OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
November 17, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:26 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Mitchell Green, and Lewis Sumner. Others in attendance were Merle Eggert, Julie Kuhn Macdonald, Jane Rowen Kuhn, Raymond S. Boyd, Michael Drummey, Bradley Rafus, Margo Avakian, Mary Brewster, Keith Bronson, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the November 3, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. Green seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Ø Jane Kuhn – Aldrich Road
Mrs. Kuhn was in attendance to give information regarding the history of Aldrich Road which is currently a Class 4 road, and to request that the Town of Halifax consider the impact to the town that would be created if the Town of Whitingham discontinues a portion of Aldrich Road within that towns borders. She advised that she is in the process of subdividing property that she owns along Aldrich Road in Whitingham. If they should discontinue the road then the only access to those subdivided properties would be by way of the Halifax portion of Aldrich Road. She noted that these properties would be using Halifax roads but paying taxes to Whitingham. She further noted that the discontinuance on the Whitingham side would also seriously impact response times for emergency services to those properties. Mrs. Kuhn further advised that the change in status of that portion of Aldrich road decreases the value of her property and lessens her chances to sell the proposed subdivided parcels. The portion of road in question runs through a portion of only one property. That landowner is requesting the discontinuance. Mrs. Kuhn advised she had even offered to give him a like-sized portion of her land to offset the road portion, but he had refused.
Mrs. Kuhn’s daughter Julie Kuhn Macdonald advised that they had attempted to come to an agreement that would satisfy everyone involved, but the request to discontinue is still being considered. They would like the Selectboard to send a letter of opinion on the matter to the Whitingham Selectboard in time for it to be considered at the public hearing on December 16th.
Ø Keith Bronson – Aldrich Road
Mr. Bronson was in attendance on the same matter, representing the Town of Whitingham. He advised that if the Town of Halifax wants to weigh in on the matter they are welcome to advise in writing or come to the public hearing on December 16th. Both Mr. Bronson and Mrs. Kuhn had maps showing the area in question. The Selectboard reviewed the maps and asked some general questions regarding them. It was noted that state statute provides that when a town is proposing to discontinue a road at the town line, then the abutting town must have a public hearing on the matter and approve the discontinuance. However, in this case the section of road to be discontinued is within the town borders and is not the section that abuts the Halifax town line.
The Board acknowledged that this might impact their ability to have approval power, but that they still might weigh in on the matter at the public hearing. No decision was made but the Board will consider it further at a later time.
Ø Mary Brewster, Halifax Auditors
Ms. Brewster was in attendance to request a timeline for submission of reports from the Selectboard. The Board should have the financial portion of the report completed by December 1st. She also had some questions regarding long term debt versus leases. A short discussion followed. No other issues or questions were raised.
Hearing of Visitors
Ø Michael Drummey
Mr. Drummey was in attendance to update the Board on his activities as Energy Coordinator. He advised that his recent mailing inviting residents to the workshop on “buttoning up” homes and other ways of conserving energy had resulted in only three people attending. This was not a good “bang-for-the-buck” and he advised that he is available to help people and advise them on energy issues and sources for information, but the general outreach approach doesn’t seem to be productive at this time.
Ø Brad Rafus
Mr. Rafus advised that On November 4th the Halifax team of Travis Briggs and Ben Barnett went to the New England Regional Snowplow competition to represent Vermont. They placed third.
Mr. Rafus advised that the logger who is working on property at the end of Old County Road North has been obstructing the area that the town crews have kept clear for turning around. He advised that he has spoken with him but it is a recurring problem. This same logger, when he was at a different site flagrantly ignored requests to keep the area clear. He would move equipment and then the next day it would be right back in the same spot. Mr. Rafus asked if the Board could do something about it especially before winter sets in. He noted that the area where he is talking about is actually past the end of the road and that there is a place just at the end of the road where they can turn the equipment around. So if the area is not cleared, they just will stop the plow at the alternative turnaround.
The Board discussed options and will contact the landowner regarding the situation. They advised that if there is damage to town property or obstructions on town property, the Constable has the authority to write a ticket.
Mr. Rafus advised that the bridge on Josh Road is in bad shape. He inquired if there are or will be funds in the bridge account to cover repairs or whatever is needed.
Mr. Sumner advised that there were funds in the account but he had no definite figure as to how much would be available.
Ø FEMA reimbursement
The Board noted that the paperwork is being processed for the final payment from FEMA for the 2008 ice storm damages. It is for $231,000.
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.
At 9:35 PM a motion was made, seconded and approved to enter Executive Session to consider a legal matter.
At 9:57 PM the Board adjourned the executive session and returned to open session.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that no decisions were made in the executive session.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:58 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk