Selectboard Meeting Notes – Climate Still Not An Emergency

Brattleboro Selectboard meeting

The Brattleboro Selectboard decided once again that there is no climate emergency worth declaring. The proposed declaration was “a mess” and existing efforts were deemed ample.

The board had their expectations managed about possibilities of self governing anytime soon, budget season is lurking, and the possibility of a bike lane on Western Ave will be further investigated.


Apologies in advance for spilling mistakes.

Comments | 26

  • Preliminaries

    The meeting starts a bit late.

    Chair Brandie Starr had important remarks. Written ones. A sincere thank you to the police officers in the way they address poverty. Their humanity and compassion is amazing, and against the normal way policing is done. Relationships are built over time. They’ve reduced trespass notices, and it shows a real understanding. Officers face criticisms every day – and that causes stress and discouragement. We are grateful to the officers for doing what is allowed. People without housing cannot be removed from public spaces unless there is a shelter open. Public spaces may need to be addressed for safe camping spaces. When an arrest is made, a lot of coordination goes into it. Often people get released within a few hours. It must be demoralizing. These releases may make it seem like the PD is doing nothing. They are acting within applicable laws. Keep up the awesome work, PD. (Applause.)

    I also want to mention a post from social media about an officer in another town purchasing sleeping bags for homeless people. 43 homeless people. They refused to criminalize poverty. Brattleboro has a higher than average poverty level.

    David Schoales – the Diversity Committee meets again soon.

    Tim Wessel- COSU has a kickoff meeting coming up. A consortium of many different groups coming together to address substance abuse in our community. 24th at 10 am. I wasn’t here for the last meeting, and I want to add my personal grief while on vacation over Martha O’Connor’s passing. I wouldn’t be here without her encouragement. I’m impressed by Martha and Tim’s contributions to the community.

    Brandie – still kinda stings and we are several levels removed. We have a packed agenda.

    Public Participation

    George Harvey – I want to make a criticism of the selectboard and have it be heard as a positive message. When prohibition ended, people could make wine but not beer because of a comma. Laws need to be crafted well. The vote taken weeks ago on the climate declaration.. a group of young people…

    Brandie – that’s on the agenda. We didn’t vote on it.

    George – after the meeting I heard the kids that asked for a declaration, it was not voted on, and they looked like they were in shock. You were looking for something that had to be right, well crafted. They saw it as kids, as an existential threat. It’s valid in your process, but sounds like ‘your life is in danger but your term paper failed.’ Five days ago, a peer approved journal said society would collapse in 30 years if nothing is done. It is possibly the biggest issue before this body. I hope you treat it with care. You are dealing with children here.

    Nick Nickerson – 67 yrs in the land of cotton, 5 years in the green mountains. There are designated areas in town that are melodramatic and are designated as safe areas, and this says indirectly that other areas are not safe. Brattleboro is not perfect and neither are these safe spaces. To paraphrase a president – mister sign hanger, tear down those smug signs.

  • Liquor

    Third Class Liquor Licenses for four establishments: Arkham (16 Harmony Place), Echo Restaurant & Lounge (69-73 Main Street), Flamingo Diner (209 Canal Street), and New England House (254 Marlboro Road)

    Elwell – this is new because the state added 3rd class licenses to the list. They are for selling hard alcohol that is sold and consumed on premises. We recommend approvals for these four establishments. It would be for 6 months, as the licenses cost more and can be bought in 6 month increments. Next spring there will be more on the list.

    Tim – 3rd class licenses… the town doesn’t make money from these, even though they are more expensive.


    First Class Licenses for Best Vittles, 423 Marlboro Rd. (Pudge and T. Bones)

    Bruce Bonnett – Green Mtn Market – we’re changing the name and license. We sell BBQ, pizzas, and full grill menu. We sell some grocery items, like beer and wine. Some would like to have a beer while eating. Food business is doing well. We’ll expand on the BBQ.

    Elizabeth McLoughlin – the name?

    Bruce – comes from high school nicknames for two brothers.


  • Water and Sewer - Authorize Purchase of Replacement Generator – Department of Public Works

    Elwell – as in the memo, the generator providing backup power at HQ came used from VY and failed recently. We had it looked at and the cost of repair was prohibitive. AL Tyler helped get pricing to provide a new generator. Low bid is from Generac generator in the amount of $19,365.

    Daniel Quipp – how long will this last?

    Elwell – most work for decades.

    Quipp – have they looked at battery storage?

    Elwell – we can look at that and bring this back?

    Elizabeth – does it require any permit?

    Tim – I suspect there are problems with that idea. Battery storage systems are heavy on the earth as well and there is a lot of work to maintain them

    (This will come back later)

  • Request for “Declaration of Climate Emergency”

    Brandie – who would like to come to the table to begin the conversation? This is our third time, so I invite new information. Reiteration of already known facts may not be useful. I hope what comes tonight is new information.

    Kurt Daims – could we have a member of the board read the proposal for the public?

    Brandie – if we approve it. You should give a summary, then discuss this, and take the vote.

    Mark Tulles – I live up the street. I’m usually not up front. The basic thing is the resolution asks you to declare a state of emergency, which activates govt processes to take action. This establishes monthly meetings, to incubate and vet local climate measures. It’s not a decision making body. It can be a hearing or workshop. Having a dedicated space expedites action. It would alleviate pressure on regular selectboard business. This will put Brattleboro at forefront of the movement, as far as local goals go. There are only six local municipalities that have passed items like this. People in this town are into doing work at the forefront of this movement. That’s what’s important. The heart of it is a call for unity. The folks in the flood plains in this town – there may be folks that don’t believe in the climate crisis, but they know they are a disaster away from being flooded. Many voices aren’t being heard, and no matter how isolated some views are, they are welcome. Establishing a regular meeting creates an apolitical space to create ideas. This expedites access to government.

    Brandie – that was a great summary. Thanks. Much better than me reading something.

    Maya McNeill – I have comments. I was a little bit confused by George Harvey’s statement about treating us like children. We’ve put a lot of thought into this. Last time there were comments about whether the SB should make the decision. Absolutely! You’ve done this before (in 2003, in 2004..). If you have concerns about being undemocratic – this is democratic. It fosters public participation. We weren’t rattled that it wasn’t supported, but that it was pushed to the side, and we couldn’t reply to comments. There wasn’t time. It was frustrating but I’m glad to be here tonight.

