OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
July 16, 2019
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Bradley Rafus were present; Mitchell Green was unable to attend. Stephan Chait, Ray Combs, Tom Raffensperger, Laure Raffensperger, Nancy McCrea, Diana Conway, Andrea Rand, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Lewis Sumner advised that Andrea Rand would like to be on this meeting’s agenda. When she made the request the notice had already been posted.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Sumner made a motion to approve the 7/2/19 regular meeting minutes as written. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0.
Approval of the 7/13/19 public hearing minutes was postponed until the August 6th regular meeting.
Tom Raffensperger—New England Green River Marathon
Tom and Laure Raffensperger came to a Selectboard meeting last year to talk about their Green River Marathon. The event will be held again this year, on Sunday, September 1st. Runners will begin at Marlboro College, travel Moss Hollow Road into Halifax, then down Green River Road into Guilford and on to their final destination, Greenfield Community College. Last year, due to bridge repairs, Green River Road was closed to through traffic at the time of the race, and the Highway Department arranged a path for marathon participants across the dismantled bridge. Raffensperger asked the Selectboard if they would consider closing Green River Road this year–between Moss Hollow and Deer Park–from 7:00-8:30 a.m., as a safety measure. Board members discussed ways and means; notices would be posted in advance, published in the Deerfield Valley News and The Commons, and Rafus said he could provide signs and barricades that the marathon coordinators could move into place at 7:00 a.m. and remove at 8:30. Raffensperger suggested “Local Traffic Only” signs, which would allow access for vehicles needing to get through, while alerting drivers that there were runners using the road. Stephan Chait suggested a detour, but others pointed out there really is no alternate route. Ray Combs said they could post someone at the corner (Moss Hollow/Green River Road intersection), and Raffensperger said that was in the plan. There will also be people along the route, with an aid station partway down Green River Road and another at Hinesburg Road. Raffensperger told Chait 450 people are registered; he expects about 390 of those to show up. Last year there were 400 registrants and 320 runners. Diana Conway recommended putting up some signs announcing the run a few days in advance; Raffensperger agreed. Sumner made a motion to close Green River Road on September 1, 2019, 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., from Moss Hollow Road to Deer Park Road, with appropriate signage in place. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. Sumner asked that everything be cleaned up after the race; he said the coordinators did a good job last year.
Set New Employee Review Date
Sumner and Rafus agreed to postpone this scheduling decision until all three Board members were present.
Sign Windham County Humane Society Yearly Contract
Sumner made a motion to sign the 2019 yearly contract with Windham County Humane Society. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. In discussion before the vote, Sumner told Ray Combs that WCHS was located in Brattleboro, and confirmed for Diana Conway that they took in lost and stray animals. Rafus explained that, by law, if the Town did not contract with an animal shelter it had to have its own facilities for handling strays. Stephan Chait asked about cost. The Town pays a flat fee of $300 a year.
Andrea Rand told the meeting that she had learned, on July 6th, of the existence of a closed landfill on Branch Road and the PFOA testing that has been done in the landfill and on adjacent properties. We’ve only been here a couple of years, she said, and this is the first we’ve heard of the landfill and testing. Rand has spoken with Gabriel, Rafus, and Kasey Kathan (an environmental analyst with Vermont Agency of Natural Resources) to learn more about the situation. At this point, she said, my only concern is that because we don’t have any testing going up (north) from the dump site, we don’t know how far contaminants go in that direction. The Rand property is at 1377 Branch Road, upstream from the closed landfill. Rand said she was not concerned about surfacial ground waters, as Kathan said movement is generally downstream, but she (Rand) is wondering about bedrock waters and their well, which is 80 feet deep. Rand said she knew that wells on several properties adjacent to the landfill had all tested negative, although Greg’s well (Marguet—the Kristine Boyko parcel) was an unknown because the owner had refused testing. The Rand property does not abut the landfill, and they were not told about the PFOA issue when they purchased their house. Rand said she didn’t think her well needed to be tested, but wondered if, legally, they must mention the possibility of contamination should they decide to sell. She knows the testing is expensive; if eventually they decide to sell, who would cover the cost of a well test? Combs asked what the realtor had said at the time of the sale. Rand thought it would have been the previous landowners’ responsibility to inform the buyer, although both seller and realtor may have been unaware of the issue. Sumner and Rafus clarified for Rand that the Phelan well, which has been tested, is upstream of the landfill site, and not downstream as she had originally thought. The Phelan well tested negative last fall (2018); the landfill monitoring well was tested this spring but the results have not come back yet. Rand said she just wanted her concerns to be on record. There was general discussion about the widespread presence of PFOA in many items we use daily. Earlier this year, Sumner had saved a newspaper article discussing PFOA; the Board gave Rand a copy of the article.
Hearing of Visitors
Stephan Chait reported that tree trimming work under utility lines has continued on Vaughn Road this week; the contractors are now using a bucket truck and chipper, and are cleaning up as they go. They are doing a decent job, and there are plans to repair the drainage ditch, he said. Ray Combs said the new piece of equipment the contractors have been using is parked up on Tucker Road. Rafus asked Gabriel to post a notice on the Town web site advising the roadside tree and brush cutting is not being done by the Highway Department; Green Mountain Power and their contractors are clearing growth around power lines.
I didn’t hear how much the Firemen’s Auction raised, said Diana Conway. About $2,300, replied Sumner. He told Combs the amount has ranged from $1,800 to $3,500 in past years.
Selectboard’s Order to Treasurer for Payment
The Selectboard’s Order to the Treasurer was reviewed and signed.
Correspondence was reviewed and filed. One driveway permit was signed.
Sumner made a motion to enter executive session, including Gabriel, to discuss a real estate proposal. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0. The Board entered executive session at 7:40, and exited at 7:59, with no decisions made.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.