OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
INFORMATIONAL MEETING/MEET THE CANDIDATES NIGHT
February 26, 2019
Approximately two dozen citizens gathered at 7:00 p.m. February 26th in the Halifax School multipurpose room to participate in the yearly Informational Meeting and hear from candidates running for Town office. Paul Blais presided as Moderator, and Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present. This year Greg Marguet is running against incumbent Bradley Rafus for a three-year position on the Selectboard, while Paul Blais (Moderator, one year), Mary Brewster (Lister, three years), April Dupuis (Auditor, three years), Laura Sumner (Collector of Delinquent Taxes, one year), Tina Blais (Town Agent, one year), Stephen Cohen (Trustee of Public Funds, three years), Clifton Inman (Cemetery Commissioner, three years), and Homer “Chum” Sumner (School Director, three years), are running unopposed. Marguet introduced himself to the audience and spoke of his years in Halifax and the changes he has witnessed in the area over those years, while Rafus, who has lived here 51 years and worked for the Town as Road Commissioner 18-20 years, spoke of his dedication to preserving small town values and keeping the budget and taxes down. He stressed the importance of long-term planning, especially in light of the State’s Act 64 requirements, which will be expensive for the Town. Tina Blais, when asked about a Town Agent’s duties, explained that the position involved acting as the Town’s representative in legal proceedings if called upon to do so. Lewis Sumner advised that the proposed FY20 budget was pretty much level-funded, with the Highway Budget slightly lower and the Town Budget up about $10,000. He said non-tax revenues were slightly less for FY20, as no further Vermont Yankee grants are available. Rafus answered a number of questions from Marguet regarding leasing and repair costs for Town trucks and the cost of hauling sand and stone. Marguet suggested the Highway Department should regularly post its work schedule in the form of a public notice.
Chum Sumner, who has served on the School Board for 42 years, responded to questions about the new Southern Valley Unified Union School District. Halifax and Readsboro are sharing a Principal, which he said is working well. The school’s informational meeting was held on February 22nd with few attendees. On learning that many people had not been aware of the date Sumner apologized and suggested sending a separate postcard to all voters next year. He also told the meeting that Stamford has been awarded a grant to study the feasibility of merging with Clarksburg, Massachusetts. He said our current unified district would be reluctant to include Stamford at this point because Readsboro and Halifax would then have to absorb a portion of the expense resulting from Stamford’s lost small schools grant.
The meeting concluded at approximately 8:00 p.m.