Selectboard Meeting Notes: We Don’t Like the Cost of the Bridge We Ordered

selectboard april 2 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard took issue with new costs of a bridge project requested by an earlier board, and sent VTrans back to their offices without an approval for their design of the Western Ave bridge replacement near Melrose. VTrans is invited back when the project won’t cost the Town quite so much. No one mentioned the increases that will inevitably occur between now and 2028 when the bridge is scheduled to be completed.

The board also took up some start-up and general housekeeping issues. New Chair Daniel Quipp pledged earlier meeting end times and more public participation in the coming year.

Comments | 6

  • Preliminaries

    The newly configured board… starts late. Everyone waits. The interpreters carry on a conversation in ASL. Meeting starts at 6:19, but not really. They have technical issues. Meeting actually starts at 6:21.

    Chair Daniel Quipp welcomes everyone. This is my first meeting chairing the board and my 6th year on the board. It’s my last year on the board, too. I’m excited to work with this board over the next year. I ask that everyone be patient with me and generous and kind with one another. During my time as chair I’d like to hear from the public as much as possible. hear a presentation, then take questions from board and public… I also want to create reasonable agendas that never go past 9:30 pm. We might have more special meetings. I think that will be good. I would ask for accountability – if I make a mistake let me know. That’s it.

    Town Manager John Potter – over the weekend the Brattleboro Police made another significant drug bust in town. A shout out to them. Very grateful for this work. The Transportation center work at the top is complete, lower levels are underway, new signs are up, new lighting is coming, and perimeter fencing is being planned. Finally, summer camp registration is now open. In person or online.

    Liz McLoughlin – during RTM, a member said to me that they heeded my words about not being seen in the dark and bought a high visibility coat, and I was glad because I didn’t know anyone paid any attention. Be mindful that we share roads and be careful to be seen.

    Peter Case – thanks to the police for that bust. The progress at the Transportation is going rapidly. Hats off to DPW for that hard work.

    Public Participation –

    Spoon Agave – I’m here to increase the focus on the old sportsman’s place. It’s been sitting empty and rotting away. It’s a fire waiting to happen. I’m quite aware of all the problems, but also aware that the problem is that it isn’t on any agenda. People talk about it but three more months pass, six more months pass, etc. Interestingly, part of the problem is where it is located. The cost of demolition is increased due to the bank. The bank is filled with trash, washing into the creek. So, it is a real problem, in the middle of town. If a fire starts it will be fully engaged. No other structure abut… relate to this. Years ago we had the BAAH with Byron Stookey. They did good work putting people into apartments in houses. Some work was surveying to town for affordable housing properties. Done by 1997. The old Sportsman’s is a good place for that. Further top the road the old restaurant and Burton’s car was is rotting away. It could be a large affordable housing site. Up canal further, Lotus Printing has been empty, and there is land behind it that could be affordable housing. Prime location, near stores. I urge the Town to get on the Sportsman – put some limits and get real negotiations going, and reinventory properties for potential affordable housing.

    Daniel – I’ll be generous this time… no time limit, but maybe try to stick to 3 minutes in the future.

    Carol – I brought up Sportsman’s Lounge six months ago. It is a hazard and not doing anything for us. BAAH is still operating – a wonderful organization. And, of course, Burtons’ is owned by Connie Burton and she has plans for putting in another car wash there.

    Daniel – anyone else?

  • Consent Agenda

    A. Western Avenue at Guilford Street and Williams – Authorize Contract

    B. Annual Entertainment License – Brattleboro Winter Farmers’ Market

    C. Annual Entertainment License – Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center

    D. Brattleboro Brewfest – Limited Event Permit

    E. Vermont Department of Libraries Grant – Accept and Appropriate

    F. Green Street School Parade Permit – Approve

    G. VTrans Structures Grant – Authorize Application

    H. VTrans Class II Paving Grant Application – Authorize Application

    I. Memorandum of Understanding with Edible Brattleboro — Authorize MOU

    Franz Reichsman – can I discuss the consent agenda –

    Daniel – I don’t know if we can…

    Franz – my concern is that the consent agenda has two criteria – easy to agree to, or no need for additional info or explanation for the public. If we could give additional info on Consent, then I won’t pull it, but if not, then I would want to pull one… the first item, relating to the Western Ave study.

    Daniel – let’s pull that item, then we can discuss policy later.

    Potter – it is warned under your rules later tonight. Purpose is t move things along with things you will agree on. Back up materials are always provided.

    Daniel – we pull item A for consideration at the end of the meeting.

    Otherwise, so consented…

  • VTrans Bridge 54 Project on Western Ave at Melrose Street

    Daniel – Trans will present on Zoom, I hope, about bridge 54 on Western Ave at melrose St.

    Gary Laroche – we have a presentation

    Dennis Vertiyev – I need to share my screen…

    Patrick – we have it up… I can advance it for you

    Dennis – I’d like to point things out, but, whatever. I’m a project manager and we are providing plans to replace Bridge 54. The agenda is to talk about the process, location, plans, traffic, schedule, costs, questions, and more.

    We are in the project design phase – we have funding and defined impacts and gathered public participation. We have submitted conceptual and preliminary design phases. Next steps are property owner contact and permits. We met with abutters and had great conversations with them, got great feedback from them. We will continue to close the loop on that. Permits are the next big phase.

    The location is along Rt 9/Western Ave and the bridge is over the Whetstone Brook near melrose Street.

    Existing bridge was from 1914, reinforced concrete arch, 60′ span and 31′ deck. It was inspected and was rated 6 out of 10 in 2023. Satisfactory.

    Exiting wear – asphalt roadway, significant cracking and wear and tear in pavement, potholes, sidewalk on north side is in poor condition, crosswalk is at Melrose St.

    Arch and Abutments – Rated 6. cracking, spalling, and weaving…

    Channel – rated as 6. Bank is slumping and moving and shifting. The control material is damaged, the is some stream bed movement, minor debris. Mostly gravel and frequently overflows in large storms.

    Project Overview – new bridge will be 20 feet wider – 51 feet. 11′ travel lanes, 8 ft shoulders, 5.5′ sidewalks on both sides, railings on both sides. Flood prevention features and improved bridge capacity. A single 70 span skewed across river. 6 Tee beams with closure ports. 2 integral abutments on steel H piles. Cast in place concrete retaining walls, stone channel protection… full depth reconstruction on the approaches to the bridge. A waterline will be set into one of the bays under the deck. There will be curbing, guardrails at 4 corners, new retaining walls , and deck will be prestressed.

    (shows image of Ludlow Main Street bridge as example of what it will look like)

    Impacts – municipal utilities – a 16″ water line and sewer lines, plus Consolidated Communication telephone lines, and overhead utilities. Utilities will be relocated. Existing telephone bank goes under the brook, a variety of water lines in this area will need to be replaced, there is a drainage component to the project as well – new manholes, drains, etc. Utilities will do tests to be certain of depths for us, or will become planned relocations.

    A temporary bridge structure will be used to allow demolition of the old bridge, just to the south. It will be prefab, made it 10 foot sections. Will allow traffic during the demolition and construction. The sidewalk will be party of the temporary bridge – 5 ‘ sidewalk for pedestrians to cross. Heaviest construction will be at the old bridge. Driveway access will be maintained for homes. A temporary road will reach the temporary bridge. WE ned some space for staging and building on site. It will have 2 travel lanes, 1 foot shoulders and the temporary 5 ft sidewalk (separated from vehicles), plus guardrails on both sides. Traffic will be maintained. Once the temporary bridge is built we will divert the traffic. Short term closures to make transitions. Bridge construction will take 9 months – April 1 to Nov 15 for the temporary detour. There will be temporary red lights.

    May 20256 is start date, temporary road starts in 2026. Traffic changes over in spring of 2027, and construction happens, finish by fall 2027, and do new landscaping by June 2028.

    Next design phase is final plans in December of this year, then contracts and construction.

    Costs – in 2021 it was estimated to be $515,900. New cost estimate – $1,560,939.81. Town share is 10% – $1.56 million right now. Engineering and contingency weren’t part of the first estimate. New items also include – water line impacts, sewer lines, signage and striping, landscaping, retaining walls, pavement redesign, mobilization, staff, rock excavation, higher steel costs. Higher unit costs, inflation, temporary bridge is longer, using retaining walls, and bug cut in the temporary detour for flood storage. Bridge has gone up, demolition has gone up, traffic control is up, utility impacts are up…

    As I wrap this up, we have some primary things to take away from the conversation – is Melrose Street going to be one way or not? We’d like an official response. The work we do impacts Melorse St, so if it was one way, we could reduce the width without it costing much. Also want the signed finance and maintenance agreement , and approval of plans. We’ll send you property owner meeting minutes. A lot of their concerns were impacts to their parcels and properties. We showed that we minimized impacts. Another issue was driveway access. There might be moments, but police and flaggers and an engineer will be there to coordinate. I think that’s it. Questions? Gary?

    Gary – you covered it.

    Daniel – board, then public….

    Peter Case – current bridge is at 6. What does 5 mean and how close are we?

    Gary – don’t have a clear answer. Usually from satisfactory to poor condition. Then you get notification of the rating and if immediate action is required.

    Dennis – and possibly traffic limitations.

    Liz McLoughlin – Gary, so this is an oridinary Tuesday night, but you are asking for another million dollars. I have a hard time for that. Was there value engineering to bring the cost down. We have a 10% match – we struggled then and struggle now. Its difficult for us to come up with half a million, so I request that Trans really dig deep and work hard to lower the price and go back to regulations to see how we can qualify for a 5% match. There is new federal infrastructure money, and the scale is such that it is too much to ask us for a 10% match. The State of VT needs this more than we do.

    Franz – my issues are similar. I think the price increase is astronomical. This is 200% or more increase – not in line with inflation. It might be too much bridge for us. Has a preliminary plan been approved? We might be getting close to defaulting., or could determine our decisions.

    Gary – the preliminary plan is what we are here to get the signature on, and looking to go to final design.

    Franz – if we haven’t approved it, then one thing, but if we have…

    Gary – we got concurrence for approval of scope for developing the preliminary plans with this alternative with the signed memo. To develop these plans that we have. I would have to look into – if you cancelled it I’d have to look at the guidelines. I would … I’d like to respond to the comments about cost of the project and some additional context. During the scoping process we don’t get into design. It’s a high level analysis of the project and estimates are based on square foot roadway costs from similar projects. There are a lot of nuances with this project that required additional work – temporary roadways are expensive. Because of permits, we have to move the flood ways – no increase to flood conditions, so approaches are lengthened. We had additional water lines and drainage issues. We had during a selectboard meeting in Nov 2021, we met on site with the board and property owners and discussed impacts. We left that meeting with the direction to include retaining walls on each corner of the bridge. They are significantly long to minimize impacts to property owners. We can reduce the retaining walls and minimize the project a bit, but we’d impact the property owners that much more. As Dennis mentioned, unit prices of steel and materials have increased. Prior, steel was $2.5 installed and now it is $7. Pavement costs went from $100 a ton to over $200 a ton. Increases are relative. In excess of inflation, but projects have been difficult to estimate and regular bids coming in higher than before. Estimating with bid regressions…

    Liz – you’ve given me an engineer’s response. Does Trans expect the town of Brattleboro expect a blank check for this estimate, and whatever it comes in at we owe? For your sup[ervisors, a town like Brattleboro can’t come up with another million dollars at the stroke of a pen. You need to go back to Trans and go back to look for state or federal or female money to reduce our input to 5%. taxpayers will not accept this, nor do I.

    Gary – I’ve been working with Sue Fillion to look into grants to assist with this, and some state state that could be optional for capping the town’s split that could half the town’s reimbursement total. It is a town-owned asset. It’s a class 1 town owned highway on the national system. The only real way to reduce it would be to have bridge closure. That’s not really palatable to the traveling public. You could close the road. But you doidn’t want that before…

    Mollie Burke – 2-3 years ago, Elwell asked me about this and I had an attorney come up with some language to do 5% match for towns in opportunity zones. I couldn’t get anywhere with the committee. VTrans nixed it. I tried again this year. Couldn’t get anywhere. Winooski is experiencing the same thing. I’ll keep seeing what I can do.

    Richard Davis – the 8 foot shoulder – would that accommodate a bike lane, and does that roadway, Rt 9, with trucks, would you expect delays while the temporary bridge is in place, or will it just flow?

    Gary – traffic speed limit is 25 mph for trucks. The temporary road is for 25 mph.

    Dennis – existing road is straight and most vehicles are not going the speed limit. Often faster. The temporary road will reduce speeds during construction. We don’t expect significant delays, but some minor delays.

    Gary – the bike lane question – 8 foot shoulders would accommodate bike lane striping.

    Daniel – the public…

    Rick Morton – I live on Rt 9 and see traffic come from Wilmington – houses on trucks, they have momentum. Going straight makes you nervous. Curving around at that spot, I want to raise that issue.

    Dennis – we’d have digital signs warning for the alternate routes or new road paths. Significant signage for upcoming curves. There will be concrete barriers around the job site, and guardrail on the approach. It is designed for the speed limit. We make sure two trucks can pass one another. If oversized loads can’t fit they’d need special escorts through the route.

    David L – I appreciate the fight for the 5$ rather than 10%. When did the town first learn that the cost had tripled our share. $1.6 million is 7% of the FY 25 budget. The other question – if we are stuck with the large share, could the money come from ARPA funds. You set them aside for certain projects but the money is in the account. It could soften this awful blow.

    Daniel – make a motion board?

    Liz – I move we hold on this item to discuss further and wait to hear if the municipal share can be reduced.

    Peter – I agree.

    Franz – I have a number of things to raise. I agree with the motion. Mass turnpike closes to heavy trucks in parts. Many divert to RT 9. The alt route in MA is closed. If I’m a trucker I got from Albany to the coast on RT 9. We’re bearing costs on behalf of others. Trans got us the 5% match. So they need to help us again now. This is really crazy to tell us to go up to $1.6 million. We have a bridge there. I drive over it. But don’t want to replace it at these numbers.

    Peter – I agree. I think this is generally ludicrous. The bridge will need to be replaced. But I’d like a 5% match on this project.

    Richard Davis – I agree about the money, and it is premature to invest in it.

    Peter – it is lethally highway robbery.

    Daniel – when did we learn?

    Potter – February 5.

    Daniel – ARPA funds?

    Potter – they have been committed and are unavailable. Required payments will be in 27 and 28 giving you 3 years to capitalize it.

    Daniel – motion to hold off until we get a reduced share proposal from VTrans.

    Peter – any deadline, so we get this done?

    Franz – we can leave it with Mollie to make it work.

    Peter – accountability to this body, so it doesn’t get kicked down the road. A timeframe to come back and check in?

    Liz – I want Trans to understand the level of concern with these increased numbers. Town Manager should work with Mollie Burke to make it happen.

    Daniel – Gray and Dennis – implications for stalling tonight?

    Gary – we have some items in the queue that we are working to address for utility relocations and site design concerns. Then we’ll be on hold until a decision is made.

    Motion to wait for better deal is approved 5-0.

    Jennifer Smith – Trans let us about the meeting. We will be re-notified for the next meeting? I wouldn’t have known if the VTrans hadn’t warned us.

  • Representative Town Meeting Follow-Up Items

    Daniel we are 30 minutes behind schedule… ok RTM follow up issues.

    Patrick Moreland – a variety of items debated and passed, so usually we do a follow up and what the status is. The memo has the budget as approved. At the meeting, $70k was added, for global warming solutions funds. It’s been added to the budget. The bond vote passed 96-1. Drink Water State Fund will do an application. Human Services Budget has changed to $461,276 for FY26. There was a resolution on the War in Gaza and a transcript of the resolution has been sent to the delegation as requested. There was a motion to recommend the Town develop a video on how to do Roberts Rules of Order to help reps understand how to prepare. Andy Davis says there is such a video and it came with a simplified Rules of Order two-pager. On the town website. There was a motion on ranked choice voting – no recommendation included. There was a recommendation that the sentiment be presented to the state legislature. Staff recommends we send a copy to the legislative delegation. Lastly, there was an article about a virtual option and free lunch, from RTM steering committee a few years ago. I would suggest the board considers how to warn the meeting each and every year. When you set the warning, we’ll know moe. As for a free lunch, we debated it. It failed to pass. Staff points out for surrounding committees to have a potluck – no expense to the town. It could be organized.

    Daniel – is that it…?

    Patrick – use of fund balance, and the policy was an issue. It could be on a future agenda for the board.

    Liz – those items about lunch. I’d be happy to discuss them in January. many RTM members were unaware of the lunch by the high school and child care. Both items could be better publicized.

    Daniel – no motion is required, so maybe we should discuss the ranked choice message to the delegation. Any opposition? No?

    Liz – it may be the will that we bring it to the delegation, but it isn’t necessarily the view of the board.

    Daniel – Yes Patrick, send it along. The fund balance policy review will be an item on the agenda. One thing that stuck out was the ambient going to global warming solutions. The history was that we created this source. We should look and see if the amount is appropriate during budget season. Public? None…

    No motion, just guidance.

    Daniel – a 5 minute break!

  • Selectboard Housekeeping

    Daniel – I’ll walk us through this. We have several things to do. A rotation schedule for signing warrants (things getting paid) and we have to sign off on them. We need to sign members to boards and committees, a discussion of rules, review goals, and schedule a retreat. Let’s go one by one.

    – Warrants – five phases of the years

    Franz – why are the time periods uneven? I’lll take the short one at the end?

    Liz – It used to be four…

    Franz – 10 weeks and a few days…
    Potter – I’ll figure it out.

    Daniel – moving on… boards and committees.

    Liz – I’ll review warrants.

    Daniel – appoint members to boards! Capital Grant Review Board – Liz, Franz.

    Franz – it doesn’t really do anything. Why appoint ourselves to it. Maybe we should think about this. Last year I was new, but this year I’m more critical.

    Peter – we’ve discussed it longer than the meetings.

    Franz – we should discuss it sometime.

    Patrick Moreland – the committee is included in the Town Charter and you have a charter revision commission looking at it now. It is a matter of ongoing discussion.

    Daniel – we can’t just decide to get rid of it. We need to appoint two people. Liz and Franz. Next – Hazard Mitigation Committee – Liz. Rental Housing Improvement Program Loan Committee – Richard. Small Biz Assistance Loan Committee – Peter. Traffic Safety Committee – Liz. Deerfield Valley Communications District –

    Patrick – I can be reappointed and Sue Fillion will be the alternate.

    Daniel – Peter can be alternate 2. WSWMD board of supervisors – Patrick and John Potter.

    Franz – what decisions get made there?

    Patrick – there are 13 towns represented and we oversee the operations of the district – the solid waste plan for the region, promoting composting and recycling, waste collection of hazardous waste. There re remote collection sites sometimes for hazardous waste. We pass a budget, and oversee the composting facility and working on expanding it. Trying to be a medium sized facility.

    Daniel – let Patrick do it? (yes) John Potter as alternate? (yes). The only other committee is the windham regional commission, but we appointed people at an earlier meeting. Sue Fillion and Ralph Meima.

    Daniel – a warrant review schedule for 10 weeks for each – Peter, Richard, Daniel, Franz, Liz… in that order.

    Daniel – the meat of this – the selectboard rules of conduct.

    Liz – some discussion of the completeness of this item?

    Potter – I thought the consent rules were in this but I wonder if this is the right version, but they should be in here.

    Daniel – we have a proposed motion. The public should know a little bit. I’ll summarize – there is the first section about conduct – the chair, quorums, the agenda, how business is conducted, how public is recognized, recesses, and when the meetings happen. Then a section on public hearings, a section on other public hearings and meetings, conflict of interest and disqualification and refusals, request of the Town manager, warrants, procedures for appointing people, a section on considering items for the selectboard. I’ll read it… (reads it) items get placed on the agenda by agreement of the board, …

    Franz – how would it get to be discussed at a previous meeting? How does that vote come about?

    Daniel – if the board says, we want X item on the agenda, the next available meeting it appears…

    Franz – where do we make that motion…

    Bob Fisher – during public participation, usually, or maybe it flows out of a discussion that leads to something else. We need to talk about it…

    Franz – If I just have an idea, can I just bring it up at a meeting? When would I do it?

    Daniel – during selectboard comments. Rules also speak to a way a board member can get something on an agenda. This is how you make things happen. Requesting an agenda item can come by written request to the Town Manager the Wednesday before the scheduled meeting.

    Bob F – change the time to before the agenda is set by the Chair.

    Daniel – We meet on Monday before to set the agenda. so modify this to read the previous Monday? (yes) 8 days prior to the meeting. if you are a selectboard member write to the Town Manager by then.

    Potter – by 4pm the Monday the week prior to a scheduled meeting.

    Daniel – we drafted this agenda last Monday, not yesterday. Okay, a Brattleboro resident can write to the Town Manager by 4pm the Monday a week prior…

    Franz – parallel Language please.

    Daniel – I understand and can make it happen. The Town manager can request something be put on the agenda. And D, by any state or federal agency making a request. So, those are the 4 ways you can get items on an agenda and then… in order for it to be placed, the Chair and Vice Chair must both agree Unless a majority of the board agree, the Chair and Vice Chair must agree.

    Franz – who is the designee and who delegates?

    Bob F – uh, that would be if either the Chair or Vice Chair can’t make it and someone else is appointed – a board member.

    Daniel – we always make it happen. Should both the Chair and Vice Chair agree that it isn’t going on the agenda, other board members must be told about it.

    Liz – we agree that the matter should be on an agenda, not this agenda.

    Daniel – we’d explain why we delayed it.

    Richard – a timeframe put with that? If someone wants something on the agenda and it isn’t, how will anyone know?

    Liz – by Wednesday

    Franz – the first sentence in section 3 specifically refers to paragraph G1, if the selectboard votes to put it on the agenda, then it doesn’t have to be approved by the Chair. That’s an alternative pathway. Can the Chair and Vice Chair wipe something off the agenda if the board voted on it?

    Daniel – no, and if we say no it could be for another reason, or…

    Franz – I think the G1 language should be on that part, too.

    Daniel – Really doing some work here. If the Chair and Vice Chair disagree, the board gets to vote. If 3 member majority votes to include it, it will be placed on the agenda and will be discussed then.

    Franz – I get that sort of, but when the selectboard get it forwarded. Next warned meeting, to discuss at next warned meeting? How to go from the disagreeable pair to go to the full board?

    Liz – it happen once. We voted, it got on the next available meeting.

    Bob – we’ll add that it is at the next meeting.

    Potter – I’d hope that we’ll just bring back a draft for Richard…

    Daniel – 3 votes is affirmative. If defeated it won’t be considered. Citizen input is limited to placement on the agenda, not the item. We just edited the heck out of these proposed rules of conduct. Anything further?

    Franz – we only did the later section. How do we input to the other sections? The biggest one for me is Section A #6 – a period for public comment on any issue. There might be some issues that they are not to be permitted to speak. It isn’t on any issue. It says comment can be limited. It could also reference the next section where it says no party shall be able to make personal attacks on anyone. That gets to what public comments would not be in order. How do you know what someone is about to say, but this did come up and was uncomfortable for a lot of us.

    Bob – open meeting law requires public participation on any issue. The rules of the chair – a time limit, or no personal attacks – that is the discretion of the chair person. But you must allow public participation.

    Franz – so it is up to the Chair.

    Liz – I agree with how it is presently worded and can have faith in the Chair.

    Richard – just to clarify – we’ll sign this when we get a new copy? (yes)

    Daniel – any written guidance to understand reasonable limits? If not, fine…

    Bob -as the Chair, you might review Roberts Rules but in general, and Chairs will differ, and you might get criticism either way. Every Chair will have their own limits and discretion. Hard to indicate rules. Your moderator at Town Meeting is a different style that prior moderators. Different style.

    Franz – a ruling by a Chair can be appealed.

    Daniel – staff could review public participation rules for VLCT – it was kinda useful. Maybe you can look through and find anything useful for us? Any other points of discussion?

    John Potter – two things – I thought our consent agenda rules were in this – they were in a prior version. Should we add it in? (yes) The other thing is some boards will do a hard stop at a certain time, do you want to consider any language like that, or a procedure to vote to extend at a certain point.

    Peter – if we have to… but easier not to.

    Liz – it is a goal of Daniel’s that I respect, but let’s not constrain ourselves.

    Daniel – VTrans went long – I didn’t tell them to hurry it up. I did watch the time. We’ll try to write agendas that anticipate the discussion.

    Peter – It will be what it will be.

    Daniel – I don’t want to do this work after 9:30 at night. So, we have a number of modifications so we aren’t adopting them tonight. Pull back the motion? Table it? Tabled until next meeting. Public? We have a meeting on the 16th and one on the 23rd as a regular meeting. So, the 23rd.

    Daniel – okay, two more things – review selectboard goals. We made the following goals last summer (reads old goals). We are recognizing that these are in place. No comments on them now. We will have a goal setting retreat, so we can schedule that… public? okay… sometimes we talk amongst ourselves and are forgetful.

    John Potter – one proposal for the retreat is to do two days – an afternoon on Friday for department heads talk about what they are seeing and update you on last years goals, then on Saturday morning, have your own discussions about goals. That is suggested by Staff.

    Liz – sounds great.

    Richard – Friday afternoon – they are okay with a heavy meeting on a Friday afternoon? (better than coming on Saturday)

    Potter – could be Wednesday or Thursday.

    Liz – Friday would be best for our Saturday meeting.

    Potter – June 3 last year. Two extra meetings in April, how about in May?

    Liz – I think so – May.

    Potter – you have a meeting on 7th and 21st. Maybe the 17th and 18th?

    Franz – I am in NYC on the 16th. I could probably get back on the 17th. Not a convenient date for me, depending on when we start.

    Liz – the following week is Memorial Day Weekend.

    Potter – 10th and 11th

    Franz – away for a graduation.

    Peter – may 31 and June 1

    Daniel – can’t do it.

    Peter – not doing it this year.

    Franz – if it has to be the 17th and 18th I can make it happen, depending on NYC traffic.

    Daniel – May 17th with staff 2-6pm and Saturday the 18th. 9-1

    Peter – I have to work on satrudays, but both days are clear for me.

    Daniel – we agree? Public comment?

    Liz – I like what you said about staff report on progress of goals and more info about the subject matter, more info about safety zones, you know, each item we’ll want fleshed out. Not just goals but where we are going.

    Franz – we should submit suggestions in advance so town staff can comment on those things, so they know what we are thinking about for the coming year.

    Daniel – Sue Fillion led us through a process.

    Liz – I like the goals we have and they are not done. We might bring up additional items, but dom’t want to abandon those goals.

    Peter – I think we need to set timelines, and goals for the goals, to show some traction. We had a great time, but the work stopped when we left the room.

    Liz – we need more. Stick with what we have..

    Peter – and set goals for them…

    Franz – we have additional goals, through the budget process. We made commitments and allocated resources.

    Daniel – I’d distinguish things that are happening vs goals. The word is priorities, where we as a board setting policy, we want to work in these areas. Coming back to the priorities – maybe some written material can be sent ahead of time, for easier retention. Much has happened on the priorities from last year, so written reports on them and what may be forthcoming.

    Potter -we did that in January. This is the first time we did this. We can get better at identifying these and working them into the budget. Turning priorities into the budget .

    Daniel – we’re 30 min behind.

  • Western Ave contract

    Franz – I have a specific question.

    Sue Fillion – I’m requesting authorization for a 60k contract to look at Western Ave and 2 intersections – William and Guilford street. I had concerns we brought to the board and you were supportive. I got an estimate and we didn’t have funding back then, but ARPA funds made the intersection a priority and SLR gave a review estimate.

    Franz – the reason i wanted this off the consent agenda – it didn’t go out to bid. We shouldn’t;t do that on consent. It looks like a great proposal, but I think we should hear why a noncompetitive bidding process was best.

    Liz – as member of the Traffic Safety Committee – I have urged them to hire and expert engineer for two years now. It is important to have a relationship with a traffic engineer that knows the town. Repeated engaging the same engineer we’ll get someone with a better understanding of the town. I think it is important to continue to hire a traffic engineer. We welcome that expertise. This spot in particular is tricky due to cars and bikes… we need an expert to tease out the elements . We also want Williams street included because it is tricky. One engineer looks at the whole stretch of road.

    Peter – I just got an email from the Vermont Country Deli owner – “I want to support this”

    Franz – good to put a noncompetitive contract on the consent agenda? The explanation was good. For the public, there should be some mention of no soliciting other bids.

    Liz – I think town staff and town manager should be flexible about when something doesn’t need a full airing and we trust town staff to be within their guidelines. It defeats the idea of consent if we can’t accept staff judgement.

    Daniel – we are veering away from the agenda item.

    Richard – the background description says it will be done by the end of the year…

    Sue – that’s the design phase. They wonder if a light is needed at Living Memorial Park so they want to get a good traffic count this fall.

    Richard – final date?

    Sue – design by mid December.

    Daniel – public?

    Liz makes motion



    Daniel – thanks so much, BCTV, public, whomever else…

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