One of the articles most likely to engender a lively exchange is the last binding article on the warning. Article 16 asks voters to increase the number of selectboard members from three to five. If approved, the two new selectboard members would be elected at the 2014 Town Meeting, and would serve one-year terms.
Other local towns with three-member selectboards have also sought to increase their ranks to five, citing the amount of work required of board members as well as the issue of meeting quorum requirements. Halifax employs no town administrator.
Article 14 asks voters to approve an official seal for the town of Halifax. The circular seal, presented in a color and monochrome version, includes a field of 13 stars over a green mountainside, with “1750” in the lower center, and “Town of Halifax Vermont” in a border around the image. According to the warning, the seal would be used on town stationery, town vehicles, a town flag, or “other media wherever an official town seal would be appropriate.”
The article also notes that the embossing seal used by the town clerk wouldn’t be changed.
In spending articles, Article 10 asks voters to raise and appropriate $20,500 for EMS “and ambulance service.” In the past, Halifax has contributed to Whitingham Ambulance Service Inc. for their coverage of the town. Last year, however, the town explored the possibility of using alternative service providers, such as Rescue Inc. Recently, Whitingham Ambulance Service was placed on a 90-day conditional license by the Vermont Department of Health after a review revealed issues with staffing requirements. WASI has proposed additional funding from Halifax and Whitingham for a full-time paid staff.
Article 7 asks voters to make an “if/or” decision regarding funding for their constabulary. The article asks voters to raise $10,000 for a first or second constable that is a certified Vermont police officer (or a constable attending training at the Vermont Police Academy) or $2,000 for noncertified constables. Under recent changes to Vermont statutes, the duties of noncertified constables are extremely limited.
Article 5 asks voters to approve selectboard and highway department expenditures of $1,442,743, of which $879,743 would be raised in local taxes, with the remaining $563,000 coming from anticipated revenues.
Halifax residents appear to be happy with the status quo, at least as far as their town officials are concerned. There are no contested races on the ballot, and most incumbents are running for re-election. Edee Edwards is running for another three-year term on the selectboard, and longtime school board member and chair Chum Sumner will also return for another three-year term. Leonard Derby Sr. is running for first constable, and Roy Richardson is running for second constable. Both are one-year positions.