Town Hall Roundup

Daniels Construction wins bid for culvert construction

BROOKLINE - The Selectboard voted unanimously Aug. 7 to award Daniels Construction the job of replacing culvert No. 31 in town at a cost of $59,800.

The bid came in lower than another bid received, from A.S. Clark & Sons, and board members said the difference in price, and Daniels Construction having worked well for the town previously, were factors.

The road will not be closed during construction, according to draft minutes of the meeting.

Proceedings approved over delinquent taxes

BROOKLINE - The Selectboard unanimously approved a motion by David Parker Jr. to begin tax sales with delinquent taxpayers.

At their meeting Aug. 7, Selectmen authorized Delinquent Tax Collector Guy Tanza to initiate the proceedings Aug. 13. and hire an attorney to aid in the process.

Tanza said he had been in contact with all individuals who are not current on their taxes, according to draft minutes of the meeting.

Town stepping up dog license notices

BROOKLINE - The Selectboard agreed unanimously to have the Sheriff's Department hand-deliver follow-up notices advising delinquent dog owners that they need to comply with the new dog ordinance or face impound procedures.

Selectmen agreed that no longer than five days should be allowed for a response to the hand delivery.

The vote came after Town Clerk Guy Tanza reported to the board that he had mailed letters to everyone on the delinquency list warning them of the consequences of not registering their dog, and that not everyone had complied.

According to draft minutes of the meeting, Tanza noted that this is the first year the town has really enforced the dog licensing laws.

State law requires dogs be registered for public health and safety reasons.

Independent Television Festival taking shape

DOVER - Phil Gilpin Jr., founder of Green Mountain Vermont and organizer of the eighth annual Independent Television and Film Festival, or ITVFest, told Selectmen that fundraising was on par, and that he was excited by the quality of the projects coming in.

At the Aug. 6 Selectboard meeting, Gilpin said funds had come in at “the high $50s” of a target $60,000, and that tickets sales are just starting. He reported that the expense budget had been knocked down “significantly.”

All tent monies have been raised, and deposits made, he said.

Also, he said, 28 hours of projects were lined up, and that he had hired two part-time PR staff just for sending out press releases.

The festival will be held around Dover and Wilmington from Sept. 25 to 28. Tickets are available now.

As Gilpin told Selectmen, according to draft meeting minutes, a general pass is $79 for three days, and a locals pass costs $60, and includes admission to the Wine and Harvest Festival.

Promotional events are ongoing around the area, including trailer screenings at Marina Restaurant, Valley View Saloon, and West Dover Inn, and that Gilpin has been invited to speak at two New York film festivals.

Liquor licenses approved

DOVER - The Selectboard, on a motion from Linda Holland, recessed and convened as the local Liquor Control Board Aug. 6, and approved several requests for liquor licenses, and noted one notice of violation.

The board unanimously approved: a second-class liquor license application for Jockey Hollow Assoc., doing businesses as East Dover General Store; outside consumption permits for Tough Mudder, Brewers Festival, Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, and Oktoberfest; and a limited outside consumption permit for Handlebar Hospitality, doing business as Valley View Saloon.

Applications for a special event permit were approved for Honora Winery, including Vermont Spirits and Boyden Valley Winery for Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival.

The Department of Liquor Control fined Guest Convenience Stores, doing business as 7-Eleven, for selling to an underaged person on June 27.

According to Nona Monis, in draft meeting minutes, this was not the store's first offense. The DLC keeps violations for three years, she said.

Selectmen clear funds for Highway Department equipment

DOVER - At their meeting Aug. 6, Selectmen unanimously approved a Linda Holland motion to award $40,395.40 to MTE, Inc., from Cohoes, N.Y., for a mower for trails, and $86,900 to CRW of Williston for a backhoe, on a motion by Victoria Capitani.

There were two other bids to supply each piece of equipment, according to draft meeting minutes.

Dover Selectmen take up legal and personnel matters

DOVER - Selectmen closed the doors on press and public toward the end of their Aug. 6 meeting to tackle legal and personnel matters.

They reported that Robert Edwards updated the Board on a legal case; Ken Black discussed advertising for an ED position, and that, on a motion by Victoria Capitani, seconded by Tom Baltrus, the Board unanimously and with regret accepted the resignation of Administrative Assistant Nona Monis.

Selectmen nix Land Trust request pending assurance on taxes

DUMMERSTON - Selectmen denied a Vermont Land Trust request for a letter of support for their application to purchase the development rights on the Bunker/Cassidy farm.

The motion was moved by Zeke Goodband, and seconded by Joe Cook.

According to draft minutes of the Aug. 7 meeting, Gail Sorenson asked about the tax ramifications of the purchase. It was agreed that Goodband would discuss this with the Listers and report back to the Board.

