OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
June 21, 2011
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:31 PM. Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards. Board member John LaFlamme was absent. Others in attendance were Jesse White, Bradley Rafus, Peggy Webber, Linda Lyon, Leonard Derby Sr., Earl Holtz, Cara Cheyette, Margo Avakian, Mitchell Green, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the May 27, 2011 meeting with the correction of the date from the 26th to the 27th.
Ms. Edwards seconded the motion with the additional correction on time from PM to AM.
The motion carried 2-0, and the minutes were approved with corrections.
Ms. Edwards moved to approve the minutes of the June 7, 2011 meeting with a correction on page 4 changing a “he” to she.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion after clarification from Mr. Rafus that the John Deere was under specs and that the Case was also.
The motion carried 2-0 and the minutes were approved as corrected.
1. Guy E. Nido Inc.:
2,000 gal. #2 Heating Fuel prepaid by August 15, 2011 = $3.49/gallon
17,500 gal. Diesel:
Summer- 7/1/11 through 10/31/11 & 4/1/12 through 6/30/12 = $3.55/gallon
Winter- 11/1/11 through 3/31/12 (mix 50/50 diesel & kerosene) =$3.70/gallon
2,000 gal. #2 Heating Fuel fixed price until 6/24/11 = #3.654/gallon
17,500 gal. Diesel blended as required for winter temps. = $3.749/gallon
Ms. Edwards moved to accept the Guy E. Nido Inc. bid for heating fuel and diesel as stated in the proposal.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 2-0.
Hearing of Visitors
· Cara Cheyette was in attendance to follow up on the pending driveway permit that was submitted by Michael Drummey for the subdivided parcel she is proposing to purchase. Mr. Rafus advised that he has the permit ready for their signature. He suggested that he would like to do a walk through with the Selectboard, abutting landowners, Ms. Cheyette, and her contractor, so that everyone has any concerns addressed regarding drainage, or any other issues. He further advised there were some questions regarding where power was to be brought in from. Ms. Cheyette advised she was happy to address that concern, the power would be from Mr. Drummey’s side, as it is shorter than from Collins Road. Regarding the drainage, her contractor is addressing those issues. She advised that a walk through is fine.
Mr. Rafus advised that the main concerns with the abutters were in regard to power, trees and drainage, and where and how these were being addressed. Ms. Cheyette advised that she thought there might be a misunderstanding because of the stakes and markers that were placed by the Power Company to show the distances and placement if she chose that route.
The Board agreed to set up a site visit to do the walk through, but advised it would not be until after the special town meeting, possibly the following weekend.
· Linda Lyon advised that she appreciated the improvements to the town website but she would like it to be even better. She referred to the websites of the surrounding towns and would like to see school notices and other community functions posted. She suggested that while not everyone has a computer there are places where public access is available such as the Whitingham Free Public Library. She further suggested that once a website is set up it’s not that difficult to post things.
Earl Holtz advised that members of the Broadband Committee have requested that minutes, agendas, and any other pertinent information from or about that committee be posted on the official town website. They also asked that a member of the committee be trained to do the posting so it happens in a timely manner.
Ms. Lyon advised that she hasn’t lived in town long she finds it hard to get information about what’s going on. She feels that with an improved website she would not feel so isolated from community events. Further she advised that the Internet is an easy and inexpensive way to bring the community together.
Ms. Edwards advised that she’s still struggling with what the barriers to the website are. She advised that one problem with the “unofficial” website is that you have to register to access it. Some people don’t want to have to register. This is creating a split between those who go to that site and those who go to the “official” town website where you do not have to register. She feels that if the current website is difficult to manage then we should take advantage of the many volunteers and if necessary create a whole new website.
Ms. Lyon suggested that perhaps an invitation should be posted on the website asking for volunteers to join a group to work on the site to make it a really good one.
Mr. Holtz inquired if there was one person more in charge than somebody else. Ms. Evanuk advised that she would say that the webmaster was. When asked who that was she advised that Robert Teree is the webmaster and his contact information is on the website.
Ms. Lyon asked if he was a Halifax resident. She was informed that he is a landowner and is building a house in town but currently is not a resident. Ms. Lyons advised she felt it should be Halifax driven and because he’s familiar with the site he could still be included.
