OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
November 5, 2013
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm. Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Earl Holtz, and Edee Edwards. Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Margo Avakian, Brad Rafus, John LaFlamme, Ray Combs, Ross Barnett, Christina More, and Heidi Tayler (DVR).
Approval of Minutes
Edwards made a motion to accept the October 15, 2013 Regular meeting minutes as amended. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Sumner made a motion to accept the October 17, 2013 Special meeting minutes as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Sumner made a motion to accept the October 21, 2013 Regular meeting minutes as written. Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Edwards made a motion to accept the October 22, 2013 Special meeting minutes as written. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Edwards made a motion to accept the October 28, 2013 Regular meeting minutes as amended. Sumner seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Edwards made a motion to accept the October 29, 2013 Special meeting minutes as amended. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-1 (Sumner abstained).
Edwards made a motion to accept the October 29, 2013 Public meeting minutes as amended. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Deerfield Valley Rescue Quarterly Report
Heidi Tayler from Deerfield Valley Rescue reported that through 9/30/13, DVR responded to 7 calls in Halifax (2 transported to SWVT Medical Center, 3 transported to Brattleboro Memorial, 1 transported to Baystate in Greenfield, MA, and 1 had no transport). None of the patients were subscribers to DVR or WASI. A total of $4980.45 was charged out ($657.52 were Medicare/Medicaid write offs, $3396.93 was received, and $926 is outstanding). Edwards explained that they are going into the budget season and would like to understand what to budget for next fiscal year. Edwards also questioned whether they should be splitting out emergency services as part of the budget process this year (versus omnibus budget). Tayler also mentioned that DVR is working on a subscription drive in hopes of reducing the financial burdens to the towns. There was a discussion about Dover’s emergency services and their lack of a first responder agency. The group discussed call volume. Tayler explained that there were 51 calls to Whitingham, which was more than expected. Moore explained that the Halifax calls are extremely low as they typically had done 40-50 calls annually and pointed out that 7 calls is a 50% decrease for the quarter. Tayler also noted that they are anticipating hiring a part-time employee for the winter and plan on running two crews all winter 7 days/wk. Sumner expressed that he wished that DVR was on our frequency (415) so if they hear there is a problem, they can help out. Tayler thought they should be able to do that. Tayler also asked that DVR be informed of any road closings.
Hearing of Visitors
None of the visitors brought up business.
Co-EMD Follow Up Questions
Edwards requested an update on Internet access. LaFlamme reported that Fairpoint DSL is coming and it will be the same cost for phone and Internet as just HughesNet was. The first Fairpoint bill will be higher as a modem was added and the bill will be prorated. They are hoping to have the DSL turned on November 7, 2013. The group discussed the grant for the wireless system and the importance of redundancy and Internet. The Fairpoint DSL will still be on the low end of what they need even for DisasterLAN. Holtz requested an updated on the transmitter. Barnett reported that they are still trying to get it fixed under warranty. The tower is completed. If there will be a charge for this, it was noted that the town will have to cover it. Edwards inquired whether it would be covered by insurance. Barnett believed that it would be under the deductible as only the switch is out. Holtz requested an estimate of the town share if they would have to cover it. He would also like to see a list of the next objectives.
Community Block Development Grant
Edwards noted that they submitted letters of intent for three projects, but only one has the potential to move forward which is the planning grant to look at long term plans for emergency response. Moore noted that this is the first phase in a cycle of grants and there will be opportunities for more grants.
There will be a training seminar for CBDG on 11/14/13 from 10am-1:30pm at the WRC office.
Fire Truck Update
Sumner reported that Courser got a call from the insurance adjuster that indicated he was totaling the truck as it would cost more than $30k to fix it. We should be hearing from VLCT shortly.
Sale of Truck
Rafus reported that we should have the new truck around the middle of next week.
Sumner made a motion to put truck #3 (2000 Sterling) out for advertising for sale with a minimum bid. Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 3-0-0.
Update on VT Health Connect
Edwards reported that the town has an employer account set up and has passed the information to employees so they may select their plans. We have a contact with a navigator is needed. The Selectboard encourages the employees to try and set up their accounts.
Update on Broadband to Halifax
There was a discussion about the fiber lines in town. Holtz reported that the Fairpoint lineman told him they were finishing bringing fiber to the Hubbard Hill switchboxes and when converted to DSL, it will have a span of 3 miles. There was also a brief discussion about the current petition being circulated.
Emergency Management Laptops
LaFlamme requested permission to purchase the four laptops with a cost of approximately $4k using the town credit card. These laptops are covered by a grant, but they would prefer not to use their personal card to purchase them. Edwards will give authorization to Patty Dow to allow the Co-EMD’s make the purchase on the town credit card.
Sumner reported that he and Rafus attended a winter maintenance seminar. They encouraged towns to go to a salt brine but the machine needed to make it is approximately $50k. The town does not have a lot of blacktop to justify buying this piece of machinery.
Edwards reported that she needs to speak to the school board regarding maintenance.
The town received the KAS report for testing of the old landfill and noted a large conductivity variance.
SEVEDS would like to make another presentation on economic development. It was agreed that they should present their material to a joint meeting of the Broadband/Economic Development Committee along with the Planning Commission and Selectboard. The date proposed will be 12/11/13 at 6:30pm.
It was noted that the listers are planning a town wide revaluation in FY14.
The Selectboard discussed having a policy explaining the requirements for agencies requesting money and when a petition will be required.
Selectmen’s Order to Town Treasurer for bill payment
The order for payment of bills was completed and signed.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:50pm