. Once the slabs are set, grouting and membrane will be installed, the bridge will be blacktopped, and gravel added at both ends. While LaFogg is hoping to have construction done by Friday, except for the rails, the bridge is scheduled to be closed through Monday the 23rd, to allow the project sufficient time. When will the road reopen?, asked Chait. Tuesday, Rafus replied.
Sumner said the Town has received a query from the federal government regarding voluntary participation in the U.S. 2020 Census. Sumner recommended the Town not participate, as the local update process is time-consuming and costly. The Census Bureau’s time estimate for the project ranges from 16 to 674 hours, said Gabriel. They’re looking for detailed information about virtually every structure in town. We have never done it before, said Sumner. Sumner made a motion that the town not be involved in the 2020 Census local update process. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. It’s not mandatory?, asked Combs. If we do participate, who runs it? The Town does the work, said Sumner, and Gabriel noted the Census Bureau would provide training sessions for those involved.
Stowe Mountain Road Bridge
Several weeks ago an accident on Stowe Mountain Road (Bridge #22) knocked the guardrails off one side of the bridge. The Board has received two estimates for repairs, as follows:
Renaud Bros., Inc., Vernon, Vermont: Labor, equipment, and materials to perform traffic control with signage, excavation, concrete demolition, removal of damaged concrete, preparation for new concrete, drilling and grouting, installation of approximately 500 lbs. of rebar, installation of 4 yards of concrete, and forming of new rail to match existing. Price all inclusive ($2,000 materials + $4,500 labor), $6,500.00.
LaFogg and Hathaway Construction, Inc., Williamsburg, Massachusetts: (Two estimates.) Job #1: Replace broken concrete bridge pillars and rail with cast-in-place concrete, matching remaining side of the bridge that is still intact. Remove broken sections of pillar and concrete rail from brook. Clean side of bridge abutment and deck as much as needed for access. Drill into existing abutment and bridge deck, install rebar, anchor and form pillars and rail pillars, approximately 16” x 16” x 53,” rail approximately 9” thick by 48” tall, along the side of the bridge. $16,800. Job #2: Existing deck is approximately 15’ x 15,’ with approximately 16” of gravel cover. Construct a concrete deck approximately 15’ x 20’ x 12” over the existing deck. Strip off gravel, clean deck, construct cast-in-place concrete deck over existing deck approximately three feet beyond abutments. Rebar three rows of 12” x 12” horizontal rib with minimum 2” cover, tie rebar into existing structure. Place concrete, bring to grade with processed gravel. $48,000.
LaFogg provided pictures for the Board to review. In discussion, Rafus and LaFogg told Green a replacement deck would not be wider, because of headwall limitations. LaFogg submitted the full deck replacement estimate for consideration because the existing deck is about 6” thick, with approximately 16” of gravel on top. Placing a temporary guardrail for the winter is not an option, as rain will carry the gravel into the brook. Can we get the repairs done before the ground freezes?, asked Green. Either contractor could get the project done before winter, answered Rafus. Green made a motion to accept Renaud Bros. bid for $6,500.00 to repair the rail on the Stowe Mountain bridge. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Combs asked whether the specifications were acceptable. Yes, answered Rafus, both sets of specs are about the same. LaFogg was surprised by the difference in price, but said Renaud is a reputable company and has done a lot of work for the town. I feel my price is fair, said LeFogg, but if I were on the Board I’d want to take that (lower) price. Renaud and LaFogg are our top two contractors, added Rafus. They have done 90% of our bridges, and we’ve had no issues with either company.
Gabriel will submit the repair estimate and other documentation for insurance reimbursement.
Rafus reported on other current Town projects—Gravel crushing will be complete in about two more days, with 9,000 yards crushed; Renaud’s will be moving their equipment out of the Town Garage yard shortly; Vermont Roadworks should be back on Thursday to finish shoulders and aprons on the Branch Road paving; and the salt shed addition is close to completion. Chait remarked that the striping machine had come through and marked paved roads. They will be back to do the newly paved section of Branch Road, said Rafus.
Hearing of Visitors
Combs said the highway department had done a good job of demolishing and cleaning up the old Town Garage on Brook Road. Rafus told Chait roadside mowing was still in progress.
Sign Orders to the Treasurer
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
New correspondence was reviewed. 2018 pricing schedules have been received from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and will be discussed at the next regular meeting. One overweight permit was signed. Board members discussed a list of the extensive requirements Towns must comply with if they choose to withdraw from the Windham Solid Waste Management District.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:18 p.m.