The Halifax Board of Selectmen met on Tuesday evening, Sept. 8 for their regular weekly meeting.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig began with a brief discussion regarding CARES Act funding which is being administered to towns by Plymouth County. Seelig said that after being rejected for the Shared Streets Grant twIcee for the Cranberry Drive sidewalk project, he is exploring the possibility of using CARES funding. Seelig said he is waiting to hear back from the County on the eligibility of a few projects. He said there was some confusion as to whether CARES Act funds could be applied to those things for which purchase orders have been submitted but payments have yet to be made by September. The Plymouth County Commission may organize another call with the county’s fire chiefs soon.
Not even ten minutes into the meeting, Board of Selectmen Chair Tom Millias told those assembled that they would need to place their masks on as the room was now at capacity. He further said that if anyone else were to enter the room, since it would be inappropriate to ask anyone to leave, the meeting would be adjourned until Thursday. Luckily, this didn’t end up being necessary.
Seelig told the Board that there were two new cases of COVID-19 in Halifax since their previous meeting only a few days before. They were the first cases in town in over a month. Seelig said, “It’s still out there.” He continued, “Massachusetts has been doing an excellent job, the positive rate on the testing is very, very good. It matters what’s your behavior. Are you going to make good decisions or are you not going to make good decisions? Wearing a mask, washing your hands, not going to beach parties with whatever number of people not wearing a mask – I think that’s going to determine what happens here in the next couple of months. Halifax isn’t some place where we have this barrier that magically prevents people from having COVID.”
The Board had several appointments including one with the Library Board of Trustees. They were there to appoint Kathy Shiavone to the Board until May. It took a vote of both the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Trustees to appoint her. The vote was unanimous.
The Board needs to hold a joint meeting with the Halifax School Committee to appoint someone to fill the vacancy left on the school committee following a recent resignation. Just as was done with the Library Board of Trustees, it will take a vote from both the school committee and selectmen to appoint someone to the position. Thus far, three talent bank forms have been submitted. The selectmen plan to attend a school committee meeting in October in order to hold interviews and vote on the position.
Ashley DiSesa met with the Board to discuss a possible alternative to traditional trick-or-treating.
She proposed an idea similar to the lunch handout that has been taking place at the Elementary School during the week. “My idea was to try to figure out a way to do a drive through trick-or-treating,” she explained. Her proposal included multiple stops at the school for cars to receive treats as well as a possible contest for the best decorated car.
DiSesa said the plan would be for residents to sign up online through something like SignUp Genius and select a time slot for their drive-through. The event would start relatively early to accommodate the youngest trick or treaters. A number of parents in town have already expressed interest in volunteering and the hope would be to have a few local businesses sponsor the event in order to purchase candy and bags. DiSesa said she had already spoken to the Halifax School Committee and said she also intends to speak with the fire chief. Millias suggested she contact the police chief as well.
“I think it’s a nice idea. I think the community would certainly back it. As long as you can work out the logistics, I would be in favor of it,” Millias said.
DiSesa asked the selec-men if they had a preference on which day to hold the event, suggesting either the Friday before Halloween or Halloween day itself which falls on a Saturday this year.
Selectman Troy Garron said the Saturday would probably make better sense since most parents are probably working on Friday. “And, it’s a full moon,” joked Selectman Gordon Andrews. The selectmen agreed that it was a great idea and asked DiSesa to work out the logistics and come back with a plan that they could approve.
The final appointment of the night was with Drew McGlincy who came to the meeting to discuss charging stations and solar panels at Town Hall. McGlincy spoke about the need to transition away from fossil fuels and said that depending on the speed of the charging stations, the town could probably handle 4-6 of them. He said he was pending verification of how much electricity the system at Town Hall can handle and said that he would propose 240 solar panels to be installed on the roof of Town Hall.
Millias who noted that he isn’t against the concept of the charging stations said, “I for one am not a big fan of panels on the roof. It’s not a matter of if it’s going to leak, it’s a matter of when it’s going to leak.” Millias reminded McGlincy that if the intention was to utilize town funds, it would have to be approved by a vote at town meeting. The earliest that could happen would be next May.
McGlincy said he would pull together a blueprint for a proposed location behind the cemetery in the Town Hall parking lot. Millias asked him to include some estimated costs as well. “I don’t know if it will go anywhere or not, but if you’re willing to do the work, at least that’s a start,” Millias said.
Seelig provided the Board with a few more updates including that the police chief had inquired about a new civil service list for the hiring of three new part time patrol officers. Seelig also provided an update on the Pine St. Bridge project. It is currently in the permitting phase with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Conservation Commission, and Riverways for Massachusetts. The next stage will be the final engineering and it will go out to bid in February or March of 2021 with a completion date of October 2021.