    Kurt Daims – Briefly, about the origin. It is not solely our work but it has several clauses required by the climate mobilization collaboration. I collaborated via a Google doc. Many phrases are a collaboration of international climate activists. The feeling that Brattleboro has, that people are upset with government. I’m not upset with Brattleboro’s govt. Everyone is nearly paralyzed by this terrible issue. No shame on Brattleboro if we are, too. It has to be addressed by this declaration. It’s a matter of public health. I’ve been on the street the last few months, crying on shoulders of strangers. There is a terrible need to take action on this. There are stories of anxiety and sleep deprivation in children. Grownups say it is terrible, but we do nothing. That it frightening for children to see parents paralyzed. What can we do? The declaration gives us a way to make laws ourselves… just temporary laws… temporary emergency oridinaces. It has two good benefits. It will be the feeling of a beginning. If it gets to be a thing, Brattleboro could be an incubator of climate remedies. That would be awesome.

    Brandie – I’m inclined to vote for this because I spent time thinking about being young. As a parent, I’m terrified of what my kids are going to grow up in. I want people, especially 18-23 year olds, to understand the fight ahead of them. Very firmly – for those of us who have done this for a long time, when we mentor young educators, we should teach how to navigate the system. I’m all for breaking things, but unactionable items here send up a red flag. A national system doesn’t take Dylan’s law states into account. The writing is the reason we’re here for a 3rd time. I’m for this, but we need to watch how we help kids navigate.

    Brandie – we’re setting a 15 minute total limit for comments.

    Franz R – I’d like to ask for clarification. What does this commit the selectboard to take?

    Brandie – strive for zero carbon by 2030, report it to the town, and the SB shall warn monthly mtgs for proposing climate proposals and SB will enact emergency ordinances as per the Charter.

    Django Grace – Brandie – your hair and statement are awesome. Rio Daims had a statement for me to read – “I regret not being there. I want to bring the focus to our heating climate. We use various types of energy – we use cars, stoves, buildings – we aren’t blaming but taking responsibility. Declaring an emergency shows we are ready to take those actions now. Brattleboro is a role model for many towns. We need to be an example and rise to our potential. The climate is changing faster than every, so we must go fast. We have so much to do. We must start now. This opens up decision making to our residents and respects our youth. The declaration is so important and I hope you understand this. Support our youth, our beautiful earth, frontline communities… please declare a climate emergency.

    Django – I am also helping to push this. From a youth and student point of view, as I go into this crisis I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life. It is super hard from me to make a difference. The best I can do is ask adults to do something. At first I didn’t understand it, but I realized it would give youth a voice. It would be awesome to go to meetings and make suggestions. Going into this crisis I want practice. Please don’t say you are doing enough. You aren’t.

    Rikki Risatti – a moment of silence for absent senators not attending tonight. I heard reference to using Google – Google is a corrupt business. There are safer alternatives such as duck duck go or proton mail. The word “war” in this climate declaration – We’d be braver to use the word peace rather than war.

    Brandie – I felt that way, too.

    Michael Bosworth – there is a lot that is good, but not comfy with all parts of it, or the “war” wording. Item 12 – how does that really work – every month there would be meetings and potential ordinances would come for 30 day trials?

    Brandie – should it be quorums?

    Kurt Daims – The Charter has provisions to pass ordinances. It’s elaborate. It also has the power to pass emergency ordinances, and the process is simpler. Requires a hearing, with no quorum requirement. Just an official meeting. At the hearing, ideas would be proposed. The selectboard is default moderator of all public hearings, or can assign it to another person.

    David Schoales – thanks for bringing this to us and participating in the frustrating process. You’ll get a better outcome. Sometimes it takes a while. The effort you are making is having a difference. It’s not what we say that matters, but what we do.

    Tim – I think this is a mess. I have a lot of problems with many parts of it. I’d rather not dive in. It refuses to recognize that we have limited powers. It assumes a level of power and authority that we do not possess. It’s filled with vagueness and problems. Declaring that “reliance on technology rather than virtues…” I don’t even know what that means. Daims says that we are paralyzed. Am I optimistic or foolish? I don’t feel paralyzed. We’ve been taking clear and resolute steps at each meeting to make a difference in our sphere of the world. In new business, we’ll talk about local renewal projects. We want to be 100% renewable as a Town. We’re at 90% – ahead of the state and Paris Accords. We’ll get there, possibly tonight, depending on the vote. A small step we have control over. I think there is a disconnect between this document wanting to save the world and coming here with something we can actually support. We only have certain powers. I can’t support this. How about this – “Brattleboro should do its part to meet Paris Accord and state levels – we’ll ask everyone in town to do the same. We request the energy committee track and inform us of committees….” That was passed two years ago tonight. It was passed unanimously. We now have a coordinator position. Why we would adopt a mess like this and not have our new person be folded into decisions like this… the whole community needs to be behind this. Catastrophism and “emergency” are polarizing. People don’t know what you mean. When I hear ’emergency,’ I want it to be about the opioid crisis. It’s killing people every day. There is hope. There is no consensus that the world will end in 30 years. There will be changes in our world, and we need to slow that, but there is no consensus about a doomsday coming. It looks unscientific to claim that.

    Liz – climate change is real. The reason we are talking about this again is because there were three no votes pending last time it was heard. Brandie’s courtesy in revisiting this should be appreciated but my vote has not changed. Not responsible for the board to sign this statement on behalf of the town. Its warmongering. It’s vaguely anti-government. If it had mentioned Trump rolling back standards, that would be a fact, but this is too vague to wrap our heads around. Same as Tim says, it is vague and difficult to ascertain. We’re doing the youth a disservice if we think that some national statement written by committee would be approbate for the town to sign on. Not appropriate for Brattleboro. If we want to have an impact, we need to help NH vote out the president. We all have to vote. No way would I sign on to this. But we should reaffirm the statement we made years ago. We can reaffirm that statement. Let’s let our new person do their work… be hired, and evaluate what needs to be done, then come to us so we’ll know what is best to do.

    Daniel – I have mixed feeling about it. I’ve worked with the climate emergency folks to pass something like this in Berkely CA. There are four things happening. A statement that we have a crisis on our planet that humankind has not faced before… and maybe that’s why the war language. I don’t want to wordsmith this. We could declare that we are in a climate crisis. Part of the power of doing that – it tells the truth. I don’t necessarily want these words. Number 2 – I tried to get Brattleboro to commit to ridding itself of fossil fuel oil a while back. I’d support committing to ending fossil fuels… not strive and try, but a firm commitment to end use by 2030. Whose emissions are we talking about? The municipality’s. Third – monthly forums are proposed. I have doubts this board would want to oversee… we have a functional town government to bring decisions for us to make. We don’t need to go around town government to propose remedies, or enact emergency ordinances based on these meetings. We have solid ways to do this, and with the sustainability officer and energy committee – we have the mechanism to propose remedies, and the public is welcome to engage. We’re good at public forums, and we can mobilize people. I’d support a binding commitment to end fossil fuel use, and a broad statement of climate crisis, but not monthly hearings or emergency ordinances.

    David – monthly hearings are very important as an opportunity to engage the public with the topic. This would be exciting, and if ideas came through those meetings, we could do something about it and we could pass emergency ordinances regardless. Hearing from the public is generally a good thing. We’re not as smart as we think we are. It’s likely these kids are right. What happens in NH will be huge, but this adds to the efforts. There are a dozen things I don’t like, but the meetings… this is an aspirational document. We don’t know the impact. We need to give the kids a chance.

    Liz – we spent $100k at last meeting to hire a sustainability coordinator – and they will do research and engage the public and supports the energy committee. The revised energy committee would be the perfect venue for having these discussions. Seems like a home run for the aspirational goal before us.

    Daniel – the coordinator position job description went out last Friday. I feel like we don’t need to rush today to decide about monthly meetings. We’ll bring monthly meetings idea to the new hire.

    approve as presented?

    Nope. 2-3 (Tim , Liz, Daniel against)

    Liz – let the coordinator bring this back to us if necessary

    Brandie – this is not the final option. You can gather signatures and gather 5% of voters, which can bring it to RTM. Don’t bring a national document to that body. Have it local and grassroots.

  • Strategy to Support Municipal Self Governance in the 2020 Legislative Session

    Elwell – yes, the Vermont way, and local solutions… that’s what the self governance movement is about. Gwynn Zakov is from VLCT, works with legislators, and keeps us informed. Also, Mollie Burke, who is one of the sponsors that proposes a limited self-governance pilot project. Good support out of Brattleboro on this at RTM, and at the state senate it was adopted last year. What is ahead is the House takes it up in coming legislative session.

    Gwynn – your downtown is awesome, vibrant and local.

    Brandie – get that Reformer?

    Gwynn – many towns want downtowns like yours. Thanks for inviting me. It’s a check in and to answer questions. It’s not a new idea for more local control. It’s hit momentum. There is frustration over not having local powers to solve local problems. You can change general law across the state, but that doesn’t make sense. You can change your charter, but that can be restrictive. So, this proposal is modeled off the West Virginia model. Over a 10 year period, WV basically granted home rule. Doom and gloom didn’t happen. Our S106 was approved by Senate, ands introduced into the House. It is highly restrictive and different from what we wanted originally. The proposal we had meant that a commission would have a final say to grant certain levels of authority to local areas. Legal counsel said that was impossible under our constitution. So, there is a lot in the legislature next session but we have been promised time for it. It will be a heavy lift in the House. They tend to go through with a fine toothed comb, and deviate from proposals put before them. We’re going to do our best to make it better and get it through. If it goes forward it needs to be better and improved. If that doesn’t happen, or House doesn’t support it the way we’d like, we have other options. We’re look toward communities saying they need more tools in their toolbox. Hard to fit within existing laws. Using our Charters, and looking at those as a way to push this issue forward. Put this on town meeting ballot and hold public hearing to adopt a charter change to say voters have more of a say, rightsized for their communities. Additionally towns want to be able to borrow from other towns that get approval, and get the same approvals. We’ll continue to lobby for local initiatives, and make self governance an issue in the 2020 election cycle. Everyone singing the same tune. It is encouraging hearing the discussions at local level. You are closest to the ground and hear directly from your community members. You have a fabulous Town Manager advocating for you. We want to find a way forward to appease the powers that be and get tools we need. State has a lot on their plate, and issues at state level make it hard to focus at local level… this would be an opportunity to delegate to local municipalities.

    Mollie – it’s a pleasure to work with Gwynn. We come up against challenging state obstacles. Our challenge is to show others it is good for their communities too. We’ll do what we can and do our best, and get leadership on board.

    Tim – thanks. Really impressed with VLCT. I like what you put together and support municipalities. I liked what you said about the carrot vs the stick – we can lift some of the work in Montpelier. I see some small communities are supporting this, but my main concern is that there may be a perception about hub communities that non hub communities don’t have. Will we bring in other small communities, rather than it looking like us going for a power grab.

    Gwynn – the divide between wealthier and poorer communities is growing. Small communities are trying to solve tiny problems. It’s about scale and educating Brattleboro that small towns have same issue but smaller problems. They need to be nudged and explained to. Need to support neighbors and trust that people at all levels will take care of them. There is that divide, but I’m hearing more from small and middle size communities. Larger communities already have a robust charter and may be okay with that. Middle and smaller communities need more flexibility and it makes more sense to them.

    Elwell – hub work needs to go forward, but also self governance is becoming better defined. We need to get back to hub town work. Some of both is going on at the next Town Fair.

    Liz – I’m puzzled this isn’t left vs right but legislature vs town. It’s a modernization effort and we need every tool in the toolbox.

    David – Do you have a strategy for how to get small towns and select boards to contact their legislators?

    Gwynn – there are 246 towns and villages to “coordinate.” It’s impossible. All we can do is provide education and knowledge and tools for them to move forward. Our strategy is to make the larger issue the center issue and direct it toward all other issues we’re facing. Really drive that home. That would be the messaging. The way the process works, it is really hard to get every representative on board. There is a reason we’re here tonight talking to you. We’ve been working on this since 1987. It’s hard for them to let go of control at state level.

    David – shouldn’t the effort be to identify legislators and …

    Gwynn – yes – we’ve already circled back with reps on committees. It’s another thing to see it to the finish line, and get a bill that will work. Getting it out of the senate was unheard of. A big victory. There is momentum and hope it will grow a bit more.

    David – chairs have a lot of influence in the Senate, and Jeanette pushed this. What’s the plan to get leadership?

    Gwynn – we have support from speaker but not commitments.

