Selectboard Meeting Notes – McNeills, Budgets, and Park Planning

new tm john potter signs contract

A long night of budget talk, with nods to McNeill’s. Plus, Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland admits he  forgot to add in repayment of a bond in the preliminary budget.

Should we fill more potholes? Should we build a year-round pool? Will homes get re-assessed soon? Is it called global warming?  These are the issues of the day.

Comments | 11

  • Preliminaries

    Pre-meeting banter about setting up zoom, and some breaking-up audio by the board, so the first item will be fixing audio. : ) They talk about rules of conduct, John Allen’s minute-arranging tips,…

    Chair Ian Goodnow – It is Dec 6 and a regular meeting. I won’t talk around it. A great loss with the tragic of Ray McNeill and a historic building in downtown. Landscape will never be the same. I want to give the time to Chief Howard and what happened this weekend. We put out lots of press releases this weekend (iBrattleboro got none… ahem)

    Chief Howard – we arrived, saw smoke and fire through the roof, did a defensive attack decision, made in June 2021 due to a report from Stevens and Associate. It protects us and the public. It was unfortunate. It was reiterated on Tuesday, when the sprinkler was shut off. We do not enter this building was my memo. Staff operated in a defensive attack, and our goal was to save Kiplings and that’s what we did. Kier went up after and saw that someone was in there. At that point, the VT State police were notified. I talked to the fire investigator, and police sat on scene until he arrived. Saturday morning at 8 am, Patrick, Kier, DPW, and Stevens to review the 2021 report and Bob said the best option was to take it down. I advised them that the building needs to come down. I can say I had very positive conversations with Ray’s daughter. She’s very grateful to town and staff. The inks for your support of the fire dept and Ray’s family.

    Ian – I want to thank the fire department for their work. Informing the public its a step we can take in that direction.

    Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland – no comments other than my condolences to the family. Being their Sat afternoon – 150-200 people there who gathered. Easy to see there was a wound. It’s a difficult time. Deep appreciation for the Fire pet and DPW work. Thanks that’s all.

    Tim Wessel – I tired to write about this event but it feels too early and people have been writing beautiful things and I didn’t know him as well as others. We lost Ray and a building and a community gathering space – a piece of community fabric. That was the worst part of it… that a community space was eliminated, but we’ll recover from that.

    Daniel Quipp – I echo the condolences and acknowledge the loss of an individual, a space, a cultural touchpoint. On Saturday morning I saw the fire dept and police and state police and DPW and Bob Stevens and Moreland all behave laudable and clear and calm and I was impressed by professionalism and the decisions they made that morning weighed safety with concern about the loss of the building and what it meant. What I saw spoke highly of the professionalism of people involved.

    Public Participation –

    Dick Degray – a couple things. This was a bad week, losing Ray and the building, but also a 42 year old lady on Royal Rd collided with a lumber truck. As a resident of Morningside, that is the most dangerous intersection in the whole town. You should take this issue up at Traffic Safety – looking north, it is difficult to see if anyone is coming down. Red is the new green at our lights in town. You have to be careful. You put your life in peril. They go through yellow lights. Get a mirror so people could see, looking south is ok, but looking north, you have to sneak out there. People shoot out when the light turns green. There is a block on the wall at the BMAC that obstructs the view, too. I hope traffic safety takes this up. Patrick – it has been over a month since a request for prices on cameras for the transportation center.

    Patrick – we are actively preparing a request for proposals from camera firms and when we have numbers we’ll bring them back. I have a rough draft of the RFP on my desk and make sure dates are good.

    Bob Oeser- hello, can you hear me? I can’t say enough that this has been a safe and tragic week but want to focus a bit on hope and that came to me when I heard that Peter Case had done a podcast or video with Chief Howard and Drew Hazelton to discuss EMT – Vermontitude a Path Back. 15 minutes in he asks Bob Audette if there is a path back and he says some of the anger needs to be put aside and a reckoning and a bit of therapy. they need a mediator to work through the problems. That should be our plan of action going forward. That’s a hopeful note for the week.

    Kurt Daims – can you hear me? I want to bring attention to rent control legislation that BCS proposed in 2020. We began a long legalistic delay, but solved that argument. It’s a charter amendment, so we’ll start a petition drive. Another group will help collect signatures. here and statewide. We hope the board will waive the signature requirement and put it on the ballot. Since it is a likely local win, but not at state level for approval, the board could put the amendment on the agenda as an emergency ordinance to be reviewed every 30 days, through the winter, to prevent people kicked out into the snow. BCS will be meeting tomorrow with property managers to revise the legislation and I’ll share it again with you for your input hope you have some good ideas. Not too late to change anything.

    – Kurts last name?

    Daniel – Daims


    A. Better Roads Grant – Authorize $79,289.86 Application

    B. Downtown Brattleboro Alliance Budget – Annual Workplan & Budget

    C. Vermont Community Development Program $50,000 Grant, Accept and Appropriate – Winston Prouty Water/Sewer Capacity Project

    Moreland briefly explains.


    • DELAY of rental control legislation

      This correspondence (below) gives the reader an idea of the maneuvering that can delay a new law. Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) approached the board today not because the board has any authority in the approval of charter amendments. Once the signatures are collected, the board’s only function is to put the proposal on a ballot (something people misunderstand about petitions). We approach the board in the spirit of cooperation, since they were part of the process two years ago, and they may have some good ideas.

      Brattleboro Common Sense


      Liz, Bob
      here is earlier correspondence on the legal aspect. There was no concern for the housing study. I hope, Bob, you now can stipulate that Dillon is not germane in the process of a charter amendment. I wouldn’t want this concern to arise when the housing study delay is settled.

      ———- Forwarded message ———
      From: Kurt Daims
      Date: Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 11:46 AM
      Subject: Re: FW: Requests for Agenda Items – Housing
      To: Peter Elwell , Robert Fisher
      Cc: BCS – Hannah Van Dusen , James Dumont

      Peter, Bob,
      Perhaps I was unclear. I accept Bob’s argument regarding selectboard nugatory authority to approve a rental ordinance (December 8). In my suggestion of a charter amendment (January 3) there is no question of the selectboard exercising such authority. The authority invoked here is to place a proposal on a ballot or RTM agenda.

      Like any charter amendment proposed at town level the amendment proposal is essentially a request for the legislature to allow new law or authority. Recall the Youth Vote Amendment. Brattleboro had no authority to change the voting age; the amendment asked the people and the legislature to approve the change; (Bob and town government objected and then relented) ; legislative counsel and the House Government Operations Committee approved it. The board is not acting outside it’s authority in arranging votes by the people or the RTM.

