Halifax Special Town Meeting set for Sept. 8
Selectmen in Halifax Tuesday, Aug. 11, heard advocates for a new or renovated Council on Aging Building currently the historic Pope’s Tavern, called a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, to deal with its three warrant articles, and met with the Town Accountant and Recycling Coordinator to discuss recycling fees.
Senior Citizens filled the room to support another attempt at either building a new senior center or renovating Pope’s Tavern, the current building. The late State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy secured a $50,000 grant for the Town of Halifax to begin the process of exploring different options for the town.
John Campbell represented the Building Committee and Joy Marble and Sharon Hart were present to represent the Council on Aging.
This is not the first time attempts have been made to complete this project; in fact, it would be the third.
Over the last five years or so, an attempt to work with an architect failed as well as an attempt to purchase the building housing the Four Seasons restaurant.
“We have to work with what the taxpayers have an appetite for,” emphasized Selectman Chairman Kim Roy, to the clearly frustrated but motivated crowd. “We supported the Four Seasons building purchase [at a previous town meeting] but it was FinCom that couldn’t,” said Roy.
Several options exist, including purchasing the Morgan Equipment Building, which is vacant or continuing renovation plans with a different architect for the current building. All have upsides and downsides, and frustration was palpable in the room.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig stated, “We are keeping all of our options open.”
Though this seemed to satisfy no one fully, representatives of the several boards present agreed to meet to discuss further planning at the end of September.
Roy was especially excited to speak about the recently awarded grant Fire Chief Jason Vivierios won for the town from FEMA for the purchase of an aerial ladder truck.
The town approved the financing of a new aerial ladder truck for the Fire Department at last Town Meeting, but because the truck awarded to the town is slightly different than the one Viveiros had planned to originally purchase, and only the first payment of roughly $160,000 of the financing was approved, a Special Town Meeting was called for Tuesday, September 8, at 7:30 to deal with this issue and two others.
Special Town Meeting:
Three articles will be considered, the first addressing the use of the first $100,000 of the roughly $160,000 to be used for modifications to the truck or station to fit the truck in the building, training, and matching funds the town needs to pay to the federal government for the grant.
The second relates to returning the remainder of the money back to the taxpayers.
The third article has to do with a $11,000 remainder in the Halifax Elementary School’s IT budget. They have completed all IT projects for the year and they would like to use this money to begin to lay the infrastructure for a new phone system, which would eventually cost an additional roughly $30,000.
Town Accountant Sandy Nolan and Recycling Coordinator Susan Johnston had an appointment with the Board to discuss raising recycling permit fees.
Several projects are necessary at the recycling center in the near future, including new windows and resurfacing of the driveway. As much of the money for FY’16 has already been spent on a new recycling truck, both women did not see there to be any other way to sustain their budget other than to raise the yearly fee from $38 to $50.
Although all the Selectmen expressed reticence to raise taxes or fees, especially Selectman Thomas Millias, according to him, “I don’t see any way around this.”
In Other News:
• Continuing issues with junk and junked cars on multiple properties throughout town continue to be a nuisance. Town Administrator Seelig will continue to post signage, which he reports is often torn down.
• At the suggestion of Town Administrator Seelig, the Board approved him to explore partnering with the YMCA for a wellness program for town employees.
• Several routine “road cuts” and other utility work permits were approved and routine “use of town property” permits were granted to community groups.
• A number of businesses were notified of sign violations.
• The board was informed about possible changes in legislation in both how paint is recycled and how public records requests are processed, although no new legislation has passed yet.
• The City of Brockton continues to be unresponsive and uncooperative to requests by area officials, including Plympton, for further information on that city’s use of water from Monponsett Pond.
• Bob Baker filled out a talent bank form and is interested in serving on the Planning Board.
• Christine Pruitt was appointed new Assistant Superintendent of the Silver Lake School District.