    Brandie – you can look up S 106 and look at pages 8-10 to see the restrictions. Start being vocal with legislators. We have to pull power away from them. They don’t want us to do things we want to be able to do. Read about this and Dylan’s rule to have control in the community that you want to have.

    Franz R – a few questions – who chair’s govt operations?

    Gwynn – Sara from Bradford.

    Franz – leadership – one of our delegation is part of leadership – has Tristan taken an interest?

    Mollie – I think all of us are on board. It’s a matter of getting some pressure at leadership level, on committee chair, working personal relationships with people on the committee.

    Franz – who should people contact?

    Mollie – when you contact representatives, it means something. Emails mean something when from constituents. It makes us pay attention. I may support it, but maybe I should do more.

    Gwynn – govt operations committee could be contacted. That’s the most direct route.

    Franz – the governor?

    Gwynn – he supports the idea but wants more details. We need to get through the legislature first.

    Brandie – publish your letters in local papers and on social media!

    David – this is disappointing to hear of charters and town meeting ballots and future elections. Our taxes are up due to Act 46, so if we don’t have an alternative to property tax… we just went to the LOST tax…. if we don’t get other ways, the town you find appealing won’t look like this. We’ve had some good investment but haven’t replaced VY. We lose retailers to NH. Our staff is stressed. 60% kids on free or reduced lunch. We’ve hired a sustainability coordinator. I was hoping you’d have some thoughts on how to get those other towns to push to get this done. I know there are 246 towns, would you consider hiring additional lobbyists – maybe it is impossible this year. It’s really discouraging and sounds like you are lowering our expectations. Often the grassroots gets overlooked. We can’t overlook any part of it.

    Mark – support S106 but object to pages 8-10? What are we supporting?

    Gwynn – support for s106 would be enough. It’s my job to clean it up and get out the bad stuff. Essentially it is the objections.

    Mark – object to all of those? OK.

    Elwell – the original bill was to have a 5 year experiment with limited participation. Language was quite broad to do a full experiment. A small cautious step. What came out of the senate was burdened with limitations, so that wouldn’t be a good experiment. Sen White was disappointed, too, but it’s what she was able to get. It was approved by a good margin. So when we go to the House, we want to get rid of the restrictions.

    Thanks all around….

    Gwynn – Brattleboro has been an incubator for change. A model of what could be. When we empower that, really good things happen. Your town manager… you are having the right discussions about the right things, and not taking your foot off the accelerator.

    Mollie – we’re in good hands with VLCT. They are respected in the statehouse.

    Rikki – I have three concerns. 1. We shouldn’t be relying own senators to motion this forward. We should have a public vote and direct democracy. Rather than a commission being appointed, they should be elected positions. Any response?

    Gwynn – the proposal in front of you is the best … many minds in many levels of power have put that together for other state commissions. The options you bring up are interesting and are probably better for the larger model. It’s up to the community to respond to that. Not my decision to make. We represent municipalities. I can’t answer it directly.

    Tim – at RTM we voted for this action and direction. There was a strong public vote.

    Rikki – really disappointed by 60 years of RTM not being direct democracy. The public has a voice to express.

    Daniel – I don’t think our town or state is fascist.

    Rikki – Wjhat’s you’re definition? Fascism is when others make decisions for us and we can make decisions ourselves. We should be voting on these issues.

    Brandie – I support direct democracy over RTM but not the fascist thing.

  • Investment in Local Renewable Energy Projects

    Patrick Moreland – the memo I sent you (I’ll read…). In 2018, Daims asked Town to use CowPower. Staff looked at it. CowPower is from Green Mountain Power. If you subscribe, your power is the same, but you pay a 4 cent premium for that electricity. GMP uses those funds to subsidize renewable energy projects, most in northern VT on farms. They get a premium for their power generated. Staff suggested we look at energy consumption, then determine a percentage of renewables. Memo has a chart. The 18 largest electric accounts have been assigned to WSWMD solar project. When you assign accounts, you need to hedge bets so you don’t overbuy. You assign about 80% to the account. If you do some math, you end up with just over a million kw hours… this is complicated… which are not derived from the solar array at WSWMD. If we take 40% of the million, we get just over $438k kWh’s of non-solar. If we bought it from Cow Power, we’d give them money. We’d like to get information from local power producers and bring it to the board to make payment to the local project most worthy.

    Liz – I love this idea. I like the analysis of weeding out sustainable sums and getting to this amount we would be paying cow power, and let’s support a local project instead. It’s sustainable and local.

    Brandie – I agree. A no brainer.

    Daniel – thanks for doing the math.

    Tim – a different way to look at it…we are essentially, instead of paying a premium to a north interest we’re striving to funnel that into a local project, with the goal being 100% renewable.

    Patrick – that makes sense. If we are going to pay a premium, perhaps we could pay someone locally.

    Tim – the 80% that we assigned to municipal accounts, why not 85 or 90%

    Patrick – it is a judgement call. Don’t want to overcommit. Don’t want to be assigning more value that what we are able to commit. Don’t want to overpay. Over time we’ll adopt other energy savings measures to bring this down.

    David – when we first did this, everything was unknown. Leaving a cushion was a good idea (over 20 years).

    Daniel – do we have a sense of the criteria for judging these projects?

    Patrick – the judgement of the selectboard.

    Daniel – the sustainability coordinator?
    David – the energy committee?

    Elwell – we’re trying to move forward quickly to get info on these projects, but we can wait a few months.

    Brandie – I don’t feel like waiting.

    Elwell – it came from followup to RTM, and selectboard wanted a local option rather than cow power.

    Liz – let’s go ahead and the coordinator can weigh in later.

    Brandie – we can weigh in later, after we see the projects.

    Daniel – we need more than cost as a criteria.

    Tim- I wish Daims had stuck around. This originated with his idea.

    Mark – When we say we’re getting a percentage, is that what GMP says, or is it what we are getting?

    Patrick – a portion of base electricity is procured from renewable sources. This says that those kw hours that we purchase from GMP, if 60% of what they sell is renewable, then we can claim that.

    Mark – the sustainability coordinator will be busy, and shouldn’t become an administrative vortex to send climate matters.

    “to solicit Letters of Interest from existing or imminent renewable energy projects in Brattleboro for a Town contribution of $16,333.12”


  • FY19 Year-End Financial Report – Final But Unaudited

    Elwell – detailed report is available online. My memo has some highlights. Most important, close to $400k to the good. We planned to use $700k of fund balance, and we got to use less. For next budget, the difference will go toward capital expenses. We’ve discussed the magnitude of the surplus, as high as $900k and this is the smallest in the last 5 years. We expect to be more in this range going forward – the 2-3% sweet spot. It covers surprises. like a bad winter. It wouldn’t take much to fall into deficit so we try to have a little bit of a surplus… this year 2.2% which means we can roll it into next year. A million a year for capital, using some surplus… we may spend more. We got the surplus because police staffing was down due to vacancies, health insurance was less than budgeted, local option taxes exceeded budget (don’t expect it again- any excess would be much smaller), investment income is up, and staffing in town manager’s office was lower for most of year due to no HR position hired yet.

    Liz – the intent for additional 1% local option tax will reduce property tax?

    Elwell – that’s fully our intent, and we understand the context for which it is approved, we’ll have that in mind, but where we go from there is up to you and RTM. That’s where we’ll start.

    Brandie – financial and budget season is coming up. As we move into the fall, less social needs items on the agenda and we’ll hear from departments about budgets. The bulk of the fall will be preparing the budget for approval in January. We have lots to do.

    Tim – I love when banker Brandie comes out.

    Daniel – we have a surplus in part due to being understaffed. Want to point that out.

  • Monthly Financial Report – August 2019

    Elwell – 16.7% of the year and we’re doing as expected! More details?

    Daniel – I saw sales tax revenue line and it is 1.46% of what we project?

    Elwell – there is a delay in those funds being passed on by the state. We are puzzled by the first check… it seemed to be prior to July 1. Some businesses might have started filing early instead of waiting until July 1. This is not yet representative, and the first quarter may still have gaps. It’s a new system and will be a while before ewe see a steady trend.

    Daniel – sidewalk repairs (‘cyborg repairs?’ asks Tim?) when do they happen?

    Elwell – they happen in conjunction with other projects, like repaving, or sometimes it is its own project. Not a particular time of year. Sidewalk work is more sporadic.

  • Long Term Financial Plan – 2019 Update

    Elwell – a full presentation? 15-20 minutes? Or would you like a summary?


    Elwell – okay 15-20 minutes… this is all on the Town’s website. A detailed memo served as a cover to this, a five year forecast of the annual budget in the form of an annual budget. We always start at the ending. Every year, the bottom line is what’s happening with the tax rate. The sum total of all of this projects an increase for FY21 in property tax 3.5% or 4.4 cents. It’s a purposely cautious estimate. We can watch for scary trends, and end up better than projected.

    Elwell – 4.4 cents for next year and the years that follow vary from 2.6 cents or 4.2 cents. One thing you will see the budget – to be steady in capital equipment. If we take a year off and need to catch up, we’ll get behind or cut things that matter.

    Tim – we can find things to cut.

    Elwell – or additional revenues, but it is challenging. Need to find quite a bit to make it meaningful.

    Liz – investing our surplus was a good idea.

    Elwell – already reflected in these numbers. No benefit to the tax rate projections. Increases of this magnitude relate to an average of $72 per year for more than half of the homeowners to fund everything.

    Elwell – Non tax revenues will be flat. Exceedingly cautious on local option tax estimates. It won’t be flat but economy can be fickle.

    Elwell – employees begin to share in premiums – unions said okay. Starting at 1% and going up to 5%.

    Elwell – we’ll continue to invest $1 million in capital, plus prior year surplus. We assume no use of fund balance. We can’t predict what we’ll need. We expect emergencies from fun balance to be 2-3%.

    Elwell – new collective bargaining agreements…pay increases

    Franz – because those negotiations happen in executive session, community doesn’t know about salary increases. Why? Can we hear more about that sometime?

    Elwell – happy to do that, and to bring agreements to the public prior to adopting them.

    Rikki – I really value these financial reports and would appreciate them being separate from selectboard meetings – its hard to pay attention late at night. I’d like to follow along. Do it within business hours?

    Tim – many of us work full time jobs.

    Brandie – I’m having a hard time, too.

    Elwell – employer contributions to health care is going up. Still haven’t exceeded our former expenses of our former plan (2017). VMERS is great, and lower cost to the Town. Employee benefits have stabilized, but we expect increases in health care program. We were able to contain costs as we got our system started, but we predict costs will cause increases of 3.4%

    Elwell – Then departmental expenses – everything else, salaries and so on. Building costs. This expenses are expected to increase slightly over 5 year period. About 35 a year.

    Tim – primarily due to new public works storm water program? An unfunded mandate from the state?

    Elwell – Exactly – yes, we do get some funding. State won’t often make demands without funding, but it is inadequate for what we need to comply, and that will cause an increase.

    Elwell – Workers Comp – we need to pay more attention, and have been making some strides. It takes 5 years to see the results of the changes. We’re still trailing off our bad years. 10% increase each year for worker’s comp is our estimate. We try to do better preventing injuries, and a better way to handle worker’s comp. The longer an employee is out, the worse the recovery and employment becomes. In everyone’s interest to get back to work as soon as possible. We can bring people back with reduced workload to get them back early.

    Elwell – Human Services we’re leaving flat, but there might be a 1% marker adopted. If we do, it’s slightly more than 1%, then it is slightly less each year. But, it’s not yet adopted as a policy.

    Tim – requires a robust discussion!

    Daniel – can we have that discussion?

    Elwell – the RTM committee recommends, but you decide on the amount. If you align, that’s one thing, and if you want something different, you can do that.

    Tim – it just went up substantially two years in a row.

    Liz – RTM should listen to the committee.

    Brandie – this is where the rubber meets the road and fall budget planning. I love it.

    Elwell – Human Resources will come later in the year. You need to warn what they suggest, but your budget can be different.

    Elwell – ambulance services expected to go up each year. We’re paving out our discount with Rescue. We used to provide services to them, but not so much anymore. We agreed to slowly phase out the discount. We’re in the last few years.

    Daniel – they pay property taxes?

    Elwell – one factor in the discount was the property taxes forgiven. We got credit in our discount. Rescue may just start paying taxes, or will ask RTM for tax relief and we’d get a credit if they do.

    Elwell – Debt service goes down a bit each year unless we borrow money. We expect that to decline… these are current obligations. We’ll talk utilities later in the fall, and new expenses. This is general fund.

