The Brattleboro Selectboard held a meeting to set dates for three Representative Town Meeting informational sessions. They approved liquor licenses, made appointments, certified highway mileage, and began design work on a shiny new parking lot.
Candidate for Selectboard Gary Stroud dropped out of the race, citing health issues that would prevent him from doing all that was necessary to be on the board.
Chair Tim Wessel – sorry for the delay. I have no remarks. Happy Groundhogs Day. We’re having snow day here in Brattleboro. A few more weeks of winter…
Town Mmanager Peter Elwell – Reminder that Brooks Library is seeking applicants for a 1 year seat on board of trustees. Look on library website. Also, we’ll be doing snow removal downtown, not tonight, but tomorrow and Thursday night. Last, an apology to board and public. We made a mistake – we had proposed a date for the informational meeting on water treatment info that was too late, and needs to be closer to RTM, so we propose March 17th now. More later.
Liz McLoughlin – more COVID in windham county that a year ago. Stay safe and responsible.
Tim – I’ve been double masking to go into stores. I use a surgical mask first, then a cloth mask.
Ian Goodnow – first announcement is a committee report. The board of civil authority swore in new Justice of the Peaces. Three new JPs. Congrats and welcome. The other thing is the election on March 2. There is no early in person voting. Got to the my voter page and get in a mail in ballot or drop it in box in Municipal Center parking lot. Can vote in person at American Legion on March 2.
Tim – any others? Public…
Peter – in the newer version of zoom, the hand raise is in the reactions area.
Gary Stroud – Hi how is everyone tonight? ‘ve been on the campaign trail for selectboard. Really gungho about it. I was waiting on some information from the hospital and I have prostrate cancer and have to have work done, so I am withdrawing my candidacy. I spoke to Hilary about this. Keep me in prayer.
Tim – sorry to hear that. probably too late to remove your name from the ballot. Thought are with you.
(board offers best wishes…)
Tim – I don’t see any other hams… hands…
Appoint Deputy Health Officer – Catherine Barrows, Animal Control Officer
They are health commissioners for the moment.
Elwell – so, the town is served by a health officer, Len Howard, and he is supported by two deputy health officers – Brian Bannon and Cathy Barrows. Each is effective in the role. Need to be reappointed every three years. They are appointed by the state department of health and the town makes a recommendation. So, we ask that you make that recommendation to reappoint Cathy for 3 years.
Barrows is recommended… 5-0.
Second Class Liquor License – JFR Mart + Annual Renewals
They have turned into liquor commissioners.
Hilary Francis – So, there were some election questions. Liquor first then questions? Another meeting?
Tim – let’s do liquor items first, then election questions.
Hilary – the first item is the 2nd class license for JFR Mart – 328 Marlboro Rd to continue as gas station and convenient mart. This is to sell alcohol.
Tim – I’m watching some juvenile intrusions so I’m a bit distracted. patrick is handling it.
Ian – previously a 2nd class license?
Hilary – yes.
License approved 5-0.
Liquor Licenses, Outdoor Consumption Permits + Entertainment Licenses – Annual Renewals
Hilary -this is the time once a year that we renew the annual liquor licenses. We do Liquor Licenses, Outdoor Consumption Permits + Entertainment Licenses. The dept of liquor control sends us paperwork, we add to it, and send it to the businesses. They send it back with payments. We check with police and fire department, and check with assessors office for business licenses. The deadline changed this year. We’ll remind them in March. There are no violations this year – there wasn’t a lot of serving due to COVID, so there are no violations to report. As long as they turn in paperwork and fees, we suggest they all get approved.
Tim – first time that there were no violations. As you say, it is an interesting time we are in.
Approved, conditionally, 5-0.
Tim – so would you like to answer questions? How much time on the my voter page do people have to safely receive it back?
Hilary – no definitive answer… if someone request it 2 days before we’ll send it. If you need time to mail it back, you need longer. A safe bet is Feb 22nd, giving just over a week. Do it as soon as you can. Do it now. No need to wait for ballots.
Tim – so we could really push at our next meeting as a final push.
Hilary – the other question was Gary’s question – too late to remove the name from the ballot, so he’s encouraging people to not vote for him. If elected he’ll resign and the board will pick someone to replace him. There are 2 one year seats and 7 names on the ballot.
Daniel – when will you send absentee ballots.
Hilary – on or around February 10, when we get them.