      Act 164 compensates people for the loss of petitioning power for town offices under social distancing. It allows ballot status for elective offices without signatures on petitions. Petitioning for ballot articles is another reduced democratic right and deserves your consideration.

      On Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 1:53 PM Peter Elwell wrote:
      Hi Kurt –

      Bob Fisher has opined that rent control remains beyond the legal authority of either the Selectboard or RTM.



      From: Robert Fisher
      Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:51 PM
      To: Peter Elwell
      Subject: RE: Requests for Agenda Items – Housing


      The answer is no on both accounts. First, the emergency powers granted to the selectboards as a result of the pandemic were limited and specific, and not a carte blanche for local boards to adopt ordinances beyond the statutory authority given by the Legislature. Second, rent control is not a power granted to the legislative branch of town governments and thus even if asked, the Selectboard would not be obligated to put such a request on the warning for RTM because it is asking for a vote which is legally impossible to accomplish given the present status of the law.



      From: Peter Elwell
      Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:06 PM
      To: Robert Fisher
      Subject: FW: Requests for Agenda Items – Housing
      Importance: High

      Bob –

      Is this ripe for a Selectboard agenda or has Kurt overestimated what the emergency powers allow?

      Please advise ASAP.




      From: Kurt Daims
      Sent: Sunday, January 3, 2021 3:56 PM
      To: Robert Fisher
      Cc: Peter Elwell ; Tim Wessel ;; James Dumont
      Subject: Re: Requests for Agenda Items – Housing

      A year ago the legislature allowed emergency legislative powers ( H947-Act 105 ) to the selectboard because of COVID 19. So, Bob, wouldn’t the board be within its authority to consider the ordinance and a concomitant resolution for the legislature to allow rent control ? Could I ask the board to place the proposal on the RTM agenda as a charter amendment (attached), thus requesting the specific the grant of authority from the legislature that Dillon requires ?


      On Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 11:07 AM Robert Fisher wrote:

      Peter and Kurt:

      As a follow up to your email, the matter is a simple Dillon’s Rule analysis. The Town only has the authority granted to it by the State legislature. The provision in 9 VSA section 4461(g) is specific only to security deposits and the authority to delegate review of security deposit disputes to a housing board of review. There is no corresponding legislative authority in Chapter 137 of Title 9 to allow Towns to control rent. The section 9 VSA 4455 speaks to rent and the requirement of rent increases to be only after 60 days’ notice. If the Legislature intended to allow Towns to set rent control, it would have to put it into Chapter 137 specifically. Absent such legislation, the Town does not have that authority.


      Bob Fisher

      Robert M. Fisher, Esq.

      Fisher & Fisher Law Offices, P.C.

      114 Main St. ; PO Box 621

      Brattleboro, VT 05302-0621


      From: Peter Elwell
      Sent: Monday, December 7, 2020 12:16 PM
      To: Robert Fisher
      Subject: FW: Requests for Agenda Items – Housing


      Please provide a supplemental explanation on this when your time permits.




      From: Kurt Daims
      Sent: Monday, December 7, 2020 12:01 PM
      To: Peter Elwell
      Subject: Re: Requests for Agenda Items

      Thanks, Peter and Bob, for the quick response.

      I hope to inquire just a bit further.

      Given that housing is a matter of public health, how is keeping people housed and protected from eviction outside the purview of the selectboard in their capacity as health commissioners ?

      Since the board already considers a provision in state law to allow regulation of rental deposits, how would the same provision not extend to monthly rental payments ?

      Bob, I’m sure Peter and I would be glad for a clarification.


      On Mon, Dec 7, 2020 at 9:36 AM Peter Elwell wrote:

      Good Morning Kurt –

      I have already received Bob Fisher’s opinion. The matter is simple and clear: There is no provision in State law that would allow the Town to regulate either rent increases or evictions. Therefore, the entirety of your housing proposal is beyond the Town’s authority. I expect the Cow Power matter to move forward as I described below, but I don’t believe the Selectboard will be considering your housing proposal unless and until there is some change in the State laws governing rent increases and evictions.



      From: Peter Elwell
      Sent: Friday, December 4, 2020 11:50 AM
      To: Kurt Daims
      Cc: Jan Anderson
      Subject: Requests for Agenda Items

      Hi Kurt –

      We received your two requests for Selectboard agenda items. Here is the status of each:

      1. Cow Power – The Energy Committee will be considering carbon neutrality at its December meeting and may come to the Selectboard as soon as January with a further recommendation, so Tim and Liz decided to hold your Cow Power request off of the December 8 or December 15 agenda in favor of having it addressed at the same time as the Energy Committee’s recommendation.

      2. Housing – It appears to me that some of what you are proposing is not within the Town’s authority. I advised Tim and Liz that I believe Bob Fisher should review your proposal to make sure that the Selectboard actually can act upon it. Then, if it is not all beyond the Town’s authority, we can proceed with the Selectboard’s review at a time to be determined by the Chair and Vice Chair. They accepted this advice and decided not to add this to the December 8 or December 15 agenda. When Bob Fisher has offered his advice on this matter, I will make sure you get an update.

      In accordance with the Selectboard’s rules of procedure, I will be forwarding this email and copies of your 2 requests to the other 3 Selectboard members so they will know what you proposed and also will know the agenda determinations that Tim and Liz have made.



  • Town Manager Contract – Approve Employment Agreement

    Ian – a very exciting item. I invite John Potter to join us at the special table and we’ll have a little discussion and will hear from him. Board, this is an item for the board and candidate. It’s my honor to bring this to the board. It’s reviewed but you can ask questions and public can ask questions about the contract. Any comments or questions?

    Tim – I say welcome.

    Liz – Act on our behalf and I welcome John.

    Daniel – pretty sure of a 5-0 vote on this. Welcome John.

    Jess – we had a great recess and are lucky to end up with such a great candidate as a new town manager. Welcome John.

    Ian – you’ll find the community to be welcoming and inviting as a place to live and work, and we’re excited to support you in this role.

    Liz – the happiest man in the room is Patrick Moreland.

    Moreland – you know me well.

    Ian – thank you Patrick for the leadership you’ve provided. I couldn’t have done it without you. Town is lucky to have you. Public?

    Dale Joy – I;’m an advocate for people’s rights. You’ll see me around. What made you come to Vermont….

    John Potter – I grew up in NE and was going to tell you about the travels I’ve made around the country, but I was drawn back fro my wife and be close to family, and what an incredible community Brattleboro is to work in.

    Ian – the board has met you, but the community doesn’t… speak to Brattleboro.

    John – Great to address you tonight and I said, I grew up in eastern MA and went into public service. I wanted to work in supporting people and helping them have a great quality of life. I’m trained as a forrester. WE worked on Martha’s Vineyard, and NYC watershed, then to Oregon and the state park system there, and then in Boulder CO working for the city. We’ve lived in great places and feel we’ve found the best place now. I did want to say, I’ve seen a lot of different places, I’m hear to listen and learn about the city.. town…. before I can fully support RTM, the community. I want to hear your story. That’s what I had to say.

    Ian – anything else? No…

    employment agreement approved for John Potter, 5-0!

    They sign in-person on camera… (a first). (They do posed handshake photos and now this is getting silly folks.. )

    5 minute recess.

  • SEVT Presentation/ Board Nomination

    Ian – we have SEVT here.

    Randy Schoomaker – regional transit company for the area and its our annual presentation. We have new bylaws with certain board seats for certain positions, and nominated Sue Fillion is Brattleboro’s person, serving for three years.

    Ian – she’s the planning director.

    Liz -Randy you’ll speak on other topics? OK. Sue is great and she’ll be excellent, but out last board membership was not renewed and we’ve been not represented for a year. I’d like replacements to come more quickly in the future. But she’s an excellent choice. Our focus is sustainability and ridership.

    (Board agrees Sue is great.)

    Sue Fillion appointed to the SEVT board as Brattleboro’s representative. 5-0

    Randy – nothing prepared but want to talk about micro transit – we’re in a micro-transist study for Brattleboro – It is Uber with a van and State of VT has 12 studies going in the state. The Windsor project got funded for 2 years. The Brattleboro study is work with BDCC and a public need phase will be launched to gather input, but we expect evening service 5-11:30 at night M-F. It will help with second shift workers. We’d like to do a third shift in another year. It’ll be a free service, won’t stop for snow. Big IFs.. the study will conclude in late winter and we’ll apply for 2 years of operations funding – national program helps fund it. May or may not need a match if it is funded (we’ll know it late June). We can one tune the program and launch sometime next fall or winter… If If If… you can book a ride by calling or online with an app. Pickup within 30 minutes, free. In Windsor it’s ideal… they need public transit. Brattleboro has a lot of transit. Bus routes are higher than pre-pandemic levels. People want to know why this part of the state is so good with ridership. Excited about micro-transit.

    Daniel – what did you learn in Windsor?

    Randy – Springfield was mixed results, but Windsor was one vehicle would be enough. Brattleboro would be one vehicle.

    Daniel – where can they go?

    Randy – within town boundaries… not Dummerston or Hinsdale… for the pilot program. We might be able to expand, but want to start conservatively. Montpelier has 5 vans, but some really like fixed bus schedules so they might go back to that.

    Daniel – it is a van with 6 seats… if you request a ride from one part to another… there are other people in the van?

    Randy – you’ll seldom have it to yourself. There are always other people on the bus. Won’t pick up people on the side of the road… have to stick to the scheduled logic of the app.

    Liz – thanks. I see your service as a partnership with the town. Thrilled that ridership is up – that’s less cars on the road. I applaud the evening hours you mentioned. How is you planning about electric busses?

    Randy – VT has a vehicle electrification plan. Two phases – enough charging capacity. We need a small facility into Brattleboro. Then we need to buy vehicles. The large motor coaches go about 150 miles on a charge with no heat or people on it. Too big for us here. Smaller busses, they make 14 seat busses. Bratt has 22 seat busses. The 14 seat ones will go 4 hours with no heat, air or weight. Busses aren’t as good as electric cars. We’d do hydrogen if we had a choice. But we’d like any low emission vehicle. We’re waiting for technology. State has some busses that haven’t been used. We need to advance the lithium battery market.

    Liz – I’d love yearly updates on this. Also, great you are working with BDCC. Signage at various bus stops isn’t as extensive here as it is up by Mt Snow – do you have steps to improve signage to show routes?

    Randy – we did the red line last year until we ran out of sign holders. We’re doing a new signage plan and we have 203 stops. half have signs and schedules. Holders are 14-17 inch deep… not enough room for map and schedule. Going to make our own, but we need capital funding to buy the materials. We’d put them up next summer.

    Liz – busses should show destination at front of busses.. and it is done sporadically? Can it be done always?

    Randy – is the light out?

    Daniel – I’ve seen the destination, the color of the line, and a hybrid of the two…. if people could always see the destination, people would know where it goes.

    Liz – we liked the destination shown, constantly across the board. And the last thing – you have service to Winston Prouty but not Saturday. The farmer’s market moved to Winston pouty – what do we do to get Satruay service.

    Randy – can’t do it. The Sat schedule is two busses. It’s all the funding we have. Red and White lines meet at the Transportation Center… but no time to divert.

    Liz – could a microbus do it?

    Randu – hard to have two different system, and it is a small number of riders. A volunteer program might be better… Saturday is our busiest day. We just don’t have the funding.

    Liz – maybe Sue can make it happen.

    Randy – come up with funding, we’ll come up with a vehicle and driver.

    Liz – how about that app?

    Randy – we’re working with Afghan refugees working second and third shift jobs. BDCC hired their own van with their own funding to get them to their jobs… something like that on a smaller scale for the farmer’s Market…

    Ian – the microtransist application will have community outreach? Do you get good participation when doing them?

    Randy – we redid the bus lines in 2019 and collected input for 16 months. We did meetings, surveys, onboard surveys. In 2019, we didn’t get any complaints on the scheduled. people of Brattleboro told us what they needed and we delivered it. We plan to do it again with this project. If we get an award we’ll be out in force.

    Ian – glad you do the outreach. It’s critical. Three months ago, we had a compelling story from a resident about their experience on the Moover, and they felt uncomfortable with the drug use and crime they saw. But ridership is up… could you help me understand that? Have you heard about that? Is it an issue?

    Randy – there are a number of events on the bus every week, month, year. Some are physical. It happens. We don’t like it either. We have 3-6 cameras and go to the tape when there is a complaint. We’ve gotten no trespass orders for some riders. Federal Transit Service says we have to be open to all and cannot discriminate against personal hygiene, foul language… we have a rider bill of rights, but some things we can’ control.

    Ian – number of incidents… is there a rise?

    Randy – a steady rise since we went with no fares after COVID. It hasn’t gone up a whole lot. The incidents are more serious than before – broken glass, etc. Things we haven’t seen before.

