Police/Fire Project: Your Turn

What are the options for the Police/Fire project? On the one hand the project can, without further ado, go forward with its $14.1 million dollar budget. This item alone will add 9-10 cents onto the tax rate next year (beginning July 2014). On the other hand, well, anything is possible. For instance: only doing the fire station now with an extra story or two, moving the town offices there and simply making some renovations to the Municipal Bldg to get police department functions out of the basement. Postpone West Bratt for now. This would dramatically cut immediate costs.  However I put this one idea out only to open the door to brainstorming.  There are probably ten thousand other possibilities.


I don’t think the citizens here have ever had the opportunity to engage their minds on this project in this way. It would be quite illuminating to see what the populace is capable of.  Its collective intelligence, so to speak. This kind of exercise is much more effective if ideas are not evaluated or criticized. If it devolves to that creative thinking will cease and the ideas dry up. Even if an idea is unfathomable it may contain one small element that can open a whole new way of thinking.

I’m reminded of the story, maybe true, of the entire engineer department at Hughes struggling to find a way to make a boat fly to get into remote areas. Finally a young whippersnapper just out of school suggested that maybe they could get a plane to float!

Good luck.

Comments | 4

  • "Your Turn!" When?

    Thank you Spoon for an intelligent explanation about how brainstorming works, and for a beautiful vision of an unprecedented initiative to bring the collective wisdom of the citizenry into the decision-making process.

    Seeing the title, “Your Turn,” and then reading the beginning of Spoon’s piece, it sounded like an announcement of a soon-to-be-held brainstorming meeting, and I was fully expecting it to conclude with the time and place of this meeting.

    However, it turned out to be an intellectualization of an completely abstract idea. Unless brainstorming, such as Spoon describes, is actually in the offing: The title, “Your Turn” has no meaning.

    If I did not know Spoon as a genuinely sincere person, it would almost seem like a taunt to end the piece with, “good luck.”

    I think that Spoon’s idea is really great. It would be exciting to see a real opportunity for citizen’s participation. I hope that Spoon is not going to leave this brainstorming initiative as an beautiful, imagined abstraction; but will use his influence to make this actually happen.


  • astonishing!

    “It would be quite illuminating to see what the populace is capable of. Its collective intelligence, so to speak.” – Spoon

    Maybe it’s me, but this notion seems rather late in coming forth, and rather a bit bizarre, given the recent history of proposed and approved projects in town, how the hard work and public voices of so many citizens have been blatantly ignored and a proposal to hear them even voted down, combined with a pervasive public apathy and silence that we know exists. It seems we have a rather large cultural hurdle to overcome before we can even begin to think about gleaning collective intelligence from the populace?

  • OK

    – Have volunteers build it using donated materials.

    – Build it in phases, with grants and donations only.

    – Get Homeland Security to pay for it. They funded much of the extra equipment we’ve bought in recent years, and should now pay for storage. They won’t, so we’ll have to change the name to something like “NorthEast Terrorist Prevention Analysis Center” so they’ll write us checks.

    – Work with courts to allow folks to work off their sentences. (Then arrest carpenters and painters.)


    In the most recent monthly report, Police Chief Wrinn mentions that we have really low paid officers who use our town mostly as a stepping stone to better jobs elsewhere, and we have trouble paying salaries that keep people working here.

    It seems like a real issue for the department. It would be useful to know more, too. Which is needed more right now – better salaries or better facilities? Will a request for raises be coming on the heels of the new facility costs? Is it OK to have this level of turnover in the department?

  • Absolutely doesn't make sense

    There is a petition being circulated through the local group Common Sense Arlene and Kurt Daims is working with this.

    The community did NOT get to vote on this.. This has been put to public vote at least times before and had been rejected.

    The community simply cannot afford this.

    We have the highest property tax in Vermont, declining Grand list, and very little business growth.

    What is exasperating, is that the town and previous Select board pushed this through and did not go to a town wide ballot. They knew it would be defeated. Will the new Select board take a deep and long hard look at this?

    This in no way denigrates the fine work of our police and fire personnel, but we cannot afford the new facility.

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