Redesign of the Depot Street Parking Lot – Contract for Engineering Services
Elwell – I’ll do the quick summary. If you need more details, patrick can jump in. This is the modification of the parking lot on Depot Street – the lot across from the train station and the restaurant. That area is where we will get a new, state of the art train station. AS we discussed in December, the station will take up some parking spaces, so to modify the parking lot prior to the new station being contracted, we need to move quickly. Design work tonight, we’ll ask for grants, and will end with construction in the Fall – Sept to Nov time frame. Then have that site ready for springtime 2022 for Amtrak to provide a $5million gift to the community. The firsts step was to get a proposal for the engineering work. It’s in your materials – $25,300 for Stevens and Associates to do the design. The overall cost is $366k. Design work is usually 10%. We believe it is complete and recommend to approve us to proceed with the design.
Liz – I’ve reviewed many an engineering scope. I agree that it is appropriate, and it is a complex site that Stevens will know how to handle.
Elwell – part of the reason of the low fee is that they are local. They did design work for existing parking lot and related work 15 years ago, so that’s why they are the right form to do the work.
Ian – this is moving forward on something we already approved. Amtrak will take out 10 spaces or so, and this will add 35 spots, so the net is gaining 25 spots plus an Amtrak station.
Elwell – yes.
Approve Annual Certificate of Highway Mileage for VTrans
Brandie – I have a dog snoring like a chainsaw behind me. So loud.
Elwell – this is an act required each year. It is a technical piece of business. We’re here tonight to confirm that there were no changes in highway mileage this year and the numbers on the form are accurate. Please approve. It is simple, but serves an important purpose. It helps calculate state highway aid to municipalities.
Liz – a tidbit – this is almost like a census for the roads.
Ian – yes, this census is done every year, though.
Elwell – every now and then there are changes. Some roadwork is modified, or an error is corrected. Three or four years ago the state for a bit of land on the ramps to I-91. They notified us.
Tim – we have no scenic highways on our form. We have scenic roads…
Liz – it is a federal program with environmental requirements so count yourself lucky.
Announce Dates and Times of Informational Meetings in Preparation for the 2021 Representative Town Meeting
Liz – I have a fruit fly in here…
1. Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30pm for the General Information Meeting
2. Saturday, March 13, at 8:30am for Technical Logical Practice Using Zoom
3. Wednesday, March 17, at 7:30pm re: Water Treatment Plant Financing
Elwell – I’d like your agreement to the above proposed schedule. The first is as we always do with general information, via zoom. The second will be a session to go over technical and logistical procedures for the meeting a week later. And on the 17th, on zoom, we’ll have a meeting about the water treatment facility project. You are familiar with it but most of the public is probably not. The question for RTM will be about financing, but they will need to know about the design to make the decision. On the 20th, RTM will be held, and there will be the discussion of the financing and voting by Australian Ballot. We ask you confirm these informational meeting dates and times.
Tim – board members.. there is a date error but we are moving it anyway…
Ian – a technical question – the dates in the background material aren’t correct. What’s the procedure for that… does it get edited, or supplemented.
Elwell – we don’t change history. The minutes will reflect the change.. we’ll count on the newspapers to get this information about the changed date out to the public. The memo will stay as is forever.
Tim – did you mention caucuses for town meeting?
Elwell – you don’t call those. They are before the informational meeting. They’ll be in sequence since we are using zoom, but earlier in the evening there will be the caucuses, using the same link as the informational meetings.
Board nods in approval…
Tim – one appointment to make to the Energy Committee
Ian – so I’ll nominate Joel Martell
Liz – both candidates are good and I thank both. I’ll vote for Joel. We’d be foolish not to have him.
Brandie – I’ll abstain since I missed one candidate interview.
Daniel – I’ll nominate Myles Dumas
Tim – a show of hands for Joel – 4. For Myles – 2.
Brandie – and I abstain for both.
Tim – Myles – look for the next opening. Congrats to Joel. There may be an alternate? Oh, that’s a DRB thing. Other business?
Liz – I move to adjourn!
Gary Stroud – just want to thank you for your support and having that support system in place. It’ll be a rough time whatever they’ll be giving me. I also endorse Kurt Daims, if you could give him a minute. Thanks again for being a great support system for me.
(board thanks him again)
Tim – we appreciate the energy and hard work you give to the town. Kurt can chime in at the next public participation…
5-0 at 7:07…
Tim – Ian is giddy.
Ian – it may be the earliest meeting.
Daniel – your earliest meeting.
Liz – Ian was giddy at 6:15.