Halifax Selectboard seat temporarily filled

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HALIFAX — Brad Rafus' joining the Selectboard marks the second time this year that a board member's seat was temporarily filled.

"That goes until Town Meeting," Selectboard Chairman Lewis Sumner said referring to the annual meeting held in March.

Former board member Edee Edwards left her position on Oct. 6 after accepting a job in Boston. Sumner said Edwards plans to relocate there. Her efforts have included, but are not limited to, bringing high speed Internet to Halifax and handling infrastructure matters after Tropical Storm Irene.

Rafus, Halifax's road commissioner, was one of four residents who wanted the seat until an election. Dan Menerey, Carl Barmen and Cara Cheyette were the other candidates given time to speak at a Nov. 3 meeting.

Sumner and fellow board member Douglas Grob, who replaced Earl Holtz, both voted for Rafus' appointment that same night. Holtz had left the position in June, saying he had enough of it following a name calling incident during a public hearing for road reclassification in May.

"So you get to a point where you're maxed out," Holtz said in a previous interview. "The last straw."

The two seats will be up for grabs at Town Meeting. In the past, articles have been included asking voters to consider increasing the amount of board members from three to five.

While the warning was not yet discussed, Sumner said the question could come up again. The warning cannot be posted until the end of January.

"They might get a petition," he said of residents. "I don't know. They can always do that."

Saturday's meeting at 8 a.m. will start budget talks in Halifax. Department heads and staff members were asked to submit their figures by then.

"I think everything's going to be the same it has been," Sumner said.

Another Saturday budget meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 8 a.m. The board anticipates the sessions will last three to four hours and more will be set up if necessary. A budget proposal should be ready by early January.

A bridge on Branch Road will be addressed in the budget for fiscal year 2017. The state wants the town to fix it, Sumner told the Reformer. The board plans on applying for a grant.

"Right now, there are cement guard rails on the bridge. A lot of them are deteriorating," Sumner said. "We're thinking about painting the steel stringers for next year, too."

Bids for the project were planned to be opened on Tuesday night.

Last year saw an increase in taxes which had, in part, to do with replacing a box culvert on Reed Hill Road. The project cost approximately $100,000.

"The big steel culvert disintegrated and it rotted all out on the bottom," said Sumner. "The road was starting to sink in. We had to fix it a couple different times. When the steel culverts rot at the bottom, the whole road settles."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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