Selectboard Meeting Notes – Board Chair Suggests Further Limiting Public Comment

selectboard april 4 23

New Brattleboro Selectboard members Peter Case and Franz Reichsman attended their first regular meeting since swearing-in. They were treated to discussions of rules and goals, the Windham Regional Commission, Representative Town Meeting, hazard mitigation, and more.

Town Manager John Potter suggested the board have a retreat to discuss short-term and longer-term goals and budgets, to which the board readily agreed.

Chair Ian Goodnow had an unusally rough night. He was 40 minutes past his usual 8 pm break time as he explained to the board his new goals for keeping the meeting on schedule. This included his new desire to limit public comments to just two minutes per person, per agenda item. 

Others expressed support for keeping meetings moving but cautioned him against limiting public discussion, and Dick Degray suggested that he should look more to his agenda-setting process than public comments if he hoped to speed things up. 

Goodnow was also called out by Daniel Quipp for letting conversation veer off topic, against his newly-stated goals.

Comments | 14

  • Preliminaries

    A new selectboard! Note that I will likely refer to Peter Case as “Fish” – the name for which he is known in many circles.

    And, they start late. 6:18.

    Chair Ian Goodnow – (he explains how to make a motion to approve the minutes). I want to take moment to acknowledge two untimely deaths in the community. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these events and we hope that these types of deaths don’t happen in our community so let’s pause for the trauma our community has experienced. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the good work of the state police and crime and their assistance has been professional. I’d like to thank Brattleboro police and officers for their professionalism and police social worker helping staff during the tragedy, and the consideration they’ve shown for the traumatic events this week.

    Town Manager John Potter – At 16 Washington Street, the hearing for relief was postponed to April 17th. The DRB meeting is tomorrow. The Fire EMS – staff are developing a project plan to is to take place until the decision in September. We’d have several touch points with the board and public as we investigate the parallel tracks. We’ll bring a preferred alternative in September. We made it to the Final Four of the Strongest Towns, so go vote!

    Liz McLoughlin – You don’t need to be a resident to vote.

    Ian – I want to welcome Peter and Franz ate their first meeting and this is an opportunity for you to speak to the public about but also we’ll appoint ourselves to committees, so this will be the time to report of committee meetings.

    Franz Reichsman – I’ve heard from several people reiterating things said at RTM and other places, calling for openness and public involvement in the issues we look at. I want to say I am personally committed to open discussion at every step along the way, and I’ve heard that my colleagues are similarly committed. We expect to hear from the public … also, I am going to try to have office hours where anyone can come in – Wednesday at the Library at 430 to 6:30… come and we’ll talk. Selectboard members can join me… no more than one at a time for open meeting law purposes. I hope people can get info to the board… it might be interesting and fun.

    Ian – The Public…

    Dick Degray -Ok. Am I all set? My camera is reversed. I’ll give you a nice view of outside. You did a lot of things on a consent agenda – and one was EMS. I request that you don’t ever put EMS on the consent agenda, and if you can answer it, if someone requests to be taken off the consent agenda, does it happen automatically. I’m not done. In the EMS report in two weeks, I was concerned about looking at the financials… your collection rate is 52% eight months in. We should have July 2022 data … the amount billed in July 2022, and the amity collected and what the breakdown is.. medicaid, medicare, and private insurance? You won’t have all the financial info in when you make the decision in September’s, but we should have data from last summer that the money should have been collected. It will give us a better picture of the collection rate when you give us those statistics. It’s scary picture now at 52%.

    Ian – you can request to pull an item, and any one board member can pull it without a vote. Not automatic. But board member can. I hear you about EMS. We said we wouldn’t do it again. Just because of snow storm.

    Daniel Quipp – that decision Ian and I made. We thought that there was another EMS item on the agenda, so we thought it could come up in that part of the meeting.

    Ian – Kurt Daims…

    Kurt Daims – Can yo hear me? I have two comments about string cities and towns contest. It is sad to note that one criteria is the development of nonincremental housing, which is part of the BCS housing agenda, and the board is putting the kibosh on that by curtailing our emergency shelter project. I told you about it in 2021. It developed into the emergency shelter. It seems that Brattleboro isn’t looking for new housing possibilities. BCS submitted a proposal for eviction control and rent control and we suggested.. that became prop 2 at the last election but that isn’t going to happen due to the controversial clause about endless leases. The board should consider an ordinance about just cause eviction.

  • Consent Agenda

    Archaeological Services at 250 Birge Street – Authorize Contract.

    Franz pulls it and it goes to the end of the agenda.

    Ian – it is new business item J…

  • Potential Action Involving Opioid Litigation – Town Attorney

    Town Attorney Bob Fisher – authorize the town manager to sign documents to participate in the state settlement involving 5 manufacturers. Brattleboro is part of a class action suit and a multi district suit in a special court in Ohio. When there is a national settlement, we have the option of going with it or going and staying the course. The attorneys suggest you elect to go with the state settlement. The deadline is April 18th. The overall settlement for VT its $39.5 million. The allocation – 15% will go to towns, and then broken down by population, etc. Our counsel on the multidistrict case recommended it. A bird in the had… the other case will take years and a risk that you may not recover. Take advantage of this. Outside counsel and my recommendation is to sign the relevant documents.

    Ian – Let’s have a new system – make the motion then discuss the motion. He’s given us language to make a motion….

    Franz – I’m not sure what to say…

    Bob – to authorize the TM to sign and participate with Tiva, Allergen, CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens.

    Ian – discussion…

    Daniel – how much could we expect.?

    Bob – simply don’t know. Those about 10k in population will get the lion’s share of the 15%, smaller town will get less. Not large amounts of money.

    Liz – what will the state do with its major share?

    Bob- the opioid abatement fund. Not sure what it is.

    Dick Degray – Are there restrictions on the use of the money?

    Bob – Not exactly sure – it will be up to the selectboard, but the idea is to address and abate the opioid epidemic. Not sure of any restrictions?

    Ian – timeline?

    Bob – later this…summer. Some are paid out over time, one was a lump sum. I don’t see in here the expected payout… don’t know the answer.

    Patrick – we have a VLCT member for a later item… if she knows….

    Ian – no pressure.

    5-0 approved!

  • Vermont League of Cities and Towns Project Based Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) – Presentation

    John Potter – we had a request from VCLT to see if we want to support them with some legislation, and we asked them to tell us more.

    Karen Horn, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy for the Vermont League of Cities & Towns (VLCT) – can you hear me? There is an opioid settlement advisory committee and lots of discussion about how the settlement fund need to be used at local and state level. On to the tax increment financing program. We have had a TIF program in VT . Every year it gets amended. A town can enact a tax increment financing district, establish the boundaries of the district (the DID? Village Center?) It would need to be there. Then, once the state approves TIF district, you can invest in infrastructure like roads, bridges, water or wastewater. You can use the projected income that will be in an increase in taxable value… if you invest in wastewater downtown then the new development would follow that investment, so when you create a TIF district, you agree on value of taxable values, then the growth , the increment, can be used to repay debt on those investments. 70% on the new increment goes to education fund can be retained by town and 30% goes to the education fund. You can use 100% of the municipal tax increment to reinvest, and generally towns decide how much they’ll use to repay those debts. That’s a high level bare bones discussion of what it is. There are 10 towns with TIF districts. Bennington is closest to you. Montpelier had one but turned it back. They have two project areas and they hope to dedicate one to house and one to the downtown/ State St area. They only want t do a few projects. Don’t ned a huge TIF district, with reporting and audit requirements. There is a proposal to create a project based TIF, which would be a smaller project – just one infrastructure project and involve 5-6 properties, vs a larger district including all of downtown and many parcels. So, we’ve believe this is the one tool municipalities could use that is not like a grant or loan – you wouldn’t pay back. YOu’d be in the driver’s seat about development and where to focus. The other thing to mention is that in most of the TIF districts, they are mixed use. Retail, residential, affordable housing… a mix. in Barre City they built a new building downtown for the state. St Alban’s built a hotel in a parking garage. We have with respect to the project based idea, we’ve had 11 communities send letters to their state delegations asking for the enactment of the project based TIF program. 5 others are interested. There is a bill right now that they are amending the regular TIF program.. Emily Kornheiser is chair of that committee. I can answer questions. It can get complicated. t is a resource that someone like Brattleboro with the wonderful downtown might really benefit from.

    Ian – thank you for the presentation. We are being asked if we should have the Town Manager send a letter of support for project based TIFs. That is what we are considering.

