Disagreements between the Halifax Board of Selectmen and two of the town’s representatives to the Silver Lake Regional School District were discussed at last Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
The Board of Selectmen along with the Finance Committee have worked on a budget that cuts $400,000 from the Silver Lake budget. Town Administrator Charles Seelig has said at several meetings that unexpected increases to the special education budget, especially at the elementary school level, are having an impact on other departments in Halifax’s fiscal year budget.
According to Seelig, another budget proposal was brought forward by two of the town’s representatives that they say cuts $291,000 instead. Seelig said this, however, is not a true cut because this only fixes an error from the previous budget. He said it doesn’t actually cut new funds compared to last year’s fiscal budget, but just makes a correction.
Selectmen Vice Chair Kim Roy said she was disappointed with the two representatives’ position on the budget cut. She said that they don’t only represent what they personally want for the school, but the well-being of the town as well. “This is the year of the need, not the want,” said Roy.
Selectmen Clerk Troy Garron said that representatives need to keep in mind what its residents can afford to pay, including low income residents who might not be able to afford a larger budget.
Selectmen will continue to work with the Finance Committee and its representatives to the Silver Lake District. Seelig reiterated that there’s still time to get a budget done. He said, “We still have two and a half months before Town Meeting.”
Selectmen held a dog hearing for Kimberly Mahoney’s dog, that got loose and bit a man at the liquor store across from her house.
According to Animal Control Officer Noreen Callahan’s statement, the victim said the dog was loose from a metal tether and barking. When the victim crouched down, Mahoney’s dog bit him on the arm.
The dog was not licensed and had not received a rabies vaccine. Mahoney said she was cited and fined by Callahan for not having the license or vaccine for the dog.
Roy called Mahoney’s actions “irresponsible” and based on her initial feelings, she was leaning towards the dog being euthanized.
Mahoney said she believes her dog was just scared, but said that isn’t an excuse for her to bite. “She’s typically afraid of men,” said Mahoney.
According to Mahoney, she’s had the dog since it was six weeks old. Being almost two years old now though, the German Sheppard-Pitbull mix has remained “aggressive.”
Mahoney said she doesn’t feel comfortable bringing the dog to the vet because of how the dogs reacts around other dogs. She’s also worried about how the dog will react with other people now too, but said this “aggressive behavior” has only been directed towards strangers.
She said the dog has never been aggressive towards her or her five children. “If you saw her with the baby, you’d think they’re best friends,” said Mahoney.
Neither the victim nor Callahan were present for the first hearing, so Selectmen are delaying a decision for two weeks. In the meantime, the dog must wear a mussel at all times when outside or when other people visit Mahoney’s house. Mahoney is also the only one allowed to take the dog outside. Her children are forbidden from doing so.
South Shore Community Action Council
Jack Cocio, the CEO of the South Shore Community Action Council came to the selectmen’s meeting as a reminder to the types of services the organization provides.
According to Cocio, the organization spent $287,184 this past fiscal year on services for low income residents including low income heat assistance, weatherizing homes, income tax assistance, and providing food.
In Halifax alone, Cocio said 152 pounds of food have been distributed. “I would like to see more residents take advantage of this; it’s a really good program,” said Cocio.
Some funding for this organization is usually provided via approval at Town Meeting. Roy said given this upcoming fiscal year’s budget constraints, she’s unsure the town will be able to fund as much as they usually do, but said they will do what they can.
Garron said residents can contact the Council on Aging for more information on South Shore Community Action Council.
• The Board of Selectmen appointed Leonard Tecino to the Capital Planning Committee.
• Stacy Varao was appointed to the Holidays in Halifax Committee. Varao said, “This type of committee is up my alley. I’m passionate about the holidays, it’s positive.”
•Selectmen approved Robert Bergstrom’s live entertainment permit for Mud Fest on June 10, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.