Wednesday March 6, 2013

HALIFAX -- There will not be an increase in Selectboard membership, from three to five, following a decision made by voters at Town Meeting.

A Selectboard made of five members would allow for a quorum, where two of the board members would be able to talk without warning the meeting, but three would require a warned meeting.

"They can't even talk to each other right now because they have to have a posted, listed meeting," said one voter.

"We need (more members for) the assistance and to prepare (in case) one cannot do the position," said another voter.

There are two additional Halifax citizens who have Selectboard training and experience who are not currently members of the board.

Selectboard member Edee Edwards had brought up that the board had held 44 meetings in 2011 and more than 70 in 2012. She also advised that factions could start if there were an increase in membership.

A paper ballot was held, which eventually brought the decision to a head. Twenty-nine voted in favor of increasing the seats in the Selectboard, while 33 voted against it.

Since Halifax Annual Reports had not made it to residents, the votes from Town Meeting will have to be ratified at a follow-up meeting in the future.

"Town Meeting reports that were mailed from Halifax were supposed to be kept at the Brattleboro Post Office," said Edwards. "Instead they got forwarded to White River Junction then New Jersey. Because people did not have brochures, our research has show that we need to warn a special meeting with the School Board and Selectboard to ratify today's meeting."

Articles 2 to 13 had been passed by voters. Article 7 was modified to include clearer language. Article 9 was modified to increase the budget for the Whitingham Free Public Library from $3,000 to $3,500.

A new official seal to represent the town had been presented to voters in the annual town report for Article 14, asking if voters would like to change the existing seal to the new one.

"I believe that the genesis of it may have been when we were doing a lot of stuff after Irene. We didn't have an official town seal letter head. I think that's kind of where it might have come from," said Edwards. "I'm going to state my opinion. I'm opposed to this article. I'm not really clear how much it would cost to put on the town vehicles, how much it would cost to put on the town flag. There seems to be some question about whether a different seal would be more appropriate."

A few residents thought that a townwide contest should be held so that a better official town seal could be made. After further discussion, the article was defeated.

The seal was designed or drawn by Christina Moore. In the town book, two different ones were shown to voters. One would be for color printing and the other for black and white printing.

Article 2 was amended so that an additional $1,500 could help with "enrichment program availability," which "would help make the school more attractive to students not here now," said a voter.

The amendment was passed 24-19 and had to be counted by the Selectboard and justices of peace because the numbers were so close.

Patricia A. Pusey was elected Town Moderator for one year and School District Moderator for one year. She received 154 votes out of 164 total ballots counted.

Edee Edwards was elected as a three-year Selectboard member. She received 117 votes out 164.

Charlene Martynowski was elected lister for three years. Sumner Dupuis was elected auditor for three years.

Leonard H. Derby Sr. was elected First Constable for one year. Roy G. Richardson was elected Second Constable for one year. Sam Groves was elected Trustee of Public Funds for three years. Jeff Deforest was elected Cemetary Commissioner for three year. Homer "Chum" Sumner was elected School Director for three years. Laura Sumner was elected Collector of Delinquent Taxes for one year. William Pusey Jr. was elected Town Grand Juror for one year.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.