Selectboard Meeting Notes – Climate Emergency, Homelessness, Addiction, and Flowers

Brattleboro Selectboard

Before the Brattleboro Selectboard could get to regular business, they heard from many agitated citizens on issues such as the homeless, flowers, and librarians getting paid less than homeless day work program employees. This was interrupted by a climate emergency protest, adding to the list of grievances.

Eventually the board got tho their scheduled business of updates on the DBA and Project CARE, approving of contracts, a short discussion of childcare at public meetings, and more. It was quite an outpouring of interest in local government, from many angles.

Comments | 17

  • Preliminaries

    Chair Brandie Starr has no remarks.

    TM Elwell says that the town has been awarded the grant for the utility system. $440k. It will be on a future agenda.

    Also, he’s pleased to announce that WWHT and Town are forming a partnership to renovate the Municipal Center. Housing on top two floors and town on first floors. An unusual partnership and project. More affordable for taxpayers, downtown housing, increase town’s grand list, preserve town landmark. “The start of something we hope will turn out really well.”

    Tim Wessel says there has been bad news about, but he found a good social media post about policeman. One was from a woman who said she got help from two PD officers. “Concerns taken seriously in a difficult time. Officer said all the right things.” Officers both protect and serve.

    Public Participation

    Topics must be warned, warns Brandie.

    Matthew – did a book on homelessness in Brattleboro. Thanks to select board for portapotties downtown. I’m disappointed and angry with the community to listen to the people in town suffering the most. Many are my very closest friends. I’ve spent time with them. Homeless have lost everything, they’ve been abused, they are usually in debt. The only close bonds… They aren’t panhandlers. It’s like calling a prisoner “indoors-y”. I reached out to the selectboard with questions – 1. propose an investigation into all trespass citations and a review of trespass citations, 2. review by board and town atty any statutes that limit access to town property, and 3. Groundworks and no trespass issues. I got no responses. They couldn’t be made into agenda items due to confidentiality issues, but I got no formal notification of this. I reached out for info on confidentiality – why not look into issues of public info, or discuss without using names of officers. Can they be redacted and anonymous? Can the board discuss officers, or investigate wrongdoing by police, or investigate polices of trespassing at police department? I have many more questions on this. If board cannot investigate, can they call on district atty to do the rest? Can DA or town atony look into issues deeper than SB? The homeless revolution was insulted in the Reformer today. The homeless revolution was originated because of police harassment in town, and none of the three demands – housing, no longer treated with bigotry, and have voice in local political process – have been met. There will never be a time in which the people who suffer the least help enough with those suffering the most. To think we are doing enough, is a belief we need not do much at all. As long as this suffering lives and sleeps outside, those sleeping inside have work to do. Homeless are rising up in your backyard. We can pay attention or not..

    –Interruption —

    DECLARE CLIMATE EMERGENCY banner and multiple protestors arrives.

    Govt has been too inactive! We are here to protest all inaction. We want to declare climate emergency! (They read their manifesto, in parts, one by one.)

    Must have compassion for youth whose cultures are decimated by fossil fuels industry. Brattleboro can act as an example, at emergency speed. Frontline communities can convert to a regenerative economy… the selectboard shall warn a list of remedies for the climate crisis and take emergency measures. We have been denying the climate crisis together. We declare war on climate change… to secure survival of everyone….

    (Applause for protestors)

    Emily Peyton – This can be done and we must do it!

    Kurt Daims – if anyone thinks we are unfairly interrupting – it is like the parade. All governments are criminally negligent – we’re all slack. Every minute we don’t work on the emergency we are in denial. When we take care of our beautiful little lives we are in denial.

    Lisa W. – it is an emergency and I support this declaration of climate emergency and want it warned and on the next meeting’s agenda. The sustainability coordinator job position needs to address the climate emergency. I hope the position will be clarified and you will vote on it, and this resolution.

