OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
January 27, 2020
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Mitchell Green, and Bradley Rafus were present, as were Stephan Chait, David Jones, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Lewis Sumner advised that he and School Director Chum Sumner had discussed combining the Selectboard and School Board informational meetings that are held prior to Town Meeting. After a short discussion, Sumner made a motion to hold a pre-Town Meeting Informational Meeting and Meet the Candidates Night on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. in the Halifax School gymnasium. Brad Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Selectboard and School Board members, and candidates for public office, will be present to answer questions on that night.
Finalize Proposed Budget and Sign 2020 Warning
Board members reviewed the final proposed Selectboard and Highway budgets. Mitch Green noted that only one change has been made since the Board’s last budget meeting; dispatch fees have increased by approximately $400 for the coming year. Green made a motion to approve the proposed budget for FY21 as written. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed, 2-0-1, with Rafus abstaining.
The Board noted that there are two positions to be filled on the Cemetery Commission, and two School Director positions, due to resignations. This is also an election year for the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer positions. Rafus asked about Lister terms; Patty Dow continues to serve, and Tina Blais, whose term ends this year, is running for re-election. The warning includes a citizen-petitioned article for vote on whether the Town should join the Deerfield Valley Communications Union District, and another requesting $500 to support the Windham County Disaster Animal Response Team. Requests for special funding are presented as individual articles this year, rather than in a single article. Stephan Chait commented that the moderator might appreciate that, as he will not have to read the entire table repeatedly. He will still have to read each item, replied Green, but people will have an opportunity to vote on each request separately. Sumner said it has been five years since the voters approved tax exemption for the Halifax Community Club, so there is an article on the Warning for that purpose. Sumner confirmed for Rafus that the $4,000 amount requested to support the Halifax Fire Department (First Responders) is divided so that the Halifax Department receives $1,000 and the Whitingham Firemen’s Association, which provides emergency services in Halifax, receives $3,000, which is paid in quarterly installments throughout the year. Whitingham is pleased with the arrangement, said Sumner. We voted at a recent meeting not to turn an ambulance back (when a call for assistance comes in), because we aren’t certified to do that, while Whitingham has certification. Rafus remarked that Whitingham is doing an excellent job. Green made a motion to approve the 2020 Town Warning as written. Rafus seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. Prior to the vote, Chait asked about the timing of the Broadband Committee’s informational presentation on high-speed broadband service; would that be under Article 3 (the communication union district question)? Sumner said yes, while Green suggested the moderator could invite an explanation of the article prior to the floor vote. There will probably be questions during the informational meeting, also, added Sumner. David Jones, Clerk of the Broadband Committee, said committee members would be present at that meeting and also at Town Meeting. There will also be a table set up offering broadband information during Town Meeting. The Selectmen signed the 2020 Town Warning, which will be publicly posted and printed in the annual Town Report.
Hearing of Visitors
Sumner told Chait that Patty Dow was not able to attend tonight’s meeting due to a prior commitment.
Sumner made a motion to enter executive session, including Gabriel, to discuss a personnel issue. Green seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0. The Board entered executive session at 7:15 p.m., and exited at 7:30 p.m., with no decisions made.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.