Selectboard Meeting Notes – FY23 Budget Approval & Zoom RTM

selectboard jan 25 2022

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved an FY23 budget to send to Representative Town Meeting. They also warned that meeting, so representatives will get to vote on the budget and other items.

There was a bit of discussion about the value of holding Representative Town Meeting once again by Zoom, but the option to do it that way was approved unanimously.


Comments | 3

  • Preliminaries

    Chair Elizabeth McLoughlin – I’d like to note that the sidewalks are much improved and thank the DPW.

    Yoshi Manale – we have an update on the paper company

    Patrick Moreland – some of the complications at Long Falls paper… there are entities in debt. I want to clarify that they have paid all back taxes and th Town has been made whole by that.

    Liz – this evenings’s work is the culmination of many weeks of work. Thanks.

    Ian Good now – the big redistricting that has been in the news is still in process and the Town Clerk will present to the legislature on Thursday. It’s still a fluid situation but the board of Civil Authority will continue to meet and advocate for Hilary’s plan. Not the one the committee chose.

    Tim Wessel – less disruptive to the district.

    Kurt Daims – hello everyone. I’d like to comment. I’m a bit scared that no one else is making public comment. BCS is working hard to get people active but they are depressed due to COVID or something else. There should be more people here talking with you. I’d hop the selectboard would put on the RTM agenda the rental and eviction control legislation that I, BCS, submitted last January over a year ago. You haven’t found the time, maybe RTM could discuss it.

    Liz – we said all that action would occur after the housing report and we just received it. It will probably happen after RTM.

  • Approve Selectboard’s Recommended FY23 General Fund Budget for Consideration and Action at Representative Town Meeting

    Liz – does this need an introduction.

    Patrick Moreland – this was many months of staff work and work with the board and public. The budget before you has FY23 budget is $20,063,642, a historically low increase. Each change the board has requested has been incorporated, including police revenue, change to Rec and Parks, use of fund balance at $300k, the full Human Services recommendation, and the transfer to capital was increased.

    Tim – I think this is a good budget. We did a good job balancing things. It is historically low, I was hoping for lower. We’re going into a recovery for most families and people who are paying taxes are feeling the sting of inflation. One caveat – I still am on the fence about adding two positions. The evidence tech is needed. HR made a good case. But I remind the board it is rare we remove positions – but we are taking care of our employees. Great effort and we did a good job.

    Liz – I fully support the HR [personnel.

    Ian – I thank the town staff for the work they did and the work the board did – due diligence. I appreciate Tim bringing up the yearly expense of new positions. There was sufficient discussion and need for them in the budget.

    Daniel Quipp – It is important for the public to note that this is a collaboration between staff, town manager, selectboard, the public. The vast majority is really lean, and many benefit increases were from collective bargaining agreements. People of Brattleboro get a good deal and will get increased services from it.

    approved 5-0!

  • Approve Town Meeting Warnings

    Patrick – there are two warning included. One is a virtual meeting on zoom and the other is in-person. We expect you to choose one and we’ll warn that for RTM in March. About the same as last week. WE fixed the numbering. If there are any questions I can field them, or Attny Fisher.

    Liz – anyone feels that RTM warning on zoom would not be appropriate.

    Daniel – not desirable but good for the health of our community. Twice. Thanks Patrick.

    Liz – he addresses every issue that comes up.

    Jessica Gelter – it’s a process question. A newbie. These are pretty standard and clear things that need to happen, and some have to do with the own. Does RTM have any say in the wording of these, or is it just town staff?

    Liz – The steering committee helped with some things and Attny Fisher has helped.

    Jessica – one reason I ask is because of the article about appointing steering committee members, number 13. I heard some feedback from some if there was any other way to choose people.

    Liz (and others) – that’s what they requested. They also have a statement about issues that have come up.

    Tim – lots of the language is statutory and is the way it has to be phrased. Some of them allow for a maximum amount of discussion within it.

    Daniel – these aren’t the motions. Motions can be a bit different.

    Tim – don’t we discuss the motions, and assign them in a few weeks? I wanted to point out that along with the allowances that the pandemic has given us by the state – Town Meetings can be moved. When it comes to Brattleboro, it was tricky. was there any consideration of attempting to move? A reason we didn’t discuss?

    Patrick – in 2020 we didn’t have an RTM until September, so that has been available to towns, but it wasn’t permitted in 2021, but is permitted now. Dover took advantage of that. We have not brought that as an option, but we could hear from Bob. WE just have the unperson and by zoom motions.

    Liz – a delay might mean better pandemic numbers?

    Tim – it may, but I wouldn’t gamble all we had to accomplish. It was a cluster…

    Patrick – the board approved the budget.

    Tim – it occurred to me too late in the process. We should at least mention it, that some towns are choosing it. It would be a problem for Brattleboro.

    Daniel – Exactly right. Towns that have in person meetings, everyone is invited. Here we know exactly who will be participating and we can do it on zoom. It serves its function. No need to postpone it. The we can move forward with governing the town.

    Liz – not optimal but can be successful

    Ian – does Brattleboro have its own legislation to postpone?

    Tim – I read it quickly today – that act had no exception for Brattleboro, but if there is another I don’t know. S-79? To allow towns to move? But that’s for normal town meetings.

    Liz – the legislature allowed us to be on zoom.

    Gary Stroud – good evening. The question I’m asking. There were three options – a hybrid meeting somewhere out in the open, out in memorial park. Was that a third option, or was it the two options.

    Liz – the very first time all those options were studied and it wa determined that because it is RTM and a set of participants, it lends itself to being on zoom as a superior method.

    Gary – Oh, I didn’t know if we looked into he Latchis…

    Liz – We did, but the zoom method was the best method.

    Gary – and we didn’t have Omicron.

    Liz – I appreciate your concern and staff, Patrick, has studied these for years and this works best.

    Gary – hopefully it will be different next year. See you there.

    Annual Town Meeting Election on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 and Annual Representative Town Meeting on Saturday, March 19, 2022 (+ March 20, if necessary) – by remote meetings! Approved! 5-0

    Liz – it passes unanimously. Seeing no other business…


Leave a Reply