    George Harvey – after Fukushima I sent out a daily email on nuclear power, and fossil fuel, and climate change. Since June 20012 I post articles every day. I read headlines of a million articles. Christmas morning. TV broadcasts. We don’t have ten years. We had ten years ten years ago. There is no time left. Scientists think humanity will not survive. I don’t know how to say this more strongly. I thought we had the technology to address it, but I don’t think we do because things have gotten worse. Tipping points are already happening, decades earlier than expected. We are in a world where the ability of the ocean to absorb CO2 is in decline. We will need someone who can act when the world acts. As though we are in a war. We need to act like 1942. The government said you can’t buy cars anymore, and rationed gasoline. That’s where we are headed. What will it do to Brattleboro? We need any expert.

    Brandie – thanks. I personally have no problem with this be on a future agenda. (no one objects)

    Kurt – our preference is that the Selectboard vote on it and enact it, and then we can work on term number 12 – people’s meetings for us to make laws and you enact them.

    Daniel Quipp – you want us to act for town?

    – you need to act now!

    G. Harvey – odds on next Nobel peace prize – one person is leading young climate change person Greta!

    Julia – I sent letter to Reformer regarding pay for town staff. I work at Library. The town decided to support the Work Today program paying $15/hr… which is less than some of us at the library earn. I’d like parity in pay for library staff. There is disparity between library and other town staff. Regional pay suggests $18-22. Peter and I have talked, and new HR person will look at pay scales. It needs to be revised to be fair and make sense. I’ve been told to speak with union rep, but we are part-time and not in the union, and many of us don’t get pro-rated benefits.

    Brandie – climate will be at next meeting.

    Kurt – unity is required of all people, skeptics and those who believe in climate change – we need to all work together. It will require exquisite teamwork. We do not need to scorn deniers.

    Brandie – Yup

    Kurt – like people crossing a a tightrope…

    Brandie – (gavels Kurt )- Kurt, I mean it…

    Kurt -(continues)

    Protestor – It is sickening that it has been left to the youth, and we didn’t ask for this. It’s not okay. You aren’t giving us power to make any change, and not giving us privilege to make changes. You’re just telling us to change it, but you need to change it.

    Protestor – nothing ever happens.

    Tim – we’ve never been asked…

    Protestor- we’re talking to the whole entire world, not just you.

    The protestors leave.


    Dick Degray – I have several things. I started my day at ten of three, and headed downtown to water things. I had an encounter in Plaza Park this morning. I think lights should be on. I was watering the last box near Holstein bldg, and I was watering and I didn’t see him, and watered him. He jumped up. It’s an accident I said. I head up Main, when I get back down to Plaza Park at bridge, three of my boxes of flowers are dumped over. They demand respect. I don’t bother anybody. I do a service for the town. This was an accident, and this person showed no respect for what I do. I put in so much work every day, over 40 hours of work a week. I’m speaking for my flowers – people stick crap in there – coffee cups, food, needles. I’m going to walk away from it. I’m sick of the policies getting in the way. They sent an officer… I’m frustrated at what’s happening in the community. People are looking for you for leadership, and things are pushing farther apathy. I see a lack of respect for people and things. People tell me this. It is really bothersome for me. Maybe we can go fix the boxes at 10 after this meeting. I’m okay with people wanting different things. There was a decorum for these board meetings. Now, anything goes! That’s not good for the community. I’m okay with the protest, but there is a decorum and process that isn’t happening. I think the vandalism on my flowers will continue. I’m staring at you and seeing blank faces. Will you change policies? There is a person who sleeps in Pliny Park and urinates there on himself and we do nothing about it. Carol should have someone wash those benches every day. I ask for a little and give a lot. Patrick – that tree by Distinctive Decor is deader than dead. Do something with it. It is making my flowers look bad. Also – the work program, a big rollout. No one is working yet, no coordinator. I hope we didn’t cut the check. I’m disappointed in Youth Services. People want to work, but there is no coordinator. We need to get it working. I have multiple projects to be done. John O’Connor is a real asset and sorry to see him retiring. I wish him well.

