The Halifax Board of Selectmen met on the evening of Tuesday, July 13. The Selectmen voted on multiple Licensing Authority Appointments including David Acevich, Edward Broderick, Patrick Donnelly, Robert Gaynor, Jay Guidaboni, Jennifer Keegan, Thomas Reed, and Herbert Wiltshire. Selectman Gordon Andrews abstained from voting on Gaynor. All were unanimously approved.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig then asked the Board if they wanted to deal with the appointment of the Building Inspector. Robert Piccirilli, who served as Building Inspector for the last several years, was not reappointed and currently has a suit against the town. Longtime Selectman Troy Garron has previously stated that he believed Piccirilli performed well in the position and should have been reappointed. Andrews recused himself from the discussion and potential vote. Garron and newest Selectman Ashley DiSesa were previously unable to come to an agreement on the appointment of a Building Inspector. They did, however, vote to appoint Piccirilli as the temporary Building Inspector for a few weeks in the interim. Garron, again, reiterated his belief that Piccirilli should be reappointed to a full-time position.
The last meeting of the Traffic Safety Committee was also discussed. DiSesa, who was in attendance, said that Highway Surveyor Steve Hayward will be putting up speed limit signs on portions of Walnut St. She said they were also working on a speed trap. There was also some discussion around who would be responsible for the blinking sign by the school. Hayward argued that since the sign is associated with the school, they should be responsible for the maintenance of the sign. Seelig said that it should likely be its own line item in the Highway budget.
The Selectmen had an appointment with Paul Nixon, owner of Independent Fermentations Brewing for a temporary liquor license for three events being held at Fieldstone Farm. Nixon said that there are annual horse shows held each year at Fieldstone Farm. Representatives from Fieldstone Farm had contacted Nixon to see if his brewery would be interested in serving the events. Nixon named the event dates as August 21, 22, 27, and 28 as well as September 11 and 12. The Board voted to approve.
Seelig gave a vaccination update saying that Halifax was doing average compared to other surrounding towns. He said the town could be doing better with younger demographics. Seelig pointed out that cases were going back up in Massachusetts saying he would urge people to get the vaccine to protect themselves and friends and families. Andrews recommended that the town utilizes the reverse 911 feature to notify residents of the dates for the vaccination clinic that will be held in Kingston for residents of Duxbury, Halifax, Kingston, and Plympton.
The Selectmen had a 7 p. m. appointment with Susan Hill for the Board of Library Trustees. Hill said that she has been a resident of Halifax for 26 years. Hill, who said she grew up in Boston, said, “I know from personal experience… from growing up in an underprivileged community, how important libraries are.” Hill referenced her stint on Jeopardy last year and said that when brushing up she noticed herself turning to the library rather than Google. Garron asked her if she had attended town meeting and she said she had been to some of them. Kristine Boyles was next to interview for the Board of Library Trustees. Boyles said she just moved into town last November from neighboring Plympton where she said she served on the Board of Library Trustees for 18 years. Boyles also said she was an educator in the area for nearly 30 years and is now currently employed by the Plymouth Public Library. Garron said she sounded busy and asked if she had time for the position. Boyles said her mother always said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” The vote is a joint one between the Library Trustees and the Selectmen and will be taken at a later time.
Kim Cavicchi interviewed next for the Conservation Commission saying she has served as an associate member for the last few months. “It’s such a great group of people,” she said of the Commission. Seelig explained that associate members are involved in discussions, etc. but cannot vote. The other members of the Commission wrote a letter recommending Cavicchi for the open position. Cavicchi was appointed to the position.
Jean Gallant was next to interview for the Council on Aging (COA). Gallant is the current Director of the Holmes Public Library since 2016. “I think we all know the answers to the average questions,” Andrews joked. Andrews did ask Gallant if she had the time. Gallant said that she had thought of it a lot adding, “the way I feel about having the time is I would make the time for something like this.” She said that in most communities the COA and the library work together closely. Gallant was voted unanimously onto the COA by the Selectmen.
Daniel Borsari was next to appear before the Selectmen for a regular member opening on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). He has been an associate member on the ZBA for the last five years. He said he was able to vote when one of the regular members was not able to attend a meeting. Borsari took the opportunity to say he was wondering why Robert Gaynor was not reappointed to the ZBA saying he was “the best Halifax had to offer…. I think the best decision for the town would be to reappoint Bert Gaynor.” He said of Gaynor that he has “impeccable character.” He continued, “If it’s not going to be Bert, I think the most logical thing for the town and the most logical thing for me… would be to now fill that possibly vacant full member position.” He noted that his own personal feeling was that variances should be handed out sparingly.
Kasey Sims also had an appointment with the Selectmen to discuss issues with the Halifax water system. She said she has lived in town for 27 years. She read the letter she sent to the water department in which she requested an abatement of half of her bill as she felt that the water department didn’t hold up their end in providing reliably good water to her home. She said that tainted water and even completely brown water has often become the norm. She said that after several requests, she did not receive a response to her request for an abatement. She shared pictures of her water with the Selectmen. Andrews said they should invite the water commissioner to come to the next meeting for a discussion. Garron recommended also having the Board of Health present. Sims said she has concerns to be discussed such as whether or not the water is safe for her family including her young son.
The Board also met with David and Laura Gibbons of 70 Oak Street. They said that applying for a wood stove permit has cost them approximately $4,300. Gibbons said a mistake was made during the process that resulted in the high costs. Andrews said that if a complaint needed to be made against a specific individual, they should also be there to speak to the issue. “I’d rather talk about the what than the who,” Gibbons said. Andrews said he would be recusing himself. Seelig explained to the Gibbons’ that there were several suits going on against the current Building Inspector and certain members of the Board of Selectmen. DiSesa recommended pushing the discussion to the meeting on July 27.
The Selectmen discussed setting a date for a meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Capital Planning Committee, and Silver Lake Regional School Committee to discuss Silver Lake’s capital plan. The meeting will likely take place in the fall. Andrews explained he felt that better communication was necessary.
A discussion was had on the Host Community Agreement with Green Earth Cannabis. Andrews recused himself as he said his father owns property within close proximity to the property in question. Director of Operations Robert Maker came before the Board saying, “I’ve been in this town for 27 years. I raised my family here; my mom lives in town, my brother, my nieces and nephews, my kids.” He also said he has coached and volunteered in a number of different capacities in the town over the years. He said he wanted to discuss any issues that the business has had with the town. He said they negotiated a Host Community Agreement with the town for a long time. “We are preparing to mitigate whatever impact the facility may have on the neighbors,” Maker said. He said they just want the ability to come before the town and address any concerns. “We’re looking to hire people to work for us that come from this town,” Maker explained. Garron asked Seelig when the issue could be added to the agenda. They agreed to add it to the August 3 meeting. DiSesa said that the Planning Board and any other pertinent Boards could be made aware in case they want to attend.