Selectboard Meeting Notes – Dependent Care for Board Members, New Ski Statue

Brattleboro Utilities and Parking Budgets for FY22 were adopted by the selectboard Tuesday evening. They also had an extended discussion of dependent care and reimbursing selectboard members for costs incurred.

Some DPW purchases were approved, a new ski jump skier statue will be manufactured and given to the town for winter display, and more.

Comments | 9

  • Preliminaries

    They get started a bit late. No board members are on screen yet at 6:15 . Not typical for no board members to show.

    Now two minutes late and no one but us public.

    Three minutes and counting….

    Four minutes, and a lonely ASL interpreter. Must be quite an executive session.

    Five minutes and they are now joining. Waiting for Tim. And talking about him, too.

    Six minutes and they start….

    Elwell – I may need to turn out my camera tonight because I’m having internet issues. I may turn it off to stay connected.

    Chair Elizabeth McLoughlin – I have one comment. There has been a flurry of discussion about the need for the selectboard to discuss the mask mandate. It’s not on our agenda, but we should place it for the next meeting, and ask for the Town Manager to provide info to us next meeting about COVID and vaccination rates in town. Do fellow board members have comments?

    Daniel Quipp – I, too, want to be driven by local numbers. Most of the numbers are at the county level, and we abut other states and municipalities. Places like Greenfield and Keene…

    Ian Goodnow – Thanks for bringing it up and I agree it should be on our next agenda. I reflect on why the open meeting law and waring items is important. It happened so quickly, and it is suddenly on everyone’s plate, so it is important to let the public know we will talk about it and hear from them. People are passionate about it.

    Tim Wessel – I agree and loo forward to it as well. I’d also request we take up two other things: our plans about meeting in person and to address deferments on town loans. Businesses are ramping back up, so it might be good to discuss it.

    Liz – two good other things to be warned. Peter, anything you’d like to say?

    Elwell – I put an inquiry in, but the data is partial, and they are looking for more. I’ll have more interaction and get the latest available info for the next meeting.

    Jessica Gelter – It’s also important to note we’re a tourist town on a major highway… some sort of awareness of tourism would be helpful as well. It’s no just a local thing.

    Liz – anything else?

    Elwell – no comments.

    Daniel – Traffic Safety is this Thursday at 8 am. The regular backup material is online. Last month I shared speed data more widely on social media (cough… not here, though) and people had thoughts about it. If you are interested in the speed in your neighborhood look at the data. You input is valued. Happy to hear from you. You can highlight safety concerns on the Town website.

    Elwell – a safety action request…. no, it is a Brattleboro Safety Action Form.

    Ian – two quick things. This is the first meeting since Gallery Walk and I was there longer than I expected to be. So happy to see it start off so well and I look forward to the next one. Support local restaurants and stores. Second – a shoutout to the Brattleboro Words Trail app. I saw this in the paper and I gave it a download. It is really cool. We have a fascinating town with so much history and the project is fascinating and I’ve learned a lot.

    Liz – as Kipling would say, Just so, Ian.

    Jessica – thanks tot he Library – now they are open for limited in-person visits. I checked out a book. Go in and enjoy the smell of the library and get some reading material.

    Liz – Public participation….

    Kurt Daims – hello. I’d like to make comments about the emergency climate declaration approved in 2018 and amended on march 2. It was reported unfairly in the paper as money-saving and it is more than that. At that meeting Tim gave me some recognition personally for getting the ball rolling, but it was BCS and many people who started in 2010 and it involved lots of people and approved by RTM, and people were ready to make a sacrifice. Not me, BCS and RTM. I had our economist look it over and he confirmed it was a sound innovative fund. Thanks for improving the resolution of ours. I hope the board examines its procedures… it took three years to do it. And then, uh, there is lately some a lot of talk of relations between the board and RTM. This should be well published on the town website, to recognize the significant action by BCS and RTM.

    Gary Stroud – alright, on a lighter note… my question, is it me or has the raise hand feature changed, it was blue but now it is yellow, and I have to go to reactions rather than the …

    Liz – new features of zoom.

    Gary – I thought it was my computer. Nothing going on around town. I got my two shots and am feeling great. Hopefully we’ll have good events in July.

    Liz – don’t forget about June…

    Gary – Yes.. what’s in June?

    Liz – Gallery Walk…

    Gary – will sidewalk sales be coming soon to get more people into town? Looking forward to no mask, but keep it safe.

  • Consent Agenda

    A. Monthly Financial Report – FY21 Through April

    B. Certificate of No Appeals Pending – Town Assessor

    C. Purchase of Replacement Dump Truck for Public Works Department

    D. Purchase of Replacement 1-Ton Dump Truck for Recreation and Parks Department

    E. Western Avenue Paving Project – Bid Award

    F. Summer Matters For All Grant – Ratification of Town Manager’s Authorization to Apply

    G. Annual Bullet Proof Vests Grant – Authorization to Apply

    Elwell – this is a cluster of items that shouldn’t require debate, so we put them on the consent agenda. Board members can have items pulled if they want to discuss it later in the meeting. In the administrative report, there is another paragraph that describes what happens when you approve it. No unclear items. We recommend it be approved.

    Ian – I really like adding the additional info in the administrative report, and I like using the consent agenda to be more efficient.


  • Water & Sewer - FY22 Utilities Fund Budget

    Liz – the proposed FY 22 Utilities Fund budget… Peter?

    Elwell – two weeks ago we presented the budget, had discussion but no requests for changes, so this is the same budget again. Adopt it if you are ready. We have some information about the capital plan that we didn’t discuss last meeting. It’s important to spend a few minutes.

    Dan Tyler – so the capital plan – these numbers are pulled for the long term capital plan spreadsheet. There is a column for carry-forward items, things that funds are set aside for, or are in progress. That list looks bigger this year due to pandemic delays. The next column is the FY 22 requests. Many are annual requests, like water meters, sewer mains, manholes, and maintenance. There is money set aside for future projects such as Putney Rd and Hinsdale Bridge and some pump station work. All of these have been on the list, but the two new ones – Retreat Wells roof… it’s been on the list for a while, bids were high, we did more research and it will take more funding. The other bigger item is riverfront capacity project – to upgrade the water service in Bridge St and work with the upgrade of the RR station. They’d install the requested items and we’d connect to their project. A huge advantage, as we need to get the line under th tracks. They’ll be working there.. it’s what they do and is easier for them to so it, so now is the time to improve service down there – needs more water for fire protection, add some hydrants by Barrows area, and improve that entire areas for the future and future expansion down there. Then we have some equipment – a service truck – we’re looking at alternatives for a pickup truck, primarily used for commuting and getting to projects. In the past it was shared with mechanics, but they have a vehicle now. WE’d like to look ta alternatives. The second is also a pickup truck. This are the highlights.

    Tim – I think I know the answer to this, but when you look at Hinsdale Bridge water relocation – is that because we’re fortunate to have good timing and can split that expense?

    Dan – we anticipated the construction – by the time the project is completed we’ll be in the final year. Same with Putney Rd – we set aside funds for the project that might come in the future.

    Tim – wanted to highlight that.

    Liz – it highlights the coordination with the capital plan.

    Ian – is the FY23 $373k for Retreat and Wilson Woods pump station… what is that?

    Dan – it is down beside the meadows. A sewer pump station picking up flows from cheer factory and send it to Putney Rd. Timely upgrades and maintenance.

    Gary – hi Dan – amongst the many projects, is the canal street on any of those timetables… the sidewalks, near where I’m at on Clark Street. I know we were waiting for stimulus funds… where is it. Second, I noticed a green line on Putney Rd for bikes and didn’t know what that was it.

    Elwell – Putney Rd – we asked VTrans to do some interim safety improvements. They’ll do a big project at some point with multiple roundabouts… we have major water and sewer work to do in prep for that. That project – the scale of it makes it go slow. It will be several years of construction. In the meantime, because it is a few years away, we asked Vtrans to install crosswalk lights at Town Crier Drive and Hannford (in the next month) with a decimated walk signal. The green bike lanes pop visually, and bike riders here want them. The green lanes are safer for bike riders. All at state expense. The sidewalk project is part of the general capital fund. Tonight is the Utilities fund, not sidewalks. We have some money and there could be more.

    Gary – I see.. I saw on iBrattleboro about the green line, and consolidated putting up a lot of wiring?

    Elwell – yes.

    Gary – so that will improve wi-fi?

    Elwell – it’s a private business for Consolidated. A project we’re not involved with.

    Liz – Ok, all set? Alright?

    James Anderson – thanks for explaining the needs. Can you explain an estimate of 180k for a dump truck. It’s nearly 25k under budget. Why? Also, how is the truck useful to the community?

    Dan – the estimate was based on previous purchases and bids were lower than the past. It’s a standard DPW dump truck – for plowing, hauling gravel, used daily around town for various different uses.

    Liz – questions asked and answered… a motion?

    FY22 Utilities Budget adopted as presented.

  • Proposed FY22 Parking Fund Budget – Continued Consideration and Possible Adoption

    Elwell – this one is…

    Jessica – I really want us to adjourn as Water & Sewer Commissioners…

    Elwell – part of the explanation is a thank you to a question she asked last meeting. There was a bit more lengthy and complex discussion of the parking fund budget because the parking fund that was significantly impacted by COVID. We need to be really clear about what has been unusual and how we plan to get out of it. We were asked about parking fines. We realized that we hadn’t answered it… we realized that contrary to the rest of the operations and impacts of COVID in FY20 – we came in under on revenues – in FY21 has been more normal but revenues still down. FY22 budget was hard to predict. Will it be a normal year or bumpy? So we projected some revenues lower than usual. This past year, fines assessed were pretty stable – just down a little. Our staff was still out enforcing. We suggest the $86k that was in there two weeks ago, it could be too low, and $105k will be a better number. We made that change and added it back in with no other changes. A slightly better bottom line and slightly less of a deficit in the fund. We anticipate using some ARPA money to restore the fund. Thanks for the question, and there was one other question – the potential of doing the entire deck ceiling in the transportation center, not just at the seams. We looked into it and found that when we didn’t;t have the funds to do the whole project and slimmed it down… the low bid for the joints is doing the work, but a different contractor had a low bid for the full job. A Catch-22. We’ll do the first piece, and we’ll talk about the broader need for work. No impact on the budget before you tonight. It will impact the fund balance and ARPA discussion.

    Liz – comments? It’s been thoroughly digested. Public comment? A motion?

    FY22 Parking Fund adopted as presented!

  • Proposed Ski Jumper Sculpture

    Liz – The Proposed Ski Jumper Sculpture. Peter?

    Elwell – I see we have reps from Harris Hill joining us. I’ll provide a summary. We were approached but the ski jump team with an offer of a sculpture. We’ve reviewed the matter, looked at alternative sites, discussed installation and traffic, and we’re ready for you to hear from them about this gift to the town, and whether you want it placed for public view. It is representative of 100 years of Harris Hill, and staff are recommending that if you accept it, you should designate a time each year in the winter for it to be on display.

    Patricia Howell – President of Harris Hill Association, and Mel martin, who is overseeing the technical aspects of the project if you approve. We’re excited about it. We were looking for one way of many to celebrate the 100 years of the ski jump and one friend saw a sculpture in Austria and we were taken by it – you can see in the photos how compelling it is. We want Brattleboro to celebrate this with us. So we’d like you to authorize us to install this sculpture in December. Happy to answer questions.

    Jessica – in a normal world, with an Arts Committee – this would go to them and they’d recommend this to us?

    Elwell – yes.

    Jessica – do you have an artist on the team?

    Mel – what we have come to realize is that we don’t need an artist to start from scratch. We’re taking this concept and creating our own version of it. We’re modeling our version after theirs, so the artistry is dramatically different. I can manage the creative side what our jumper will look like – similar but different – and then to get it constructed – a jumper and a frame. Not sure what will be there, but lots of engineering and mechanics and we don’t need an artist.

    Jessica – since it is based on another, have you reached out to the other artist?

    Mel – it is an Austrian company that doesn’t festivals and lighting things. Not an issue.

    Liz – they don’t mind you are copying their art?

    Mel – no. This wouldn’t be a copyright issue – like building buildings, rather than a specific copywriter design. It doesn’t fall in that realm.

    Liz – where will it be fabricated?

    Mel – in Brattleboro. The frame might have to come from Chicago. The frame might start in another location. The skier, if we do it as we want to, it may be made in central Massachusetts.

    Liz – there is a sandblasting and coating place in Brattleboro.

    Tim – Fantastic idea. ItT’s great and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the placement. Someone walking there won’t lose their line of site. It seems like a wonderful idea, and if it is lit up.

    Mel – it comes to life at night

    Patrica – 4 pm in December!

    Mel – the bottom of the skier will be 8 feet above the ground. We want to make sure anyone can walk under it and not reach up and hit it.

    Ian – thank you both. It’s great. I can see it in my mind already how beautiful it will be. I’m very familiar with that intersection – I walk it every day. The only thing is the time of year is heavy snowfall and that island gets hgh with snow, and if the sculpture collects snow – it’s hard to see down Putney Rd. It’s a great location and no problem with it, but want to make sure it is considered.

    Elwell – I also use the crosswalk frequently and we’ve had chronic problems with vegetation in summer. The shrubs can block views. Winter hasn’t been as much of an issue. If there is a lot fo snow, yes, but we don’t think the sculpture will add to the problem. Our first impression was that we were more concerned and misunderstood, and we looked at other sites. They were politely persistent. With more details, staff became satisfied that ti won’t be an impediment.

    Mel – the skier – it will be difficult for it to collect. A slight breeze would take the snow away. It should be no issue.

    Ian – that’s great. Looking forward to it on my walk home next year.

    Mel – in the images – the two created by committee members. It may look bigger than it will be but it looks in real life not as large as you see there. That’s the only nuance I’d mention. Bigger than life-size.

    Daniel – I noted the request was about the centennial anniversary and celebrating that, then a request this go up seasonly moving forward. It seems like we’re positive, but I’d like to invite a discussion about how long it stay up – just the centennial year and then see if it should stay up?

    Liz – that an interesting concept. I think it is great seasonal art we can rally around, and I’d like to see that if we approved this that Town staff would oversee the installation and the structural stability of the structure, and also we should revisit it at some point… if there is any glitch or unforeseen circumstance or a time period to try it for a year or 5 years then make sure everyone is still on board with it. It’s such a novel idea. There may be unforeseen thing we can’t foresee.

    Tim – if we don’t like it?

    Liz – if there is a hazardous condition or it seems too bright or any sort of nuisance factor like a zoning issue.

    Jessica – without a Town Arts Committee I’d like to have a temporary option.

    Liz – great. Can we settle on two years an re-assess?

    Daniel – one year is appropriate – let’s celebrate the centennial and see how it went. I just don’t want to agree to do it every winter… I say do it this special winter and come back to it. And the structural aspects is is also important.

    Jessica – my assumption is the ski jumping will own this structure and will be responsible for maintenance and insurance?

    Elwell – yes. This will be their responsibility. One nuance about structural integrity – I want to make sure the Town staff is not responsible for determine these things, but the Town has the right to approve how they place it.

    Patricia – not a problem. Our concern is if it is up for one year, if it could be stated that your intention to approve it for suture years. It is considerable money and effort, and if only one year I’m not sure we’ll do it. I’d hope the verbiage would say structural integrity or safety would be the only issues not to keep it up.

    Mel – it is LED lights, solar powered. The NECCA sign I designed and manufactured. My design goes to an engineer. Wind loads, thickness of steel. I’d probably do the same here. That person would give us specs to build the parts. We’re not just putting something up. It has to go through engineering.

    Tim – this is essentially a gift and we should accept the gift and ask Peter if we could remove it if there was a problem. To build in something that says we don’t have confidence in the project is petty, in my opinion.

    Elwell – you could do it later. If the board, you or another board, wanted to changed what was allowed in a right of way. This isn’t for all time no matter what. It’s a request for recurring permission to place a private object in a public place. As for appropriate degree of “for further notice” – there are other locations. We proposed other locations. A future board might want to move it somewhere else. The permission might change but not be revoked.

    Liz – my concerns are addressed. Daniel?

    Daniel – Yeah… I believe that a future board could make a change. I guess I wanted to give it a try and see how it goes. It celebrates the centennial – we don’t get many requests for private items in public spaces. We can’t accommodate all spaces. What we choose to put has a lot of meaning attached to it. I’m not even thinking of the five of us… if the community loves it, then great, but if we hear that some are less into it, I’d like to be able to revisit it. Full cards on the table.

    Liz – and we’d have that opportunity with what is proposed.

    Sculpture gift approved 5-0

  • Purchase of Replacement Sidewalk Tractor for Public Works Department

    Dan Tyler -So the sidewalk tractor – it is a 2011 for replacement as part of the capital plan. They get used heavily in winter then site all summer. We purchase them with a snow blower, sander, and plow. They have other implements for these machines. It’s a machine that will do anything. Not all are useful, but the asphalt co-planer attachment – it’s a 2 foot wide grinder to grind out asphalt. Used on Western Ave recently for some patches. We think this will be beneficial for longer lasting asphalt patches. It can also be sued for excavation projects in ditch lines. Very versatile and useful. We put out the bid to a regional dealer situation. Another trackless machine with an asphalt planer and one without but with snowblower, plow, and sander. The planer and gear box adds a big cost. $31.5k. They’ll give us some trade, too.

    $168k with planer. $139k without.

    Ian – is the life expectancy going to drop if used year round?

    Dan – we’d put more hours on it, but some benefit to using it in the summer. No real difference. The planer might be able to be used with the next purchase. The planer will outlast the machine.

    Jessica -how will this improve sidewalks? Will the number in good quality increase?

    Dan – we have two tractors for winters – plowing as we do now. In summer, the sidewalks wouldn’t really apply – mostly in the roads.

    Liz – I like more versatile equipment.

    Daniel – It’s great. It’s more versatile. Money well spent.

    Dan – it will improve pavement preservation efforts.

    Liz – and some other items in consent agenda were under budget.



  • Draft Procedure for Dependent Care Reimbursement for Selectboard Members

    will come after a short break… back at 8:05pm to wrap it up.

  • Draft Procedure for Dependent Care Reimbursement for Selectboard Members

    Break banter about sitting around, the good old days, not traveling for work, waiting two more minutes, Peter Elwell’s birthday (Happy birthday!)…

    Liz – we can reconvene the Elwell birthday edition of the Brattleboro Selectboard. Tell su about the draft procedure…

    Elwell – the context – RTM has considered compensation for selectors compensation, increasing the stipends and a component for reimbursement of dependent care expenses – maybe child care but also other dependents – an accessibility goal was a motivation for this. Making it easier to serve. The stipend action was specific. The dependent care was not. When we considered this, we agreed we’d come to you with a proposed procedure and we can figure out what shape to give it to move forward. It was clear to me that the three main items are sensible and simple for us to administer. It won’t always be the case for babysitting expenses – not always that you’ll have a receipt. If you create a log and you can use a form to submit and do it through accounts payable. It wouldn’t be burdensome. It’s an honor system, and you’d sign it. I ask that you approve that. Another layer isn’t as easy – and the board should be intentional about the extent of this benefit – the motion at RTM said there would be reimbursable dependent care – didn’t speak to an overall dollar amount, in contrast to the stipends, and didn’t speak to what constitutes an eligible expense. It should be given some consideration by the board. On those questions about boundaries, I’m seeking your direction. To know where you are on that question, and if you choose to impose a boundary I can help you with it. It’s amorphous to me, and for you to wrestle with.

    Liz – isn’t customary and usual the kind of words people use.

    Elwell – I don’t think that informs very well what would qualify. We can try it for a bit and then make these decisions. It should be a decision you make. Maybe… eligible up to X amount a year, or for selectboard meetings and other obligations of the board, or only selectboard scheduled functions.

    Daniel – I agree. That last definition meets what I think of, but would be curious to hear from those with those expenses.

    Tim – I have a rough proposal for this. I wasn’t in favor of the substantial stipend increase. No string feelings about this, but a proposal – I was thinking that we could hit three principles – easy to do, not too damaging to taxpayers, and honor the will and intent of RTM. It wouldn’t be with recipes, but to remove that requirement and paperwork. How about when you are hired and say you need the needs, and you want that care stipend, and make it a set amount regardless of kids or elders, and so for 2 meetings a month, 5 hours a meeting times $15 an hour. We pay $20 for childcare for our son. The math comes out to be $150 a month, or $1800 a year. I propose it is a yes or no, and this is the stipend you get. No max, doesn’t require a proof. Receipts makes decisions about … my wife is caring for my sone right now, but can we use this to go out tomorrow. Just an idea. Straightforward and simple and honoring the will of RTM.

    Liz – an interesting theory but I wonder whether it is needed at every meeting. I don’t know where to begin. You’d have to sign on to have it all the time or none of the time. What if I had a need for a very temporary assistance. I could see some people needing a babysitter all the time, but some might not. Logging in might be better than a set rate. I didn’t think it would be this complicated.

    Jessica – you are solving a problem of extra work.Peter?

    Elwell – it would be simpler and the log would be simple. The additional burden is the Town manager’s. If there is a question, the Town Manager should have the conversation with you. I’m comfortable either way. We’re creating something new with limited guidance.

    Ian – I defer to my fellow board members with dependent care needs. I’m probably least qualified to discuss this. Tim – it denies us an opportunity to collect data – to see how this gets used. It may be useful. Just a stipend doesn’t give us that opportunity.

    Tim – I can see that.

    Daniel – I’m imagining, Tim, is that we could predict the expense ear to year. Ian’s point about collecting data – just to see how it got used. We could see what it cost, then maybe we can budget for it. I also like the honor system in that I trust the honor of those who got elected. No one currently serving would abuse this system, and future candidates won’t run to abuse the stipend care. I don’t always submit my miles for driving around for work. people will submit what they need and will ask for what they need.

    Tim – when I started to think about this and the log where you say what you used. In my family, 5 years of depending on my wife to do the bath time and everything until we’re done. If she’s here, I don’t need to submit a log, or do I? It adds to stress of the family, which is the intent of the RTM decision. If we do a log or receipts. I’m not sure if I should or shouldn’t submit for expenses. I’m stuck in a personal…

    Jessica – I hear ya. The cost of babysitting and eldercare can vary wildly, especially at night. Maybe there is a hybrid we could do. Something that logs it, but set an hourly care rate, so we could ask for X many of hours and Y number of meals… and they get reimbursed.

    Daniel – I’m against it. maybe for babysitting there is a reasonable range. But if there is a temporary need for care, I wouldn’t want to limit the hourly rate… I think it would be interesting to be as free as possible with this. maybe it would be a way to pay for labor done at home.

    Liz – it is called women’s work. We could have a hybrid. Tim would suggest a reasonable and customary amount. That would be the norm, but the big system could be for unusual needs that could also be submitted and reimbursed, so it is kinda both. Normal care and temporary events as well. Maybe we think about it for the next meeting.

    Jessica – one more piece – to do this job well and to read the materials, that also takes time and energy and focus that takes away attention for care. In the calculation of ours, in Tim’s version, it needs more than just the meeting hours.

    Liz – that would be in our increased stipend. That’s what that is for.

    Tim – I think it gets into the weeds about dependent care and stipend and salary. Asa fiscally conservative board member the stipend needs to cover your needs, but if you get into the weeds, if it is childcare and go beyond the 10 hours per month, then you really do… there is a great difference of hours people spend, and a slippery slope of conversations with constituents, or studying your notebook. Hard to find a common ground.

    Kate O’Connor – I had no intention of talking about this. What concerns me a little is that the compensation was just increased a lot, so getting reimbursement for everything else isn’t the way to go. With Tim’s proposal, the VT legislature offers up to a certain amount in meals. You are supposed to get what you spend, but you can spend less and get the $63. I’d like it to be actual expenses. Something bothers me about having up to a certain limit and you don’t spend the full am t but get it.

    Gary Stroud – I can see what Tim and Jessica and Daniel were saying. I was a PTA president and early education provided daycare and meals. I was with Dedicated dads at Birge Street – life situations happen – surgery, visiting nurses… that’s a good idea. You can perform your duties best with that security in place. Maybe look at how much these types of care cost. It could guide your spending.

    Liz – yeas – this is not the slam dunk I thought it would be. I’d like to see if we want tov one now or wait two weeks and think about it.

    Gary – you know if you need that care. As for assignments at home – that’s part of your payment and duty.

    Jessica – it’s finding someone to take care of a child while we do work.

    Daniel -in the memo, given my choice, I’d say limit it to dependent care during meetings, and people will log what they need, and if the amount is wicked high and we re-evaluate. Let’s collect it in an expensive way.

    Ian – I want to back Quipp’s proposal. I really want to double down on being leaders in this area and we can provide data to other communities. Being more broad will be more beneficial for more people and will encourage other towns.

    Tim – Didn’t daniel say he was in favor of only during selectboard meetings

    Daniel – yes. Simpler.

    Liz – how about this monthly stipend idea?

    Ian – yes. The stipend covers our extra expenses. It should be something people can rely on. Let’s move forward with it.

    Tim – clarification – a cap idea or not?

    Liz – honor system until we have data.

    Tim – limited only to selectboard meeting hours, so there is rough cap.

    Liz – yes.

    Elwell – I didn’t understand to include the math.. we had meetings last year that were weekly and going past 11 pm. Under those circumstances it would all be reimbursable. If we meet less, it the amount goes down. Also, the tracking of reimbursement will be easy. That data, in a way that isn’t specific to an individual. The logs will be public records. We will report out the magnitude of this for this selectboard.

    Ian – Just wanted to build on that. I’m think of a general sense of whether it breaks the bank – not looking at individuals.

    Liz – is this being used? We’d like that data.

    Tim – making clear – there is no cap to our submissions. Is there a cap to hourly rate? No? I can’t support it.

    Daniel – you spoke yourself that your baby-sitter cost more than what you a lot for that service. Everyone has a different person or service. The purpose of this is to provide for a member of this board to focus entirely on the board. I’m not worried about this breaking the bank. Maybe we’ll have 5 board members with great dependent needs, but for this year, I’m not worried.

    Liz – and it can be revisited.

    Jessica – a can of worms – it came up earlier. What qualifies as something that can be reimbursed. Someone outside you family, or broader than that? Includes meals? P

    Daniel – it is an expense you need help with. If getting reimbursed is a need in your life, I trust you will report it and account for it as you may.

    Tim – but just selectboard meeting hours…

    Liz – RTM was talking about a single parent household but we can be broader than that. There is a value to second parent’s work. The narrow focus is selectboard meeting ours, but we interpret it broadly within.

    Elwell it would be helpful if you make 2 other motions – one, that the hours are limited to selectboard meetings, and second, that services provided by a member of the household will be at a rate you determine is fair… declare it so it can be very clear so when someone says 4 hours at $20… our fair application of the honor system – it would be helpful to be very clear that family members can be included at a reasonable rate.

    Liz – any other motions?

    Elwell – I’ll need a moment….

    Ian – I’d be interested in making this unanimous… Tim?

    Tim – wow. I don’t know. I’ll have to rescind my comment that I don’t care so much. I guess I keep going back to what’s a stipend and what’s a salary, and many disagree with me that you should give your time if you can. Regular selectboard members got a 140% increase. I’m not comfortable with a no cap situation.

    Liz – Peter explained the problem with a cap. Last year wasn’t a reasonable display of selectboard hours. WE had weekly meetings 5-7 hours long.

    Tim – that why it was either yes I need it, or no I don’t need it.

    Liz – I’d prefer the actual, the log…

    Tim – we still have to struggle with how much value it is. You do that every day if you co=parent. if you are a single parent it is a more trackable expense.

    Liz – why not we decide that the opportunity is available to you and you wrestle with it?

    Tim – but I don’t like that from the taxpayers perspective.

    Liz – you’ll log it and be held to it and we set parameters for you.

    Tim – Ian wants a unanimous vote.

    Ian – we need to hear you out. You won’t get us on a yearly cap. But an hourly cap? A rate per hour.

    Daniel – I think it is reasonable for Tim to have a dependent that needs care and not to like not having caps. One reasons meetings go so long is we search for unanimity. It’s for Tim to figure out, not us.

    Jessica – what if we set a rate for regular care… and you can log regular dependent care in that range, and if you need special care…

    Daniel – everyone knows what they need. I don’t want to impose any limits. Maybe the greatest selectboard member is out there with unusual dependent care needs… mo limits.

    Jessica – the vagueness makes it hard to claim a value? Tim?

    Liz – how about selectboard meetings only, put a suggested rate of $20/hr for babysitting, allow for exceptions, and have it monthly, and call it a day?

    Elwell – I’m sorry. Setting parameters around pay per hour and an asterix with special circumstances… it changes my oversight of the logs. If it is more… show me what you incurred…. then my double check takes moments. IT lines up with work we did. If it gets more complex it gets busy quickly. Just don’t make administering this more difficult. I think there is consensus for selectboard meetings only, but less sure of the what can be reimbursed. I think there is a majority for those, but not unanimous in mind. If you add those motions and adopt what I propose, we can give it a try and see what happens for next budget year.

    Tim – would you permit a hail mary – how bout RTM should define this in 10 months.

    Liz – I don’t like that. No no no. We have to do this.

    Tim – we don’t know what they want.

    Liz – we know what they want and have motions….

    Agrees to dependent care for selectboard meetings only. 4-1 (Tim votes no)
    Agrees to have stipend and reimbursement paid monthly. 5-0

    Elwell’s bonus motion:

    Agree to allow reimbursement logs entries that reflect a dollar value for dependent care services provided by members of your household.

    Jessica – does it need to be a motion?

    Elwell – yes…

    Liz – our intention needs to be clear.

    4-1 (Tim votes no).

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