    Elwell – we expect significant changes at Municipal Center, but don’t know the impact, so we forecast no changes for now.

    David – we haven’t always had a long term financial plan. The finance committee and Spoon Agave pushed for this. A few things in here are really important – continuing commitment to capital projects, stabilizing employee benefit increases. And reducing debt service payments… kind of amazing we’re getting down to hardly anything left. Nice to see a plan that is working really well.

    Tim – I had a meeting with Peter about level line of Meals and Alcohol and sales tax.

    (Liz is watching their meeting on a phone…)

    Tim – can I tell you the story of Ken Schneck? Anyway, this is a living document, and we can adjust things going forward.

    Elwell – we just don’t know.

    Brandie – conservative estimates.

    Elwell – yes it is a living document, not like town plan or a budget. It is not meant to be policy, it is meant to be staff’s snapshot of where we are and to help inform policy decisions. It’s likely these numbers will look different next year. If there is new information, we’ll update it.

    David – we’re in the 11th year of an comic growth cycle. Counting on that is not a good idea.

    Tim – Growth for some but not others.

  • Proposed Schedule of Meetings for Consideration of FY21 Proposed Budget

    Elwell – budget will be presented around first of November, and my memo has the basic schedule being proposed. For the public – every Tuesday in Nov, Dec and January, except right around holidays (17th to 7th) but otherwise we meet every Tuesday night. On the “off nights” we do more budget work (rather than early mornings or a weekend day). We can take the deep dive into budget issues.

    Brandie – so 2nd and 4th Tuesdays reserved for budgets. 1st and 3rd are regular meetings.

    Elwell – Budget meetings are sometimes shorter.

    David – when it gets cold, people don’t come to meetings much. Everyone wants us to have shorter meetings. It might be smart for us to meet every week. (applause) We could get through agendas more quickly.

    Brandie – it is close to 10 pm now.

    Franz – How about the Utilities Budget schedule?

    Elwell – usually spring, but the water capital work required may mean a meeting in October. Not certain staff will be ready. We haven’t set that meeting yet but maybe Oct 22nd or 29th.

    Tim – I liked the Saturday morning thing. I’ll bring Smarties.

    Liz – I’ll bring Dum Dums.

    Brandie – I want pizza.

    Rikki – I appreciate the comments about catering food for meetings. Food for thought. We are making budget decisions and should be eating better than pizza and candy. There are good alternatives.

  • VTRANS’ 2019 Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program – Western Avenue/High Street Bicycle Scoping Study

    Elwell – this helps us look at whether to have a bike lane on Western Ave. There will be a robust public engagement process. Tonight, just accept the $32k grant to fund the consultant to help us with a scoping study and recommendation.

    Daniel – yea yeah. Bikes, Brattleboro. This weekend we have the better block challenge with a temporary bike lane downtown during the two days.

    Liz – we’d be remiss if we didn’t say how sustainable this is.


  • Re-Appointment of Deputy Town Health Officer

    Elwell – we talked about the health officer earlier this year. He’ll help the Town Health Officer with land use and other items. It takes a lot of perseverance. The state makes the appointment and the board recommends.

    Rikki – I feel disappointed by at the appointing process. This should be an elected position. Bannon hasn’t responded to any issues I’ve brought to him.

    Brian Bannon is recommended!

  • Committee Appointments

    Kate Richardson to Arts Committee.

    Rick Foley and Tony Duncan to Energy Committee.

    All appointed!

  • Headline is clever...

    but it is misleading. Not one Selectboard member seems to have denied that there is a climate emergency

    I have not seen the Declaration, but from cgrotke’s account it seems that the argument was not against the principle of taking a stand: rather that the devil was in the details, such as whether monthly forums would be beneficial or if that would create a burden without being sufficiently productive.

    Earlier Chairperson, Brandie Starr had written to me in response to an email I sent her saying that she feels uncomfortable with the wording of the Declaration, but that with some reluctance she would vote for it because she feels that it is important to her to support the effort.

    A 3 – 2 split vote shows a selectboard composed of thoughtful individuals who are not in lockstep which given the history of many boards in the past, is refreshing.

    I appreciate the determination of the people who will not be silent in their efforts to get Brattleboro to recognize that we are, indeed, facing an emergency which demands our attention.

    • How About "Climate Change Is Real, But Not An Emergency"

      There wasn’t agreement that there was an emergency, just agreement that climate change is real.

      No climate change deniers, but certainly some emergency doubters (Liz and Tim).

      They had a chance to act on other wordings for a different statement – Daniel proposed something – but didn’t do it last night.

      No emergency, at least not yet.

      • No emergency?

        That’s amazing. Then I think it would be great if a reporter can get the emergency deniers as well as the emergency affirmers on record as to each of their definition of what qualifies as an emergency.

        I would like to know whether this is a factual disagreement, or semantics.

        In other words:

        Is an emergency: If we do nothing in the next 5 seconds we will crash into a wall10 seconds from now?


        Is an emergency: If we do nothing in the next 5 second we will crash into a wall in 20 years?


        Is an emergency something else? I think we need to know what their criteria is for saying that there is no climate emergency.

  • To be or not to emergency.

    I’ve seen 3 different SelectBoards since I’ve lived here- all with some crossover of members. The one thing all the variations of boards have shared is how long it takes to make a decision about things that should be relatively simple. I’m thinking specifically about how long it took the town to decide to change “ Columbus Day” to “ Indigenous Peoples Day” although that certainly isn’t the only example. And, now..the Climate Crisis.
    Or Emergency. Doesn’t really matter because we’re not officially calling it anything. What would make it an emergency worthy of town attention?
    On Friday millions of students, adults, people all over the entire world will be leaving their schools, their homes; their jobs to speak out and take a powerful and visual stand on the climate crisis our world is in. Businesses are shutting down on Friday to address this issue.
    I spend a good deal of time wondering and worrying about what kind of world my grandson will live in. Will there be trees? Animals?!Ice? Will he be able to swim or even breathe without some kind of equipment? It’s hard to imagine that any person with a rational mind and even a basic knowledge of what climate change even means could justifiably ignore what is happening. How does one decide that climate issues are a problem but not an emergency?
    And, sure…maybe the documents weren’t written in the most comprehensive manner; maybe there are” other things to consider “; maybe we could just wait until the new sustainability coordinator is found; interviewed; offered the job and accepts and then they can explain why there is, in fact, a climate emergency.
    Or, maybe the folks we elected to look after the town could just say “ We agree. It’s terrifying. It’s an EMERGENCY.”

  • Misfiring to Alienate Your Audience?

    Once again, I am impressed that my iBrattleboro account still exists! As usual, I am 1/5 proud of the conversation, 1/5 disgusted with the abuse of “RTM” as implying democracy, and 3/5 interested in the actual content.

    This story/discussion led me to watch the video, and I have to wonder where we’re going (with respect to climate change, where I *think* there are an overwhelming majority of Americans who support change if it’s not stupid). Some of my favorite quotes:
    Brandie: “I’m going to be inclined to vote for this because I spent a lot of time thinking about how it must feel to be between the ages of 18 and 23.”
    David “…particularly when it’s the public’s business… Our job is to respond thoughtfully… I’m glad to support your activism and your citizenship”
    Tim “Am I optimistic or foolish? I don’t feel paralyzed. We’ve been taking clear and resolute steps at each meeting to make a difference in our sphere of the world.”

    …in the end how can one not support Tim? Brattleboro does indeed seem to be supporting all kinds of initiatives that might actually lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, even if on a small-scale municipal level. Isn’t that a model for states and nation? Isn’t that the very model we want to emulate – reduce emissions on a small scale, then a medium one, then a large one, then a global one?

    Instead, the vote shows the selectboard considering a national position for which their vote mean less than nothing. Brandie of the wonderful hair said “I’m going to be inclined to vote for this because I spent a lot of time thinking about how it must feel to be between the ages of 18 and 23.” – great – not that she actually wants to support an evidence-based approach to solving the problem, she wants to support something that feels good. (Yay Trump, then? LOTS of Americans feel good about what he says….) Likewise, David’s comment: “…particularly when it’s the public’s business… Our job is to respond thoughtfully… I’m glad to support your activism and your citizenship”… so activism is more relevant than science and reality (or a course of action that might actually solve the problem)?

    Brattleboro is (already) doing a TON of stuff to fight climate change (in my opinion) – slow and steady, as wins the race. And yet, when kids block an allied parade and make vehicles idle and animals suffer (*cough* Strolling of the Heifers), it only turns off people who might otherwise be sympathetic. Brattleboro – once again, you provide an example for the rest of the world to discuss but NOT advance your cause… yay?!

    • Ah - I apologize for the poor editing (on my part) that

      Ah – I apologize for the poor editing (on my part) that includes snide remarks. If I may restate my main points: congratuations and thank you to the Town of Brattleboro Vermont for your very real positions on “global waaming” that actually work to reverse it; and boo to people in Brattleboro (and elsewhere in Vermont) who proclaim climate change as their cause but actually lead and support activities that advance it.

  • Some thoughts.

    Glenn – welcome back. Everyone’s old iBrattleboro account should still work, and we’ll help anyone having trouble.

    I found it a bit disappointing that the board, on their 3rd attempt and given much time to craft something, could not offer up some sort of supporting statement. They could have proclaimed something (Daniel had a suggestion), and still avoided the mess of emergency ordinances. The morning after this meeting the head of the UN called it a climate emergency, Greta testified to Congress, and a big climate strike is taking place Friday. Seems a bit lame to rest on laurels, and to not participate. “We changed our lightbulbs to LEDs” etc is true, but not that impressive or bold. Brattleboro is doing things slowly, reluctantly, and making baby steps. It’s all in the right direction, but glacially slow (that may be a bad analogy now) to some observers. (How’s that wood pellet boiler for the Municipal Center and Library coming? Why does the Town allow so many shade trees to be cut down without replacement?)

    And a “climate emergency” goes beyond energy savings. It’s not just energy, as some board members imply. For example, children are having a seriously rough time with this issue. Is there a role in a ‘compassionate’ town to help? Can we think of an outlet for their interest and energy that would be useful? How about a Youth Climate Committee with regular reports to the board?

    That said, I can appreciate the Town not knowing quite what to do. I don’t think many people know what to do. The big problems – the military puts out the a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases – are beyond the scope of the Town.

    I think there is some room, between the big problems and what the Town is already doing, where some work could be done. And as Glenn points out, citizens need to do some heavy lifting here. Defining the problem(s) would be helpful. Pushing the international document was a mistake – but there should be some alternative that these leaders could come up with that does work for Brattleboro.

    If this is a real emergency, there is no reason to wait for elected officials to give permission. Actions can be taken by anyone, anytime. (This monthly community meetings with suggestions for the board can still happen… do it! Young people can share their views here and elsewhere, with parents approval. Do it!)

    It only took Brattleboro 20 years to sign on to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. : ) The problem isn’t going away and will likely get worse. I expect this isn’t the last we hear of it.

    Yes, I’d say feeling optimistic is a bit foolish, given the facts.

    I found it interesting that just weeks after the board voted there was no need for a Charter Commission, the VLCT rep told the board that they should be changing the charter to put pressure on the state, for self-governance reasons. Better put that committee together!

    It’s refreshing hearing your comments and thoughts on all of this.

  • How often during any Select Board members tenure do the

    How often during any Select Board members tenure do they get to see 14 and 13 year olds not only attending the meetings but speaking in an intelligent, compassionate and concerned manner about any subject?
    I’m guessing not too often. Rather than consistently shutting down any and every attempt to make some kind of declaration that lets people know publicly that Brattleboro understands the severity of the issue and is moving- albeit at a sloths pace- in the right direction. Members should agree to the implementation of a climate emergency statement because it’s the right thing to do- not because they remember being 18. For the record it’s not just 18-23 year olds who are working diligently to bring about awareness- it’s the 13 year old addressing the board; it’s the group of 8, 9 and 10 year olds who spent a night last week making posters for the strike tomorrow. It’s a magnificent 16 year old who is addressing the leaders of countries (well/ not THIS country) and the UN to plea with the “ grownups “ to give more than lip service.
    I keep hearing how much Brattleboro is already doing to help make changes but I’ve never actually seen or heard a list of what we are doing. I’ve heard that individual departments are doing the work- what does that even mean?
    Are they simply recycling or using more efficient lighting? If we are- as a town- doing so much that a declaration isn’t necessary let’s talk about it! Brag about it! Make everything that is currently happening in the fight against climate change known to everyone. Why would we hide all our hard work if we’re doing so much?

  • My thoughts after the vote

    Chris thanks as always for the write up!

    I wanted to clarify something for your readers. You said you were “disappointed” that the board had not offered up a supporting statement after “3 tries”… The delays came not from us, but from a combination of Mr. Daims choosing to wait until we had a full board to deliberate (since Brandie made it clear on their first “try” that it would fail if we did vote), and also from the fact that “Brattleboro Commons Sense” refused to substantially change their document into something that we could support. Also, we were not asked, at all, to craft something ourselves – we were asked to support this declaration, which I made clear was worded more appropriately for a town-wide vote or an RTM initiative. It was never the case that we were asked to collaborate on a document, as far as I’m aware. So we should have crafted a less crappy version? Sorry, but we are trying to do real work, not appease a tiny group of activists with a proclamation that amounts to little more than an exercise in shaming and virtuous babble . (I say tiny because this declaration did not even have the support of any of the well-established environmental groups in town such as 350 Brattleboro or Post Oil Solutions.)

    Anyway, here’s my commentary appearing in tomorrow’s Reformer:

    Wessel: Why was the climate declaration rejected?

    I know that some people who just read Thursday’s Reformer headline of “Climate emergency declaration rejected” were disappointed to read that. If you’re like me, you have strong concerns about the direction our environment is going and you’d like to see action taken. So why not this one?
    My statement that the declaration was a “mess” was true. It was not only a mess, but it contained such vague, procedurally complicated and open-ended ideas for anything approaching an action that I found it impossible to support, even just for the sake of expressing my concern for this earth.

    Here’s a “climate declaration” that I CAN support:

    “Brattleboro should do its part to achieve or exceed the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan. The Brattleboro Selectboard commits the municipality to meeting these goals for greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy adoption, and asks every household, organization, and business in town to do the same. We commit to joining those state, national, and international initiatives that best represent the intent of the Paris Climate Accord, and request that the Energy Committee track and inform us concerning appropriate options for us to sign onto.”

    In fact, I did support it, along with the entire rest of the Selectboard, exactly two years ago today. We unanimously passed this statement in response to the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord.

    Why is this one better than the lengthy, periodically vague and often strange 14 point “emergency declaration” presented by “Brattleboro Common Sense”?

    1. It names action items that are within our actual control.
    2. It makes a clear commitment to action.
    3. It outlines a path forward for additional steps using guidance from the Energy Committee (and now will hopefully also involve input from a Sustainability Coordinator).

    For our youth who invested their time and energy into the effort to convince us to pass this declaration: Bravo for your commitment to our earth and to bravely making good arguments. Next time, I recommend speaking with your own voice and not those voices of adults who insist they know the way forward. Maybe they don’t, after all.

    Later, at this very same meeting, we took a real action for our environment on the local level. We directed our staff to provide info as to how best to invest modestly in local energy projects, thereby taking our municipal energy use from the current approximately 90% renewable (an amazing achievement already) to a fully 100% renewable portfolio. Strangely, Mr. Daims, who spent so much energy urging us to take action on his declaration, and who was the one who first requested we look into this, did not stay to see this positive step taken at the meeting.

    We need to move on now, and do the other business of this town. Please allow us to do our jobs. I cannot stress enough that these types of feel-good initiatives and Selectboard disruptions are weighing down our Town staff’s time and interfering with the jobs we were elected to do. If you truly feel that your Selectboard needs to make declarations, rather than take direct actions that are under our purview, by all means it’s your democratic right to lobby us do so, but be aware that these actions can be polarizing within our community, and I believe counter productive to building the movement.

    As a small town in Vermont with limited resources and many other issues to address, let’s be realistic about our scope of responsibility for this global problem, and honest about our control on a municipal level. And let’s continue to use our democratic process to make real, actionable steps forward for our town and for our earth.

  • I am struck by how condescending this remark is: “ N

    I am struck by how condescending this remark is:
    “ Next time, I recommend speaking with your own voice and not the voices of those adults who insist they know the way forward. Maybe they don’t, after all.”
    Do you personally know the young man who spoke at the meeting? Or any of the local youth involved in this issue? To assume that he ( or they) are not intelligent enough to have their own opinions and to be able to articulate those opinions without the aid of an adult is unbelievably insulting. Because this young man believes in something that you don’t think is worthwhile only means that there is a difference of opinion.
    It certainly doesn’t mean that all the kids worrying, working on and speaking out against the climate crisis are merely mouthpieces for the adults.
    If anyone thinks the youth of today are not well informed and educated and opinionated about what’s happening in the world they clearly have their heads in the rapidly overheating sand.
    I always thought that one of the jobs of the SB was to listen to and even welcome public input. It shouldn’t matter if it comes from a “ tiny” group of constituents or 500 people.
    And, as elected officials the members of the SB can certainly disagree but to arrogantly dismiss the opinion of a teenager who came to speak in good faith for an issue that matters to them is an unprofessional and unkind.

    • Not directed at one person

      That comment is not directed at one young man, it’s directed at all of the youth we’ve seen before us, especially the large group at the original presentation of the declaration (first version). I think the sentence prior makes it clear that the “your” is plural.
      The push for this particular declaration was taken over by adults, in my view. I would have preferred that those adults had let the youth drive the bus, so to speak.

      • Tim, Since only one teen spoke at the meeting it seems

        Since only one teen spoke at the meeting it seems that your comment was directed at him. But, even if it was meant for all the youth that are putting their energy and time and commitment into this crisis it’s still a condescending thing to say. You honestly believe that the thousands- if not tens of thousands – kids that are working to bring awareness and actions are all just parroting some adult’s words?
        Have you seen any of the photos or videos of the events today across the world? Adults, sure- but mainly kids- as young as 8 or 9- committing to make this world last a bit longer. Nobody needs to put ideas or words in their minds or mouths. They’re smart; they’re savvy and they realize they’re the only ones who are really going to do anything worthwhile about climate change.
        Assuming they’re somebody’s puppet is foolish and arrogant.
        I know Django Grace- he’s nobody’s fool. Whatever words he speaks are his own. The same goes for the other local kids involved.

  • No.

    “You honestly believe that the thousands- if not tens of thousands – kids that are working to bring awareness and actions are all just parroting some adult’s words?”
    Where the heck are you getting that? Certainly not from me.
    Thanks for the feedback, but you seem to want to frame my comments as arrogant regardless of what I say.

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