The Halifax selectmen met in-person on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig provided a brief budget status for fiscal year 2022 saying most department budgets were turned in with the exception of the schools. Regional dispatch costs will be increased by approximately $50,000. “The outlook is dim at this point given what I know we have for revenues and expenditures,” Seelig told the selectmen. “State revenues on the other hand continue to be good, fairly stable,” he added.
Seelig told the selectmen during his COVID update that the 14-day count continues to climb. Seelig said the count was at 52 for the previous 14 days where it had previously been hovering around the low forties. Seelig said there had been a cluster of cases resulting from athletics at Silver Lake. Actions were taken to mitigate the spread further.
Seelig provided updates on a number of other ongoing projects in town. He told the selectmen that the legislation pertaining to the Aldana Road land transfer was signed by the Governor. The next step will be for the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to write up the deed.
Seelig said that the initial submissions for the wage and personnel bylaw amendments were submitted by the Finance Committee and selectmen in time for the January 11 deadline. The amendments will be read during the Finance Committee’s January 25 meeting as part of a public hearing. Proposed changes include regrading the police administrative assistant and fire administrative assistant from a Grade 6 to a Grade 8. Seelig said that he believes that given the inclusion of those two proposed changes, there should be a reevaluation of all positions considered either Grade 6 or 7 for possible changes in grades or pay rates. The Fire Chief proposed changes for non-wage compensation benefits for call firefighters. “I did also ask for review of the pay scales in connection with the ongoing changes in Massachusetts’ minimum wage laws and then also review the scales for positions in Grades 11 through Grade 14 to eliminate some discontinuities.” As an example, Seelig said that currently the Fire Chief is considered a Grade 12 while a Fire Lieutenant (which Halifax doesn’t currently have) is considered Grade 14.
Regarding the Complete Streets Program, Seelig said that Highway Surveyor Steve Hayward and Courtney Beckwith met with the consulting firm Green Seal Environmental. They would like to meet with the Board of Selectmen later in the month to obtain input about possible future projects. This will likely be part of the Board’s meeting on January 26. Seelig said that many of the suggestions sent in by the Planning Board were in regard to new sidewalks. A few traffic intersections including Oak Street were also mentioned. The final list will eventually be submitted to the state.
Seelig also told the Board that he had had a couple of people call or write to him inquiring about the town eliminating the 500 ft exclusionary zone around the pouring licenses and marijuana establishments. Seelig pointed out that the 500 ft zone is from property line to property line. He asked the Board if they had any interest in proposing an article. Selectmen Chair Tom Millias said, “That would be my recommendation, I don’t have a problem with putting it on a ballot no matter what and let the folks decide. Maybe we can talk about it at a future time and get a little more input.” He also pointed out that nothing would happen with it anyway until the annual town meeting in May.
The Board had an appointment with Anthony Curtin of Plymouth St. to amend his license for fuel storage from underground to above ground. Selectman Troy Garron confirmed that the area in question was not behind the buildings but behind Curtin’s house and he confirmed. Millias said that there weren’t many abutters who would be affected but said that a public hearing would still be necessary. It was decided to add it to the selectmen’s meeting on January 26. It was agreed that an above ground tank is preferable.