OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
January 29, 2019
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Bradley Rafus were present; Mitchell Green arrived at 7:15. Nancy McCrea, Diana Conway, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Finalize March 2019 Proposed Budget and Town Warning
Rafus asked whether any budget figures had changed since the Board’s last review. Gabriel said $15,000 had been removed from the income side; that amount represented past Vermont Yankee grant monies, which are not available for this coming fiscal year. The Town received $15,000 a year for two years after the plant closed. Rafus noted that the large highway expenditure shown in the FY18 column reflects the cost of October 2017 storm repairs and will be offset by FEMA reimbursement funds received in FY19. That often happens, said Sumner; we get the money, but we don’t always get it in that fiscal year. He said the Highway budget for FY20 is $238 less than it was in FY19, and the Selectboard budget is not quite $10,000 higher. A few minor corrections were made to the equipment schedule.
The Board reviewed a draft of the warning for the Town report. Sumner and Rafus explained the process of running for Town office and voting on warning articles for Nancy McCrea and Diana Conway. Candidates for office must file a petition to get on the ballot; Sumner said yesterday was the filing deadline. At Town Meeting, voters can propose amendments to the budget from the floor if they wish, and if those amendments pass the Selectboard then decides where to make cuts. Rafus recalled that a few years ago someone proposed an amendment to cut paving funding, but the amendment didn’t pass. Sumner told Green the Whitingham Public Library has submitted a petition requesting $500 more in funding than last year. During a discussion about the Community Club, Green said he felt the Club should raise money through private fund-raising rather than Town funding. Rafus explained that the yearly Town celebration is put on by a separate committee, not by the Community Club, and it became self-supporting after the first year. Sumner made a motion to approve the 2019 Town warning as written. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Board members signed the document, which will be posted and will appear in the Town Report.
Rafus, who first stated he would recuse himself, suggested the Selectboard should at some point consider revising Town policy for employee vacation leave. At present employees are entitled to a maximum of four weeks’ vacation per year once they have been employed for twelve years. Three of the Town employees have more seniority than that, another will reach the twelve-year mark next year, and one was just hired last year. Rafus said other towns offer five weeks after twenty years of employment. Sumner advised vacation leave discussion would be on the Selectboard’s February 5th meeting agenda.
Rafus also told the Board he has rented a backhoe for highway department use while the excavator is away for repairs.
Hearing of Visitors
The meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m.