Peggy Webber asked if the town pays for the site and was told it paid very little. She advised that is a concern because websites can be very expensive, buying a domain name for instance. She also noted that there are protocols to be followed regarding copyrights and what can and can’t be transmitted.
Ms. Lyon advised they are not that expensive, the Fire Department and the EMS have websites and they are not expensive. She noted that Christina Moore had several domain names that she had offered to the town.
Ms. Edwards advised that fortunately government information is not copyrighted, but there are certainly limitations on what can be published to a site. She further advised that we also need to be sure that whatever we post to the site is easily accessible for dial-up users as well, which means it needs to be fairly simple.
This topic will be on the July 19th meeting agenda for further discussion.
· Jesse White advised that he’s never seen such a mess. When he visits other towns, even in New York, he is questioned about what is going on in Halifax. He advised that other towns know more about what’s going on here than the residents do. His second issue was with the condition of some of the trees, some really bad maples on Town Hill. He also mentioned the condition of the roads, and then advised Mr. Rafus that he had spoken with DOT regarding the overloading of the town trucks. He advised he was going to go further and see what could be done.
Mr. Rafus advised that they are carrying loads that are within the limits allowed.
Ms. Edwards asked Mr. White for clarification regarding his comments about what’s going on in Halifax. He advised he has been asked what’s going on? What’s wrong with the road crew? What’s the matter with the selectmen? Don’t they rule the town? He advised you hear all this gossip from other towns all the time. They get the paper and follow it. It’s like the best gossip in the world. He advised that the road crew doesn’t get along, they’re always fighting, and he got that information from a source that he won’t name.
· Ms. Lyons asked to get back to the subject of the website. She wanted to know what would happen next, as she may not be able to be at the next meeting. Will there be additional information?
Mr. Sumner advised they would discuss it with the people involved and try to have additional information about options for the next meeting. Ms. Evanuk advised she would contact the others involved and discuss it.
More suggestions for recruiting volunteers to manage the site were voiced.
Mr. Green suggested that as one of the Board members was not in attendance they should wait until the next meeting to continue this and no decisions should be made tonight.
Mr. Holtz advised that it didn’t make any difference whether they were all in attendance or not, this has been discussed for several years. He advised what they are looking for is somebody with “a little more skin in the game who maybe wants to get it up and running for the town”. He further advised that as much as Mr. Teree has “done a decent job of providing us with a platform, he hasn’t done a great job in getting it implemented.” He advised that if the site was up to date they would have at least 30 or 40 more people involved in what’s going on. He advised that is what you want in town government.
Ms. Edwards proposed that they come to the next meeting with a totally new platform idea, literally a new site, just to say here are the things that a new site could bring us such as potentially easier administration, which is a huge barrier. We should design it for dial-up users because she has heard that some of them cannot get to the website since it has been upgraded. Just come in with a plan to do it differently. “I know that sometimes people who have volunteered will be upset about that, but at the same time I think we need a functioning site that has all the information that townspeople want. We’ve got to find a way to get there.”
· Crack Sealer for roads: Mr. Rafus had the figures for purchasing material with Whitingham, as they had discussed a while back. The price is $3,600 per pallet, which does approximately one mile of road. They would need to purchase two pallets.
Ms. Edwards moved to approve the purchase of two pallets of crack sealer material for a total of $7,200 through the agreement with Whitingham.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 2-0.
· Grader update:
Ms. Edwards distributed copies of the Life Cycle Cost Analysis she had done for the grader options that were presented at the last meeting. (Copy attached) She explained the process used to complete this report. General discussion followed and questions regarding the cost comparisons were raised.
Mr. Rafus asked if the Board would have a decision made as to which piece of equipment they will purchase if the vote is to purchase. He advised that if they have not decided, you would be asking the voters to decide without knowing the cost.
Discussion regarding whether or not to meet and decide prior to the Town Meeting followed. The Board will consider it further and consult with Mr. LaFlamme when he returns.
· Ray White requested clarification on the need for a driveway permit for temporary access during a logging operation. He was informed that one was needed, and he submitted the paperwork for approval.
The CVPS application for work on Reed Hill Road was reviewed.
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 9:14 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk