OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
July 21, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme and Lewis Sumner. Mitchell Green arrived at 7:37. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Christina Moore, Bill Moore, Greg Marguet, Andy Rice, Brad Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the July 7, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0, and the minutes were approved.
(Mr. Green joined the meeting here)
Hearing of Visitors
- Mr. Rice advised he wanted to discuss the situation on Thomas Hill. He felt that there are some people up on Thomas Hill who deserve an apology from a town employee regarding that employee’s behavior and comments. He further advised that he thought that Mr. Rafus had taken care of the immediate problem, and he further advised that “I think I want somebody up there this week cutting all those stumps down, it looks like crap, you don’t leave six foot stumps and whatever. It just ….the whole thing looks terrible, and I don’t know, Brad may have already made arrangements to have some of this done, it’s unfortunate that it happened, but let’s clean it up.”
Mr. Rafus responded “I haven’t got anything first hand as far as one of my guys being rude to anybody. Neither person who has been brought to my attention has said anything to me. So it’s kind of hard to deal with something until I get an official complaint about it. We have taken care of the situation over there as far as….we changed the personnel over there.”
Ms. Avakian inquired as to what the problem was and Mr. Rice advised that a lot of trees were cut that didn’t need to be and a lot of trees were damaged while others were being cut.
Mr. Rafus advised he was on vacation when most of the cutting was done. He further advised that the employee had been instructed as to which trees were to be cut, but took it upon himself to cut more than he had been instructed to do. Mr. Rafus is now closely monitoring the project to insure this doesn’t happen again.
Mr. Green advised he wanted to know if anything had been cut down that was not in the Town right of way. He advised that if it was in the right of way the Town has the right to cut it.
A short discussion of right to cut versus the right thing to do followed.
Mr. Rafus advised that he had done a little research on the matter and he found that on August 16, 1983 the Selectboard passed a highway ordinance that stated “minimum specifications for the highway is all trees 18 feet from the center line of the road must be removed.” And he advised it also stated that “the right of way must be cleared of all stumps, brush, and trash.”
Mr. LaFlamme advised that the trees that are being cut down have been determined hazardous, and are being removed as part of the reclamation from the December Ice Storm. The trees that have been classified as hazardous include all that have more than 50% of the crown damaged, and any tree that leans 30% or more, or has exposed heartwood. He noted that in some areas (where the storm damage was more severe) this is encompassing a lot of trees.
- Mrs. Moore advised that she had three items. One was that she wanted to know if they had decided on an appointment to the Rescue Board [Mr. LaFlamme advised they had not made a decision]; Two was to inform them that the Planning Commission Secretary had a recommendation letter for the Board [which they had already received]; and Three was that she was interested in the Rescue Board appointment and if appointed thought that she would resign from the Planning Commission and ZBA to allow time for the Rescue appointment. She further advised that she would request that the Selectboard appoint her husband, Bill Moore to the position on the Planning Commission and ZBA to replace her.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that if she chooses to resign from the Planning Commission/ZBA that is her choice, and with her experience with EMS, she would be good in that capacity also.
Mrs. Moore advised that they could postpone an appointment to the Rescue Board for a year so that she could continue on the Planning Commission. Mrs. Moore withdrew her tentative resignation and Mr. LaFlamme advised that if no one else is willing to serve on Rescue, he will fill in for a year and then they can revisit the situation.
- Mr. Marguet asked about the status of the Town website. He was advised that they have been working on improvements to the site, and negotiating better access for posting and removal of outdated items.
- Mr. Rafus advised that the requests for bids for the #33 Bridge Deck replacement have been mailed out. He has been in contact with three out of four of the contractors. The bids will be mailed in time for the next Selectboard meeting.
- Mr. Marguet requested that the Selectboard appoint him as an alternate representative to the Windham Solid Waste Management District because he says that the current representatives don’t show up.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Town is allowed one representative and one alternate and both of these positions are currently filled.
- Confirmation of FEMA Ice Storm cleanup extension was received.
- Underground power line extension on Moss Hollow Road to the Marlboro town line.
Mr. Green moved to approve the extension of the underground power lines on Moss Hollow Road to the Marlboro town line.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
- Planning Commission recommendation on re-adoption of the 2004 Town Plan.
The Selectboard agreed to hold the required public hearing for re-adoption on September 1, 2009 at 7:00 PM. The regular Selectboard meeting will immediately follow the hearing.
The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.
Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment
The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:39 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk