The search for the new Council on Aging director was discussed during Tuesday’s Halifax Board of Selectmen meeting. The search committee interviewed five candidates last week before narrowing the field to three. The next step for those candidates will be an interview with the Board of Selectmen in late September. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig told the Board that the candidates had indicated that they would like to receive the top step of the salary range posted. At Seelig’s urging, the Board agreed that the candidates should be notified that the Wage and Personnel Board may not approve a salary on the higher end of the stated range.
The Board voted to approve a number of live entertainment permits including one to Bob Bergstrom for Mudfest on November 10. A representative from Nessralla Farm attended Tuesday’s meeting to provide the Board with an update on where they were with permits and licensing for their annual corn maze and festivities. Owners of the farm are still waiting for approval from the state to utilize a zipline as has been done in the past. The attraction is 440 ft. long with an 18 ft. drop.
White Dog Cranberry earth removal permit
Bill Madden of JF Engineering attended the meeting on behalf of John Makepeace and White Dog Cranberry to ask the Board for a renewal of an earth removal permit. The original permit was requested as a result of a small supplemental water supply reservoir that was designed for the local cranberry company in 2017. Surface wetting will be done as a means of dust mitigation and a 100 ft. buffer zone from wetlands will be retained during the removal of the remaining 39,000 yards of earth. The property, which is also home to Makepeace’s residence, was once a Cumberland Farms corn field.
Beach privileges for Hanson resident?
The Board had an appointment with Hanson resident Caroline Forth to discuss the possibility of her having privileges at the town beach despite being a nonresident. Forth’s property on Waltham St. in Hanson is partially located in Halifax meaning she pays a small amount of taxes to the town. Selectmen Tom Millias said that he believed the request had merit and while he didn’t have a problem with it there were no procedures setup to deal with such a situation. Chair Troy Garron said, “I don’t see a major issue with that… You are a taxpayer.” Garron’s only concern was that he didn’t want to open a Pandora’s Box of sorts. The Selectmen promised to take it under consideration.
Cook wants to buy 100 parcels of land
Seelig informed the Board that Brian Cook is interested in purchasing 100 parcels of land off of Crystal Lake. Seelig described the land, which is believed to be town-owned, as having “a long, convoluted ownership history” and said that his biggest concern was with what the development possibilities are including how many lots the land can be divided into. Millias said,
“Honestly, it’s an engineering nightmare” but did acknowledge that the land is developable. Millias also added, “Financially it doesn’t make sense unless you’re buying them all so that you have all of it to work with.”
Seelig and the Board agreed that the first step would be to find out more about the land rights such as whether or not the town owns the conjoined lots in common title.
The Finance Committee currently stands at four members, but one member will need to step down shortly due to job commitments. Resident Cheryll Zarrella Burke expressed interest in joining both the Finance Committee and the Council on Aging. Seelig recommended that Burke’s placement on the committee (pending approval) be expedited so as to ensure that there are at least four members on the committee at all times.
SL Budget for FY20
The Silver Lake budget for the upcoming year was discussed. Seelig said, “It’s only September but I think it’s advisable that the three towns start talking to Silver Lake Regional School District about budgets for fiscal year 2020/2021.” Seelig said that he would like to see various officials from the three towns, including members of the Finance Committees and Boards of Selectmen attend the Silver Lake meeting on October 24 prior to any decisions being made by the school regarding spending. The hope would be to make it onto the agenda for that night but if not possible, the officials could speak during the public participation portion. Seelig stated that his intention is to ensure that the school budget will fit the towns’ financial situations.