Town takes up home energy challenge
by Margo Avakian
Jan 17, 2013 | 2832 views | 0 0 comments | 515 515 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HALIFAX- Local resident Mark Halverson reported to the board on the VT Home Energy Challenge, a state program that aims to get 80,000 Vermont homes weatherized by 2020, at a rate of 3% of permanently occupied homes per year. Efficiency Vermont, Halverson said, estimates that Halifax could meet its share of that goal if 12 homes a year were weatherized. The program, which would be led in Halifax by energy coordinator Tristan Roberts, would involve a competition, with some sort of prizes to be determined. Participation involves no cost to the town. The board voted to participate.

Irene recovery project manager Christina Moore presented a summary of the nearly $500,000 worth of projects she has closed out. The completed projects are on Green River Road, Brook Road, Weir Road, and Reed Hill Road. Moore resigned her position as an appointed town employee; she will continue the work she has been doing, but will now work as an independent contractor.

Highway supervisor Bradley Rafus told the board that a representative from VLCT has inspected the burnt truck and estimates that the town may be allowed $105,000 on the vehicle. That figure was not firm. Rafus said that the town could buy back the remains for the salvage price. The highest bid received so far from would-be salvagers is $1,000. Rafus advised the board to look into the possibility of reusing some parts. Joseph Tamburino warned that some metal parts will have lost their temper in the fire and should not be relied on.

There have been seven responses to the request for bids on replacing the truck, or trucks (a second truck is past due for replacement). Tamburino said that one dealer may have two trucks that meet the specs on hand.

With projected expenses showing such unplanned fluidity, the board will hold one last meeting to finalize the FY14 budget on Saturday, January 26, at 9 am. The board will also finalize the warning for Town Meeting at that session. Board member Edee Edwards asked treasurer Patricia Dow to attend that meeting to help ensure that the board’s budgeting and cash flow projections are as accurate as possible.

Moore, speaking as a director of the Whitingham Ambulance Service, told the board that WASI is now operating on a conditional license. The organization needs to “improve staff sustainability,” increase the number of more highly certified crew members, and report regularly on its efforts. Moore said that WASI and the Halifax EMS are exploring ways to work efficiently together, get funding, and deal with such problems as a loss of volunteers, or how to improve response times given the scattered location of crew members. At Moore’s request, board members will attend the next WASI meeting.

In other business, the board voted to have Moore amend the town’s letter of intent to apply for hazard mitigation grants for projects to tear down the old town garage and to obtain a trailer to use as a mobile EOC unit. The trailer would house radio equipment and an operator and the files and equipment needed to run the emergency operations center at whatever location is best under given circumstances.

Wayne Courser presented a letter of complaint to the board. Reading aloud from his letter, Courser told the board, “I have been told that a lot of the people that have lived in this town all their life will not speak up. So I am going to.” Courser complained that, “Last August, the selectboard opened bids for a big amount of crushed gravel” and accepted the lowest bid, which he called unwise. “You think we have mud now? I feel sorry for Brad Rafus having to use this stuff.”

Courser did not identify the batch of gravel, nor give any indication of why he regards the quality as subpar.

Rafus is generally consulted on highway-related purchases. Courser also complained that co-EMD Justin Berry is not a local resident. “Was that really a wise appointment?” There were no comments on Courser’s letter.
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