The motion was defeated, 2-2.

Zoning/DRB application fee waived for Park & Ride

DUMMERSTON - Selectmen unanimously approved a request from the Vermont Agency of Transportation to waive the fees associated with their zoning/DRB applications for the Park & Ride at Exit 4.

Lewis White, vice chair, offered a “friendly amendment” to add the text, “Except for any filing fees, including legal notices.”

The amendment was accepted and the motion passed 4-0, according to draft meeting minutes.

Halifax sets tax rates

HALIFAX – Selectboard member Edee Edwards made a motion to set the Halifax town tax rate for Fiscal Year 2014 at a homestead rate of $1.9810, and a non-residential rate at $2.0462. Earl Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

According to draft minutes recorded at the Aug. 6 Selectboard meeting, it was noted that these rates went up primarily due to the school tax rate increase. The municipal tax rate decreased slightly.

Halifax adopts website strategic plan

HALIFAX - At their meeting Aug. 6, resident Jessica Bruno presented a Halifax Website Strategic Plan for use as a guide when developing website improvements as part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project grant.

Bruno discussed the possibility of converting the town website to a WordPress site as part of the grant. Specially designed templates for municipalities have been developed, she said according to draft meeting minutes.

Board member Edee Edwards moved to adopt the Halifax Website Strategic Plan, which is designed to help residents and others more conveniently and reliably conduct town business. Earl Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

The plan can be found at

Rescue, Inc. reportedly considering hiring executive director

HALIFAX - Although Rescue, Inc. Chief of Operations Mark Considine resigned in April and is willing to serve through the end of December and help with a transition, the organization is thinking about its structure and how it would like to be led.

As quoted in draft meeting minutes recorded Aug. 6, resident Cara Cheyette said that Rescue Inc. is considering hiring an executive director who will help with changes to the healthcare delivery system, and is exploring new revenue opportunities.

Drew Hazleton is the interim chief.

A Subaru Crosstrek raffle is ongoing for the Rescue, Inc., service. The drawing will be on Oct. 2. Tickets are $50 each, or 3 for $100.

The raffle (, a subscription drive, and other fund-raising efforts by Rescue Inc. help to provide ongoing staff training and enable the organization to purchase needed state of the art medical equipment, so as to be able to provide the best possible rapid-response service.

Reduce Planning, ZBA Board size in Halifax?

HALIFAX - At their meeting Aug. 6, the Selectboard took up the issue of a two-member shortfall on the planning and zoning board, and discussed the possibility of scaling the board back to five members.

Phyllis Evanuk notified the Selectboard that they are authorized to have three to nine members on the board, and proposed going down to a five-person board, as planning and ZBA are unable to hold about a quarter of their meetings due to lack of a quorum.

Edwards had sent messages to the current members of those Boards regarding this discussion Aug. 6, but had not heard back from any of them regarding the proposal to scale back to five members.

Edwards also ventured having the Selectboard consider merging the Broadband Committee with the Planning Board. The Selectboard, missing one of its members at the meeting, took no action.

Finally, Greg Marguet offered to serve on the Planning and Zoning Board. The Selectboard thanked him but were not prepared to make an appointment, according to draft meeting minutes.

The group was reminded that the Town Plan public hearing is Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Town Office.

Guardrails for two bridges out to bid

HALIFAX - At their meeting Aug. 6, Selectmen saw drawings from John Alexander and Meghan Thompson from the State of Vermont for temporary fixes to make the Hale Road and Old County North bridges safer in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

There was also discussion of weight limits on the spans, and river debris perhaps necessitating a Community Block Development Grant request.

Earl Holtz moved to put each temporary guardrail option out to bid as recommended by the State of Vermont. According to draft meeting minutes, Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0.

Vandalism warrants full police spending, Halifax Selectboard decides

HALIFAX - At their meeting Aug. 6, the Board of Selectmen agreed unanimously to sign a contract with the Vermont Department of Public Safety, State Police, for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, not to exceed $6,000.

Edee Edwards noted that Selectmen did not spend the full amount of last year's budgeted amount, but, with the recent reports of vandalism, it was prudent to follow up with police and “express that we would like to take advantage of the full amount of time available.”

Earl Holtz seconded the motion, which passed 2-0-0, according to draft meeting minutes.

State reimbursements cleared to help pay down Irene debt

HALIFAX - Selectmen Aug. 6 voted unanimously to apply the past two payments from the State of Vermont for Tropical Storm Irene-related reimbursement, paying down $181,752.15 to the line of credit held by People's Bank.

The order for payment of bills was completed and signed, according to draft meeting minutes.

