OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
December 4, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green (arriving 7:08), and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Peggy Rafus, Ray Combs, Nancy McCrea, Diane Conway, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Lewis Sumner made a motion to approve the 11/20/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Rafus made a motion to approve the 12/1/18 special meeting minutes as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
ADA/Energy Conservation Officer Positions
These two municipal positions remained open when appointments were made after 2018 Town Meeting. Robert (Bob) Leete recently volunteered to serve in both capacities. Sumner made a motion to appoint Robert Leete as ADA Coordinator. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. Ray Combs asked what the position involved. It’s the Americans with Disabilities Act, replied Sumner. Public buildings have to be handicapped accessible. He told Nancy McCrea it is a volunteer position. Sumner said Leete has also offered to serve as Energy Conservation Officer. Leete is the only one who has volunteered, said Sumner; it really should be a three to five person committee. We’ll keep it posted, he added, and hope more will volunteer. Sumner made a motion to appoint Robert Leete as Energy Conservation Officer. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. Rafus recommended that when a committee is formed, a first order of business might be to investigate grant availability from Vermont Efficiency to upgrade the lighting in the Town Office conference room. The Fire Department could be a good source of information, as they are currently working with Vermont Efficiency. Sumner said the Fire Department is in the process of undergoing a Vermont Efficiency audit.
Executive Session (if needed)
Hearing of Visitors
Ray Combs asked if the school building was part of the new merger (Southern Valley Unified Union School District). Yes, said Sumner. If the school should be dissolved, we (the Town) get it back for a dollar. Why would the schools dissolve?, asked McCrea. They aren’t talking about it, answered Sumner, but the State is planning for larger school districts, so there is language in the contract covering the possibility. If the school were to close, the Town gets the building back for a dollar. Readsboro is the same way.
Peggy Rafus said that during the recent storm many people were without power, telephone, or any means of communication. She mentioned a previous discussion about getting hand-held radios for the Fire and Highway departments, the EMD, Constable, and other Town officials. Peggy provided the Board with a quote she had requested for the radios from R&R Communications. The quote is for five radios; they are both digital and analog, which would allow across-the-board communication. Sumner advised that a similar discussion was held at the Monday night firemen’s meeting and the Fire Department is also requesting a quote from R&R. Combs asked if the current radios do not work when the power is out. They work, said Rafus, but with the new repeater the Highway Department has a digital system, while the Fire Department and dispatch are analog, and the systems cannot talk to each other. Peggy Rafus said there was one spare radio that could be used by the Fire Department until their new radios are available.
Peggy also advised that during an emergency the school is the designated shelter, although it is not presently Red Cross certified. She is working to get that certification, and also exploring other shelter possibilities. The Town Garage can also be used. The Town Office is not an emergency shelter. Brad Rafus stressed the importance of acquiring Red Cross certification; without that, any supplies used during an emergency situation are not FEMA reimbursable. Peggy Rafus said the Red Cross could bring in items like water, portable showers, and cots. Mitch Green thought the certification process had been completed long ago; he was told that several past EMDs has begun the process but it was never finalized. Peggy explained that in an emergency certain procedures must be followed, with the EMD and Selectboard as part of the chain of command. She said communication with the Red Cross on the certification was proving difficult. The Community Hall might be an alternative warming shelter in the event that school is in session during an event, but the Hall would need a generator. Peggy recommended having supplies stored locally in advance of an emergency, and is also compiling a list of at-risk individuals for use in future storms.
The Board continued discussion on the portable radios. Brad Rafus said funds were budgeted in FY19, under EOC equipment, to cover the purchase. Sumner made a motion to purchase five portable radios, using EOC equipment funds. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Combs asked about the supplier; Sumner said R&R Communications is located in Swanzey, NH, and the Town has had good experience with them previously. The radios will be Motorola brand; Rafus said the Highway Department has found Motorola to be very satisfactory.
Green asked whether the letter to residents at 10070 Jacksonville Stage Road, regarding vehicles in the road, had been delivered. Sumner said yes, Constable Andy Rice had hand-delivered it Monday night.
Sumner asked whether payment had been made this year on the Farrington repeater contract. Gabriel will check with the Treasurer. Rafus reminded the Board that a line item needs to be added to the FY20 proposed budget.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed. Rescue, Inc. has submitted contract cost for services for the new year. There will be a 1% increase per year for the next three years.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.