Two Short Selectboard Comments from BCS – April 4, 2023

We thank Mr. Potter for the update on the litigation over our emergency homeless shelter.

We had two comments tonight: first on the EHRV emergency shelter, and second, on the Fair Evictions and Rents amendment . One issue comes from the other.

In a selectboard meeting January 2021 we offered free housing for a police officer or substation at BCS corporate headquarters on Washington Street. It was part of our SAFE Policing project to start community policing. One of the vehicles in our emergency shelter is actually a mobile office, and quite suited as a substation or as a dental lab.

At the time not one BPD officer lived in Brattleboro. Our consultant from Police Scotland, Graeme Donald, was shocked, as this is the opposite of community policing . A committed police presence is what’s needed to close a drug house. If traffickers notice a police officer watching from across the street every time they come by, you know they won’t come by much longer. That would be the particular value of a mobile (RV) substation. Although we offered it at no cost, and although housing is very hard to find, the board did not respond.

Our de-centralized homeless shelters are part of our housing agenda, but the idea came from community policing.

Another part of our housing agenda is rental legislation. So, tonight we reminded the board of our eviction law that we submitted in late 2020. This later became the basis of Article 2 (JCE) with the unfortunate addition of the endless lease clause. The board should consider this as an “emergency ordinance”. This can be enacted at thirty day intervals by the terms of the charter and could possibly control rents and prevent unjust evictions until our charter amendment is finally approved. People should encourage the board to approve the emergency ordinance. The board may worry about Dillon’s Rule, but that’s why it will be an emergency ordinance under section 6-AA. The board may hesitate to take emergency measures, but they took emergency action for the mask mandate: they can take emergency action in the housing crisis. Then we get to work on the amendment.


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