All articles pass
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, a special town meeting was held in Halifax to address three warrant articles, two of which involved the FEMA grant to purchase a new aerial ladder fire truck, and the third to use the remainder of funds allocated at the last annual town meeting for IT equipment at the elementary school towards a new phone system at the school.
All warrant articles passed unanimously with a voice vote. The finance committee also recommended all of the articles.
As much time was spent waiting for the quorum of 100 registered voters to be reached, 20 minutes, as the time needed for special town meeting voters to unanimously pass the three articles.
The articles were chosen randomly but happened to come up in order.
Fire Chief Jason Vivieros explained article 1, asking the voters to take funds already allocated for an aerial ladder truck at the last annual town meeting in May and use $100,000 towards the town’s portion of 5% of the $714,000 grant, training, renovations to the fire station, and other FEMA requirements for the new truck.
He also explained, briefly, the history of the fire truck purchase process and a few of the benefits of the FEMA-grant truck as opposed to the one approved at May’s annual town meeting, including nozzles at the top of the ladder that can be remotely controlled from the ground that improve safety for the town’s firefighters.
The second article simply transferred the remaining money back to the taxpayer, reducing the tax rate by eight cents, causing much laughter in the room.
There was one question from Jason Conroy of Jordan Road, which he summed up as, “Can we give some more money back to the taxpayers?” after being told by the moderator that his question was not understood.
Selectman Chairperson Kim Roy and Town Administrator Charlie Seelig re-explained the warrant article and the purchasing process, and Mr. Conroy dropped his objections.
Finally, much jovial laughter was again caused when Ms. Summer Schmaling of the Halifax Elementary School Committee accidentally read the third warrant article incorrectly. She referred to allocating money from May’s annual town meeting article “3” instead of “30”. This prompted Town Moderator John Bruno to re-read the article incorrectly, twice, but finally the voters unanimously voted to allow the school committee to use excess IT funds towards a new phone system.
The multi-purpose room at Halifax Elementary School was nearly empty by 8:15.