OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
September 15, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Mitchell Green, and Lewis Sumner. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, Timothy Putnam,
Andrew Rice, Charlene Martynowski, Joseph Tamburrino, Margaret Squiers, Sheena Squires-Boyd, Jan Nelson, Kathy McLean, Christina Moore, Bradley Rafus, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the September 1, 2009 public hearing as written.
Mr. Green seconded the motion.
The motion carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Mr. LaFlamme moved to accept the minutes of the September 1, 2009 meeting as written.
Mr. Green seconded the motion.
The motion carried, 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Hearing of Visitors
Ø Mrs. Moore advised that some of the paperwork on the grant for radios needed to be redone. She noted that although she had been advised that the check would go directly to the vendor, the office that issues the check advised that the Town should pay the entire invoice and then the state will reimburse the Town for the grant amount.
Ø Mrs. Squiers and her daughter were in attendance at the request of the Selectboard to address the complaint of barking dogs. She advised that her dogs have never been allowed to continually bark. She advised that it should be determined which dogs are barking before an accusation is made. There are dogs all around in the area and some of them at times bark to a point of being a nuisance. She advised that her dogs are indoors most of the time. She further advised that when the constable came to her home they had a very long and loud conversation and her dogs did not bark once, and they were outside at that time.
Mr. Rice advised that many times when he has received complaints he has called a neighbor (Mrs. Moore) and asked if she could hear dogs barking. She has advised that she could not and so he has not gone to the Squiers’ home. Other times he has parked on the intersection of the road and he did not, on most occasions, hear any barking. He advised that there was one occasion when there was an excess of noise from people partying outside and he had called the Squiers home and asked if they could please keep the noise down as there had been a complaint.
Mrs. Squiers advised that she and her two boys were playing with a ball and hoop in the pool at nine o’clock, and when he requested they keep the noise down they complied.
Mr. Rice advised there was no problem, they quieted right down, that he had told them that some people need to get sleep and neighbors should try to get along. He further advised that there had been an issue about trespass and he had suggested to the Squiers that in order to have a leg to stand on, they should put in writing that if the person or persons come on their property again it will be considered trespass. Vermont law requires documentation before it can be enforced. He suggested that they do up a notarized letter or affidavit so that if this occurs again they can do something about it.
Mrs. Squiers advised that the instance he is talking about is that one of her neighbors, the one who keeps complaining, came into her house swearing vulgarly, waking up a newborn baby. She stated “I was at work and I called and I told my son to tell her to get out. I called the State Police, and he (referring to Mr. Rice) was annoyed because I called the State Police, (that’s) how I felt about it whether he was or not, I felt like he was upset because I called the State Police and not him. I was at work and had no clue what his number was, I didn’t care at the time, I was concerned about my family. She had alcohol and she came into my house drunk. The State Police called me at work at Mount Snow and told me that they told her to stay off my property or they would have her arrested. He (referring to Mr. Rice) said ‘well between the both of you that was the wrong thing to do’ or something like that when he came to our house. He didn’t come for the concern of just the dog he came for our truck parked on the side of the road.”
A short discussion of protocol followed, when to call the Constable versus when to call the State Police.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that as he is not aware of all the details he recommends that the Squiers’ cooperate with Mr. Rice on any incidents.
Mrs. Squiers advised she would do so, if Mr. Rice in turn will cooperate with her. She advised that her feeling is that his attitude is not respectful of her, so she in turn becomes upset and not as cooperative as she could be.
Ms. Squiers-Boyd advised that another request that her mother had is to have signs put up advising motorists that there are handicapped children at her property and may be embarking or disembarking from vehicles.
Mrs. Squiers advised that Families First and the state told her that signs could be installed but she should ask the Selectboard about them. She has a day care facility at her home and has handicapped children attending.
Keith Stone had joined the meeting during this discussion and he asked to speak. He advised that “we all want signs, but do we obey the signs? No.” He advised that the road crew had been working on Hatch Road putting in culverts. The Road Work signs were up. The road was closed. Someone who was inconvenienced by this turned around and went back and ran over the sign. His point being that even with signs, some people don’t obey them.
Mr. Green and Mr. LaFlamme advised that regarding the signage, they would need a specific request for what signs they need, and then they will address the matter.
Ø Mr. Stone advised that he had something to say on another matter. He advised that what he was about to say was addressed to the paper (for publication) and the “peanut gallery that was at the last meeting”. “If they have a problem with what I do they need to come see the Selectmen or me.”
He continued “I know that group all has their selves on a speed dial to complain about what goes on with the road crew. What I do not like is when one of them crew has one of their friends go pecker my daughter, when she is 16 working in an establishment, of what I do or what the crew does. Number 1, she’s not a registered voter, she has no say in what goes on, and I would like you to write it in the paper, this person needs to apologize to my daughter, and needs to apologize to where she works.” He went on to say that what he does is not his daughter’s fault he takes orders from his boss.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that he has had his daughter with him on occasions when he has been confronted by citizens with complaints and they have come up to his truck yelling and swearing. This has happened on more than one occasion and he advised he has no respect for people who behave this way in front of his daughter. He advised that the situation with Mr. Stone’s daughter is even more disrespectful when they directly confront her.
Mr. Stone advised that it was especially stressful in that she has been raised to act respectfully toward adults. She was working and could not do anything except stand there, a captive audience.
Ø On another matter Mr. Stone advised that regarding the lady at the last Selectboard meeting who spoke about $1500 damage to her lawn, if that should occur again next year, she should get pictures of the damage. He has a feeling that possibly she didn’t see the damage and that she was charged by a lawn contractor for damage that was not there. He also noted that the person who plows the property across the road sometimes has a tendency to push the snow across the road to her property, and then ask the road crew to push it back so he has more room to put snow.
Ø Mr. Rafus advised that the tree removal work has been completed. They are just finishing up paperwork. Also they have done extensive work last week and the beginning of this week on Deer Park Road, cleaned the ditches and it is ready to have gravel put on. They also did the lower end of Stowe Mountain Road, and Stark Mountain Road. They hope to finish Stowe Mountain Road and the top of Deer Park Road Wednesday morning. He advised that the Brook Road resurfacing project is finished and noted that they did not have enough money to do Brook Road all the way to Green River Road. There are 6 more culverts to be replaced before they can complete that section.
Ø Mr. Rafus inquired about sub-contracting out some of the stump removal work. Mr. LaFlamme advised probably not as the FEMA money has all been used. They will probably do the work as they are able.
Ø He advised that there is not a definite closing date for the Reed Hill Bridge project but hopefully it will be sometime later this month. The tentative date is September 21st. The road will be closed for 4 to 6 weeks. It was noted that detour signs will be posted to direct people over Sprague Road to have access to the Post Office and residences on Reed Hill Road.
Mr. Sumner advised that the re-decking project involves pouring concrete, which cannot have anything on it for 7 days, and it cannot be driven on for a minimum of 28 days. Mr. LaFlamme noted that the project is a bit more complicated than they had originally thought. In part this is due to the fact that the new decking is not as thick and therefore not as high as the roadway access which through resurfacing has been building up over the years. As a result the contractor has to pour concrete to raise the footings to bring the new decking up to the required level.
Ø Mr. Rice advised that regarding the Old mattress and other debris left next to the West Halifax sign, he could not find who had left it, so he loaded it into his truck and it has been disposed of. He advised that he discussed the garbage/trash issues at the recycling roll-off site with personnel from WSWMD. Several suggestions had been offered, which he will discuss at a later time.
Ø Ms. McLean suggested doing free collection days as they seem to do in some towns in Massachusetts. On another note Ms. McLean advised she had a couple of questions for the Road Commissioner. The first was why are the roads being made so wide? Is there some long term plan?
Mr. Rafus advised that they are not actually making the roads wider; they are making alleyways to accommodate the water runoff. The road surface is not any wider. He assured her they are not planning to pave the road.
Ms. McLean advised the other question she had was in regard to the road crown on Hatch Road. She advised that it used to be that when she jogged on that road she had to run in the middle because the crown was at such an angle it hurt her hips. Now the crown is sort of eliminated. Is there a change in the style?
Mr. Rafus advised that three of the current road crew have been certified in operating a grader. They teach a totally different method than they used to. Now they do a 5-pass system instead of a 3-pass system. The theory is that with an arched crown you don’t get the wash down the center of the road and there will be less loss of road surface.
Ms. McLean advised she had one other matter she wanted to bring to his attention. She noticed that last winter they seemed to plow with the wing plow at the same level as the main plow. Keith always plows with the wing elevated a bit so that there is a ledge along the edge of the traveled portion. Without the ledge, numerous vehicles have ended up in the culvert because it appears that the road is wider than it really is. She also advised that the ledge is a great place to snowshoe on or cross country skiing. She suggested that maybe the drivers who have adopted the level plowing could be retrained to do it with the ledge. She noted that Keith is awesome with the grader, he doesn’t even knick a tree, he just pushes that stuff around, it’s wonderful to watch him, he’s like a well-oiled machine, and he doesn’t hit anything.
Ø Fire and EMS use of town frequency
A discussion of whether or not formal permission is needed for the emergency services to use the town radio frequency followed. The general consensus was that permission should be formally given with guidelines for the conditions under which the frequency can be used. It was noted that there should be some radio protocol training given to those people who will be using them. It was noted by Mrs. Moore that she will be programming the new radios and this is the time to decide who shall have authorization to use the frequency.
Mr. Green moved to grant permission to the Halifax Fire Department and Halifax EMS to use the Town Highway Radio Frequency during emergency situations.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.
A letter outlining the terms of this approval will be sent to each of the organizations.
Ø Bridge Update was already covered in the Hearing of Visitors section.
Ø Town Clerk Laura Sumner requested a BCA Abatement Hearing date. The Selectboard advised that September 29th was agreeable to them.
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 8:58 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk