OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
January 2, 2019
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Bradley Rafus were present; Mitchell Green was unable to attend. Peggy Rafus, Stephan Chait, Ray Combs, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
FY20 Budget Preparation
This second meeting to prepare the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget was originally scheduled for December 15th, but circumstances required postponement. Tonight the Board reviewed all line items in the Highway portion of the budget. Total projected wages, which include provision for a possible raise, are less than $2,000 over last year’s proposal due to personnel changes. Health insurance is slightly more than last year’s figure. A percentage increase in premiums was mostly offset by changes in plan choices. Participation in the WSWMD solar project has brought electric costs are down; heating oil expense is slightly higher. The sand budget is higher; Rafus said that Act 64 requirements are reducing the amount of time the Highway Department has available to truck the Town’s sand. Salt prices have gone up slightly. The Town is purchasing more culverts than usual, due to the necessity of replacing 15” with 18” culverts. The lease payments proposal would permit trade-in of truck #4 on a new leased truck, but the total for lease payments is down, as one double payment was made last year to pay off the #5 truck. Property and casualty and workman’s comp insurances are less than in FY19 due to credits and no claims. With the addition of $10,000 to the equipment reserve fund, the proposed Highway Department budget for FY20 is approximately $150 less than last year.
The Board updated the Equipment Schedule spreadsheet, which will appear in the annual Town Report. They also added $800 to the Selectboard portion of the proposed budget to fund the repeater tower lease agreement. A few figures are still needed from outside sources. When those are received the Board will meet to review the final proposal. Stephan Chait asked about the cost of stone, and the indirect costs associated with Act 64 compliance. Rafus said that stone and culvert costs are directly affected by Act 64 requirements. The new regulations also result in increased workload for the highway crew, and decreased routine maintenance due to time constraints. However, overall cost to the Town is still considerably less than the cost of hiring outside contractors to complete the projects required by the new regulations. Ray Combs asked whether the closed landfill is still costing the Town money. We still have to continue testing, said Rafus; that costs money. Peggy Rafus noted that the ditches on Stark Mountain, which were lined with stone last year to meet Act 64 requirements, are already filled with silt and debris. What will it cost to redo those?, she asked. We’ll have to dig it out, screen all the rock, and put it back in, said Brad Rafus. We can’t calculate the cost until we actually do the work.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m.