Board chair Edee Edwards briefly described a networking site called the Front Porch Forum, meant to facilitate communications among residents. Halifax, Edwards said, would be paired with Whitingham if the minimum 100 people in the two towns sign up for the service. To date, only 24 people have expressed interest. Board member Earl Holtz said he would put information about Front Porch on the town’s Facebook page.
The Old County North Road bridge project continues to make incremental progress. Edwards reported lengthy conversations with at least one abutting property owner and urged efforts to improve communications, asking her colleagues for assistance. “We should meet with the engineers first,” said board member Lewis Sumner. “We can’t communicate what we don’t know.” The board will set up a meeting with the engineers and the abutters on either November 25 or December 3.
The board voted to offer health insurance for the town clerk and her family, with the town covering 75% of the premium costs. The percentage is based on an average 30-hour work week. Highway employees, working 40-plus hours per week, get 100% of the premium paid by the town, though that still leaves them with some out-of-pocket costs.
Highway supervisor Bradley Rafus was unable to attend the meeting, but submitted a proposed winter maintenance policy to the board. The policy specifies which major routes will be given priority during winter storms: Brook, Green River, Stage, Branch, Hanson, Collins, Hatch School, Reed Hill, and Hubbard Hill roads will be opened first. The remainder of the roads will be cleared as the supervisor deems necessary. The only new feature in the proposed policy is a clarification of hours worked. Crew members will be required to stop operations after 14 hours on the road, taking a minimum of six hours rest. In most cases, maintenance will cease between 10 pm and 4 am. Edwards said she will discuss the policy with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Action on the policy, including additions or revisions, was held over for the next meeting.
Emergency management co-directors John LaFlamme and Ross Barnett were not present to discuss their priorities for the next quarter, but the board discussed its own wish list, centered on “communications, communications, communications,” as Edwards put it.
“Is the truck here yet?” asked resident Ray Combs. “Yes!” chorused the board. It arrived last Friday, Sumner added.