Town of Halifax, VT
Minutes – Special Meeting
January 25, 2012
Call to Order
A special meeting of the Halifax Selectboard was held at Marlboro College to participate in a Long Term Recovery workshop sponsored by a combined group of State Agencies in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
The meeting was called to order at 2:57 pm. Present were Selectboard members Lewis Sumner and Edee Edwards, with John LaFlamme being absent. Christina Moore (who had to leave part way through the meeting) and Bradley Rafus were also present from Halifax, along with numerous State employees and neighboring town officials, including Windham Regional Commission Director, Chris Campany.
Bradley Rafus noted that the Highway Department had completed work on temporary repairs on Hale Road this afternoon.
Edee Edwards made a motion to update the highway closure resolution to re-open Hale Road, but post the bridge with a weight limit of 12,000 lbs and No Thru Trucks. Lewis Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 2-0.
Discussions about posting the road, notifying emergency dispatch, and otherwise getting the word out were held, and actions noted by all.
The main program started shortly thereafter. The community recovery website is:
www.vtstrong.vermont.gov. This has information for individual recovery, community recovery, transportation recovery, state recovery, and includes lessons learned heard at earlier meetings in other parts of the state.
Participants were asked to consider what they perceived as needs or gaps to continue recovery from Irene in the next 6 months to 24 months. Sheets were filled out to indicate:
• What worked
• What didn’t work
• Future needs
What has been recorded at other meetings was first reported here (and can be found on the website above.
With respect to new comments from our area, the following things were noted in particular:
+ Windham Regional Commission; Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) helped coordinate communications
+ http://www.windhamstatus.org/ is transitioning to become the website of the SE Vt Long Term Recovery Committee, and it has many local resource links
+ SEVCA continues to reach out to individuals who are impacted by Irene, regardless of their financial situation.
+ VEDA loans (Vermont Economic Development Authority) were very helpful for businesses
+ Mt Snow and Stratton were immensely helpful in terms of providing shelter and other assistance.
+ Pots of money sprang up
+ Faith based communities had access to volunteers and supplies.
+ Food banks were good distribution point for cleaning buckets, etc.
+ Pre-storm meeting made the determination to evacuate the low-lying public housing at Melrose Place in advance—this was a wise practice and an excellent decision
+ Ability to get into brooks
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
– Red Cross-no shelters, no cots
– Storm impacted communication systems at a local level
– Lots of small agencies without coordination
– People needed to bring pets to long and short-term shelters—not in part of one town’s plans, but also need to include agricultural animal plans
– Special needs people must be in plan
– Who is in charge? – Vt Emergency Management : Planning and communications and control (while noting that they were flooded out and working out of the back of their cars in some instances).
– We need resources and coordination for the money flow. What is covered?
o Christina Moore noted that banks are asking for liens on our reimbursement from FEMA, when that is needed to replenish our operating budget
o How do we do a bond?
– Only loans are available for businesses; many can’t afford a loan
– Disaster LAN—still no training (some being planned to use Vt. State Police lab, for example)
– Help with paperwork
– Generators with microcells to give power and cellular coverage
– More clarity on Agency of Natural Resource restrictions; some house are still in danger, and one town is being told they cannot change anything
– Debris removal
– Skill set and resource database
– At Town Meeting, note that 211 and website are resources for people still in need.
– Redevelopment capacity / business support
– Physical repairs
– Aesthetics / restore physical environment
– Better communications systems (school alert call systems, radios, Burlington TV isn’t a choice in our satellite packages)
– Week of public awareness blitz to prepare public for disasters
– 154 units of Sr. housing in Brattleboro is in Flood zone
– Establish secondary shelters
– Long-term planning & flood zoning (Marie with ANR can help; WRC is doing flood plain management certifications)
Post meeting, we were able to spend a few minutes discussing our Deer Park Road temporary bridge with John Alexander from VTRANS district 2, who said he was meeting with John LaFlamme in Halifax on Thursday. We were also able to thank Sue Minter, Irene Recovery leader for Vt state for her help thus far in getting us coordinated with John Alexander for temporary bridges, and she noted our ongoing issues with funding and the Weir Road bridge.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 6:05 PM.
Edee Edwards, Selectboard member