    Jessica Gelter – there has bee some news of a regional transportation plan in Cheshire Co and Bratt might be included. Have you been a part of that.

    randy – I will – we weren’t invited. The people running it have worked with us on Hinsdale’s route. That’s a huge territory. Keene to Brattleboro is a desired route. I hope it works.

    Ian – thanks for the update. best of luck with micro transit.

    Randy – thanks for the $50k annual contribution and support.

  • FY24 General Fund Budget - DPW

    Patrick Moreland – there are 4 items for the FY24 budget tonight – DPW, assessors,a nd REc and Parks, plus an update on options for financing Living memorial Park. First up, Dan Tyler…

    Dan Tyler, DPW – this is the general fund budget, primarily highway. Highway employees, office management, some department head salaries. Covers maintenance of all roads, sidewalks, buildings, etc. It looks alarming with %100 increases – we reorganized items to make it reflect our operations more, and to better track what we are doing. Most have %100 decreases elsewhere to offset it.

    There are salaries there with cost of living increases. Overtime, we never really know, but it is based on past couple of years. The only new line is for Training, and that’s something important to increase for safety and operations. We decreased professional services to put some in here. There is a clerical line that is reflected in the salaries above. We lowered professional services. The next big one is the Highway stormwater upgrades. We’ve been ramping them up, and deadlines have been pushed up and grants are strong. Equipment category got moved around and scattered. Gasoline and diesel are in there. Parts and tires and accessories are in the equipment line up above. Summer roads hot mix for patching – we’ve been increasing that and the cost has gone up. Gravel we spend all of and the cost has gone up. Guard rails have really gone up for installation and materials. (We mostly replace and repair…). If we can get insurance to pay we do. Paint has gone up so line striping has gone up.

    Ian – yeah, wow…

    Daniel – maybe FY23…

    Dan- Property repair is a new line – small repairs under the deductible, like if a plow hits a mailbox. Roadside rubbish removal, line striping, tree removal and tree care – a lot of that in the last few years to remove and prune trees. A lot of the work is contracted. Winter salt and sand has been increasing, so we bumped those up.

    Daniel – salt and sand – we bid for that? And pick it up?

    Dan – yes – 2019 we had it delivered. Cheaper now for us to pick up.

    Daniel – 15% increase this year

    Dan – suppliers are running out. Salt price this year is 30% over last year.

    Daniel – let’s hope for a non-icy winter.

    Dan – yard expense – heating, electric, utilities for our buildings. Mostly increases. Traffic lights – we’ve relied on the Fire Department on those, and he recommend a preventative maintenance schedule once a year – tighten, repair, tell us what to do. Not cheap but they found some things this year. That’s the end of what I’ve got.

    Patrick – thanks. For the board and public, could you speak to the range of services delivered and what you do, to put these numbers in context.

    Dan – we have 85 miles of road, 60 miles of it is paved. 35 miles of sidewalk and 15 miles of it plowed. We have 30 bridges and culverts, plus an extensive system with 2000 drainage structures. Winter and summer maintenance, upkeep of all facilities, new installations, slope stabilization, stormwater work, retaining walls. We do repairs to short sections of sidewalk. It is a lot.

    Daniel – small questions. Traffic light repair line – it is a weird line – $7k spent in FY19, then less, then nothing, and now an increase… for preventative contract?

    Dan – the signals are aging. Bulbs get changed out but cabinets need repairs. Fire Dept is stretched thin, too.

    Daniel – how do we evaluate that work? Hard to evaluate prevention… not against it… but it is funny. There is $167k increase and $90k is staff, and most of the rest is salt and sand. IN the admin part of the budget, mechanic staff salaries – why is that unique?

    Patrick – we’re starting to – can I get feedback on it?

    Ian – any reason to separate them?

    Patrick – we inherited this and we hadn’t had a finance director – there are line items not serving us. If you think salary separation should end, we can consolidate them.

    Tim – sometimes categories help us understand how many employees – we have … 3 here as mechanics.

    Daniel – we could hear how many employees. The community and media want to know.

    Ian – having each line item for a reason, any that don’t erode the others and the effectiveness.

    Liz – Traffic Safety – it is DPW planning and the Police provide expertise, but sometimes it seems we get to an impasse because we need a traffic engineer. WE should make that easier. I’d like a line item to have on call traffic engineering services. Put out an RFP to have a firm you respect be on call or 3-4 intersections a year. People suggest actions and we need experts to review.

    Ian – Put a flag in it! To have someone on retainer… a consultant or researcher.

    Tim – I was hoping Dan… is that a thing?

    Dan – that’s a thing. Help to get us to the next step. The cost could be.. we have the traffic safety line to purchase flashy light. We did increase professional services by $5k.

    Liz – sometimes you might have a question, or might need a full plan.

    Daniel – I was on Traffic safety for two years. We never needed to engage a traffic engineer. Maybe I misremember.

    Dan – Canal and South Main keeps coming up. Our bike consultant is looking at it for $6500.

    Patrick – so 4 of those a year would be about $20k

    Dan – consulting, not design work in that number.

    Daniel – Traffic Safety is ongoing problems – it feels like whack a mole sometimes. It’s about reducing harm and mitigating problems.

    Tim – Dick brought up an intersection tonight. It could be solved easily without a study. Studies aren’t always the answer.

    Daniel – and the committee is pretty smart…

    Liz – at some point each professional is at their limit and a traffic engineer is needed. Someone to go to would be appropriate. People in the public… Dick proposed a solution, is that the best one?

    Ian – let’s put a flag on it! A good question.

    Tim – doesn’t that need a vote? We have a lot to address with this budget. Every flag can be a lot of staff time.

    Liz – I see this as necessary for Traffic Safety…. and look at what Dick brought up.

    Dan – December meeting was cancelled…

    Jessica – I drive my child to HS every day and love the sign outside the DPW always fun and funny and serious. The other thing is I appreciate inclusion of a budget for training. Training and advanced attention to safer work practices and more training can help the bottom line budget for the town. I’m curious – you explained it in a way as if I should know… what is hot mix and why would it be better?

    Dan – it is pavement – patching the potholes. Last year we got an asphalt grinder for the plow and making larger holes for problematic areas… to help prevent further spread. A more complete job but it takes more asphalt.

    Daniel – i saw the impact of that and I’m assuming all that spring and summer work will reduce the number we see this year?

    Dan – that’s the idea… we’ve done some in the past and we’ve had good luck.

    Daniel – people will be grateful if it works.

    Tim – Given my impression of everything being more expensive – oil, gas… I’m surprised the overall line litem didn’t go up much – where did we save?

    Dan – stormwater…. we increased where we had to and worked with what we had. Hoping estimates are good.

    Tim – are we ok in stormwater? for the Utility?

    Patrick – there have been state issues and some funding…

    Tim – we said it was an unfunded mandate…

    Dan – it is in road permits. Regulations on 3 acre parcel and other stormwater are coming. WE’ve seen assistance we didn’t expect. The utility hasn’t been forgotten. Deed research is next. Still plugging along.

    Liz – the utility to gather money for Rt-91 and the state? Good it is proceeding.

    Ian – happy to see hot mic additional funding. I wish people asked about complex issues, but it is about potholes. Curious if the board could increase it even further, or is this the capacity for the DPW? How many can you fill a week?

    Dan – it is a time thing. We did some in spring and summer. More areas will crop up. This should be OK.

    Ian – any equipment for pothole filling that we don’t have that we’ve really love?

    Dan – we’re up against winter and it is hot material. Not a lot of good solutions.

    Ian – looking at overtime and staff salaries – at some point there must be a nexus where the town and staff would save money if we hired more and had less overtime… is that true?

    Dan – it is the duration of the storm – more people would not shorten the storm, and you’d want more equipment…

    Liz – didn’t we get something for the sidewalk plow? That was the thing we wanted…

    Ian – I always assume there is a better toy.

    Rikki Risatti – I’d appreciate patience with me and I have a lot of questions to ask at my own pace. I have a lot of concerns I prepared for this meeting. I’d appreciate being allowed to not rush myself. With concerns to having a traffic engineer – I hope there is consideration with contracting with someone with ADA expertise. Has there been any look into road sand and salt alternatives?

    Dan – there are salt reductions due to truck improvements. There are sodium based salt alternatives. Sometimes liquids as a pretreatment. It’s additional equipment. e’re not set up for it. Need a generator to make the liquid. There is some stuff out there but it isn’t there. No good alternative to sand, which is used on gravel roads.

    Rikki – sounds like the salt and sand aren’t easy because they are running out so thanks for looking at alternatives. Is Steven Dotson helping?

    Ian – Good idea. I know he’s helping with cooling at LMP.

    Rikki – does this start fall foliage raking in early October… I was told it is often November, but downtown is hard to move with walkers in October. How about dog signage in parks?

    Ian – question for Carol. Parks and Rec.

    Dale Joy – haven’t been here in a while. Is the roundabout project still a go ahead on Putney RD?

    Ian – yes – 4 intersections.

    Dale – you can then cut out all those lights, which will be a lot of money up there.

    Dan – that’s all state highways …

    Dale – no wonder they want to take them out.

    Dick Degray – DPW also help me with my projects downtown. I call and they are there. I appreciate that as a taxpayer. Same with Park and Rec. One question – the mechanic line item should have an asterisk – staff salaries – how many people are counted? Second in command salaries should be broken out, too. People can see what we’re paying and how many people it pays for. The crosswalk signs throughout the year – flashing lights with buttons. Did that program stop? There are numerous places and they aren’t in this budget?

    Dan – that’s the traffic safety line- last was on Fairview Street. We do one a year.

    Dick – One a year is not acceptable. People ride bikes and we encourage them to walk.

    Tim – there is diminishing return with those, too…

    Dick – thanks to DPW for helping me.

    Daniel – I’d like we look at increasing the Traffic Safety line…

    Ian – Flagged!

    Liz – ask Dan for an appropriate number…

    Dan – about $10k each. How many on the list? 6 or so? We could do more. Maybe not all in one year.

    Ian – any problems with getting parts?

    Dan – some delay…

    Tim – by the Retreat – is that ours or the state?

    Patrick – we split it with them

    Dan – Town Crier Ave was given to us…

    Liz – maybe there is some state funding.

    Daniel – I trust staff to find a way to do this paying the least amount possible.

    Liz – I sent a message to Sue and she wrote back saying the dec traffic safety meeting was cancelled.

    Ian – ok…thanks for the presentation. 10 minute break until 8:25

    Tim – I can never see what time it is on the clock.

    Liz – it’s the glare.

    Tim – you ok, you looked a bit glazed.

    Patrick – I;’m ok. You have the breakfast of champions there… smarties…

    Tim – It’s going to be a long meeting

    Open mic warning from Rikki

  • Assessor’s Office

    Jennifer B – we are a staff of 3 assessors. We assess the real and personal property and maintaining the Grand List which keep track of address changes, locations and info on properties. We manage the business license program. We staff grievance hearings and warn those meetings and advise Listers. We do subdivisions and boundary adjustments and work with the mapping company. We manage exemptions, and work with state on reappraisal formulas. We work with other departments and work with the public. We answer questions about deeds, property lines, and simple questions about state programs. Our office is running top-notch and my staff are professional and they increase their training and are courteous and helpful to the public. I’ve been in some towns were staff are defensive and not helpful… very proud and happy of the team I have now. We have 3 elected Listers and they run the grievance process. My budget is the only changes are salaries – no need to change or adjust the budget from last year. There are a few line items might be questionable for actual to budgeted item. One – board salaries – that’s for the Listers.

    Tim – we could change that… add the word “board, or Lister”…

    Jessica – three questions. You talked about addressing boundary lines. Do you ever use the services of our appointed fence viewers?

    Jennifer – no, not in 6 years.

    Jessica – big picture – a few months ago we talked about the possibility of doing a town wide assessment. Would that impact this budget we’re seeing?

    Jennifer – I don’t see that happening. We have two contracts – for Utilities – coming from the reappraisal fund so no extra load for us. Where we will will be the FY29 – the reappraisal will be completed in 2027. In 2024 it will start. So we may inch up some mail and equipment – but there may be a grant for tablets.

    Liz – thanks for your work.

    Ian – last time you spoke about the town wide reassessment.

    Jennifer – the state will determine in January – if our COD is at 20 we’ll get an order in June. If our CLA is 85 or less, that too….

    Ian – one of those will push us over?

    Jennifer – yes… slim chance we might be very close.

    Daniel – the plan was…. to get a contract in place because there are few that do this work.

    Jennifer – the state or ordering this work. 40 towns this year.

    Daniel – regardless of the numbers, we are moving toward this anyway, because it is the prudent thing to do.

    Jennifer – we are so far off from the last time. 10 years is the estimate. We’re close to 15.

    Patrick – a reminder. We’ll pay close attention to the state numbers in January. Representative Town meeting can call for a town wide appraisal. We don’t need approval if the state mandates us. If they don’t mandate us, we’ll bring it to RTM.

    Eli KCG – one granular question – why is the biz license revenue here this year?

    Jennifer – the finance director and I spoke. We manage the program. We wondered why we did the work and she got the income, so we moved it over to our office.

    Tim – that results in a 2000%+ increase!

    Ian – no flags.

  • Recreation & Parks and Living Memorial Park Project Financing

    Carol L. – Rec and Parks have 8 full time employees and 40 seasonal employees. We use hundreds of volunteers as coaches and at senior center and other programs and special events. Nine youth sports leagues, 15 adult programs, 15 special events, and more. We work with community organizations in facilities. We handle parks, mini parks, traffic islands, 5 cemeteries, Living Memorial Park, and maintenance of Gibson Aiken Center. Many clubs and org contract with us – different sports groups, etc. We have over 30 senior center activities. We have 12 special events, pool parties, parades, programs for adults, pickle ball. We have 16 facilities, fields, pathways, meeting rooms… summer camps and programs. That is what Rec and Parks does. Before the line items, a few themes – this budget is an increase of about 4%. Themes you’ll see – electric has gone up 4%, fuel has gone up, propane down a bit, gas is up 10%. Several line items have increases due to cost of goods and services going up. Also, increase in seasonal employees. We’re impacted by minimum wage going up each year. So line item highlights – the biggest thing is 53% increase staff has gone up, but clerical has gone down 100%. Telephone line item – service is spotty at LMPark, so we got fiber, so that help now. Office supplies up. Gibson Aiken fuel is up, electric went down based on average. Building repairs went up again. Cost of services has gone up. There is overtime and weekend calls in parks – one went down and the other went up. Union contracts cause changes. Small reduction in propane costs, gasoline up, electric is up, utilities is up a bit, repairs up by $1000. Program supplies went up – due to fireworks – the minimum was $5k is now $12.5k. There is a decrease in lube and oil. Lawn and tree is up due to contracted services. Cemetery maintenance is up to cover costs for repairs we’re spreading out. Skating rink – a small change in staff salaries – seasonal employees. Propane is down. Increase to electric. Utilities showing some benefits from some earlier repairs. Building repairs and operational supplies – same thing. Day Camp. same thing. Minimum wage and offering an attractive wage – we need some college students there. Same thing at the pool. Electric is up. The pool – there is a problem and we’re losing water, and the utility is going up. Building repairs kept stable. Inflation for most supplies and services. Questions?

    Daniel – the description of the work you do was remarkable and all for less than a million bucks.. That’s a good deal. Thanks for that. Question 1 – skating ink in summer you tried roller skating – how did that go?

    Carol – we offered it in the spring and it started with a bang. In April and may.. we ran it a bit too long – 8 weeks. 5 weeks was enough. Once the weather got nice. Good for early may. Maybe 20-35 people. Lots of interest for the Fall, but it wasn’t as successful – maybe 10-15. So, Spring more successful, for 5 weeks… it should work.

    Daniel – one thing that prevented people was the lack of rental equipment – people who didn’t have skates couldn’t use it. I know you’ve looked, is it worth having something in the budget…

    Carol – this isn’t the time to buy skates yet, but I’ve looked into orgs that have skates. There is a town in NH that has several pairs of skates. We can’t do that because of insurance…crossing state lines. Since then, we’ve looked into a league and Troy can come over here, they park here, they charge us for rentals that we pass to the people. Once successful, we can buy skates at $150-200 a pair. Try the rental fleet first.

    Liz – Is there a way to promote lifeguards and getting them certified. It’s difficult to get them…

    Carol – last year I called every high school within 30 miles and colleges to get applicants in the door. Once they get here we can give lifeguard training, and so do some YMCA’s around. We can find classes, but finding applicants is hard. One thing we did, we offered to pay the course. They are not cheap. $350-400. We had to commit. COVID set us back, lost the students that new blood would come in. I needed 8 lifeguards this summer. On May 1 I was scrambling.

    Liz – is that in the budget here?

    Carol – yes, in operational.

    Tim – I missed Smores with santa.

    Carol – cancelling Santa does not make you popular, we had a small fire pit and hot chocolate. We had 75-80 people on a rainy night. Fire Dept still showed up on Saturday with Santa, despite all else.

    Tim – staff… I’m confused. There is 8 staff. Where do they fall? Parks?

    Carol – Dept. head then staff salaries – that’s admin asst, asst director and coordinator. Three. Then under Parks there are 4 people there, and all other are seasonal staff.

    Tim – we talked about sealing that pool… remind me?

    Carol – we last – Fall of 21, we went all round th perimeter of the pool, at the pool gutter/wall interface – we pulled it out and put it back in. It slowed things down but didn’t cure it. A band-aid. It needs stitches. We did a compete deck replacement the year prior.

    Tim – yes – we’ve been losing water since I’ve been on the board.

    Carol – it was built in the 1950s and renovated in the 80’s.

    Daniel – we had fanciful notions – a year round pool. Hearing about generational improvements and challenges with the pool, was there any consideration of lumping in pool work. I know asking for these improvements is a big deal and you don’t want to ask.. if we don’t do the work we fail the community over the longer term. The pool is a resource many love. I’d be interested in a vision for the future of the pool. I’d love to hear the dreams for that facility – open year round, and less leaky!

    Carol – to answer that – it is in the Capital Plan and we discussed this during budget prep.

    Daniel – we replace capital equipment on a schedule – we don’t have the same for facilities… something to think about.

    Tim – maintain the current pool or get a new one…

    Ian – The generational improvements touches every part of the park except the pool. Lighting, skating rink, ball parks,…. the pool is always being put off. Curious why it wasn’t included?

    Patrick – what would I say to that? Prior to Peter’s arrival there was a plan for a pool facility project – renovations to everything. It was decided it was expensive and was broken into phases, then we didn’t want to pay for the phases. Then we decided to keep the pool going for 10 years (the deck, the gutter replacement…) to buy us time and get back to it later. because we bought a decade, we didn’t redo the engineering to fit the generational plan.

    Carol – nailed it. About 5 years ago.


    Rikki – so, does the budget that is proposed include raking in October instead of November? For downtown park accessibility?

    Carol – we do, once a year, we take care of the leaves. The month of October – leaves are falling and we’re trying to make ice for the rink. This is the first year we’ve had that complaint and it would be a change of service. W clear leaves at end of October. if we did one we should do all downtown parks.

    Rikki – so the answer is no, the budget doesn’t include it… my next question is about signage and dog waste stations… anything in the budget about that?

    Carol – this spring we purchased 5 dog waste stations – put up in a few parks. We chose them because they were high traffic areas. When we get them, they are $200 a piece and it comes with a sign. the box that holds the =bags and the post. We pay $190 plus shipping. Not in this year’s budget for any additional. Is there a need for others?

    Rikki – I has asked to meet and speak with her for the last 4 years and feel disappointed and disrespected over time on this – why would you not talk to me privately about this.

    Carol – I don’t recall being asked for a meeting. I did get emails about questions about costs and bags and I answered all of them. I wasn’t asked for a meeting. If you’d like the, I’d be happy to meet with you and ask for another dept head to join me.

    Rikki – I’d like Sally Nix to be there , too, and think you are lying and haven’t consulted with any ADA reps before purchasing these. Your process and your costal skills.

    Ian – can you mute Rikki…

    Rikki – I didn’t yield my time…

    Ian – sounds like you will meet with Carol – no accusations… got another question?

    Rikki – I was speaking and you were muting me. I do have questions. The signage attached to the waste stations – some are bags without trash cans near to throw them in. The signage is problematic – it shows a caricature of people with differing abilities. People can come in different ways, and people get harassed if they don’t fit the caricatures. Service dogs get kidnapped. Any consideration about changing the signs?

    Carol – we’ll talk about this in our meeting- happy to set that up. The board can see a copy of the signage we do have – it is stock signage that op with the stations.

    Ian speaks over Rikki – I have another question you can continue this with Carol in a meeting so thank you.

    Dale Joy – I want to thank you very much. I used to use the public facilities for swimming and my kids used it. What you guys do with just a few people is amazing and this town is a family and you are the mother, we’ll put it that way. You’ve done wonders. We talked a few years ago about updating the pool. Hw many times have we patched it since 2014 (at least twice…) Why keep patching. Why not get a new 20 year facility? We’ve been at this almost 10 years. This town deserves better. You keep us together and keep events going and keep these things in top shape.

    Ian – OK – Living Memorial Park update? We can’t thank you enough for the service you provide. I think of housing and child care every day, and Rec and Parks provides and essential service for child care in town.

    Patrick – so, there is a revised memo in front of you, and in the room…. but not online yet. Where do I begin. I want to fess up for having made a mistake. I made a mistake in the construction of the FY24 budget. I didn’t include any bond repayment for the Rec and Parks budget. $4.5 million bond, but no repayment. I’ll explain how that happened… for the last several years the town has worked with he VT municipal bond bank. The bond bank provides markets but administers the drinking water state revolving fund. You get the bond authorization, then you do the project, then once complete you know the total and don’t pay until a year after the project is complete, and that was in my head when we put the budget together. It will be in future budgets. But that’s not how traditional binds work, and that’s my fault. In a traditional bond, the money is available up front but repayment begins right away. WE need to repay the bond. That’s my fault. Sorry for the inconvenience. The new memo has been worked on with the Finance Director, and the purpose is to outline some methods in which we could move it forward and keep it on track…

    Jessica – several interpreters want a hard stop at 9:45pm?

    Ian – stop at 9:45?

    Janet – Diane can stay til 10 or 10:05 and I can do another half hour…

    Tim – if needed…

    Patrick- there are three options for continuing to move forward. Kim?

    Kim – Patrick said the drinking water bond works with its process…if we go to bond. The VT Bond bank pools applications twice a year. They go out to bond. Gets the best interest rate. In may and June and Nov/Dec. You get funded within 2 months and fully funded. At that moment, interest is assessed. The options are 1- if approved at RTM and the board and go ask in may 2023, or 2. Nov 2023, or and interest only bond for the first five years. These are not hard figures – all estimates based on the interest of the day. Close but… we’ll see. Option 1 if we apply in May 2023, we’d get funded in July FY2024, so interest of $92k in November, then…principle and interest for 20 years. Option 1 is 1.9 million in interest. Option 2 is to borrow in Nov, first payment in May 2024 at 46k, then principle and interest of $322k for 20 years. About same interest. Option 3 is the interest-only for the first five years. In five years we have another bond payment for police and fire falling off in fy29. Nov 2023 apply then interest payments for five years, then principle in Nov 2028. Total interest is $2.3 million. In 2029 and 2030, bonds and principles drop… that’s the 15 year police fire bond and the fire truck in 2030. 2029 would be the first principle payment.

    Patrick -s o I thank Kim for quick work on this. We had hoped the police fire bond would drop off right as this came on, but Option 3 for FY29, there is some overlap but it drops back down the next year. Other than that one year, the board may wosh to consider it. Also, this sin’t a decision for now, just proposing some options.

    Ian – we already discussed and flagged this… let’s keep it brief.

    Liz – when we get the bond, we get al the money then we don’t expend it all, so it gets interest somewhere?

    KIm – yes, we could.

    Tim – is this comments on this only or on the additional request info?

    Ian – right –

    Tim – I have a comment on this and some questions about the info provided. This mistake and extra issue we’re dealing with doesn’t change my mind. I’m still not sold that this is the time for generational park improvements. The nutshell is I don’t think we have looked at the entirety of what the town needs and the priorities. I don’t believe putting so much money into one facility used by a small, well off segment of the population compared to the pool, we haven’ properly prioritized. The bond is now double the expense of last year. Interest is a lot of extra money. Not the right time nor examined well enough. Let’s look at the entire park. I see people using the pool – that needs our upgrading more than our roof on the skating rink and functional ice making… I don’t think we’ve fully examined the need. That’s where I sit. So, the prospect of spending even more doesn’t excite me . We should all go to every site and see them in person and talk it out. I do want board members to think about what we are spending on and who benefits. This is a huge amount for one facility. 4-5 people didn’t know we had a skating rink and most had been here five years. That’s not a communication thing. They just aren’t seeking it out. It’s a terrible time to borrow money.

    Liz – and engineering study is needed. One project is ready to roll, and the pool is not ready to roll. We need a study before we can do pool improvements. A necessary lag.

    Daniel – I think Liz’s point raises the question – the rational for the improvements also fit the pool. If the pool could be included but engineering is needed, maybe we do the engineering in the coming year… from a value perspective – they generate revenue – 104k from skating rink, and 22k from pool… and day camp… is at the skating rink.

    Carol – we would need an engineering study. We have that out six or seven years out. The project needs community involvement. The pool would be a wholesale change and community involvement is needed. A splash pad and swimming? A diving pool? It’s whatever the community wants.

    Liz – so engineering but also public input.

    Ian – additional backup materials about we asked for last the last meeting…

    Tim – at the last meeting you said 17k public skaters. I thought it was different people, but here you say 17k visits… more believable. For the revenue breakdown I asked for didn’t happen? I asked about which parts of the revenue were…

    Carol – I thought you were looking at numbers not a breakdown… I can do that. What do you want?

    Tim – a breakdown of revenue of how $115k of revenue comes from in regards to the rink. It’s amazing how many use the rink… who pays us, and how much?

    Carol – so how much we get from different sources? OK.

    Ian – this meeting wasn’t a deadline.

    Carol – the high school does pay. All groups pay. High school is lumped in with Youth – $165/hr. Adults $182/hr.

    Jessica – I asked for alternative source potential… you gave 10 potential sources – family foundations, regional commissions, etc. Curious how applying for those fund might work out on a timeline while we consider this in March at Representative Town meeting.

    Carol – depends on timelines for grants. There is a benefit for the November timeframe. If we decide in March, we ‘ll have until November to look for alternatives to perhaps limit what needs to be borrowed.

    Daniel – Tim asked for revenue from visits… we have rates per visit… at 2022-23 rates, 50k from residents and 10k from nonresidents, and the budget is 115k, so half comes from groups and half from public. Basic math.

    Liz – carol is an expert at obtaining grants.

    Daniel – most other departments don’t have to do fundraising – for hot mix.

    Ian – I hear the tension, but ok to question a big investment.


    Kate O’Connor – you know how I feel about this. I’d like to request that if you take out a bond. You have one option for one bond… run the numbers for a 3.5 million bond, since there is grant money and ARPA funds… and also, if the project cost is 4.5 million, funders don’t want to pay for debt service and interest. Grant funders want community support. $3.5 of taxpayer funds =plus ARPA funds will show we are committed to the project. Run the 3.5 million numbers.

    Ian – board, there is a proposed consideration to have the numbers at 3.5 million? (generally yes) OK, no more public. OK, end park and recs?

    Patrick – seeking some feedback – any preference on the options?

    Ian – need it tonight? (no)

    Liz – there is an almost symmetry around the 2029 dates…

    Jessica – I’d like to limit the amount of interest we pay, so the third option wouldn’t appeal to me.

    Daniel – I agree.

    Ian – thanks Carol…

  • Fossil Free Facility Fund – Update Program

    Stephen Dotson – no presentation, but an explanation. First – the name is rarely remembered and we’d like to rename it. The refrigerant change at the rink would be the biggest change we could make, but it isn’t a fossil fuel. So, first change, let it be used for refrigerants and other items that impact CO2. Number 2, Town manager should approve small expenses from the fund. Like electric landscape equipment. Under 10k approvals, and you’d be notified. And 3rd change would be the name – Global Warming Solutions Fund.

    Liz – item 1, yes.item 2, yes. Number 3, I’m concerned about confusion with the state fund….

    Daniel – yes, yes, and fine.

    Jess – yes, yes for leaf blowers but what about a bunch of small things that add up over 10k?, whatever. That’s the one thing I see as a challenge to number 2.

    Ian – the spirit allows for the spending – one time allocations. 17 small items that add up… that wouldn’t be in the spirit of this.

    Patrick – I’d look at it by department. Rec and Parks uses a lot, so does DPW. We have lots of gas burning tools that are noisy and gas-powered. We want to move on these things more quickly.

    Liz – it could end up in a consent agenda….

    Patrick – then skip the 10k cap…

    Daniel – how much in this fund? ($164k) Spending 10k from this fund is more impactful than…

    Ian – the Town Manager can extend 10k without board approval. Maybe use a smaller number here.

    Patrick – the limit is about the manner of procurement… public bids and all… its about the expenditure.

    Tim – don’t care about the name or the 10k limit. A question about the first part – this is the one things so important? That seems new… we don’t know what we are losing…

    Stephen – the total amount of the refrigerant if all leaked. I can get you a leakage rate… we’ve lost an entire charge. It’s the biggest thing we could do to limit emissions.

    Tim – didn’t we repair it and only lose 50 now…??

    Stephen – that would be 50 x 820 – 91 tons.

    Ian – if you want to come back with better numbers

    Tim – it leads to – is it broken? Important information.

    Stephen – happy to do that

    Liz – it isn’t just the calculation – it is an outdated system to have this continued as a town. It needs to be changed. It is something we should do. Not just what goes into the atmosphere but also the person operating it.

    Daniel – I have a half formed thought. The wants rates, but he’s asking to use this fund to eliminate or replace that have global warming potential. We should allow that, today. Why impede that? Stephen is good t hs job and will do the calculations. Let’s not shackle it…

    Ian – ok on 1, ok on 2, and on 3, people say climate change instead of global warming… if we change it… what do people use now.

    Liz – I like climate change.

    Daniel – warming s the problem, climate change is what is happening because of it.

    Ian – Public?

    Eli – I’m taking notes and I heard what was in the fund? (154k)

    Ian – thanks for the reminder. So… board, any other questions…


    • Climate delayed is climate denied.

      The short climate eesolution was proposed by BCS and approved by Representative Town Meeting in 2018. It became known as the Cow Power resolution, because it proposed using renewable electric power through the electric utility plan by that name. The board delayed implementation until April, 2021. At that time they renamed the proposal “Fossil Fuel Fund” and diverted the funds where they could be delayed again. It’s been a year and a half, and now the board is changing the name again. The skating rink repairs should be properly funded through the Parks and Rec budget.

      “WHEREAS we have a moral duty to reduce the various pollutants that cause untold harm to people all over the world, and
      WHEREAS our town, our country and the world are threatened by climate disruption and the use of fossil fuels, and
      WHEREAS our town Plan recommends the use of renewable energy, and
      WHEREAS Green Mountain Power Corporation operates a program called Cow Power for developing investments in renewable electrical energy sources that can help us divest from fossil fuels at an additional cost of approximately twelve dollars per person per year for electricity used in town buildings,
      THEREFORE we the town meeting members advise the Selectboard and Town Manager to purchase all the town buildings’ electricity from renewable sources such as Cow Power. We further recommend that people of Brattleboro also should choose such electricity.”

      It was a climate emergency declaration of singular simplicity, demanding only renewable-source electric power for government buildings and recommending the same for residences. It was singularly actionable, full implementation requiring only one phone call to our electric utility GMP. And then Brattleboro’s electric portfolio would be 100% renewable — for less twelve dollars per person per year. The price would soon be lower. Climate is an emergency.
      Why should it take more than four and a half years to implement this simple plan ?

  • ARPA Discussion

    Ian – Tim put this on the agenda and we put it off, and now it is late again… we have some time now… Moreland did a memo on this as reference.

    I’m tired – it is 10:38. My dear friend Tim will fill you all in here with what he finds out:

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