OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
September 6, 2011
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM. Board members in attendance were John LaFlamme, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards. Others in attendance were Rick Gay, Timothy Putnam, Cara Cheyette, Earl Holtz, Brad Rafus, Peggy Webber, Joe Tamburrino, Charlene Martynowski, Maggie and Nicholas Bartenhagen, Margo Avakian, Marilyn Chattin, Leonard Derby, Christina Moore, Orrin Isles, Nathan Isles, Ray Combs, Leslie Green, Mitchell Green, Marilyn Allen, Jesse Ferland, and Board Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Ms. Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the August 16, 2011 meeting as written.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Ms. Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the August 19, 2011 special meeting with the addition that the bookkeeper was invited into the executive session.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 2-0-1 with Mr. LaFlamme abstaining as he had not been present for that meeting.
Mr. Sumner moved to accept the minutes of the August 29, 2011 emergency meeting with one correction from 72 hours to 70 hours.
Ms. Edwards seconded the motion which carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Ms. Edwards moved to accept the minutes of the September 3, 2011 special informational meeting with one correction and Mr. Sumner noted that Wilmington High School should be changed to Twin Valley High School.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion. which carried 3-0, and the minutes were approved.
Update on flood conditions Mr. Rafus advised that most of the roads are open but there is a section of Green River Road that FEMA will have to look at before they can form a plan for fixing that. Most of the side roads are open so that people can get in and out although most of them still need more work. A section of Stowe Mountain Road is closed but there is access from both ends so the residents can get in and out. A section of Amidon Road from Franklin Hill to the Mass. Line is closed but there are no residents in that section. He advised that weather permitting they plan to start on Stowe Mountain Road later this week.
Currently there are 3 subcontractors with excavators and dump trucks.
Mr. LaFlamme commended the Road Crew for the work they have accomplished since the storm. This sentiment was echoed by the visitors.
Mrs. Moore advised that the number of houses not reachable has dropped from 26 to 6 as of today, and the 6 remaining are not occupied at this time.
Ms. Edwards reminded people that if they have damages they should call to register with FEMA. She gave the phone numbers to call and advised this was necessary if they wanted to be eligible for any assistance.
Ms. Cheyette advised that she was told that assistance is available to repair the private roads. She also offered advice to the residents that they should ask for identification if anyone comes to their property claiming they are working for FEMA. There are scammers that are trying to take advantage.
Request E911 Data Ms. Edwards advised that the current E911 database only covers some of the residents. She suggested that as Mr. Wayne Courser is currently out of town, the Selectboard should request the database information needed so that the Reverse 911 system would work for all residents.
Ms. Edwards moved to have the Selectboard draft a letter to the Vermont Department of Public Safety requesting the E911 subscriber list in electronic format.
Mr. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
Sign grader contract the rate of interest is 3.2%. Ms. Edwards advised that she wants to review the contract before she signs it. It will be completed before the deadline of September 18th.
Process for purchases regarding flood repairs
Ms. Edwards advised that up until today they’ve been operating out of the EOC to get the materials and equipment they need to get the repair work done. In a conference call today FEMA said that after the 70 work hours they were no longer under the “time and materials” basis. A second call today stated the same thing. She feels that in order to be sure the town gets 75% reimbursement from FEMA they need to get bids from the current contractors and put the notice out for others to bid on the projects.
A discussion was held of how FEMA reimburses, what procedures are required for hiring contractors, and how the bidding process will affect the contractors they now have.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that until FEMA reviews the situation and identifies projects, there is no basis upon which to request bids. Even though they have passed the 70 work hours point, FEMA will still reimburse at 75% of the cost for work until such time as they can complete their review and give specific direction to the town.
Mr. Bartenhagen advised that as long as they document and record the conversations with FEMA, the fact that they have not visited yet, and the work they are doing they should be covered.
Mrs. Bartenhagen offered to call Windham Regional Commission and see if the FEMA representative would clarify the situation for them. Mrs. Moore advised that if she calls it should be from the EOC as everything involving the town is being coordinated through the center.
Mr. Holtz suggested they should contact Brattleboro as they may have more influence due to their size, and could get answers more quickly.
Mr. Tamburrino advised that as all of the work they are doing now is temporary it is not possible for a contractor to bid on it. They should only have to bid on permanent repairs, not a temporary fix.
Ms. Edwards advised she still feels that the contractors should be warned that the process might be changing and they should be prepared. She further advised that if they required bids now they should be in a better position to get the contractors they need.
The Board agreed that they cannot stop the work at this point as there are still safety issues to consider. They will continue to seek clarification on the FEMA rules and timetables as the work continues.
Appointment to Planning Commission and ZBA
Mr. LaFlamme moved to appoint Cara Cheyette to the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the remainder of a term ending in March 2012.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
Hearing of Visitors
Ms. Chattin inquired how these flood damage repairs will be paid for.
Mr. LaFlamme advised that FEMA will reimburse the town 100% for the first 70 work hours and after that at 75% of the cost. The remaining 25% is between the state and the town. Usually the state pays between 12.5% and 15%, with the town paying the balance. When asked about flood insurance he advised that flood insurance is not available to municipalities.
Ms. Edwards noted that it has been rumored that the state legislature may propose approval of the sale of municipal bonds to help with the cost of recovery.
Mr. Holtz advised whoever worked on the website deserves accolades and a big thank you. He noted that is the way a website is supposed to work and if people were not aware of how important that communication is, they certainly should be now.
Mr. Sumner advised he has had a number of people tell him that the town website kept them informed about what was going on in the area regarding the flood.
Two errors and omissions were presented for approval.
Ms. Edwards moved to approve two errors and omissions reports by the Listers.
Mr. Sumner seconded the motion which carried 3-0.
After further review of the contract for the new grader, it was signed and the necessary documentation put with it for mailing.
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 9:22 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk