Selectboard Meeting Notes – Opioid Lawsuit May Include Local Pharmacies

A Brattleboro Selectboard quartet decided Tuesday night to proceed on a path toward suing opioid manufacturers and providers. The board didn’t see any need to spare local pharmacies from potential litigation, and wasn’t sure about suing local doctors.

The board continued their discussion of municipal broadband, bought winter salt and sand, heard a report on progress at WSWMD, and got a final financial report from retiring John O’Connor.

Comments | 11

  • Preliminaries

    (The meeting starts eight minutes late.)

    Chair Brandie Starr is absent. Tim Wessel is (unexpectedly) in command. ‘Glad Colonels are 7 and 0.’

    Town Manager Peter Elwell had two remarks. A special Utilities meeting planned for October is delayed due to complexity of water plant project details. Also, leaf pickup is scheduled! Two Fridays – Oct. 25th and Nov 8th. No plastic bags allowed – use the large brown paper bags. On the curb by 7 am.

    Tim – leaves fall when they please and it is hard to schedule.

    Public Participation.

    Tim M.- 7 and 0 on natural grass! Tomorrow night is the meeting at Dummerston School. The topic is the proposal to install artificial turf at BUHS for $1.1 million vs. natural grass.

    Dale Joy – I’ve been trying to get info on why we aren’t alerting communities about fentanyl deaths. I went to the state, they said to talk to the Town, the Town said to talk to the health officer. Four people died in one week and it was kept quiet. When someone dies from it we need to alert the community. There is no more “just heroin” there is fentanyl now.

    Tim – I think the deaths are reported.

    Peter – depends on where it occurred.

    Tim – It’s not my impression anything is being swept under the rug..

    Dale – It is mine!

  • Municipal Broadband – Additional Research Results + Consideration of Potential Future Actions

    Tim – Town staff has more to report…

    Elwell – there was the report at the last meeting, then a conversation, and the board asked for additional information to frame the context of making next step decisions.

    Patrick Moreland – So, this is a continuation of the conversation. The purpose is to identify some core issues and to identify goals and options to consider. In terms of goals, net neutrality. In all options, the issue is managed. In each example, the municipal network was net neutral. I think we could do that if we do a project in Brattleboro. The goal of the town acting to provide equal access to all locations. That currently isn’t the case, but is that our objective, to have the same level of service in the outer areas as on Main Street? That leads to general obligation bonding. If you use revenue bonds, you might not have equal service. Is service equity is a goal? Is high speed high access available downtown the better way, to avoid sprawl? Do we want enhanced development downtown? Or urban equity? Is an objective to lower the cost? Municipal programs don’t always have lower cost. If low cost is a goal, the general obligation bond could work, like Leverett, MA. Is affordability an issue?

    Moreland – next steps could range from limited engagement to bold action. Limited action would be to continue to discuss communications district in the region. Windham Regional Commission will be a part of it. It is not likely to be an immediate solution, but there is no downside to participate. Things could change in a few years, too. Staff recommends continued participation. The second step is about general obligation bonding. VT towns are forbidden from using them for communications, but the state legislature is investigating changing this. If board thinks town ought to use this tool, then perhaps today tell legislators how we feel to help get a legislative fix. Number three, would include both of the above, but set aside $60k for FY21 for hiring a consultant to map out a network design and advise us on legal structure and plan for general obligation bond. This amount to putting money in the budget toward it. Number four is saying that we should put money for a revenue bond funded project… a more expensive choice at $80k. It’s more complicated to plan for. We need to persuade investors that we are a good choice, so we need to aggregate market demand and have a good business plan. Last, and most bold would be to put that $80k today from FY20 general fund budget. Staff doesn’t recommend it. But, the board could act immediately. Happy to take questions.

    Tim – How to proceed?

    Daniel Quipp – It is not an urgent priority to me. Not super excited about a revenue bond. It seemed like it was more expensive. This isn’t an urgent need. Convince me otherwise…

    David Schoales – In number four, we expect the study to fall short of equal service, is that because it is a for profit business?

    Moreland – It is logically possible that every section of town could have equal demand for service. But it might be some want it and others don’t.

    Schoales – Equal access is absolutely crucial if it is municipal. The concerns about the urban compact, we’re kind of limited in how we can expand. We can reach all in town. Also, we want to lower monthly service charge, and provide a competitive service for the community. We want to proceed with communications district discussions, but that will be slow, and a drawback is we as the largest town wouldn’t have control over how it happens. We had issues with the waste district, and half the county is still upset with us… not a great hub community record. Those are all goal related. Lobby for bond would be good. Putting money in the budget for a plan is what we did with HR and Diversity Coordinator. Daniel didn’t see the urgency. I think there are health, elder care, equity issues it addresses, so I’d like to read more from “Fiber” – health: truly high speed internet could enable physicians to be remotely working with EMT via tablets, in mental health they could support an isolated, anxious student and s/he could receive or work remotely with a counselor. School clinics using telemedicine helps rural health. Elder care check-ins with caregivers via televisits. Poor or elderly are less likely to have fast internet, which impacts quality of life. Tele- education means others can get educations remotely. Fast internet is a precondition for economic growth and stability. Public option means lower costs and world class services. A neutral provider would have equal terms. Wholesale leasing or cooperative models are feasible, or issue an RFP for open access network. Steady revenue will come in after the initial investment. Maintenance costs are lower with fiber than copper. It will facilitate growth in all sectors. It is basic infrastructure for a good life.

    Moreland – the $23 per month in Leverett covers operations, but not the bond to build it.

    Elizabeth McLoughlin -net neutrality is the big goal for me, but it is up to the state to see if it is statewide, so I’d like to see what they do before we barrel ahead. Let’s see what the state can do. I don’t agree with equal access to every location – it is an expensive proposition. The cost of the system is enormous. I like to guard against something benefiting everyone in town, but cost being born by the middle class. That type of equity we need to keep foremost. I’m an urban compact kind of person. Good service through the urban corridor would address most concerns. I think we should see what state does, then participate in regional discussions, lobby for general obligation bonds, and funding at this point is not prudent. The time has not come.

    Tim – You said access in an ambulance? How would that work with a locked fiber line?

    Schoales – the physician would have fast access, but the ambulance would have wifi or radio as they do now. The book anticipates 5G connectivity. Part of this is to not get stuck with 5G that will never get out to surrounding areas. They need small cells every 100 feet. 4G added 30,000 cells. It’s more like 5 million for 5G.

    Tim – some of what you said is the promise of 5G. It’s pretty far away for Vermont. It will have the last mile effect. That reminds me that there are other conversations – about municipal wifi provided downtown. We haven’t yet talked about them. It would be good to have free or affordable wifi.

    Daniel – Wilmington does it by using some the 1% local option sales tax.

    Tim – I hate to pile on questions, but we haven’t talked about deficiencies in cell service. We might want to do that first before equity for everyone. I prefer the compact, anti-sprawl. I made a decision to live downtown so I could have access to the internet with good speeds. Not sure that is a bad thing. I’m not sure all that live out in the woods want fast access. This conversation has gone along a bit fast. The response has been a bit tepid vs. talking about the opioid crisis or downtown renovations. Not many resident are chomping at the bit for this…

    David – You stayed downtown for better service, if that was available anywhere, would you move somewhere else? I don’t see many available properties downtown. We have empty storefronts.

    Tim – A new building is going up on Flat Street and is making things more dense which is better for earth. Living out in woods means more gas to drive, etc.

    David – But you’d have a septic system and a wood lot, so there are arguments on both sides. I’d like to have a better sense of the community. A feasibility study would be good for getting details on the interest – It would be a leased municipal system, so there would have to be customers.

    Tim M – As a taxpayer and property owner, this is one of the most forward looking proposals by the board in a long time.

    Tim W – More than banning plastic bags?

    Tim M. – Copper was for voice. We will need more broadband in the future. Fiber is much faster, much more secure, cheaper in the long run, and it addresses income equality and the digital divide, for job searches and schools. Beyond the balance sheet, there are important social reasons to go forward with this.

    Dan Foster – Putney – I support fiber optic, not wireless. I have a sensitivity to wireless. I’d like to see WIFI-free, not free WIFI. Lots of wireless issues.

    Dale Joy – I agree – I have a sensitivity to wifi, too. Do we want to be responsible if we add wifi and cause cancer in community?

    Franz Reichsman – we hear about feasibility studies – it is feasible technologically – so we’re talking about the economic impact – nothing we’ve seen so far has any numbers in it. I think we need some numerical data on likely costs of certain options, and what are the benefits of having this downtown vs everywhere. We need data to make a real decision.

    Daniel – Does Patrick want to weigh in there? The packet information had costs of systems…

    Moreland – Estimates are based on other communities. They help us understand what design and model might be best, what sort of level of service. Nowhere in this does it begin to tackle issue of economic benefits of doing it or opportunity lost by not doing it. Report is just what some other communities have done. What we do next is pretty clear – we need technical assistance.

    Liz – We can get some answers by participating in the district conversations?

    Moreland – It would help us understand a revenue bond and cost savings for a number of towns.

    Liz – So we can explore the topic without funding a study?

    Moreland – We would learn things.

    Daniel – The district would improve access to the towns participating. Brattleboro would be the “hole in the donut”, like Montpelier is in the mid-state district.

    Liz – We have better service than rural areas around us.

    Donald Saaf – I, too, am glad this is brought up and and it is a forward thinking topic. Fiber optics is like electricity and phones, and we need it for the future, and for everybody, not just downtown. I don’t see a lot of sprawl in Brattleboro. Everyone has to live here, and not in Dummerston? Many live in the woods because they want to, and still need high speed fiber. Fiber is a safe way to have this technology. Three of us have had problems with wifi. It’s real.

    Derek Jordan, a local musician. I totally support the fiber everywhere to everywhere. Two reasons – we can retain youth with high speed access, and if we provide fiber everywhere, we will attract people to town. This is about the future of the town and this area.

    Rikki – I want to extend an indigenous remembrance to everyone, and encourage people to consider the educational mascots of the area. The Colonels are pretty offensive logos. I like the teams. How about the Rattlesnakes? I want to thank public to all contribute these thoughts toward manifesting internet accessibility for us, and the most respectful way to go forward means respecting right of the public to vote on this, not just representatives. All of the public, not just taxpayers.

    Tim W – Patrick – number 3, you talk about funding a feasibility study… after a general obligation bond procedes? Do we need to know that for sure first?

    Moreland – Yes, it isn’t a current option, but it is being considered in Montpelier. Let feelings be know to them, but it could lead to maximizing equity of service.

    Schoales – the legislation including grants, if municipalities worked with contractors they could get revenue bonds?

    Moreland – for public private partnerships…

    Elwell – so it will be a revenue bond.

    Time W. – I am in favor of option one and two. They don’t require funding and depend on decisions out of our control. As I said before, I asked on my social media, what does broadband mean to everyone and how fast is fast? How could we make a better system? Who should receive it? Is it similar to plowing roads or like electric services? Are we encouraging sprawl … these questions got no response. Most people don’t know what we need. I want to move forward but need to be careful of costs of these studies, when we aren’t sure what we are wanting.

    Liz – I agree and would add that we should wait for state acting on net neutrality – a district might not be good for Brattleboro but we can learn about options and what we want to do.

    Schoales – People didn’t respond because they don’t know about it. I focused on the equity issue – it is more important than economic growth. It’s a huge issue. I do want to point out one economic thing – Chattanooga… added a network and are adding jobs at a higher rate than other parts of the state. A direct result of having that service. That’s why we should have an article on the agenda for RTM to discuss. We should do education and show what others are doing. Let people learn about it before deciding to not do anything. Big corporations want it to be 5G, not fiber. Maybe we should send out more social media things to see if people want to talk about it.

    Tim – You are suggesting we spend money to find out what people might like? The questions I asked are important to answer before we have a feasibility study.

    Schoales – If we have an article warned with an amount, that will get the discussion going. A concrete article will be talked about and decided on.

    Liz – There is more we can learn before we do that. We could ask Laura Sibelia to tell us what she knows. The state experts coming in to talk to communications districts can provide information before we spend a dime. We should use the resources we have before we open it up – we don’t even know what we want from a study. We need to find out among ourselves. It’s something we can ask and find out and research. It can be done on our behalf before we spend $60k.

    Tim – There is fiber now, for those watching on BCTV. So what tools do we have to partner with existing structure to incentivize expanding that?

    Daniel – Equity and bonds. Revenue bonds are market driven things that need to show profit – that doesn’t tend toward equity. Like healthcare system. The general obligation bond isn’t available now, but it allows everyone to buy in as a general obligation – it would tend more toward equity. If that becomes available, I’d live to discuss this as a community. I’d be not in favor looking at revenue bonds – it wouldn’t be equitable. It would be the wrong path.

    Tim W – We like one and two, should we make motions?

    Elwell – No one has spoken against one or two, and no majority for three, four, or five. If you have specific direction… otherwise we’ll do one and two. State reports due in December.

    Tim W – let’s bring this back.

    Schoals – I’d like to contact towns that have done this and invite them to come and tell us what they know.

    Tim – We want to be careful of our budget meeting schedules. Don’t want another big discussion during budget season…

    Liz – should we add it to our goals?

    Elwell – I’d urge caution adding to them mid-year, to keep it focused on priorities.

  • Authorization for Town to Join in Multi-Jurisdictional Opioids Litigation

    Tim – next item is a discussion of joining an opioids litigation. Bob Fisher will help us…

    Bob – Does the board want to authorize joining Bennington? They are bringing suit. It is part of a multi district litigation. We got on to this as VLCT had a forum on this litigation, and I heard from attorneys and others there. The suit seeks to hold accountable not only manufacturers and distributors but pharmacies and pharmacy managers. This goes after all of them. Most addicts become addicts after being prescribed so this aims to halt that flow. It seeks damages and reimbursement to responding to this epidemic. The legal causes are numerous. Attorneys provided information on the dosage units prescribed by state and town, by manufacturer, distributor, and pharmacy. Some questions about going forward would be who would you include in the lawsuit? All pharmacies or just national ones? Would you include doctors? (Bennington doesn’t, and excludes local pharmacies.) The allegations against pharmacies deal with failing to deal with false prescriptions, and that they have long histories of failure to abide by laws of dispensing opioids. Invalid prescriptions and such. The pharmacy gets the prescription from the doctor. Or are they failing to do their duty to look at fraudulent prescriptions? Do you have questions?

    Liz – Thanks. The litigation says that each entity has incentives to move certain drugs over others. How does that happen in the individual pharmacy? Why not the doctor?

    Bob – Some of that is in pharmacy benefit managers, which is different and they have relations with insurance and distributors. They direct the flow of the opioids. It’s different than the pharmacies themselves. I’ll try to find examples for you.

    Tim W. – I was struck by some of the statistics. One is that we are approaching one prescription for everyone in VT in one year. 500,000 prescriptions – a doubling in six years. Our country is saturated with prescriptions. There is clear evidence. 4 out of 5 current heroin users began with a prescription opioid. That’s stunning. They start with a legitimate prescription for pain then move on when they can’t get it. We have a moral obligation to pursue this. I am unclear of obligations of pharmacies. It would be morally reprehensible to exclude any local pharmacies from this scrutiny. We have to look at entire picture. Hypocritical to exclude local pharmacies. It’s uncomfortable to think we’ll be suing our own pharmacies. There is a chain of links from doctor to pharmacy – everyone’s role has to be examined. Why not doctors in Bennington? Malpractice?

    Bob – That’s my sense – that makes it more of a malpractice case which has different issues to prove. I’ll find out.

    Tim – If we joined this, would Town be the plaintiff, or would we be joining another case?

    Bob – Brattleboro would have a separate case grouped with others in a multi-district case. I’ll find out more. I had questions about this, assuming this goes on for years and there is a settlement, how do damages get allocated between towns? I don’t have a good answer?

    Tim – The commitment from town is limited?

    Bob – It is on a contingency fee basis – the lawyers get 25% of damages if successful. 75% distributed… somehow.

    Tim – We should expect time commitment down the road?

    Bob – A year or so from now, the Town gets to discovery and it takes more time.

    Daniel – The question was should we join in this suit? I spent a lot of time this weekend reading the document. Anecdotely we know people are complicit in profiting from this crisis. When we are out discussing things we talk of moral failings, but the suit makes clear that all along the supply chain people profited and could have acted differently. In my own circle of folks I know several who became addicted to prescribed opioids then moved to illegal drugs. The over-prescribing was unnecessary and people could have acted differently. The failure to do that was a failure to protect the health of the public, and the only motivation was profit. Whether we get a settlement or not, we owe it to the people around us – we’re a hub town! For people who haven’t read it… doctors were given incentives to prescribe, and were lied to, I think it is important to enter into the suit to reveal more of the story, not so much individual failing but desire to payment.

    Liz – When we determine damage to community, there is treatment and prevention, and there is damage to the children of the community. That should be remembered.

    Franz – As someone who has written thousands of prescriptions for narcotics, there are some doctors that really need to go to jail over this. This writing prescriptions after seeing someone three minutes. For most doctors, there was no benefit from prescribing. In the 80’s they took away freebies. Physicians are not responsible for this for the most part. If you have a bad toothache, I’ll suggest Tylenol, or some Percoset until you talk to your dentist. I got scammed by people lying about being in pain. I’d rather write a bad prescription than not giving pain relief to someone who needed it. These are real issues I dealt with every day. I wrote small prescriptions. I didn’t do hundreds or dozens of pills. Doctors are in a tough spot trying to help people. Some people churned the system, but investigating individual physicians would be barking up the wrong tree. Pharmacies can call me to see if I wrote a prescription. I think many act in good faith.

    Schoales – None of this would have been possible without FDA changing labels to allow daily around the clock treatment of pain (Oxycontin). You become addicted! FDA allowed this to happen. So far, it hasn’t been changed.

    Dale – FDA folks go work for pharmaceutical companies when done. I was an addict at 14 years old due to a doctor. I will not take prescriptions now. I’ve been to nursing school. I’ve seen doctors abuse things in town. My son was born with Crohns disease. Doctors gave them hard opiates in his teens. He died from a fentanyl overdose recently. Include doctors in this.

    Tim – sorry for your loss.

    Rikki – is marijuana classified as an opioid? (No). Glad to hear that. I propose being an effective way to approach this case is by citing VT constitution – which assures animals (and humans are animals) adequate food, shelter and medical attention. This basic need could be met by universal health care. Part of what fuels this epidemic is lack of health care.

    Tim – clear consensus to answer questions and proceed with lawsuit?

    Bob – More answers at next meeting!

  • Update from the Windham Solid Waste Management District – Michelle Cherrier, WSWMD Chair, and Bob Spencer, WSWMD Executive Director

    Michell and Bob from WSWMD.

    Tim – can we talk compost?

    Michelle – happy to meet with you face to face. One of the best leaf weekends in years! I represent Dummerston and act as Chair at WSWMD. Not associated with business end of things. I’ve been recycling since I was 19 and try to live as zero waste as possible. I hope the update news we give you is not nearly as concerning as broadband or litigation. Everyone knows Bob Spencer. He gets to be in the paper more than me. The district works for all member towns to divert all waste into a higher use rather than a landfill. There is no waste in nature, and that drivers me to do everything possible. We once recovered materials and sold them, but that is no longer the case. Those markets disappeared. We do have an assessment for Brattleboro. It has gone down every year since MRF closed. We all eat and create waste, and food is usually more than 60% of our personal waste stream. We started down a road of commercial composting. We can take compost and re-use it and sell it. The future of composting, Bob?

    Bob – sorry for the handout tonight. I didn’t have a chance to get it to you for your mailing. There is a ton of info in here. Some highlights – the town is hiring a sustainability coordinator – Brattleboro is a leading government in sustainability issues! Patrick works closely with us. We have a strong working relationship with Town and Triple T Trucking. No other municipality collects organic like Brattleboro. We do it for green value and dollar value. Your curbside organics now include yard waste. Our assessments to the town have decreased. It used to be $180k. Now is $83k. We also pay about 5.2% payment in lieu of taxes to Town. We also have the new solar array, and brings in $67k. A new flyer describes the Transfer Station. You can recycle just about anything. Almost 70% is recycled. Trash and demolition debris goes to landfill. It’s very popular and busy. Almost 600 stickers sold in Brattleboro. Composting has taken off, prior to mandates of the state. We provide composting services for a lot of businesses. Working with Fibermark. Your residents do a great job separating things. The solar deal – this is huge – 22% goes to the Town. The high school is another 20 percent. It should save the Town $100k a year or so. Over 10 years that’s some pretty big bucks. Plus the company pays the district a lease. That’s one reason the assessment has dropped. The solar array sold for the third time in three years. Shanghai, to Hong Kong, to New York….. this Saturday is annual household hazardous waste collection. 8 am to 12 noon.

    Michelle – state feels strongly that they would like more frequent hazardous waste collections – maybe once a month.

    Bob – we’re building a permanent facility for it. Working with High School and schools, and businesses. We help with events. Just spent $5,000 to update our website.

    Michelle – check it out. All feedback will be taken into consideration as to what will be done with it.

    Bob – come see our facility and get a tour!

    Tim – fantastic – I visited several times to play with compost pile. You said Brattleboro is far ahead of other communities with sustainability.

    Bob – I look forward to helping teach your new person… we have a good network to share knowledge.

    Schoales – at the time, it was hard to get the select board to get on board to believe in value of solar array. You have to look down the road to see what’s coming.

    Daniel – I just looked at the website – it loaded. The info was useful and it says what can and can’t be recycled. The solar array – Lester Humphries was curious if the energy credit form the arrays are being retired yet.

    Bob – value has gone up fourfold in last year. The company that negotiated the contracts wanted the RECs.

    Daniel -if a Renewable Energy Credit isn’t retired we can’t use it…

    Bob – I have been asked if we retire the credit and let the other off takers have the attributes. It’s possible. But we’re coming out of our dark days of not having money.

    Daniel – an issue many care about.

    Liz – looking at tax payments and annual assessment. If we use the municipal tax that the solar array pays and the PILOT, which comes to around $72k, and we pay $82k to you all, are we just $10k shy of it paying for itself?

    Bob – yes – and add it the compost diversion to go over the line!

    Rikki – thanks for the services you provide. Any update on ban on collecting compost from residences with over 5 apartments? Many can’t do their own composting.

    Bob – it is up to the Town have the hauler pick it up. We can process it.

    Tim – 4 or over units are not part of Triple T pickup.

    Elwell – It is up to the building and hauler to set something up.

    Rikki – they aren’t forced to do it, so they don’t.

    Bob – there are a few reasons.

    Rikki – maybe grants could cover the costs?

    Liz – maybe the sustainability coordinator could take it on.

    Daniel – talk with other tenants

    Rikki – they are afraid to stand up for themselves.

    Bob – valid point.

    Tim – valid point.

  • Financial Report – Monthly Report, September

    John O’Connor reads his memo. We’re 25% through the fiscal year. “We’re in good shape.”

    (Town wrote off loan to Cultural Intrigue.)

    35 active grants.

    Tim – the sales tax is frustratingly incomplete.

    Elwell – that number will come up.

    Tim – but there is something there! I get excited by odd things. Thanks John for years of service.

    John – I appreciate the recognition and have enjoyed working for the town. The time has come to move on. Very good working with you.

    Elwell – Lucky to have you.

    Daniel – about this line item…

  • Resolutions Regarding Authority for Wire Transfers

    Elwell – John O’Connor is only one who can make wire transfers for the Town, and he’s retiring, so we want to add others from the Treasurer’s Office, with Town Manager approval, and bank calling back to double check. Deborah Desrosiers and Brenda Emery in the Town Treasurer’s Office will be able to initiate wire transfers subject to the advance written approval of Town Manager Elwell.


  • Employee Health Insurance Program – Renewal for Calendar Year 2020

    Elwell – we ask you approve the renewal. We had several years of affordable renewals, achieved with fewer claims and a changed structure to the plan. We took on limited risk with a higher deductible – and saved money. But we’ve reached the maximum benefit of risk/premium. Last year we had significant claims and larger claims. Our increase was over 10%. We ended up 13%, and we had concerns about employee contributions to the plan. It’s normal for employees to contribute some. We phased in employee contributions again, and collaborated with employees to come up with a slowly increasing amount, and work with employees on renewals. Blue Cross wanted a 14% increase but we got to 12%. Still high, but we expect and hope this year to come in below market, so next year might be less. The increase in the cost of the program in 9.7% – not insignificant. We think we had a good process and recommend renewal.

    Tim – I have frustrated comments.

    Daniel – A boring question, then a diatribe. On the renewal, the premium section – SDF is single, Family, double? Dual? 41, 40, 46? That’s employees enrolled. Okay. I was thinking of cost for town’s health insurance. It’s about 14% of our total town budget? As it will be for every more. Town employees should have great healthcare. Everyone should have great health care. Health insurance plans are frustratingly expensive. Markets and profit aren’t helpful to equity and health outcomes. Have other municipalities talked about lobbying on state level for a single payer model rather than private insurance? Did town employees talk about using their health care?

    Elwell – We haven’t heard complaints about our system. Overall the value of the benefit is that town employees appreciate sticking with a platinum plan. Reducing the breadth of coverage to reduce premium is not something they are interested in. They prefer the significant benefits – flexibility and good coverage for employees and their families. New collective bargaining teamwork is an indication of the importance of the benefit. The point you make about lobbying is well taken. There are many way to lobby for things of importance to the community. This is ripe for this. I’ll take it up with VLCT board. It would be good to work collectively on this. The league used to offered a health trust pool for muncipalities. Instead, they facilitate it for some municipalities rather than run the trust now.

    Schoales – Doing it statewide means we lose flexibility – like the new statewide teacher’s contract they are working on. There is a lack of incentives to reduce costs.

    Elwell – Are you asking about having all municipalities to be in one plan? Or to lobby? (to lobby!)

    Daniel – The millions collected to pay for health insurance comes from taxpayers so we all have skin in this game.

    Schoales – We are at a lower starting point, even with increases. The school district went up 12.9%

    Tim – the best out of a bad situation.


  • Award Bids – (i) Winter Sand (ii) Winter Road Salt

    Steve Barrett –

    Salt and sand! The sand bid should go to low bidder Zaluzny Excavating of Vernon, Vermont, in the amount of $10.40 per cubic yard delivered, and that the road salt bid go to Apalachee Salt, of Rochester, New York, in the amount of $76.00 per ton (per Apalachee Salt’s contract with the State of Vermont).

    Daniel -How many tons of salt?

    Steve – 1500 – maybe 150 tons per storm. We use half the recommended rate , just on paved roads.

    Tim – Rochester was built around salt.

    David- My mom said if we screwed up in school you’d be sent to the salt mines.

    Rikki – any environmental studies on the quality of the salt being offered? Do they have different impacts? Do some add chemicals?

    Steve – pure salt, no extra chemicals. Not aware of environmental studies.

    Both approved!

  • Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant – Accept and Appropriate

    Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the amount of $2,517.16 to purchase bulletproof vests for the Police Department.

    Elwell – it is a simple little grant, basically an annual allocation. Also – there are a lot of scam calls, cold calling, about donating to a fund for bulletproof vests. It’s not true. It’s a federal program. If any one calls, it doesn’t help our police department.

    Tim – Rikki, you have a short comment?

    Rikki – if you want to time me… About $12k was approved or handguns for the police, and I’d wish we we’d spend more on defending them than giving them offensive weapons. $2k to protect, and $12k for guns.

    Schoales – there is other protective equipment.

    Tim – John Allen would love the 16 cents…


  • Selectboard Goals – Quarterly Review

    Tim – how do people feel?

    Daniel – I’d like a length discussion! : ) I have a request, that under Number 2 and hub coalition. Could we get a memo on what happened at meeting? (yes)

    Schoales – some testimony to develop to take to legislature in January? On Charter Commission, we should tell Spoon we’re not going to create a Charter Commission. And number 4, could we try a list of organizations and projects to document the progress on Diversity?

    Liz – I think I’m pleased with our progress. A lot has been done with our goals. I commend the staff and ourselves for working on all of these. One thing I’d like to add is the Planning Dept Downtown Plan results. It is a far-reaching plan, but can achieve the goals the Planning Staff set, to work with open spaces we have and create a plan for how it is used and shared. let’s track their progress on these planning issues. There were good ideas for how to use downtown space.

    Tim – I like that we still want to talk about housing. I’ll do research first, but want to have a solid discussion about changing our seasonal shelter into a year round shelter.

    Liz – great idea but state only gives some funds…

    Tim – those missing funds are lower than I expected, so it isn’t outside of consideration.

    Daniel – a tiny request – in opioid data collection – the monthly reports from police and fire department. The numbers are always different. Are they both responding? Is there a better way?

    Elwell – and there is Rescue Inc and hospital data. They are trying to solve this so that overdoses are counted correctly. It should be meaningful at a glance.

    Daniel – mapping software could be used.

    Tim – we have some nonprofit partners that can help us with this.

  • Committee Appointments

    Prudence MacKinney appointed to the Planning Commission.

    Liz thanks Daniel for convincing her to volunteer. Tim takes credit for telling her to join. Schoales says it was her Police Fire experience that made it happen.



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