    Karen – there is a bill in the senate finance committee that is a project based TIF bill. That didn’t make crossover so it won’t be considered, so right now we are to get it to move, it would need to be appended. Toucan just say, if you are interested, that you have an interest in a project based TIF program and you might consider for a project… it is your letter…

    Ian – so, before we.. questions or comments?

    Franz – who to send it to?

    Karen – your reps. That’s who to direct it to.

    Ian – John – do you think there are any projects in the DID that could be considered for this if it happened?

    John – I don’t know. Having it as a possible tool might generate a project.

    Fish – if we authorize the letter, we don’t have to use it, or we can adapt it to something that comes up along the way.

    Ian – we can frame it as we want. I see tow projects. The island… don’t know if that counts as being part of downtown… and the Transportation Center.

    Liz – uh, that’s NH. I approve of a new tool.

    Franz – I make a motion to write and send the letter…

    Dick D – give me more clarity – we have a DID and would this supersede the DID or would it be in conjunction with? I may have a follow up. I’d like clarity on that. With ehDID, the 83 buildings have a separate assessment. What would the TIF district encompass?

    Ian – we are talking about project based tifs so we wouldn’t need a district…

    Karen – That’s an interesting idea. The other special assessment district I know is Church ST in Burlington. It is part of one of their TIF districts. What you would need to sort out is what is the original taxable value of the properties in the DID if you have a TIF be there, so you could, and if you had infrastructure projects there.. you could use some of the TIF funds in concert with your funds in the DID. It would be one more tool to move those projects ahead. If you want to do more, have Abbie Sherman come talk to you about that.

    Ian – project based would not require a district?

    Karen – it would be designated, but it would be small. If you did streetscaping and lighting in one part of town to help 5-6 properties, you’d have to draw some boundaries.

    John – doesn’t have to be downtown. Anywhere in our service area.

    Karen – the law isn’t written yet…

    Ian – maybe we could talk about hat relationship in our letter.

    Daniel – a tool to finance public infrastructure (yes) One big project is Winston Prouty developing lots of housing on their land. We don’t own it and have a little of infrastructure there. Is this a tool that could be sued to make that more viable?

    Patrick Moreland – depends on the legislation. A project based TIF is a tool for the toolbox which is a good thing and could facilitate structure… there will be public infrastructure going into that. We can help with tax stabilization, but to retain some of the education tax to retire public debt.

    Daniel – would a regular TIF district cover it? (no…)

    Dick D – No follow up…

    Letter sending approved!

  • Windham Regional Commission - Brattleboro Commissioners’ Annual Report to Selectboard and Appoint Members

    Sue Fillion and Ralph Meima

    Sue – we are here to give you an annual report on our activities atWRC. Both of us were appointed last march. There are 27 towns and each has two reps (except for sears burg). WRC is a quasi-judicial government arm doing planning around lots of issues and supported by state and federal funding and a local assessment. Some other citizens join for certain topic special interest areas. We meet quarterly. Over the last year there were a couple of topics – the main issues – the WRC to enter into inter-municipal agreements – sharing an employee among a few towns, for example. It would also apply to bulk purchasing of supplies and equipment. The bylaws had to be changed to accommodate this. Another change is how to do transportation planning work. The committees…transportation committee ranks projects for the state. Few members are doing this so they want to increase participation. It will be a transportation advisory committee and each town can have a rep on it, plus some other organizations. More people making decisions. For the town, we have an assessment every year.. about $30k for Brattleboro. We work with them on mapping and traffic data collection, pedestrian and bike counts, agricultural advisory mapping of farmlands… Som highlights of the year: working on an update to the windham regional plan. Hoping to have web based version and drafts for review later in the year. Another priority is concluding the windham wood heat initiative. Came about after closing of VY. They currently have funding set aside for Brattleboro.. so there will be some discussion about what to use it for. They want to wrap it up. Briefly- I’m on a committee and we’re looking at Town Plans, we review them and approve them. Ralph and I are on brownfields committee – real or perceived contamination. The funds are to redevelop the site after making contaminated sites safer. They’ve done 5 investigative projects in town. WRC also has a revolving loan fund for cleanup of actual contamination, and have helped with three sites in town.

    Ralph – I’ve been to one Brownfield meeting. I also joined “Energy” and went to three meetings. Drafting the energy section of the next regional plan – we haven’t seen any drafts yet. Talking about interests and concerns now. The subjects that have come up – resiliency to renewable energy. The 27 towns in the WRC territory, there is a huge variety of approached. Brattleboro has well developed solar siting guidelines. We had debates about what is utility scale renewable energy, and how much should we be concerned with all forms of energy vs what seems to be happening the most here? Different points of view are being captured. By early summer we should have drafts to work on. The energy topic… I think from time to time bug issues drive the WRC or Brattleboro – biomass or big transmission… right now things are a bit quiet, so we can get a balanced and thought through part in the plan.

    Sue – WRC has done work with ARPA, and also municipal energy program funding on energy topics. I should close by saying this is the report. The WRC is looking for 1 year appointments. We’re willing to serve. You can change it if you want.

    Ian – two motions… accept the WRC report and reappoint Ralph and Sue

    Liz – this is one of the agencies that require per capita funding, so Brattleboro pays the largest share. I’m watchful that we get our money’s worth. In general, WRC is greater support to smaller towns without planning staff. But, we do receive services that are sophisticated and I thank WRC and Sue and Ralph for the report.

    Ian – later on in the agenda. the board will consider goals for the year and I hope at least a representative could be part of the discussion as we consider things the WRC thinks is important we be working on in the coming year.

    Franz – a personal comment. I’ve known about the WRC for a very long time. I really don’t understand much about it.. what judicial processes? – most of this is a mystery to me. I have a lot to learn. I look forward to learning more about it…

    Sue – they are quasi governmental – because VT doesn’t have counties. They can’t tax, but they can receive funds, sort of like a town.

    Franz – do you make decisions that Brattleboro has to live by?

    Sue – yes and no. Commissioners approve the budget. WRC can’t compel the town to do something.

    Liz – it is a regional planning agency – they get money and sometimes charge for services. A regional service.

    Ian -is one reason because we don’t have a county level government?

    Sue – yea.

    Ralph – there are 13 in the state – sort of like a state collaborative of people who look at planning and project management. Some involve multiple towns. Act 174 – the legislature dedicated the job to the regional commissions that every and town planning was being done correctly – voluntary guidelines. A template for town energy plans. An example…

    Frick – hi there. Welcome to the new board. I’m just getting up to speed on the WRC. I am thrilled we aren’t putting out any fires that are driving the agenda. Happy with your experience in that field. Thumbs up.

    report accepted!

    Ian – A motion to re-appoint the two…

    Daniel – so appointed… thanks for your service.

    Ian – thanks for your work and the report. How o you pronounce your name? (MY-MA)


  • Hazard Mitigation Plan Progress Report and State Mitigation Plan Feedback

    Brian Bannon – Planning Dept – the annual local Hazard Mitigation Plan Progress Report and State Mitigation Plan Feedback. Locally we update it every 5 years. WE are one year in to the new plan. Major steps have been melrose relocation, Man Homes relocation, and 250 Bridge ST floodplain restoration. Tremendous reduction of risk in town, and protection to nearby properties. Flooding in December in Melrose worked as planned. Glen park upstream was not flooded or evacuate, so people stayed safe in their homes on Christmas eve. The Planning Commission was looking at tougher regs, but chose against it for now. There are other projects awaiting funding… street flooding downtown. The state is asking their 5 year plan together and asking us questions – which would be most harmed by natural events? How does the town get info? How do you prepare for significant weather events? What else would you like to do? What about funding? WE address that in our hazard plan. The most vulnerable are low income… near flood zones, without proper heating or cooling. Staffing is a barrier to us, as can timelines and funding. Any comments, we can pass those along.

    Ian – no motion needs to be considered, but if you have discussion of questions…

    Liz – My favorite project on the list is the storomewater utility fund… and fees on I-91.

    Brian – the state has done some planning – that would form the basis for the start of the utility. There are staff constraints on getting it done.

    Liz – I would urge the Town Manager to work on it as it will increase revenue to the town.

    Franz – interesting metric of projects is interesting – how much do we worry about these? More context? What should I be looking at here?

    Ian – Brattleboro’s flood insurance rating requires this report to use, and the second item is the state asking us questions about their 5 year plan. Are there other things to tell them?

    Franz – so two items merged here.. okay thanks.

    Ian – I have a special place in my heart for the hazard mitigation plan because I served on the committee to create it.. it is so critical in this community. It is the most low income members that are highly impacted by this so the work we do most benefits the lowest income people. Important work, and I’m grateful for it.

    Liz – TriPark is the perfect example of this.

    Ian – okay, thanks for the presentation!

  • RTM Follow-up

    John Potter – every year following the meeting bring follow up items. There were two that required immediate action – finalize the budget with the $350k addition made at RTM, an the 2nd item was the resolution Congress funding Section 8 voucher program – and that’s been sent to our legislators. The other few items we noted: human services budget guidance to be 2% of the budget for FY25, EMS delivery and solution and providing a process for public input on ARPA. We’ll work on those in the months to come.

    Ian – any comments or questions? The FY24 budget includes $350k…that’s binding, but the other items are non-binding but we like to follow RTM’s non-binding resolutions.

    Frick – I had to step out to speak to… (Ian – we sent it) awesome, thank you.

    Bob Oeser – with respect to evaluating the EMS – on March 22, 10 am the VT house healthcare committee took testimony on H263 and regional EMS. Dept of Health people testify, and VTVLCT also testifies. It is very helpful if anyone wants to watch it. Good bookmark for us as we study the future.

  • Selectboard Housekeeping

    Ian – rotation schedule for signing warrants. I’m late in signing one. The warrants are basically approving expenditures and payroll… the idea is we each take a turn. Remember if you email questions it will be part of the public record. Let’s see if my alliteration got in here… no it didn’t. You can approve them online now. Used to have to come in.

    Apr- Jun – Franz
    Jul-Aug – Daniel
    Sept- Oct – Ian
    Oct-Dec – Peter
    Jan-Mar – Liz

    Ian – then we need to make committee appointments…

    Liz – I’d like to stay on Traffic Safety Committee

    Franz – what can I get in return for that… : ) Trying to manipulate the situation. I’ll collect later.

    Daniel – Rental Housing Improvement again? I don’t believe we met.

    Fish – DV Fiber alternate…

    Ian – it’s kinda fun. You read a lot of emails. It’s very organized.

    Patrick Moreland – so, off the cuff, the communication district is a municipality made up of 24 member towns, like the waste district with member towns. One of nine districts in the state. A way to develop high speed internet for rural communities. We’ve secured $27 million in investment and building as we speak. Brattleboro is well served already but some portions on the edges are unserved or not served well, so ti is to help expand upon the services available in those parts of town.

    Ian – access is almost a human right, to do many things… the work done here is really critical. Peter, you are on, welcome!

    Ian -small biz loan committee is pretty interesting, Franz… they meet occasionally.

    Moreland – about $120k is in the fund right now…

    Liz – I could talk about it…

    Franz – Happy to do any of them… (small biz!)

    Ian – Liz, hazard mitigation? (yes)

    Ian – capital grant review for me. Peter, join me? (yes)

    Moreland – if you want me to be the rep for waste district…

    Ian- and we just did WRC.


  • Selectboard Goals

    Ian – I’llgive this to John.

    John – an alternative suggestion… clear goals and shared expectations builds a strong relationship. I’d like to suggest an offsite board retreat where the board can talk through the long range vision, then rilling down to shorter term goals. Like what in FY24 can we do? Likewise, what short term goals for developing a FY25 budget. Conversations around that. Department heads could come to the retreat. That was the thought. It would be a warned public meeting but maybe not a regular session of the selctboard at an alternative location more conducive to conversations. Just a suggestion to help us build communications and align kt with the budget process. Just want to toss it out…

    Ian – the alternative as we’ve don in the past, we hammer out a long list without much engagement with department heads. Personally it hasn’t been a very productive part of the board process. Hasn’t helped us reach them. Not effective. I’m excited about this idea. He brings this from managing in other roles in other locales and a cool idea to bring to Brattleboro. I’d love to see board continue it.

    Peter case – these retreat are invaluable. The rubber hits the road. To talk to the people in the municipality will help make buy in to decisions we make. A big fan of retreats like this.

    Liz – I fully support this. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Franz – I want to do it.

    Daniel – I’m open to it. I’ve been part of two previous goal processes. One was top down, and one was bottom up and this seems in between.

    Ian – in COVID, the goal was to survive. Okay.

    John – we’ll make some plans and will try to find bagels.

    Fish – BYOB(agel)

  • Selectboard Rules of Conduct

    Ian – based on last year rules, except that A4 – a proposal from Bob Fisher.

    Bob – partly – trying to find ways to make meetings go more quickly. Recessing into commissioners… the thought was a rule to just take it up and not recess into another board. The selectboard shall act as…. nothing says you have to recess into that, so we’ll dispense of it. Should save time and give you more control.

    Liz – I’m all for that.

    Peter -a no brainier.

    Ian – we used to have to put it in a separate structure in the agenda. Now we can do it…

    Peter – already bought. Its sold..

    Ian – I have thoughts but don’t want to speak first.

    Daniel – let’s tidy up the pronouns in this? The binary his/her throughout the document is necessary and could be fixed with other words. I’ve identified 8 million places and town staff can find a replace with more inclusive pronouns.

    Ian – okay… we can have that edit made. Any others?

    Franz – item 10 – any rules not set forth shall be provided as in Roberts Rules of Order…. which version? The 800 page version has rules for smaller boards, but there are also a lot of places online where others have shortened versions. If we used a modified version, we should specify what is in there and what we’ll be working from. Name it so we can be on the same page.

    Bob – in the past, rules for small boards within the larger version. if you want to add that… in a large part you operate that way. No seconds on motions, for example…. usually we don’t go to Roberts Rules. Sometimes if you want to reconsider something, if it isn’t suggested in your selectboard rules.

    Franz – I bought the 200 page version, but didn’t see small group rules. How do I access them?

    Bob – if you change this to Roberts Rules – I couldn’t find it yesterday – the town can buy the new version to reference. The shortened version doesn’t contain that section.

    Franz – let’s do that.

    ian – for myself, conduct at meetings and rules… A6 and A7… lot of discretionary power to the chair about how to conduct the meeting. I have plans for the year. I am learning ways to improve the process. I’ve take to heart criticism about the length of the meetings. There aren’t good decisions at 10 pm at night. I will work diligently to keep meetings concluding by 10 pm. Generally speaking I will hold the public to a two minute time limit for speaking on agenda items, I’ll have a close so people can see how much time they have left, but then will hold people to the time limit. I will have the board make motions immediately, then hold conversation held to that motion. I will decide if things are irrelevant. I will ask board and public to refrain from repeating things. Speak on new things or add to the conversation to move the dialogue along. We’ll put estimated times for agenda items. I’ll also assign time limits for public participation on agenda items. We will end public comment and return to selectboard comments. That element I’d like in the rules, so everyone can understand the structure of an agenda item. On an agenda item there will be a brief presentation, then a motion, then discussion by board, then public comment for a set amount of time, then close that discussion and have board discussion again, then have a vote. Is that clear? Is that all seems kosher for what is allowed.

    Bob – yes.. and open meeting law.

    Franz – I support it. The language here permits you to do it. Laying it out in detail limits your decision making ability. I don’t know that you need to have more detail.

    Ian – I want to limit myself a little, for transparency to the public. It is different from the past. I’d like some longevity to this structure. Rules in here are often considered by the next board. If not in here, it might be different and won’t consider it. But yes, the chair can do whatever they like nd it doesn’t need to be written in here at all. This is what I’m going to do.

    Peter – It makes it clean and understandable. We can hang it on the wall. A code of conduct. If you do this effectively, you’ll get more civic engagement. You’ll get more people in her talking passionately about to[ics.

    Liz – you can write them to lay our what you desire and to depart from it as needed.

    ian – there will be times that require flexibility.

    Peter – you can put a shot clock down here and no one will pay attention.

    Daniel – It is 8:30, we’ve run 20 minutes late… we should at least entertain your proposal with more clear language. I’d like the public to adequately comment. Our thinking evolves when we have a dialogue. I don’t want the public to only speak at certain times. Want them to respond.

    Ian – they can speak on each agenda item after I lay it out.

    Bob – open meeting law requires a reasonable amount of time to express an opinion. Q&A is not considered by open meeting law. We tolerate it, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to answer questions.

    ian – My goal is to strike a balance. back and forth with one person keeps others from participating. people can use their time to ask as many questions and we’ll try to answer or not and if they want to speak again and if there is time they can speak again.

    Franz – I think limiting the duration of meetings is an important goal. Public participation and the ability to bring information to the board is important. I’m thinking about how do we get information in that isn’t at a selectboard meeting. That process can make for a late night. I think thinking about other ways to solicit opinion is something we should do. Like office hours at the library. Think of other ways we can do to solicit and encourage input.

    Ian – any other topics… nothing to approve tonight. Changing some pronouns so this welcome back to the board. We’ll work under old rules until we adopt new rules.

    Dick D – Ian, one of the issue shout have is what is on your agenda. Being in the role you are in, when you put together the agenda, you have to look at what will take a long time and a lot of conversation. I agree with Franz. Trying to put people in a time capsule for three minutes, I can understand, but if someone want to speak again. Time limits aren’t a good way to run a meeting. I’ve listened to you talk on numerous occasions. You should continue to do that but not at the expense if the public. Tonight I asked you questions and I might have had a follow up, but sometimes I do have a follow up and I want to ask a question. That’s the back and forth I want to see with my selectboard, even as a viewer. Putting the agenda together is a critical piece of a good use of your time. You start to lose focus after 9 or 9:30, and things get rushed though.

    Ian – there are a lot of ways to run a meeting and it is a balancing act, to have maximum participation and still efficient. One thing about having many chairs, there are lots of ways to run the meeting. I’ll continue to try to maintain that balance. Civic engagement and participation.

    Frick – My recollection is that your email addresses are available for us to communicate with you.

    Ian – keep it brief, Gary

    Gary Stroud – topics do come up. Even in RTM we have to make sure things are germane, and that things aren’t off the topic. I was thinking we could get flash up there what is being discussed on the ahead in zoom land so they aren’t talking about another part of the agenda that you aren’t talking about.

    Ian – anything else? Okay, this will come back to us. WE went past our 8 pm pause and will take a 5 minute break.

  • Parking Ordinance Change at Community Schoolhouse and Municipal Center – First Reading

    Sue – some ordinance changes. There are tow proposed changes. The first is to have it reflect that parking meters have been removed from the parking spaces at the Municipal Center. They are used by people conducting business at the state offices and people using state services , so they shouldn’t have to pay. Also parking there is by appointment. Haven’t seen any problems. So, one change is to codify that. The other change came before the Traffic safety Committee… two spaces on Oak Street inferno of the community school house. They have had difficulties over the years having safe drop off space. They came to the traffic safety committee asking for a bus loading zone. It wasn’t done. In 2021, they still had problem, so the committee suggested periods of time that limited parking. Hard to enforce. So, they still have problems. So now we will make it a loading zone. people can pull over and unload people or goods, but cars need to be attended most of the time.

    Ian – great. Thanks.

    Liz – Just what I like about Traffic Safety – they are problem solvers.

    ian – ordinance changes – there are two readings… this gives public an opportunity to yell at us at the next meeting if they don’t like it.

    Daniel – I appreciate the parking meter change by Yoshi. Thank you Yoshi.

    Ian – how will it be communicated.

    Sue – lines and striping.

    Ian – the issue is people park there? Is there a grace period or do we tow cars?

    Sue – I think it is tickets.

    Moreland – rather expensive tickets.

  • Tri-Park VCDP – Authorize Application and Public Hearing

    Patrick Moreland – specifically, the boat is asked to hold a public hearing and approve an application for a grant for $450k for the infill relocation program. Also, to adopt a resolution for grant application authority. Before I go into detail and the history, I’ll talk about the program and the town’s role. We want to submit a grant application to the state to get federal block grant funds from HUD. State legislators determined the funds must be used for housing or job creation. We’re frequently a partner with others.. affordable housing. In this case Sri-Park. For this project, it is a Sri Park project. We’d serve a s a pass through. If awarded the grant, and it is all but a slam dunk, we’d pass the fund to Tri park. We’d have to oversee it a bit. This is for 26 new sites in Mountain Home. Old sites would be decommissioned and returned to green space. Everything moves to higher elevations. It takes 26 houses out of the floodway. It keeps the income for the housing cooperative with the replacement sites. Emergency services benefit as well. Every year, a great deal of time is planning and preparing for evacuations of low parts of town. If they are moved, we can save that time. A couple of partners here from TriPark but also mention that what is really unusual is so much of the funding is already secured. It is being fast tracked by the state. We have a role to play and it is moving forward. Mary Houghton and Angie Johnson.

    Mary – Patrick did a great summary. I’d go back in time … the master plan dates to 2007. An agreement with the town, when Brattleboro helped us with water and sewer improvements. The master plan process started in 2017 or 18. The state is entirely behind the project. It feels like a symphony building to a crescendo right now. Really looking forward to it.

    Angie – Mary said it well.

    Franz – are we in the public hearing?

    Ian – the public hearing is open.

    Liz – in January I was in TriPark when they got utility grants. I’ve seen our town working with TriPark after Irene to steer these developments and dwelling units out of the floodplain. It’s been a well orchestrated plan, using the state as a partner. Also, 8% of the Brattleboro population lives in TriPark. We want them out of the flood plain. I commend you for the work being done.

    Daniel – questions – there are two lines using ARPA dollars. Can someone tell me about those uses? From the town’s ARPA funding?

    Patrick – unfortunately, Dan of MNS Development was unable to be here tonight. If he were her he would say neither are from the ARPA town allocation but from state funds, one of which the board approved a few weeks ago. That was part of a competitive grant process. There were eligible expenses. We had a $77k request and TriPark had a million dollar request.

    Daniel – $144 debt? A typo?

    Patrick – no. Previously that was more. Where possible, we look for granting funds with TriPark to reduce the funds they need to borrow.

    Mary part of the plan is that TriPark has $2.5 million in loans it is paying on and those are going to be refinanced. That’s additional debt you see there.

    Ian – we just talked about hazard mitigation and here we are doing it. Incredible to see it coming to fruition. patrick, the special assessment at RTM. It is a payback structure for water & sewer improvements? (yes) Is some of that servicing the 26 units being moved and those structure tapped and concluded of use.

    Patrick – I believe so.

    Sue – yes. The special assessment district is paying for improvements including the 26 relocated units. The state arpa funds – the 77k – that will cap those lines and bring the water and sewer to the new lots.

    Ian – how much longer is the payment plan?

    Mary – not sure. At least another 10 years….??

    Ian how many of the 27 units? 26 units?

    Mary – it is 10% of Mountain Home and 8% of all thee parks.

    Ian – I feel like it there anything we can do to alleviate the debt repayment, considering they’ll be paying back things no longer in use.

    Liz – the state of VT could restructure their loans and debt and we should stay out of it. All of their projects. They could get state aid. I think they are good.

    Daniel – this is not germane to the motion. Don’t take it personally. If we don’t try to hold ourselves to rules.

    ian – I hear you. Okay., Fine. Other comments?


  • Committee Vacancies, and the Pulled Consent Agenda Item

    They read ’em and announce ’em and they’ll send a press release in the next day or two. : )

    Archaeological Services at 250 Birge Street – Authorize Contract

    Ian – Dear Vice Chair Franz asked that this be pulled to discuss. So, Sue, welcome back.

    Franz – I removed this from the consent agenda. (Makes a motion to approve the services…) This seems all in order but it is kinda complicated and more than just for the consent agenda. There are details and dates… what financial risk to the town is there and how likely is that to happen?

    Sue – $69k to be paid, but we don’t have the money in hand right now. FEMA works at a pace not very speedy, but they generally give us these eligible costs and they feel they will cover it. The risk is $69.5k the VT Emergency management has ARPA funding and they could cover it if FEMA does not. Not in writing, but we know they have money and pretty confident. The risk is low here. A third option is VT River Conservancy also has a grant application in that could cover it.

    Franz – one of the three will come through. Timeline?

    Sue – that we don’t know. It is in FEMAs queue. Money needs to be spent by Sept 30th in some of the grants. We do need to get moving. There are review periods built in after the plan is developed. We need to be in construction in July. Need to be done to do that.

    Franz – so it will be repaid, but we don’t know how or when.

    Sue – I think we will know within the next couple of months about FEMA.

    John – the bigger risk is the project not happen if we don’t do this.

    Liz – the other thing is the Town of Brattleboro has been working on this for 4-5 years now and this is a large flood mitigation program to allow for open space to the town. It has federal funds, and that requires architectural surveys. The potential for artifacts require monitoring while construction occurs. I’ve worked with this firm for the last 12 years and they are reputable. A federal requirement, so they need to recognize the expense. The benefit of getting it done is beneficial for the town of Brattleboro. Also, I don’t work for this company.


  • A Board retreat?

    “Town Manager John Potter suggested the board have a retreat to discuss short-term and longer-term goals and budgets, to which the board readily agreed.”

    Did the Selectboard actually have that retreat? Doesn’t a “retreat” mean that they would get together privately, apart from a regular meeting? Was there any discussion about how Vermont’s Open Meeting Law would impact a Selectboard Retreat?

Leave a Reply