$12,000 for heating oil approved in Jamaica

JAMAICA - The Selectboard approved a motion by Selectboard member Judy Flower to contract with Cota and Cota for the town's heating fuel for just over $12,000 for next year. Paul Fraser seconded the motion and it was adopted, according to draft minutes of the board's July 22 meeting.

Also agreed unanimously, according to draft meeting minutes:

A $16,000 contract is accepted for Sullivan Powers & Co. to conduct an audit due for the receipt of FEMA funds; and metal being torn down from a bridge is allowed to be sold to an interested buyer for $5,000.

Vote tabled on whether to buy out flood-stricken homes on Water Street

JAMAICA - Twenty-five members of the public turned out for a special Selectboard meeting July 24 to discuss the proposed buyout of the four properties on Water Street lost in the flood of Tropical Storm Irene.

Paul Fraser, FEMA project administrator, explained the history: how the project moved from FEMA to state money, and the risks inherent in the proposed buyout.

Lou Bruso also spoke briefly to the proposed use of the land as a green space.

Draft meeting minutes say, “A discussion ensued. It was lively and sometimes heated.”

In the end, attorney Jessica Radbord offered to write a legal opinion minimizing the risks, and Judy Flower moved to postpone the decision until Radbord accomplished this and the town attorney reviewed it. Bruso seconded the motion, and it carried.

Marlboro sets tax rates

MARLBORO - No members of the public were present for the unscheduled public comment session at the Selectboard meeting July 25 when, according to draft meeting minutes, the board voted to set the tax rates as follows:

• Homestead tax rate $1.9091 (school $1.5188; town $.39; local $.0003).

• Non-residential tax rate $1.9387 (school $1.5484; town $.39; local $0003).

Road drainage headed for Aug. 15 discussion

MARLBORO - In old business at their July 25 Selectboard meeting, selectmen decided the Hunter Brook Road drainage issue and draft response letter to be prepared by member Pieter van Loon will be discussed at the Aug.15 meeting.

The board reviewed the pending list and made the following comments:

• The draft personnel policy has been sent to VLCT for legal review.

• The board reviewed the first three items on Merrill Mundell's list for items to be accomplished to complete the Adams Brook Road Hazard Mitigation Grant project.

• Regarding the Hogback land funds held by the town, nothing will be done at this time to move the funds because - as draft meeting minutes show - the board feels the Treasurer's fiduciary policy and practice are adequate.

Hearing on revised Town Plan Oct. 10; forest fire warden term renewed

MARLBORO - The Selectboard set Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. as the date and time for a hearing on the Revised Town Plan.

Also at their July 25 meeting, according to draft meeting minutes, the board voted to reappoint Allan McLane as forest fire warden for a five-year term ending June 30, 2018.

Newfane approves Town Plan

NEWFANE - Corrections to a few typographical errors, agreed not to change the meaning or intent of the document, were voted in along with the rest of the Newfane Town Plan, adopted as written at a special Selectboard meeting July 22.

The plan was approved unanimously. Present were Jon Mack, Gloria Cristelli, and Chris Druke. Absent were Mike Fitzpatrick and Todd Lawley, according to draft meeting minutes.

Brockways Mills Road culvert in

ROCKINGHAM - Municipal Manager Willis D. Stearns II told the Selectboard Aug. 6 that the Brockways Mills Road culvert is now in, that the road is open to traffic, and that the Town has been providing 10-wheelers for the project to get it back on schedule.

He also reported that Old Home Days had gone very smoothly, and he thanked all those who assisted with this event, according to draft meeting minutes.

Stearns refutes rumors of secrecy in constable appointment

ROCKINGHAM - Municipal Manager Willis D. Stearns II defended the process by which the constable appointment was made, noting at the Aug. 6 Selectboard meeting that “there are some individuals in the community who feel that the constable appointment was done behind closed doors and in secrecy,” according to draft meeting minutes.

Stearns used the opportunity to detail the process leading up to the appointment.

His outline covers the timeline from June 4 to July 30. Board member Ann DiBernardo requested the constable be placed on the July 30 Joint Board Agenda, and the matter was discussed June 11 and July 2 by the BF Village Trustees and Rockingham Selectboard, respectively, and, on July 30, Joint Board Meeting members discussed the constable position.

“An independent vote of each Board was unanimous and the Inter-municipal Police Agreement was entered into the land records of the Rockingham Town Clerk the next day,” Stearns wrote.

In his conclusion, recorded in draft meeting minutes Aug. 6, Stearns warned that if he continues to hear rumors of official decisions being made in secret, then those present “can expect a similar dialogue.”

The text of Stearns' refutation is included in draft meeting minutes, posted at

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates