Selectboard Meeting Notes – Much Nothing About Ado

selectboard july 5, 2022

It was a really long Brattleboro Selectboard meeting with not much getting done! They heard about downtown safety issues, but took no action. They approved a mural design they couldn’t see. There will be more places to buy liquor. The preferred bridge design was selected. And then it was 10:30 pm with discussions of a woman right to choose and EMT issues, among other things, still awaiting ample discussion. They ended up postponing much of the agenda to a future meeting.

Comments | 15

  • Preliminaries

    Chair Ian Goodnow – Good evening. We convene for an exec session and also did committee interviews. Some minutes not yet ready for approval. So, we have a doozy of an agenda. I’d like to thank people for the July 4th celebration and parade… Brattleboro Goes Fourth and Kevin O’Connor and all volunteers. Thanks to the Police and the Fire Dept and DPW and Parks & Rec. Very successful. First parade for me as a member of the Selectboard. And finally, thanks to the public for coming out.

    Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland – one simple remark. As many know, the FD took a greater responsibility for ambulance service. Chief Howard talk to us about how it is going…

    Chief Howard – as of 12 pm today we did 31 EMS calls. Our avg time is 3:15. Max time was 10 minutes. max calls per day is 9, minimum was 4, and avg is 7.25. Most were under 30 minutes. 8 emergencies within 45 minutes of each other. 2-3 calls in the same time period. 7 were within 30 minutes. Haven’t used 3rd ambulance or mutual aid yet. Transported 22 people. 9 not transported. It’s going very well. Staff have stepped up their game and done phenomenal. Golden Cross has come in and things meshed. We will have bumps in the road. We evaluate everything everyday. Very happy with how this has started out.

    Goodnow – very proud and grateful, and for the report. It helps us and the public hear how it is going. I look forward to hearing more. Really very grateful.

    Liz – Carol Lolatte helped with fireworks and parade and day of activities. It was great. Kept running into Jess. Nice to see people after COVID.

    Tim – wonderful weekend. Went very well. Great family experience for my family.

    Public Participation

    Dick Degray – one quick question and a comment – after Gallery Walk, was trash picked up downtown? It was mess Sat, Sun and Mon – the containers were overflowing. Fix it for next month.

    Ian – we’ll look into it. I agree there was a lot of trash.

    Dick – an update note – I want to thank the fire chief, and other, for their help with my flowers. They do a big assist. Fire hydrants are being painted. I’m big on aesthetics. The FD hangs up flower pots for me. The Rec Dept helps me with things. Very helpful for me.

    Kurt Daims – (with a freshly shaved head…) (no audio)

    Dale Joy – I was born here. I want to apologize to Chief Howard for how I was the last time I was here and thank him for taking on such a high responsibility as Rescue, which is way beyond what most people can understand. I was in a city with a huge FD and when they did this it was incredible. I have to thank Lenny for being such a brave person to do all that. I want to thank our library – thy helped me with research.

    Ben Atkinson – my hair was cut, too. Later we’ll talk about a mural on High Street. You should say yes. Every singe day hermit thrush watches people coming from town. People are not from here. They like the flowers by our building by Alexa. There’s dog waste. The wall looks really awful. Sometimes it is regular awful, and sometimes there is frightening things to see (Nazis)… it would be nice to have something pretty on that wall. It would be inviting. It would be welcomed. Have a good day.

    (board didn’t stop him from speaking on an agenda issue…)

    Ian – want to warn others about not speaking to agenda items yet. We’ll consider your comments later.

    Kurt Daims – I’ll be quick. If the board would care to check with people in the room and many are interested in the abortion issue, maybe it could be considered earlier. That’s all.

    Ian – I appreciate the thought, and hope there is conversation, but there are lots of items that will warrant discussion and agenda and we can’t move things on the agenda because it was warned this way, and it is only item C of new business.

  • Consent Agenda

    Ian asks Moreland to talk about the one issue, negating the reason for the consent agenda.

    Propane – Approve Bid

    They approve it after an explanation.

    4-0 (No Daniel Quipp tonight)

  • Liquor Commissioners

    Hazel – First and Third Class Liquor License

    Moreland – New owners – Shelby and Paul are here. Everything is order.

    Ian – Hazel is beloved restaurant…

    Shelby Brimmer – if you have questions. It’s been successful and survived the pandemic, so I bought it when it was up for sale. Looking for a new adventure. Great place and a staple downtown.

    Tim – my son grew up at Kiplings and Hazel – when will dining room be open.

    Shelby – depends on the liquor license and health dept. Soon as possible. Time for people to come back into spaces that are dear to their hearts.

    Liz – It’s important for you to open on that area of Elliot St. for us (the town).

    4-0 approved.

    Bar 580 – First and Third Class Liquor License, Outside Consumption Permit and Entertainment License

    Moreland – in the backup materials, we had the wrong location. It’s at 580 Canal Street. Staff reviewed it and all is in order. One thing, the property is going through the DRB process, so it will be conditional if you approve the outside consumption, epending the DRB decision in 30 days or so.

    Derek – can’t let Hazel have all the fun. I love that space, 4 restaurant spaces there at the Outlet Center. I’ve worked in bars and did beer distribution in VT.

    Ian – thanks for the location change info.

    Jess – the DRB process – what it this zoned for and why not permitted?

    Moreland – I don’t know. Probably a commercial district.

    Sue Fillion – it is in the neighborhood center zoning district. There can be restaurants, but this is more of a bar so it is a conditional use. It’s enough of a change for DRB review.

    Liz – are there residents surrounding this use?

    Sue – yes, behind it. I’d need to pull a map. Some nearby in the Generous St area. Abutted by the school and highway.

    Jess – is there anything unique about this business, or entertainment?

    Derek – I do maple syrup now, so we’ll have a Maple Lab with food and drinks. The restaurant space would be American bar food, and interesting sausages – rattlesnake and rabbit. The food will be… there’s a large outdoor patio space.

    approved 4-0

  • Water & Sewer Commissioners

    WWTP Vehicle 101 – Authorize Purchase of Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

    Moreland – one way we procure vehicles is the in-state system of bidding. The vehicle we wanted – we got a call today from the vendor saying it wasn’t available. We’ll regroup and think about replacing it with something else.

    Authorize Allocation – Commonwealth Dairy

    There are two items closely related – this one. An allocation of water and sewer, but later on there is also an ordinance change to the water and sewer regulations. They are related. In the ordinance, it is not clear when the Utilty super can approve allocations, and when the selectboard approves allocations. We’ll change that to make it more clear so the board handles industrial applications, like this one. Commonwealth has a permit for 100k gallons and now would like 185k. We support that with some qualifications. Industrial waste is different – needs more oxygen to break down. If we discharge industrial waste directly into the CT River, it would deplete the oxygen and it would kill plants and animals. The Town has a permit from the state that regulates what we put out. We’re the last in a chain of the process, so it is important for us to monitor who discharges into our system, so the second part will be to provide penalties for industrial discharges that exceed the permitted strength. If Commonwealth exceeds the limit, we’d like to impose a penalty to help keep things in line. That will be discussed later.

    Dan Tyler – they have a permit for 100k gallons per day. They can have 800 pounds of BOD. They want 185k gallons but will stay at 800 lbs of BOD. They’ll take care of the difference at their end. This is a reduction from what we previously approved (250k). We can accept this amount of waste.

    Liz – have there been exceedances of the BOD at Commonwealth…

    Dan – there was a time with multiple exceedances. They’ve increased their training and were acquired by another company that is being pro-active. Last year has been an improvement. Working with them.

    Jess – the 2017 allocation expired?

    Dan – the ordinance has a 3 year life for unused allocations.

    Jess – when BOD is exceeded, does that fall to the Town of Brattleboro to make it up, or do we violate things?

    Dan – we haven’t violated our permit. It costs more, procedures are different, odor problems… some adverse effects.

    Tim – the pretreatment on their site… is it similar to our treatment, and do they truck solids out?

    Dan – it’s a scaled down version – they’ll have a biological treatment. There will be sludge shipped offsite.

    Liz – when they exceed, it costs more for the Town. Will the penalties reimburse the Town fully?

    Dan – hard to nail down. We feel it will. Depends on the discharge, but that’s the goal.

    ian – the increase flow… are there aother things going to increase?

    Dan – we’ll implement a monthly average – 650lb monthly avg and 800lb daily limit.

    Marianne – who measure it?

    Dan – an independent lab.

    Gary Stroud – what kind of solvent to break it down? Organic? Biodegradable?

    Dan – can’t speak to their process. There are additives to the waste to help break it up. It’s accepted for wastewater.

    Jess – will the extra water allocation help increase production or workforce?

    Sam from Commonwealth – yes, this expansion will allow us to expand production. It’s a big addition to what we’re doing – we want to keep proceeding more dairy and make it easier to process waste.

    approved 4-0

  • Ordinance Amendment Chapter 8 – Second Reading and Possible Adoption -- Fire Safety Inspections and Rental Housing

    Moreland – you will have a second reading and potential adopt the Health and Inspection of Rental Housing penalties and fines. You did a first reading two weeks ago. The purpose is to provide a list of fines that the FD can assess when inspecting rental properties.

    Ian – we had a busy discussion at the first reading. Any questions?

    Liz – a basic question – what do you mean by subsequent fine? Can this go on and on?

    Asst Chief Kier – yes, if not paid we’ll do a health order to bring to you. It could go on and on…

    Jess – if fines go unpaid, what is the process for addressing the unpaid fines, similar to a parking ticket or taxes?

    Moreland – I wish it was like unpaid taxes because we could collect better. Parking fines are more difficult. Rental inspection fines and fees could use improvement. The new finance director want to develop a more regular system for all fines, across all departments. We’ll also try to make the paying of fines more convenient… letting people swipe cards at the scene. Fees will beefier to pay, too.

    Tim – I missed last meeting but heard the discussion. Landlords have responsibilities and I support this.

    Jess – is this part of the APTriton study? It’s part of the workload that needs to be evaluated.

    Moreland – absolutely – they will know of everything the dept does.

    AC Kier – you allowed for a part time inspector – he does the majority of them. Me and a few others, too. He’s not fire or EMS response. It should have little or no effect. Making progress on collections.

    Jackie – I’m a landlord – this will increase the pressure to do repairs that need to be done. If you find something, like lead paint. You fine them. Can the fines keep increasing or can you make them correct the dangers?

    Ian – my understanding is that it was spoken to earlier.

    Kier – we try for voluntary compliance. 1% don’t comply. The fines address major items of life safety issues.

    Jackie – I live across from a house that has had a tarp for years. Tenants are living with leaky roof. I’m concerned that there should be another step to enforcing compliance with major problems.

    Kier – this is s step in that direction. No longer voluntary compliance. Should be quicker solutions to the problems.

    Tim – I recall health orders… you mentioned some that is process. Has this helped.

    Kier – one is being resolved, on will be coming to you soon.

    Jess – this is a good stick, and the Town has some carrots for people who may need loans or grants. There are things on both sides to support rentals. Not just a stick.

    approved 4-0

    (never open or closed a public hearing , though..)

  • Melrose Bridge Replacement – Select Bridge Option

    Moreland – so, as you may recall, on Sept 21, Trans came to the meeting and made a presentation about replacing the Melrose bridge. It’s at a critical juncture between Brattleboro and West B. Trans gave us a few options – repair, replace, and types of bridges. At the time they recommend option 4b – full bridge replacement with a temporary bridge during construction. You didn’t officially recommend item but staff endorses it. If we did a detour, we’d have 60 days of the bridge closed, and 6 months of alternating traffic. It would slow EMS to West Brattleboro, so we like the temporary bridge. It costs more, but it is the best option. Sue can talk about it.

    Ian – let’s hear the presentation again…

    Sue – (runs through all the options again) I’ll share my screen. It’s bridge 54 on RT 9 heading West past Melrose St. Existing bridge is from 1914, cast in place arch bridge with a narrow sidewalk on one side. It’s skewed to the Whetstone Brook. It catches debris and causes damage. There’s some cracking and deterioration. The state did a scoping study to look at alternatives. Had design criteria – 17k vehicles a day, some heavy trucks, 30 mph, and lots of utilities crossing the bridge. Came up with alternatives – no action, rehabbing current bridge, rehab and widen, or new bridge and new arch – 100 year design life, or new bridge without arch – 100 year design life. The state suggested 4b – full bridge, conventional 5-6 sidewalks on both sides and 11 foot travel lanes. Some right of way acquisition required. If you want that one, then decide if you want detour or temporary bridge for 60 days. Cars would be detoured Orchard to Meadowbrook. Trucks would use RT 100 to 30. A temporary bridge would be to the south of the existing bridge. Angles could be adjusted to keep lights out of house windows, or landscaping. Alternative 4b – new steel bridge. The local share of this would be $515k and would take about 18 months. There is a state law that requires a local share for bridges. If it is a bridge rehab it is less. Detour is cheaper. Our option is the most expensive. Two efforts to reduce the local share have failed, so… we are where we are.

    Ian – thanks, and for explaining why we had the delay – to reduce the town share. That came up in September. Unfortunate it didn’t work out but explains the timeline.

    Moreland – Mollie Burke worked really hard to try to change this. Our efforts failed. If you choose this, the cost would be $515k, and we’d need to work it into the budget for next year.

    Jess – so disappointing that the state would go this way on this decision, especially for infrastructure replacement. That they would prioritize rehab over replacement? Just want to voice that, and ask questions. The contribution will come out of next year budget. FY24?

    Moreland – FY24.

    Jess – does this fit into our long term capital plan? (No, outside of it…)

    Jess – the width of the shoulder. It says 10 feet. Why the shoulder is so wide? Bike plans? Also, if that wide should increases people’s speed over the bridge?

    Sue – Trying to recall – it’s a standard for bridges now, for future maintenance. I think. They were willing to put a sidewalk on one side only. That could narrow it. All of our plans call for sidewalks on both sides. WE support sidewalks on both sides. As for the speed, there is some concern that we can share with the state. It will neck down as traveling east. It will taper back to the regular roadway. They won’t strip bike lanes, but bikes can use that lane.

    Jess – the options for replacement with new arch vs steel bridge. The new arch cost more. What’s the difference? Aesthetic or something else.

    Sue – Aesthetics. Type of construction.

    Tim – the new arch choice… only 40k more. Was the staff recommendation simply based on the 40k or something else?

    Sue – I can’t remember. We were focused on the temporary bridge. Back i the fall e ent with the state recommendation…

    Tim – not sure you’d see the arch, but they are far nicer. We’re spending a lot, should we spend slightly more

    Jess – to get a pretty one.

    Liz – would this be eligible for federal infrastructure funding? (no) It’s a link for NY and NH, so a shame the state wouldn’t help. I did a site visit and there was concern that Vtrans needed to mitigate issues to property owners. Is that all ok?

    Sue – not sure it has been worked out yet. VTrans waiting for your decision before working out final details with engineers.

    Liz – other opportunities for us to voice concerns about adjacent property owners?

    Sue – typically they share plans with each design phase. yes.

    Liz – how does this fit in with the rest of the highway work? Rt 9 is being rebuilt further west.

    Sue – west of here is this summer and next summer. This bridge would be in 2025. Not sure about Exit 2 to this bridge.

    Abutters Aaron Smith – on the SE corner. Impacted as much as anybody. I like the replacement bridge. The width of the breakdown lanes is state mandated. It may be up to debate. I have issues with a 10 foot breakdown lane. I’m concerned about the speed. I’m also concerned about the sidewalk, and I’ll lose 10 feet and be 3 feet from the sidewalk. I don’t think we need a 10 foot breakdown lane. It’s no where else, why do it there? I think a 5 ft sidewalk is excessive. Others are about 3 feet.

    Ian – there was little communication between you and VTrans… can you speak to their interaction?

    Aaron – since the site visit I’ve heard nothing. We’re discussing a temporary bridge going through my yard. I’ll be inconvenienced, but more concerned about permanent changes to my property. You are adding 26 feet of width. They’ll take 8-10 feet of my sideboard and will neck down by my driveway. And if they do the bridge that way, they might do the road that wide next. It could drop the value of my house.

    Liz- we recommended that VTrans provide a noise barrier and temporary screening. My concern is we’re voting on something we’d approve that hasn’t been resolved. We’d give assent to something we’re not comfy with. They haven’t fulfilled their end before we’re voting.

    Tim – what about a contingency?

    Moreland – I won’t pretend about VTrans and town negotiations. Once the Town makes a decision, they’ll know what kind of right of way. We met with VTrans and property owners. VTRans is waiting to hear which one, then they will negotiate with the property owners and would evaluate and assess the inconvenience, put a dollar figure to it, and the owner could accept that or not. The Town could either facilitate accepting the offer, or we would take the property.

    Bob Fisher – if no agreement, it goes to a taking process. Town does taking for the state, like the Hinsdale bridge.

    Liz – Mr. Smith has a more basic question- which alternative to select, and we don’t have answers and that troubles me.

    Gary LaRoche of VTRans – some clarification – shoulder width, etc. There is some flexibility with shoulder width – we could go to 8 feet down from 10. Not zero, but… some flexibility. Regarding arch vs steel beam bridge, a conventional structure would provide the most robust hydrologic opening. Regarding property owner and temp bridge… we’ve taken all the concerns of property owners and try to answer questions. Can;’t proceed until Town decides on an alternative. After that, we can authorize the consultant to proceed with design and bring in property owner concerns about construction and afterward. Each design phase will give you new plans to review and comment on. Happy to field questions and concerns. That’s most everything. The temp bridge and screening, last fall we discussed the orientation of the temporary bridge to skew headlights away from windows, and some screening to prohibit light. generally, screening is placed on jersey barriers on edge of road… green sticks on concrete barriers. Usually helps with light and sound. Can do other things, too. Can come up with some solutions.

    Ian – thanks. What about the siding of the road in front of his property to incorporate the new breakdown lane. can you speak to that? Any policy about bridges?

    Gary – state standards determine widths. Bridges are replaced less frequently that roads. Bridges are widened to what roads will be in the future. Definitely a valid concern of the property owner. Sidewalks could be reduced…

    Aaron – can the town negotiate the width of the breakdown lane or sidewalk?

    Gary – VTrans has to operate with Fed Highways for federal funding. There are state standards for widths. 8 ft width for shoulder. We could reduce it to 8 feet, but narrower than one currently exists would not be possible.

    Aaron – where are we measuring – the lane is much narrower than 8 feet. It depends where you measure.

    Gary – the corridor as a whole, not just at the bridge location.

    Aaron – from main St to Wilmington?

    Gary _ I don’t have my map.

    Tim – we’ve always found VTRans to be reasonable. We have things to work out. Is it typical that in this situation. If a property owner is impacted… is it typical to compensate them?

    Gary – yes… it’s a matter of when. We proceed through preliminary design and plans, we incorporate your concerns, I’d meet with property owners and go over impacts, and then the Town receives preliminary plans for comments, then we do the NEPA process and offers are made to acquire the property needed. VTrans can’t offer anything less than fair and just compensation. It could be a waiver analysis to determine a value or an appraisal it is above $20k. Then we’d proceed through negotiations. If unsuccessful, the Town would take it. That’s last resort. We really try to work with owners to accommodate them.

    Tim – this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation – we need to decide. I can see they need something from us.

    Ian – we have questions but we have to provide some direction. Could we work this out after we make the decision?

    Gary – yes, especially when it comes to the type of bridge.

    Ian – seems like something we do need to do. I feel comfortable now that we can hammer out the details later on with abutters.

    Jess – once we endorse one of these options, if there is something that feels untenable, can we change our minds? Are we stuck with what endorse tonight?

    Liz – Gary outlined that. We need to provide an option, then each step with have review and comment.

    Gary – as long as the alternative doesn’t change from a steel bridge to an arch, or to another. If the town wants to change the option, we’d have to take a step back and amend the finance and maintenance agreement with the town. The ramification is the Town would be responsible for the costs incurred.

    Jess – how much weight… we can ask questions and make comments – what weight do those comments carry. Sometimes they can be completely ignored, and sometimes they get worked in.

    Gary – I’ll do all I can to incorporate concerns. happy to come make presentations about the site as things go up… type of bridge rail or retaining wall, concrete or granite curb, or paved bridge deck or bare bridge deck? All about what the town wants.

    Liz – I want to attest to the aesthetic concerns being listen to for the I-91 bridge. I do appreciate Jess’ question. Was I-91 a special case?

    Gary – I’m not familiar with that project.

    Mollie Burke – This project took lots of my thought process… sorry couldn’t get the share down to 5%. The problem was the bridge is on a highway, and there was federal funding for off-highway bridges. very frustrating. Vtrans wouldn’t change the formula. I’ll keep looking for money if I’m re-elected.

    Ian – Smiths… any other questions right now? It’s a difficult situation. I appreciate it

    John Bommer –

    Ian – a five minute break!

  • and they haven't even started New Business...

    Ian – okay, we’ll reconvene. I gave you an extra two minutes. No Bommer…. maybe he can call in?

    Liz – I like the recommend alternative. It is so necessary. I’m feeling more comfortable that a resolution can be found for abutters and Brattleboro.

    Tim – I was concerned about the arch, and B gives more flood resiliency.

    Jess – Also in support of it. There are less expensive ways to do it, but it is the best for future generations to give them the best possible bridge for the longest possible times.

    Ian – I echo the thoughts. We’ll continue to address concerns, and make our decision.

    Liz – the temporary bridge is necessary and detours are out of the question.

    4-0 for 4B

  • New Business (8:30 pm) - Downtown Safety Discussion

    Ian – the first new business is Downtown safety discussion. So, Tim Wessel asked this be put on the agenda for the board to discuss and for the public to speak on downtown safety. In the previous meeting Moreland spoke to two items that have been floating around – cameras, and cameras, and also a substation for police at the Transportation center. Staff are looking into those and will come back with recommendations. Town needs some time for that. Happy to have this on the agenda to allow for more fruitful discussion, so…Tim…

    Tim – so, a bit of peeling back the process. Thanks for putting this on the agenda. I think what happens… there is an ongoing long discussion… this is about downtown and neighborhoods… everywhere in Brattleboro and surrounding communities. I was becoming increasingly concerned that when it isn’t on the agenda it looks like we don’t want to talk about it. We need the dialogue. I want to start the conversation – what are people’s concerns. Then we can talk more robustly later on. We don’t have a lot to present tonight, but any comments can start to shape priorities and directions. I don’t want to say much. There is a lot of concern about a perceived uptick in petty theft, small crime, vandalism… I think there’s a lot of causes. We’re feeling pandemic residual effects. Uptick in issues with drugs. Petty crime can be connected.. people trying to get a buck for people who need to get help. They are making bad choices. There is personal responsibility, but also a role we have to play… why is this happening and how do we compare to other communities? We’ve heard of the destruction of flowers beloved by all of us. Important on a lot of levels. There is public but isolated communities dealing with varying effects of crime. I’m from NJ – a broken in car is smash and grab… around here it is people trying door handles. It happened to us more than once. There is a range of incidents, and nothing wrong with us taking it up. I might have some questions. How do you want to follow?

    Ian – other board members? Question for the Chief? Hear from community members.

    Tim – I see people who may want to speak again. Questions for the Chief – thanks for coming by. I thought it would be helpful to hear – why can’t we get more officers on foot patrol. People think that would help. We had conversations about it. Give us an update?

    Chief Hardy – That has come up about foot patrol. I’d love to have more of foot patrol. We can’t dedicate current staff to it. My dept handles 900 calls a month with limited staff. My officers are running 80-120 calls a month per officer. That being said… to have someone to leave their car and walk around and get back to their vehicle if someone needs help. We need to prioritize. Officers need to be able to move quickly.

    Jess – every month I read your reports and in the reports are line by line every call, and it breaks my heart how many incidents involve physical danger – harm to humans. I appreciate your prioritization. property security vs the real need to address human physical safety.

    Hardy – I’ve spoken with others on this. That’s a major thing. We’re seeing a lot of calls are for people harming others or themselves. People are coming back out from being alone. people have lost family members. We get those calls often. Brattleboro officers live here and are part of the community. Sometimes people ask for specific officers to respond to them. Happened quite often here.

    Liz – I did a ride along two weeks ago and it was illuminating. You see the priority of crimes. crimes against children, vulnerable populations… then you understand the narrow amount of police officers we have to respond, and you see the kind of… opioid problems. I also found officers who are really committed to the community and know all the characters and put us selectboard members to shame fro who we know and what we know – they do know and treat residents as individuals and allows them to really be responsible to all the people of Brattleboro and a deep commitment to the people of Brattleboro and the Constitution and I was very impressed by their dedication and understood their scheduling and lack of vacations and so I’d encourage us all to understand that our issues with crime are being addressed as bet they can and we need to support our police department. They are doing a good job and real movement on getting new officers to town.

    Jess – how long to bring a new officer on board?

    Hardy – way to long -once you find someone, to get into the academy is twice a year, then it takes 20 weeks, then they have to do field training and pass all of that for 12 weeks. It can take up to a year to have someone ready to go on patrol. They do have smaller classes 3x a year so we try to put them in a PT class and strat training with us early, and we can see if they are a good candidate before we invest too much, and it keeps the candidate involved.

    Ian – can you speak the level of crime in downtown currently compared to previous trends. I’ve reflected on there are many factors at the moment – pandemic waning, and almost normal summer… or is it too hard?

    Hardy – I’ve met with Degray and the club exec director, I walk the Transportation Center. I did some research. I wanted to see how the numbers faired for 2022. I went to a few years. There aren’t set patterns. Burglaries – in business – in 2016 we had 14 reported and 48 residential. In 2017 – 34 business and 49 residential. … the numbers stay close… in 2021 we only have 8 business burglaries, and only 5 residential reports. In 2022 – 22 business and 8 residential. With 21 and 22 residential, my sense is that the pandemic and people stayed home more and worked from home more, so there you have people at home. that was a factor in less residential burglaries. Usually they happen when people are away on vacation or away from home, crimes of opportunity. End of 20, 21, and into this year… that’s the factor. In ’22 we have more business break-ins, I’m seeing an influx of people that aren’t from Brattleboro. We had a robbery at a gas station. We caught the individual… came for other services, stayed in Brattleboro, and now here with no home, no job, and an addiction. He robbed a place. I don’t mind speaking at these forums. In Brattleboro, residents are not aware of everything that goes on. Only when something big happens. These things we see every day. I also thin the drop in residential problems this year. I’ve been here a year and I meet with community members. I have about 5 active community groups that want to have their own neighborhood watch. You don’t need to walk with flashlights and radios… not the old days. There are new electronic ways – BPD is on Ring Neighborhood – any safety cam can be connected and upload video to the police dept. We have direct lins for our detectives. And a report line for anonymous tips. Hopefully these numbers diminish more. As for downtown and cameras – I believe we should have them, but cameras aren’t the answer to saving downtown. Cameras are good, but they have to work with other deterrents.

    Ian – the data is important for us to consider. We appreciate that the town is aware of the problem and taking steps, but we can implement other things in the future. If there are other policy considerations for Moreland, this would be a good time to bounce it around.

    Jess – Dora mentioned activating spaces in a positive way. There’s empty space at the Transportation Center. It’s a great way to bring people together and be constructive. For me, investigating uses of that space aid very important – like a laundromat – I like the Ring neighborhood for neighborhoods to take advantage of it. Maybe the Town could empower businesses to participate in problem solving, since we are limited in officers walking around. Some opportunities for people to take action themselves. Not policing in a biased way, but having the tools. That might help.

    Liz – I’d like Patrick to write down continuing investigation of a substation for PD at Transportation center. Ties in nicely with the bus station and meeting people where they are.

    Ian – yes, it is on the list.

    Moreland – it is number 1 and number 3.

    Ian – community members (9:03 pm…)

    Boys & Girls Club Melissa – thanks to Hardy for her dedication and officers dropping by. You’ve heard from me about safety issues on Flat Street, but the entire DID, too. I want to echo what you said about data and numbers. When I talk about safety issues downtown… th youth corridor. There are kids on Flat Street all the time. We can’t arrest our way out of this… what’s your solution they ask me. It gets flipped. I find it interesting. There are experts in law enforcement and addiction… that’s some data we need to look at. How many people being rehabbed, in homes, detoxxed? People suffering from drug addiction are being victimized by professional criminals. I see it all over town. Police are very responsive, but there is a priority issue, so again, I plead with… it is not up to community members to come up with solutions – police and social services need to show us data on how things are working or not. Six years ago, I was working on this issue. Business owners didn’t want to come to meetings, so they asked the DID to be their voice. Human feces in doorways in the morning, complaints of panhandling, .. at the time, Groundworks, PD,a dn DID came together on panhandling. We can up with a solution that never left this room. Let’s educate people about giving or not giving when someone panhandles. We came up with a flyer – it is free speech to ask for money. Then, mentioned that it is illegal to do it at an ATM or getting in and out of the car. Just giving the facts. Just that one step, we couldn’t get that to move forward. The situation hasn’t greatly improved. My role is to run the B&G Club – enrichment programming and a safe place for kids. It is not up to me or others in the community solve the problem. We need string leadership from experts in these fields. Chief Hardy is an expert, so lets continue to listen. Town money goes to social services. B&G Club is one. I can provide data.

    Ian – I appreciate… board members first, then online, then you are next…

    Jess – continue hearing from folks…

    Gary Stroud – good evening again. First thing is to thank Chief Hardy and her team for guarding our citadels. It’s a thankless job. I’m out there myself. I help a lot of people downtown. I’m about action not waiting. What else can be done? When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them… love them by walking beside them in their hurt. Sometime people need to know they aren’t alone. The only solution is to go directly to individuals to help them. Funding is low. Not many people working in agencies. What can we do instead of waiting for others? Condemn them or do something about it? You need to read the situation to get the right solution. We’re family.

    Russ Grabek – we had an issue at the parade that wasn’t really recoded but the appearance of a naked guy with maple syrup painted red walking slowly counter to the parade. I would have dragged him off. He was trying make a 1st amendment speech and showing off. He was traumatizing. The parade is a family affair. Children were looking at him and no one could do anything except yelling at him. We don’t have laws against this… we exercise free speech but that went beyond free speech. We don’t have a law against that. Could you consider that?

    Moreland – we do have a law… public nudity ordinance. I was at the parade. I didn’t see the person. Given what was going on, Chief Hardy were focused on public safety. Thousands of extra trucks and cars in town. Chief concentrated on public safety. There is a public nudity ordinance.

    Russ – if it happens again I’l help out…

    Hardy – it is a civil ordinance – $100 fine waved to $50. With everything going on, we had to make the decision that safety was the priority. I stand by that today and every day. I feel the individual was making a statement. if we had accosted him there would have been a problem, we’d be on video dealing with it…

    Russ – you did a great job.

    Tim – I know that the moment of free speech was designed to provoke and was being filmed. That was a decision the PD had to make.

    Jess – it raise a question about the community safety review – community trainings for de-escalation of situations like that. Sometimes protests affect or traumatize or frighten people a lot. Community de-escalation tactics could have worked well. Any thoughts on this?

    Hardy – I like that – for the community to know how to deal with it. More and more people in the community… at the parade, the individual wanted attention from us that he didn’t get, but had to de-escalate others who wanted to do worse than push him down. Some were highly agitated. They calmed down and understood. More and more interactions with the public are necessary. These kinds of forums get beyond the “anger” . We have to practice de-escalation. You can be angry and respectful.

    Ian – It’s 9:25, maybe we can end by 9:45 for now?

    Dick – getting off track. I was on the board when we did the ordinance. You get by what you can get by, like gun legislation. The board should increase the civil penalty. make him pay a price for it. $50 is a joke. He wasn’t making a speech, so when we have ordinances in place that aren’t enforced… that’s the boards’ decision. We have a policy of not sleeping on municipal property but we don’t enforce it. The board turn a blind eye because of housing and not enforcing ordinances at our disposal. Which leads to other issues – it ties up police officers. legislators don’t solve the problem, and that’s a problem we have. Ian, Patrick didn’t mention cameras in other places downtown…

    Ian – I met discussion of cameras in the downtown, but specifically the Transportation Center.

    Dick – I don’t know if the board support cameras. Do you? You voted for them in other places? Only in specific places?

    Ian – that’s why I’d like board members to have materials to review before discussing. You can ask in general, but as for specific cameras in specific places we need more info..

    Dick – I asked a month ago for cameras to be on the agenda, and this is “safety” – you’ve had times. Chief Hardy is my second cousin we’ve spoken so much. Cameras aren’t to protect my flowers…it is 22 businesses. You need to let us know you are working on things like brighter lights. I’m downtown at 3 am. Not all people are bad at 3 am. I was out and now people are getting in trouble. I’m a little nervous fgoing out now. Survellience cameras isn’t the end all be all. Burlington has cameras and you can watch what is going on on Church St. We’ve been out of COVID for over a year! Can’t keep blaming COVID or the shortage of police officers. Michelle said it wasn’t our job to solve it. I hope you come up with ideas. It’s been going on for a long time. We vote for you to solve these things… and I hope when we conclude you have some sort of a timetable of implementation. Kicking the can and giving us an hour tonight isn’t enough.

    Tim – I think it … we are having this conversation because I agree with you, but we must also get the read of the community before we move in one direction. I don’t think cameras everywhere will solve the problem. That’s what went wrong with that sign issue… the community said they didn’t like it and people got exhausted to get the wording done. Everyone was unhappy because the board didn’t read the community. If we all voted for cameras tonight, we don’t yet have input from police to tell us where they’d go, how they’d be monitored, will there be signs…

    Dick – we have $300k sitting – what are the guidelines for the community safety fund?

    Ian – it’s a goal for the board and we’ve had discussion, well it is on our mind to put it on an agenda to establish priorities for the spending of funds. There is overlap with grassroots neighborhood support groups. I’d be curious if we could support those financially. My hope is we have a subcommittee to establish this guidelines because we are so busy. I appreciate you position and speaking. I’ve asked that cameras and substation be thoroughly looked at by town staff, and they’ll bring it back to us. Lot of respect for how busy town staff is, so I listen to them when they say they need time.

    Dick – I respect that.

    Liz – a couple of things – I think that as we continue with this discussion, it isn’t solely a municipal issue. mental health, legislators, broader community partners. Four years ago I looked into Project Care and why it was established. They prepared a flyer. The community had no idea of the extend of the opioid problem and what was being done to help (Project Care). I asked it be sent to all residents. In that flyer was a description of services available to vulnerable people. These measures are what we can do to have a broader understanding of the issue. There may be something like that. The more people know and form neighborhood groups, the better, and we can work with all these entities to solve the problems. We can’t do it right now on the fly. We need a concerted effort to understand the problem and to come up with solutions.

    Greg Worden – have a business downtown and on DBA board…I liked what Michelle told you tonight. She outlined many things and a lot of need. Hardy I was heartened to hear about the Ring Neighborhood – cameras for neighborhoods, maybe downtown can tap into as well. Michell mentioned police needing to enforce laws on the books. A couple weeks ago Oak St the community school- adjacent to it drugs are sold day and night. There are signs in front of the schools and on the street that people walk by… nothing is done. They get their drugs. Police new to enforce the signage, or take them down if you aren’t going to enforce them. You are short staffed, and neighbors ask for support… when neighbors look at neighborhood washes – walking the streets taking more notice to help the police. Working in tandem. As Dick mentioned, we do need cameras. It won’t end crime, but give you and idea of who has done something. I appreciate all the work being done.

    Ian – we’ve hit our time limit… other thoughts?

    Tim – I can speak for the whole board – Chief – if you lack resources, we have your back and come to us and let us know what you need. Don’t feel you will be turned down. It is about money but we want to keep all of the community safe, and protect those being taken advantage of.

    Hardy – thanks.

    Ian – there is more to discuss and look forward to future discussions.

    (The first item of new business is now complete – 9:47 pm. Only need to discuss women’s right to choose, EMT and more… won’t be long, right?)

  • High Street Mural Project – Approve Project

    Ian – this is the proposal…

    Moreland – the High Street mural. Just learned about it. Epsilon Spires wants an art installation. Miss Moore and town staff have talked about this for a year. One thing she lacked was permission to use and take possession of that public space. The board makes those decisions, and the arts committee had to review it. The Arts Committee weighed in. They give it their approval.

    Moore – it’s been over a year in development. We’ve gotten 2 grants. Will involve the community. I have to raise 1/3 of costs and state will pay 2/3. We can get started once we have your permission. Ready to go. Very collaborative with Afghan refugees with public arts mural experience… this is the High Street Wall below the Shriners. Right now it looks pretty bad. Gets hot with amateur graffiti. Big visible welcoming space to Brattleboro downtown. We have this opportunity and improve municipal neglected space to be welcoming and proud of, and exemplary of how our community is welcoming to other cultures. To make sure, the final art will be displayed, voted on proposed designs and meet artists. Crowdfunding will add to this, too.

    Jess -I think it is really cool and involves new community members, led by professional artists. No design for us to approve. I’m confident it is the process and trust in the artist that we can say yes. The wall, is it in good shape and ready for a mural… anything we need to do to make sure the surface is ready.

    Moore – it needs to be power washed. We can do that ourselves. The wall around the corner needed more work.

    Moreland – the Town doesn’t believe that we own that wall. The mural shouldn’t go around the corner. That’s not our wall.

    Liz – who owns the wall… The town. Do we need to attest to the structural integrity?

    Moreland – not an engineer… it can hold mural.

    Ian – citizens walk by it every day!

    Liz – people who live above the wall…have they been consulted.

    Moore – I talked to one. We’ll include them in comments from the whole town.

    Liz – outreach to them would be essential since they live there.

    Bob Fisher – there is an agreement that the Town reserves the right to do things as it ages, or if the wall needs replacement.

    Ian – will that include regular maintenance? (yes)

    Moreland – we can work with you if it need touch up.

    Moore – it will be professional and coated and won’t crumble.

    Moreland – if you like this we’ll still do some agreement work – closing sidewalks and such.

    Moore – if we could have one parking spot that can move as we paint… we don’t need cranes, just a ladder.

    Liz – I’d like a a commitment to outreach to the adjacent owners.

    Moore – ok.

    Tim – I’m in favor of public art and walk by this wall more than once a day. I had no idea that this was happening. It gets to my problem with it. The process sucked. You are here now and we didn’t hear about this until now. We bought into the ski sculpture – we could see it. A lot of advance legwork before we gave permission to use taxpayer space. We’re putting energy into a vibrant arts committee getting back. My problem is that really, ideally, the ideas should get excited about the final design to see what it might look like. Is there going to be any process to approve the final design? Can the arts committee approve the final design?

    Moore – that was when we showed them some designs and gather votes and feedback. Cownwenership will help protect the space because they are invited.

    Tim – I’d like to involve the committee. When it gets painted. What if our community doesn’t like it?

    Moore – someone won’t like it. But I met with arts committee and we presented to them what we presented to the state of Vermont. They voted unanimously for this. Are you going to ignore their vote?

    Tim – ideally they see several proposals for that wall… and we’re asked to be the last check without knowing what will be put up there.

    Jess – I love your idea of having the arts committee select locations and put our public RFPs. This ready to go and great leadership and just because it didn’t follow a process we haven’t invented… I’d love to see spaces identified and do RFPs.

    Tim – I don’t want this to happen this way again.

    Liz – other murals we see what they will look like.

    Moore – I started a year ago. There wasn’t a process.

    Tim – I don’t want others to think that a space was available and now its taken… its a precedent now.

    Liz – Town staff was directing them and we had no knowledge.

    Tim – which shouldn’t happen.

    Jess – as a pro artist, it is an emerging practice for artists o incorporate a community design. It is atypical to have a design to present to a municipal body for approval before that community process has started.

    Ian – there won’t be any corporate sponsorship in the mural itself? (no, credited elsewhere not on mural)

    Rikki Risatti – I’m on the arts committee and had my interview to be =reappointed and am surprised that you were not shown pictures of what we were shown of the geometric designs that they want to do with their mural. In responding to Tim’s interest in publicity for art projects, I hope there is cooperation with airing art committee meetings on BCTV. I’ve been asking for them to be recorded, for public participation. The contracts – Scot Borofsky – he had the original version of the proposal form, but we haven’t seen that contract – if we could see that contract then we could be aware of the terms and conditions and try to make suggestions and improvements that could help. Thanks.

    Ian – we can forward that along… and we did see the images on page 7. Not the proposal for what it will look like. Is there any theme or anything that s framing this mural?

    Moore – I gave you the backgrounds of the artists at First Proof Press. These of inclusivity, nature, transition of nature. It’s gonna look great.

    (artist) Dan and I have been talking about themes to celebrate the town. Something we can all be proud of. We’re looking at Austin. Thinking about Brattleboro. Messages of inclusivity.

    Ian – its different not having … we’ve approved a mural – the sketch was a back of the napkin sketch – not a detailed look. It will be public engagement for final decisions. I request you really push it out there to get input, as many involved as possible.

    Moore – we’ll have a kickoff party at Gallery Walk sometime. Someone on Facebook will hate it, but others will like that it has been transformed.

    Ian – excellent idea for to use Gallery Walk… you can get a lot of input.

    4-0 approved. (It is now 10:20 and they are two items into New Business.)

    Another break! Ian – we may have to take off items from the agenda… we’re going late. 5 minutes!

  • Changing the agenda

    Ian – it’s 10:31… we can’t go beyond 11 with the interpreters. I’ll make a motion to edit the agenda… let’s take C, G, H, I, and K and move those to the next meeting. Discussion? Some couldn’t attend the committee interviews so I’d like to give them a chance.

    Jess – will they reappear as is, or will they change?

    Fisher – some of it can be on the consent agenda. C isn’t that sort of item. But, moving to table to the next meeting. If they are on the agenda, even modified, it’s ok.

    Ian – D, E, F, and J…

    Jess – all of them?

    Moreland – skip F

    Ian – okay, …

    Jess – will it be a special meeting?

    Ian – let’s poll our agenda setting committee and make a decision.


  • D - Emergency construction on Williams St

    Moreland – a portion has been blocked off behind the VT country deli… the structure went into the river and there is a threat of further collapse that will impact water and sewer. The board is asked to proceed, un-bugeted, to do the repairs. RTM will be asked to ratify the decision to use unassigned fund balance to cover the emergency repair.

    Dan – there is a retaining wall and it failed. We did design work, nearing completion. the ledge is shallow and not much to connect to… it will be drilled in and attached to the ledge. Adds to cost. The estimate is $350k but we need to get bids. Trying to do this by Fall.

    Liz – sounds good.

    Tim – don’t want to slow us down. Will this impact desire in the future to fix that intersection.

    Dan – have to do it either way. It has to be fixed.

    Tim – bad idea to let it wait into winter? (yes)

    Dan – VTrans will look at it as an emergency grant (maybe)

    Rikki – when there was a motion to change the agenda another person had their hand up.. zoom folks were not consulted. There won’t be appointments to to the art committee… will I have an extension to my seat until there is a quorum.

    Ian – let’s be in communication and see if other applicants are made before the arts meeting (at the end of the month?) We can do the other interviews.

    Rikki – my seat isn’t extended? It’s just terminated?

    Ian – we’ll appoint people before the next meeting. I’ll communicate with Lars about it.

    approved 4-0

  • E - Collective Bargaining Agreement addendum...with firefighters

    Moreland – in light of new responsibilities at Bratt FD, for EMS, the Town and firefighters met and have a tentative agreement before you. It relates to a number of working conditions and base pay for those firefighters in FY23. There changes to hours of work. Fire alarm super and Asst Chief will not fill in with overtime. Voluntary shift fill. If the shift fill occurs in oration in order. Some people can get 12 hours and some get 4 hours overtime. They asked for overtime to be in 12 and 24 hour increments. Chief and officer in charge will work on a voluntary overtime schedule. Next article, wages… we’ll provide 3 (EMT), 6 (Advanced EMT) and 10% (paramedic) increase to base pay depending on certification for EMS – about 53k. Changes to allowing completion of coursework over a year, clarification that the Town will pay for training and certification for EMT for staff. A minor change to residency. It was within 15 miles, now it is a 30 minute drive within reason.

    Jess – great changes in light of EMT changes. Hope this will allow leadership to retain great staff and bring in new folks as needed.

    Ian – Bratt firefighters have EMT training, and at various levels. Were we providing incentives for that training before?

    Moreland – there was an incentive to be an EMT, we’ll require it in the future. Lots of additional work that staff have done responding to advanced life support calls, and now all ambulance calls. Call volume is going up and workload is increasing. So we’re providing additional support.

    Kate O’Connor – I get why you are redoing it. Do you have any idea what the training costs might be, and the $53k increase in FY23- where will it come from since it wasn’t approved?

    Moreland – we’re just going to need to find it. There is some savings against the previous Rescue contract. Exactly where it will come will play out over FY23. Training costs…

    Chief Howard – EMT class will be $1k, AEMT is $1200-1400, and paramedic is about $12k.

    ian – we cover this with monies not used in the budget…

    Moreland – we would expect to have some. Things are getting tighter. It’s the first week of July. We’ll keep an eye on it. We’ll find a way to account for this.

    Tim – have we paid for this in the past? (no)

    approved 4-0

  • J - FY23 tax rate

    They set it.

    I quit.


  • Thanks

    Thanks, Chris

  • Wow.

    Thanks Chris, love the title. 😀

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