    • Dick Degray

      Dick, don’t think your flowers go unappreciated, I drive by them all every day on my way to work at 7:00 am and you are long gone with the only sign left behind of all your hard work being freshly watered overflow on sidewalks beyond the beautiful flowers themselves. The fact the flowers throughout the town look so beautiful every day is a testament of all your hard work and love for this town and it just wouldn’t be the same without them. Yes the situation with the downtown degradation is fast becoming out of hand and I agree, others need to step it up, but please persevere in the spirit of town pride and I remember your helper James and all his efforts, GRHS, it does seem like a lot of work and dedication every day and you deserve some recognition and genuine help!

      • Thank you Dick DeGray

        I want to add my appreciation for the community flowers and all the hard work.
        Those flowers get me smiling. Their growth and flowering is a visible sign for me to continue on in endeavors that also seem against the odds. Your flowers help .
        Thank You Dick DeGray.

    • Direct Democracy

      “then we can work on term number 12 – people’s meetings for us to make laws and you enact them.”

      This should be interesting…. : ) The board kinda agreed to take this up at their next meeting, but probably didn’t fully understand what they were doing. Or maybe they did! Either way, I can picture the Town Attorney looking at this and saying “No friggin’ way!” Would the board ignore that advice for the sake of the planet? Or will the climate emergency effort drown in bureaucracy? Where is the Town’s tipping point?

  • Water & Sewer Commissioners

    Well Pump Rebuild

    Steve Barrett – DPW – rebuilding a pump at the retreat filtration plant. Current pump has failed. AMC from Springfield pulled the motor and pump. We used a crane to get the pump and shaft and transported it to their shop… $35k to rebuild. It was installed in 1977, and is used to supplement our water supply. I recommend we rebuild the 75hp motor and pump. It’s within the budget for this sort of thing. Should be done within a month.

    Quipp – what happens without it for a month?

    Steve – should be okay but this is our emergency back up, so we like to have both up and running at all times.


    Chestnut Hill Retaining Wall

    Steve – one element of the 10 year re-do of the reservoir is to redo the retaining wall. Part of original plan. This is for Ready-Rock, direct from manufacturer and DPW will install. $41.5k

    Daniel – I’m glad we had so much public participation and want to be able to ask questions now. Can you tell me how this reservoir fits in?

    Steve – Our first reservoir! Fed the first hydrant in town. And used throughout 70’s and is no longer in use. The plan was approved by Town Meeting.

    Daniel – looks like a good skateboarding site.

    Tim – it is the south side – and ready rock like used in Harmony lot?

    Steve – there is an intake structure and the face of the dam – This will be by the face of the dam. The height will stay the same and the retaining wall will go up lower. Ready rock like Harmony Lot.


  • Project CARE Update

    (The Project Care team comes to the table)

    Chief Fitzgerald – it started 18 months ago, and started with issues of the opioid crisis. Police decided to take the lead. Within that, we wanted to make sure other partners and organizations and experts were involved – 8 volunteers – they’ve stuck with us. Their employers let them do that. Within that, we wanted to have a working model before we promote it. It’s a model that is extremely successful. The successes aren’t promoted. People see negative things downtown. There are success stories coming out of this… people don’t see it because the offending people aren’t downtown anymore. Before, I had never thought they went to rehab, got sober and got a job. These other organizations opened my eyes. There are obstacles and barriers and we want to go to the next level. We want to promote our past successes.

    Lt Adam – Project CARE – wanted to impact opiate deaths and related issues. We wanted people getting into treatment. We partnered with BUHS, Groundworks, Retreat, hospital, etc. We followed national experts and trained officers, gave them narcan, and we brought people in recovery to talk to officers. We brought people to the high school to talk to students in a preventative approach. We want to improve access to treatment. People in treatment aren’t committing crimes or knocking over flower pots. We have inpatient contacts with different programs. We have direct resources now. Got $2k grant from United Way, and spent it on volunteers, in recovery, transporting others to treatment. We’ve done community outreach, to get to people before they overdose. We suggest treatment when they are ready – sometimes we walk people directly to Turning Point. We provide rides and try to be proactive in our approach. 20 people have completed intake forms. There are many at-risk people in town. We get waivers so we can discuss people between agencies. We aren’t going to stop enforcing. We’ve increased enforcement. Working with federal government and Drug Task Force, and have new mapping software to help us get to problem areas faster. Treatment is available at treatment centers, but we don’t have rides to get them there. Volunteers use their own vehicles. It’s a barrier. Volunteers work without compensation, so we worry they may not always be there. The barrier for housing is the lack of recovery housing in the area. They come back and get into the same scene as before treatment. I want to work with COSU and talk with people in community to find out their challenges. We’re also working on generating updated data on what works and what doesn’t. Success has two pieces – the partnerships (I didn’t know what Turning Point even was!) and contacts has increased tenfold and, there are people in recovery I see now that we were dealing with on the street before. They highly impacted our work in the community that are no longer a problem. Some would surprise you.

    Susie Walker of Turning Point – Turning Points’ role is people with lived experience. We meet people where they are, and try not to impose anything. We give them a message of hope and introduce them to people who are recovering. We do outreach, relationship building. A community of support. You get to know people’s names and how they are doing, if they are safe. Sometimes they think they can’t get treatment, so we help connect people with resources if someone wants support. In addition to addictions, coupled with homelessness and joblessness, we find we go out and people are reluctant to open up, due to trauma. We many go out 6-8 times before someone realizes we care. Then a conversation can begin. We have no timeline to worry about. Over time, we see things happen. Relapses are fewer and there is more time in-between. We also have a coaching program at BMH, ready to help with treatment. Programs are now intersecting and overlapping, so we can get more accomplished. Rides to treatment are a big part of what we do. Spending time in a car can allow for some long talks. We also follow up on overdoses. One of our first people we gave a ride, just a few weeks ago said she’s doing pretty well now and wants to volunteer for Project Care because that’s what helped her.

    Jeb – I’m on board and on outreach committee – and a person in recovery for heroin addiction. They key piece I want to convey – it helps me reflect back on my time of active addiction and what it took for me to have that turning point in my life. Very often I look back and look at my progression of rehab, detox – that was a period of eight years. As I see this coordination and collaboration here, it really makes me think those 8 years could have been shortened to about three years. To me, there are versions of success. Success is doing overdose follow-ups and getting together and knocking on someone’s door – people do answer the door. That brief time talking with them is valuable to me, and them. I see them once. I see tiny successes. We can talk about what someone’s barrier to recovery, and we can each play a role. We won’t see everything cleaned up right away. We’ll see little pieces of success and look back and see how far we’ve come and have more stories. I truly feel the community will be a better place, but we need certain supports to make it happen.

    Justin – I’m in long term recovery for opiate addiction. I started as a volunteer and became an employee. Peer support brings and aspect of acceptance, validation, and support. Understanding and compassion and connection is the first step to building trust and friendships and community, to help people open up. The hope is people see that they can get better. It’s inspiring and encouraging. It’s a huge part of my recovery to do this work, to remind me daily why I am sober. Once during outreach we spoke with someone, and that was enough respect to bring joy and happiness, and since then he’s been sober the whole time. I am a product of peer support. Without the one on one connection I might not be here today. It’s a beautiful thing. Trust was the biggest barriers. People rans from us at first. No joke. Now they chase us down. Knowing police and others aren’t out to get you has helped. BPD has spent so much time helping transport people when volunteers can’t do it. One guy needed treatment or else he’d go back to jail, and police helped him get there. I’m grateful for the teamwork and relationship building.

    Chief Fitz – a self-plug – at library in 29th of August – Faces of Recovery, a short film, then questions and answers. A lot of knowledge there, cold hard truths will be told.

    Daniel – thanks. I’m in recovery, and reading this reminded me of the vulnerability of those early hours when a decision may be made. From my own experience, it takes a long time for people to get to a place to recover. How do you do it, to let them know they are loved, etc…?

    Lt. – sometimes it is that we are just available. Depends what they need. It’s clearly had an impact. When I see one girl overdosing 4 times in a year, it would have an impact if you can get to that person.

    Susie – it is a lot of listening, then you can share resources. We let the person lead the way.

    Daniel – is there a way for those people to give feedback on your outreach?

    Lt. – we want to get into that. We’ll get better at that. No one will know more than those involved.

    Tim – thanks. It strikes me that this work is so case-by-case, sculpted to the person who needs the help. That seems time-consuming, and maybe money is needed. Transportation, recovery housing… it’s the time investment that limits the number of cases that can be done. I see comments about Narcan – it’s a wonderful thing that enables recovery in many ways. Some think it is an enabling substance. No, it is just a tool in the toolbox. It doesn’t prolong addiction, but it keeps someone alive. I think Narcan does wonderful things.

    Daniel – it is stopping people dying.

    Tim – some people think they are going to die anyway. We need to concentrate on saving lives because recovery is then possible.

    Susie – It might take 8-12 interactions. It might take some time.

    Tim – this seems like an ask – what can we do? What should we be doing? What is our role in this, and climate change… not traditional roles of local government so we should have a future conversation and harness other sources of funding. Taxpayers should help their neighbors.

    Schoales – tonight’s meeting so far: the expansion of our understanding of the municipal role. Getting info on this out to the public is the best contribution today – I’m hoping you come again and provide more stories. This is what needs to be done. The more we can get that message out, and get support of media for that…

    Susie – when we started, the first time the Chief came in my office, he said he thought he scared everyone. Over time, now people aren’t scared and now we’re in this together and working together.

    Brandie – I very much appreciate and I’ve seen this firsthand, and am glad to have these conversations in public. The human element is more complex than flip little comments.

  • Entertainment License – Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery

    James Brannigan, for Whetstone Station – we just opened a new brewery on Flat Street. I’ve very pleased to see all the debate and discussion tonight. On official basis – we want an extension of our license from the restaurant to Frost St location.

    Sundays til end of August we’ll have open houses, and the option of amplified music inside until 10 pm. We’d like to be like Hermit Thrush. A place to get beer to go. Occasionally we’ll have collaborations and may have parties to celebrate.

    Schoales – long time since the Prevention Coalition came in… last time someone wanted to be outside we had them put up a fence and so on. This is a bit out of the ordinary. Make sure fences are really good, for alcohol.

    James – I’ll handle all permits.

    Tim – I attended the opening the other day. I’m pleased with the set-up and what you’ve done with the place is amazing. You’ll be doing tours 1-0-4 on Sundays? People should know it allows you to expand production of your popular lines. It pushes you from nano-brewery into true micro-brewery.

    James – this supplements our business on the river.

    Daniel – has there been outreach to neighbors, to sides and behind? When Groundworks wanted that site there was a lot of contention.

    James – I think I’ve cleared up confusion about sights, smells and sounds. The most noise will be 8-4 on weekdays.

    Daniel – Up to 100 people at events? How would parking work?

    James – We had over 100 on Sunday, but it was nicely spaced out. We do have some parking. We haven’t had issues thus far.

    Daniel – when you are in an apartment and have on-street parking… that can be something to fight about.

    James – we haven’t seen capacity issues.

    Tim – I was impressed by how much parking has been squeezed in. I used to live 4 houses down. There are options.

    Brandie – I have faith that you aren’t here to death metal up the neighborhood.

    Tim – the lumber place drums out most noise. It’s a constant sound. A nice white noise.

    Elwell – the new location has a liquor license, but the question tonight is the entertainment license.


  • Red Clover Commons 2 Project – Supplemental Town Appropriation of $50,000 from Program Income

    Chris Hart – exec director of Brattleboro Housing Authority. Here to develop the rest of the Melrose relocation project – a 3 story 18 unit building – so we can remove the rest from Melrose and dispose of the property to better use.

    Elwell – we recommend approval because it is an action we can take to address need for more vulnerable people, and beyond that, here it finishes up relocating out of Melrose. The heavy lifting has been done by BHP. We’re excited to see the finish line.

    Daniel – we were promised a tour.

    Chris – anytime. It’s a beautiful building.

    Brandie – I’m excited and look forward to it.

    Chris – we think 2 years til we’re done…


  • Downtown Brattleboro Alliance (DBA) – Semi-Annual Update

    Stephanie Bonin hands them a handout. And they have an av presentation. Maybe. Setup is complicated.

    Quipp – if it is an HDMI, just plug it in…

    Brandie – It’s an apple, I’m scared of apple.

    Tim – we need an adapter (BCTV provides) thunderbolt to HDMI.

    Brandie – my kid told me a joke but it probably wasn’t any good.

    Steph – Lisa Ford is with me, and Annie Richards.

    Steph – you have our year to date numbers for the fiscal year just finished. Happy to report expenses $134k and income $160k, so that leaves us with a surplus of $26k, which leaves us well-positioned to next year and is already allocated to help with grants.

    Schoales – website email management tool looks like it costs more than anticipated Email management tool?

    Steph – the next budget is more reflective of reality. I inherited the last budget. $1140 monthly is what we pay. The calendar cost wasn’t renewed by BSL, so we split costs with the Chamber.

    Schoales – I saw those two, and content development is less.

    Steph – we want to do more content.

    Brandie – still not seeing full benefit of print and radio? Trend hasn’t changed. Invites some innovation.

    Steph – radio seems so expensive. But, one great thing is we were given a weekly spot to read listings from the calendar. I gave up radio dollars but we get them back in kind.

    Brandie – this is really good. Glad it will be more realistic. But this is best DBA budget since I’ve been on the board.

    Steph – I summarized our success – creating community, budget, statewide summit, parking. Two parts of our program stand out – one is promotions such as events and attracting visitors to Brattleboro. (Steph seems sleepy and is blanking on details…)

    Annie – BrattleBoo – Halloween cohosted event with Brat Rec & Parks, Library, Co-op, KidsPlayce. Necca… entire downtown stayed open a bit longer and had a halloween event. A parade and costume contest. About 600 people came. Merchants handed out candy, or bags of snacks for food allergies. Celebrated downtown Brattleboro for one night. (She reads testimonials in praise.)

    Lisa Ford – short term rental summit. I’ve lived here 30 years in outlying area and have had a short term rental in Guilford. Having the first short-term rental statewide summit… recognized by AirBnB and others. Our mission and goals for the summit is for Vermont short term rental hosts and vacation property managers, to open up state conversation about regulations. This was a short term rental summit… for inn owners, too. Innkeepers and short term rental hosts, and legislators all talking in one place. We did that successfully. Lots of conversations. Over 300 people from all over Vermont. We will do this again in May. This started some legislative action, like data on housing stock. Wilmington and Dover are doing a study on the impact so they can talk about it accurately. There is a theory that it takes housing stock away. We talked about it. No accurate data, though. Those with housing data said there is no accurate data on economic impact. Owners learned about insurance and policies.

    Steph – it brought in $26k and a profit of $9k.

    Lisa – some sponsors want to do it again. I hope the board can see this as a welcoming thing for people coming from around the state. Come and greet them.

    Tim – I wanted to be at the local discussion, but I had to work. Housing is something that is top of mind for all five of us. We have concerns and would like to keep our eye on things. I do share the concern of housing stock for current residents. If we lose it to short-term rentals, are they using that income to be able to stay in their homes?

    Lisa – that’s why studies are good – real data.

    Tim – I appreciate data.

    Steph – back to overall results. The power of community. It is a real asset to what we bring, helping bring merchants together. 15 merchants came today, and all wanted to stay. We’ve had 40 volunteers , and our number of followers is growing, and relationships are formed.

    Steph – the design committee – flowers are a big part of the budget and we appreciate Dick. It’s love when he says “my flowers” but is a big part of our budget. Xmas tree powered by solar this year. Dick does paint touch up downtown, and cleared overgrowth on Whetstone Parkway. What is next? Brattleboro Community Marketing, transportation center, art and placemaking, and community conversations.

    Brandie – good job with social media growth. It’s a small market and great growth.

    Daniel – one of my roles is to do my duty before the meeting and the materials weren’t here for us… why? It would have been good to have in advance so I could look at it before.

    Steph – I need to be even later next year. I’d rather not wait that long. June 30 seems so long ago. I see it should have been there.

    Daniel – I was welcoming people as a protestor outside the short term rental summit. It’s a debate whether short term rentals were a net good to the community. People from all parts of the state. How many own or host a short term rental?

    Steph -almost 90%, almost all.

    Daniel – and how many are in Brattleboro and downtown Brattleboro?

    Steph – a small number.

    Daniel – expending $16k on that event – could the DBA have used a similar sum to investigate affordable housing in downtown Brattleboro?

    Steph – yes – summit brought in $26k – we wanted to establish that were could host a conference and statewide summit. That is good for the town. Second, when we talk of short-term rentals – it is all of it, for visitors. How do we get more visitors?

    Daniel – merchants meet for coffee and conversation – is there another group of non-profit staff and directors discussing downtown?

    Steph – some come based on the agenda. I’d love a nonprofit mixer group. Tapping into residents should be on the list for next year, but it is hard.

    Lisa – we started 3-4 years ago to meet the short-term rental hosts in Brattleboro and it was hard to tap into. About 16 people showed up, so that gave us the idea to do this. It was hard to get them together.

    Daniel – it was pointed out that one way downtown is a vital place is that people that work and live there eat and shop downtown. DBA isn’t just business, and downtown Brattleboro is many things.

    Steph – if we ask residents what they want, we have no way to have that conversation

    Tim – town meeting had good news and bad news. We’ve had pushback on the 1% local option tax, and good feedback about promotional money. How’s that going? Any anecdotes?

    Steph – haven’t heard about sales tax. Just went into effect on July 1. With most retail you look at monthly or yearly compared to last year. The marketing initiative has 11 people working on the RFP and we have 3 proposals. There hasn’t been much to talk about yet. It’s been too quiet. I’m antsy but haven’t heard anything.

  • Ordinance Amendment – First Reading, Appendix C, Article 3, Section 16-110, Parking Meters on Grove Street

    (It is now after 9 pm..)

    Elwell – you’ve seen this before and will better fit user needs to change two 30 minute meters on Grove to 2 hour spaces. Second reading and public hearing coming.

    Brandie – meters near Post Office and Stone Church. two hour spaces are needed for meetings and so on.

  • Re-Appointment of Town Health Officer – Assistant Fire Chief Howard

    Elwell – end of first three year term. You recommend and State Board of Health appoints.

    Quipp – does he get training? Have deputies? Is there a succession plan?

    Elwell – assistant fire chief serves, he has deputies, and they all get training.

    So recommended for appointment.

  • Ice Rink Energy Efficiency Project – Bid Award

    Patrick Moreland – contract for $87,937 with GPI Construction to do energy savings, and to accept a $5k incentive payment toward the project. We hired SEEDS for energy audits of many municipal buildings in 2016, and we’ve worked to do the recommended projects. Last year, town sought companies to do the work. GPI did work at Library and parking garage. No one responded to the ice rink bid request. So we looked and saw that energy saving measures are good, but practical applications have been challenging. We do changes of scope to adjust. Doing ice rink is tough – budget to finish wasn’t there. We reassessed scope of project and saw we had savings by doing work ourselves, and want to concentrate on building envelope issues. Want to sacrifice water vortex controls for better insulation. Cost reviewed by Steve Horton for good value and completeness. Efficiency Vermont looked at it and offered $5k to proceed. It can be completed before opening in October and savings can start this season.

    Schoales – using 2×4’s on a block interior wall… never mind. If it was exterior there would be moisture issues…

    Daniel – I have questions about progress. Glad this will move forward. Wondering… are we seeing a reduction in our usage? Are we tracking that? How are we doing? Is statues on other town buildings…. where are they?

    Tim – there is a chart we can send out.

    Elwell – part of our report for next meeting we’ll show where we are and what we can see in our data. Some will be more focused than others. Mostly what remains are large investments for big facilities – a pellet boiler for municipal center and library. If all works out, we will implement that project. Similar with DPW – we’re doing feasibility study of long term needs on that site or elsewhere.

    Tim – it makes sense that GPI was chosen, but normally we’d send this out to bid.

    Elwell – we did bid it out, got no response, then made it a change order for existing GPI contracts.

    Tim – looks like a well-thought out project, satisfying part of our goals using town staff and partners to meet energy needs.


  • Maintenance Equipment Vehicle Lift – Bid Award

    Steve Barrett – We suggest bid from Mohawk Resources of Amsterdam, New York, in the amount of $16,500 to purchase a maintenance equipment lift for DPW. It meets the specs and is lowest. Highway Capital Fund balance will pay for it. It helps us service maintenance vehicles and mid-sized equipment. Like at a service station. Lifts up to 18,000 lbs. Allows us to stop making staff walk down into a pit to do repairs.

    Brandie – Tim said it was his favorite, and I agree. I love this item. I don’t like the word Creeper, though. We should change the name. I don’t like driving over pits.


  • Capital Paving Contract – Re-Award Paving Bid

    Steve – the low bidder for capital paving could not be completed. In June we gave it to Vermont Roadworks at 279k. On June 19th, emails were sent to schedule contract signing. They removed their bid. Second lowest was Northeast Paving – they’ll honor their same bid at $307k by the original deadline.


  • Consider Providing Childcare for Selectboard Meetings and Other Community Events – Discussion

    (Northeast Paving guy Warren Clark was at the meeting and said hello to the board. He got lots of thanks for honoring bid and schedule.)

    Daniel – it is 9:29 on a Tuesday, the only person from the public is my wife, everyone else is working, and I ask to consider this – when fire dept put on forum on opioids, a few people wanted to go if there had been childcare. It was a busy event needing a bigger room. If we want to increase participation at this level in our democracy, making sure the meetings are accessible. I’d like to begin a discussion at this late hour about whether or not that is something to consider for these meetings. Some feedback I had was about timing of meetings – 9:30 on a Tuesday – even if someone wanted to come they show up at bedtime.

    Brandie – the witching hour. I choose in-home child care in bed by 7:30pm. Even if it was provided here I wouldn’t use it. The opiate forum I would have used it. Town Meeting Day… yes. But not this, but that’s me. Older kids might be different.

    Tim – I’d have same comments. I can’t imagine having child care and bringing him here when he needs to go to bed. That would be bad news. I am sensitive to single parents . I do have a distinction at RTM – its needed. I’d need to know more from parents on this. Need to weigh value of it.

    Schoales – no good argument for not providing childcare, and to be more family friendly – the schools are looking into it and share info with theme. The issue is finding people to do it. I think our role as a public entity is to provide childcare – if even a couple us it is worthwhile?

    Tim – are our points invalid?

    Schoales – no…

    Tim – Public participation allows participation, and we support BCTV and may need to support more in near future, parents can see what’s going on and can communicate after.

    Schoales – You can’t participate. You can observe but not participate.

    Tim – Is it role of town govt to get people with children to meetings? How about without children and need transportation?

    Brandie – I’m not against this at all.

    Daniel – How about the recovery event at the Library – maybe we try it there and see how it goes? Library has kids room, teen room. The other forum sparked this idea.

    Brandie – Let’s try it out on the Library – and I’m not opposed to it here.

    Elwell – The majority opinion seems to be to try something on the 29th. It might be doable. The Library would need to review. It might just be an overtime issue to keep Children’s Room open during the event. I think it is that simple and we can do it. For ongoing, the issues would be location, space, liability.

    Tim – An expansion of municipal services – I’ll probably oppose this. I’m suspect of the value vs the cost.

    Brandie – Good to experiment at Library.

    Daniel – Safe, and engaging. It needs to be an engaging space, not just safe.

  • Appointments

    They appoint Byron Stookey to the Brattleboro Housing Partnerships Board of Commissioners.

    done at 9:46

  • Hooray for Byron!

    Glad to see Byron Stookey back in the BHP!

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