OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 19, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme and Mitchell Green. Lewis Sumner was absent. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Green moved to accept the minutes of the May 5, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion.
The motion carried 2-0, and the minutes were approved.
Hearing of Visitors
- Brad Rafus advised that the Town has been approved for both of the grants they had applied for. One is for the re-decking of the bridge on Reed Hill Road and the other is for paving/resurfacing. He has talked with several contractors regarding specs/bids for the contracts. As far as the re-decking specifications, the town only specifies the weight loads and the design is developed by an engineer and then put out to bid.
As far as the paving, they should be able to have bids submitted in time for the June meeting.
- Mr. Rafus advised that they are still wrestling with the state and FEMA regarding the brush issues from the ice storm. He advised that he and Mr. LaFlamme had met with a representative from FEMA on Monday and they were told that FEMA was not going to pay for chipping of the brush. Mr. Rafus advised that he called the state air pollution manager and put pressure on him, stating that it was going to be a large burden on the Town. He also told them that the state AOT was burning on Hogback, and they should be able to do the same. The reply was that the only reason they were burning, is that they have not had complaints. Today he received a call from FEMA saying they would pay for “some” of the chipping.
- Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Army Corps of Engineers is supposed to come and review the “on the ground” debris and an additional work order is proposed. He and Mr. Rafus were told that when the initial work orders were done they were only for standing trees because due to the snow coverage none of the on the ground debris was included.
- Mr. Green advised that they should keep on pressuring the state to allow them to burn the debris. If it is legal for other towns and the state to burn, then they should be able to do so also. Chipping is a much more expensive option and would place a large financial burden on the Town.
- A draft of the Employee Handbook updates was distributed to the Board for review and discussion at the next meeting.
- Mr. LaFlamme announced that on May 13th Halifax participated in the Annual Town Fair in Barre, Vermont. Members of the Road Crew entered the Snow Plow competition along with 32 other teams. The Halifax team of Travis Briggs-driver and Ben Barnett-wing operator took first place and will hold the trophy until next year when they hold the Town Fair. At that time Halifax will be engraved on the trophy. The town should be proud of the caliber of their employees.
- Mr. Rafus advised that he believes that by winning this event they qualify to participate in the New England regional competition that, as far as he knows, is scheduled for this fall to be held in Killington. He is not sure whether they will choose to attend. Mr. LaFlamme advised that he would certainly support them if they choose to do so.
- Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Town Clerk brought to his attention the fact that with the change in custodial personnel at the school, the Town Offices have not been included in the description of duties. Prior to his retirement, Lewis Sumner had donated his time and included the Town Offices in the annual cleaning schedule. The Town Clerk is requesting that the carpet be shampooed and the floors stripped and waxed. She advised that the quote she received was $140.00. She also advised that the windows have not been washed in two years, and requested that they consider having them done this year. She advised that she had been quoted at $20.00 per hour.
Mr. LaFlamme moved to approve the shampooing of the carpets and the stripping and waxing of the floors on an annual basis, and approve up to $100.00 for window cleaning for this year.
Mr. Green seconded the motion, which carried 2-0.
- Rescue Inc, submitted their contract, but there was an error so they will be submitting a corrected contract to be signed and returned.
Mr. LaFlamme noted that the contract amount for Rescue Inc. is $1,000.00 but they have it broken down into monthly payments. With the budget being squeezed and tax money not coming in for a few more months, they may want to do a partial payment to Rescue. Another possibility is to request a partial payment from FEMA for the work already completed on the storm cleanup.
Mr. Rafus advised that would like to move ahead with the paving before the price goes up which usually happens in August. Because it is a large expense to cover before they get reimbursed, he agreed that requesting funds for work completed would help keep the budget more manageable and they might be able to eliminate the need for a short-term loan before tax time.
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 8:08 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk