OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
October 4, 2011
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:40 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards. Others in attendance were Leonard Derby Sr., Margo Avakian, Cara Cheyette, Orrin Isles, Raymond Combs, Howard Smith, Jesse White, Brad Rafus Joe Tamburrino, Earl Holtz, Timothy Putnam, Mitchell Green, Christina Moore, Rich Ray, Dan Ray, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the September 20, 2010 meeting as written.
Ms. Edwards seconded the motion with two corrections, one date and the addition of Nathan Isles to the visitors in attendance.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Ms. Edwards moved to approve the minutes of the September 29, 2011 special meeting with the addition of Gary Shelley’s employer.
Mr. Sumner advised he was with VTRANS and seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Before getting to the agenda items, Mr. LaFlamme asked Mr. Rafus to give an update on the progress they have made in repairing the roads.
Mr. Rafus advised that Amidon Road is open-passable, and he currently has a crew working on Pennel Hill and Phillips Hill. Two crews are working on the lower Green River Road which he thought should be pretty much two lanes and all rip rapped in about a week and one half to two weeks more. Thomas Hill area is all graded, Hatch, Butterfield, Hanson, and all the side roads up there are done. They will start on Sprague Road and Reed Hill area on Wednesday. In addition, they have replaced 22 culverts in the last week and one half.
Mr. Sumner gave an update on the status with FEMA. Warren Summers, a FEMA representative has been assigned to Halifax, the Army Corps of Engineers has done a report which was sent to FEMA on the Green River Road damage, and Chris Campany of WRC advised him that Halifax is among six towns in Vermont with the most extensive damage. The total damage cost estimate initially was 6.5 million dollars. A subsequent estimate for just the Green River Road was between 2.2 million and 3.6 million, which raises the total estimate for the town to between 7.5 million and 8 million.
Mrs. Moore added that the first week generated 14 projects which generated about $149,000 spent. Week two is not totaled yet but it appears that the town is spending about $175,000 to $200,000 a week.
Mr. Sumner advised that he thinks that in response to the request letter they had sent for more assistance, he received a phone message requesting more information. He will call them in the morning.
Ms. Edwards advised that they have also set the wheels in motion regarding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by formally filing the town’s intent to rejoin the program. She noted that it is an agenda item but wanted to be sure to mention that they are pursuing it. By doing this it entitles the town to a 15% payment from the state rather than a possible 12.5%.
Mr. Green advised that someone must have dropped the ball back when he first came on the Board they had signed up for the program.
It was agreed that whatever may have happened, they are listed as a sanctioned town, so they have to start the process over again and complete all the steps.
- Bank run and crushed gravel purchase. Mr. Rafus advised that the Green River Road project is going to require huge amounts of material and large 4 foot to 6 foot rip rap. Because the options for repairing Green River Road have not yet been decided, Mr. LaFlamme suggested that they table this item until they have decided what should be done. Then they would know quantities needed. Mr. Tamburrino advised that he had open quotes already, but it should be re-bid with the larger quantities. In order to do that he would need to get the information from Mr. Rafus.
- Options for repairing Green River Road. Mr. LaFlamme advised this is specifically for the section from Perry Road to Moss Hollow area. Mr. Rafus advised that while the Army Corps of Engineers recommends a concrete retaining wall, this is only for the sections that are totally gone. The rest of the area will still need the large rip rap.
Ms. Cheyette advised she was there on behalf of Tristan Roberts as he was not able to be here. She stated his concerns regarding the repairs to Green River Road in the area of Thurber Road. He is concerned with the rumored possibility of blasting the ledge and the effect it might have on the private property (his) abutting the town right of way. He is also concerned with the condition of Thurber Road as a result of the increased traffic and wondered if the town could contribute some gravel so that he and the other resident on the road could spread it and improve it from its current state.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that the Army Corps of Engineers advised that blasting a part of the ledge would not be a good option as it could cause future problems with erosion. The preferred option was to use rip rap and possibly a concrete retaining wall on the river side of the road to shore up the roadbed and hopefully prevent future collapse.
Ms. Edwards advised they had discussed having a site visit to the area on Sunday, but both Mr. LaFlamme and Mr. Sumner were not available. She walked the area with Mr. Holtz and Mr. Rafus and at the time they were looking at the ledges and they discussed using hammers rather than blasting, to remove some of the ledge to make more room along the side of the road to facilitate plowing, as there are some areas that are quite narrow and close to the ledge. She asked if that was no longer an option.
Mr. Sumner advised according to the reports received it is not. When Ms. Edwards advised it would be a courtesy to abutters to notify them, Mr. Sumner advised that if it is decided to make adjustments within the right of way the abutting property owners would be notified as they always are when there is to be a change in the right of way.
Mr. Holtz advised he had marked the first line of trees in that area in the event that they decided to proceed with that plan. He further advised that he had notified the landowner of the situation.
A discussion of the Thurber Road followed. Questions were raised regarding options for the road access. Should the road be upgraded to allow regular access? Should the town restrict access to only the residents? What options are feasible to deal with the current issues of heavy use and condition of the road?
Ms. Edwards advised that she had some information from the VLCT about temporarily closing roads and it states that the Selectboard has the authority to adopt a resolution to close the road and post it stating it is closed except for local traffic and emergency vehicles and a fine of $100 will be levied for violators. She suggested that the Constable could enforce the rules.
After a further discussion of whether or not to upgrade the road or to restrict access by posting it as temporarily closed, Ms. Edwards advised she felt something needed to be done to address the situation.
Ms. Edwards moved to adopt a resolution for temporary closure of Thurber Road and other roads as needed.
The motion died for lack of a second.
The Constable advised that there is no way to constantly monitor the road and therefore it could not be enforced.
More discussion followed, but no decisions were reached.
The options for repairing Green River Road will be tabled until further information is available.
- Hydraulic Study bid request.
- Design Engineer bid request.
These are already in process. Requests have been sent out for bids on each bridge individually for both the hydrology study and the engineering. Once the bids are received and decisions made the designs need to be approved by the state.
Ms. Edwards suggested that it would be more expedient for engineers to come tour the areas together rather than individually.
Mr. Tamburrino advised that is not a good idea because sometimes they work together and it might be a disadvantage to the town in regard to the pricing. It is much better to have each firm visit individually. Once the bridge design contracts are awarded, the contractors bidding on the actual construction don’t need to actually see the site prior to bidding.
- National Flood Insurance. Ms. Edwards advised they have submitted the town’s intent to join the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Board has questions and it was agreed that someone from Windham Regional Commission should be contacted to clarify the requirements for both the Board and the Planning Commission who will be responsible for writing the bylaws covering flood hazard areas. The secretary will contact WRC and arrange for someone to speak with them. It was noted that the whole process must be completed by March first.
- Line of Credit for town. In the event that there should be a need for immediate funds, the Treasurer has requested that they apply for a line of credit to be available to the town.
Mr. Sumner moved to authorize the Treasurer to apply for a line of credit for the town.
Ms. Edwards seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
Hearing of Visitors
Leonard Derby advised the Pony Express driver inquired about Sprague Road and Reed Hill Road for winter access to the Post Office. He was concerned that his truck might not make it up the hill.
Howard Smith voiced his appreciation to the Board and the Road Crew for the outstanding job they have done to get the town back to normal.
Mr. Sumner advised it was an overwhelming job and he thanked all of those who had volunteered to help.
Mr. Tamburrino advised that he had taken pictures to show engineers and wanted to thank Charlene Martynowski for her assistance on her day off in downloading them and printing copies. He also wanted to thank Patty Dow and all of the others who have helped make his job easier.
Mr. LaFlamme advised it is almost impossible to list all of the volunteers who have come forward to help during this whole event. He advised it has been an overwhelming sense of community which was nice to see.
They received a letter from the Wineburgs regarding the replacement of the bridge to their property. It is the only access to the property and they will not be able to get fuel for the winter, or even be able to get to the house if the bridge is not fixed.
Mr. Sumner advised they should be able to use the existing stringers and construct a temporary bridge that will support fuel trucks and emergency vehicles if needed.
Both Mr. LaFlamme and Ms. Edwards wanted verification from FEMA about covering the cost of a temporary bridge.
In any event it will need to go out to bid as the cost will most likely exceed $3,000.
Ms. Edwards advised they should respond advising they are waiting for confirmation on whether or not they can do a temporary replacement.
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the resignation of Rebecca Stone as Auditor and to send a letter of regret.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
Ms. Edwards advised they were supposed to be receiving some additional information from VLCT regarding health insurance plans, comparisons and differences. She has not seen anything so far. They need this comparison information in order for the employees to make a decision on which plan to endorse.
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 9:31 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk