Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting 2019

Representative Town Meeting 2019

Brattleboro Representatives are holding their Representative Town Meeting. The crowd is slowly gathering at the gym, where those elected will be talking town and school business for most of the day. Will they approve an extra 1% local option tax? Will there be surprises, twists, and turns? We will find out.

The Town portion of business  comes first, and there are a number of preliminary formalities to endure before actual business begins. I’ll probably pick things up here when they get to about Article 10, which is deciding on some final spending for the Police-Fire project (no, it isn’t quite yet complete.) Lawrin Crispe is your moderator.

Here are your first nine articles:

 ARTICLE 1: To act on the Town’s Auditors’ report. 

ARTICLE 2: To see if the Town will authorize its Selectboard to employ a certified public accountant or public accountants. 

ARTICLE 3: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Clerk for a term of one year. 

ARTICLE 4: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Treasurer for a term of one year. 

ARTICLE 5: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Attorney for a term of one year. 

ARTICLE 6: To elect two representatives to the Capital Grant Review Board for a term of one year from March 25, 2019. Two members will be nominated from the floor. 

ARTICLE 7: To see if the Town will elect or appoint members to the Town Finance Committee for a term of one year from March 25, 2019. Members to be nominated from the floor. 

ARTICLE 8: To elect three Trustees for the Brooks Memorial Library to serve three years. The names for consideration for the term 2019-2022 are: Howard Burrows and Jane Southworth. The other person for consideration shall be nominated from the floor. 

ARTICLE 9: To see if the Town will authorize its Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of taxes, grants and other revenue. 

Comments | 22

  • Suspension of Rules

    RTM members that passed away in the last year: Nancy Miller, Don Webster, Ben Underhill, Sharry Manning, and Ronnie Johnson. Quite a team…

    BCTV struggles with some sound and streaming issues today. Workin’ it out….

    They didn’t do any of the first town articles.

    David Schoales asks they suspend rules and do School Business now, rather than at the end of the meeting. (Gonna be one of those days, eh?)

    Not debatable.

    Approved! 100-30

  • School Agenda

    Article 1 – school audit? – approved!

    Article 2 – employ a CPA? – approved!

    Article 3 – school district clerk? – approved!

    Article 4 – school district treasurer? – approved!

    Article 5 – school board salaries? – $3,000 for directors/ $5,000 for Chair? approved!

    Article 6 – be able to accept grants and aid? approved!

    Article 7 – Budget of $15,368,219? ($17,209 per equalized pupil. 5.2% higher than current year. If no budget is required, this is null and void.)

    School Board Vice Chair Kim Price – school continue to serve well. We have dedicated staff. Watch our video of school highlights. 720 students. Our trend is downward from 804 in 2003. Act 46 calls for a new supervisory union board. There hasn’t been a stay or repeal yet. Nothing has changed with the law. The transitional board was adjourned and moved until April 2. This made budget timing important. We are presenting a budget, just in case. Things may change. Everything is still in limbo. We don’t have an equalized student number for Brattleboro-only this year. The new union will likely bring a new budget to you by July 1. We may have some more business to do before union begins.

    Andrew Marchev – how would Brattleboro vote for a union district budget.

    Lyle Holiday – – There will be a warned meeting, like BUHS. All members invited to a meeting to vote.

    David Schoales – not decided if it will be Australian ballot or from the floor. You will determine that.

    Corwin Elwell – Still trying to wrap my head around this. Are you saying this body is no longer function after merger, to deal with school budget?

    Schoales – yes – town school district will not exist, it will be a merged district of four towns, and business will be transacted at that meeting.

    Elwell – I assume lawyers have reviewed this?

    Schools – if nothing changes, yes, we’ll follow that procedure.

    Andy Davis – I commend board for thinking of necessity of passing this budget and presenting it. The action in legislature and courts is speculative at this point. A wide range of opinions in four towns, but the prudent thing is to pass this budget, because we need to follow a path to having budget regardless of what happens. This budget becomes basis for merged budget if that is what happens. It would be wise to support this today.

    Mary McCloughlin – are other towns doing this too?

    Lyle Holiday – Guilford hasn’t, but others have. Guilford will have a special town meeting if needed.

    Orion Barber – Sorry but I’m slow. The way I read this (bctv cuts out…)… and even if we did it, the money would be amalgamated with other towns into one budget that some other meeting would approve? I’m looking through a fog bank here, so I may not have it clearly. I wish somebody would say ‘here’s how you are going to know this article has become null and void.’

    Schoales – you will know if we merged into a consolidated district by July 1. We’re waiting for legislature to end…

    Barber – so a rocket will go up and I’ll know?

    Frank Rucker – april 2 there is a meeting – an organizational meeting of the new merged entity and transition board will be appointed. They will set election date for new board and annual meeting date for that budget you are asking about. The transition board sets the meeting date for that budget.

    Emmanuel Keppel – I support this – the preparedness. We should be prepared for every outcome. Schools are important cornerstone of town.

    Stuart Copans – how is per pupil spending compares with state guidelines and, 2, if budget is thrown out, the new board Brattleboro will not have proportional representation. We’ll be under-represented.

    Crispe – now is not the time for an Act 46 discussion. This is budget.

    Rucker – cost per student – compared to an index set by legislature each year. We’re below that number.

    Elizabeth McCloughlin – the merger already occurred so this is the fallback position? Correct?

    Lyle Holiday – yes. This will be considered when merged budget is combined.

    Ralph Meima – what happens if this budget is not passed in today’s meeting?

    Rucker – this is a contingency plan, so if a merger goes forward under present law, then there would be no consequence. On the other hand, if the present law changes, this is backup, so you’d need another special meeting to consider the budget (if this doesn’t;t pass)

    Lissa Weinmann – with falling enrollment and budget pressures, foreign nationals could participate at high school, and in private schools, but not in public schools. Chinese nationals could pay big sums to come here. Has that been considered by school board? Pressure federal government to equalize that for public schools.

    (no – this is just town school budget)

    Budget passes.

  • Town Business- Articles 1-9

    Back to Town Business.

    These, I’m certain, will all be approved:

    ARTICLE 1: To act on the Town’s Auditors’ report.

    ARTICLE 2: To see if the Town will authorize its Selectboard to employ a certified public accountant or public accountants.

    ARTICLE 3: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Clerk for a term of one year.

    Hilary Francis appointed.

    ARTICLE 4: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Treasurer for a term of one year.

    John O’Connor appointed.

    ARTICLE 5: To see if the Town will ratify, approve and confirm the Selectboard’s appointment of a Town Attorney for a term of one year.

    Fisher & Fisher it is.

    ARTICLE 6: To elect two representatives to the Capital Grant Review Board for a term of one year from March 25, 2019. Two members will be nominated from the floor.

    Georges Herzog and Kathy Urffer appointed.

    ARTICLE 7: To see if the Town will elect or appoint members to the Town Finance Committee for a term of one year from March 25, 2019. Members to be nominated from the floor.

    Franz Reichsman says getting a quorum was a problem. Some people didn’t understand scope of task in front of them. Had difficulties getting to all meetings. We had some discussions about the committee, and we have some names of people able to commit fully.

    Maya Hasegawa, Dr. Coplan, Conor Floyd, David Levenbach, Franz Reichsman, Oscar Heller, Mary White… appointed.

    ARTICLE 8: To elect three Trustees for the Brooks Memorial Library to serve three years. The names for consideration for the term 2019-2022 are: Howard Burrows and Jane Southworth. The other person for consideration shall be nominated from the floor.

    Howard Burrows, Jane Southworth, Elizabeth Ran, John R. Woodward appointed.

    ARTICLE 9: To see if the Town will authorize its Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of taxes, grants and other revenue.


  • Article 10 - Police -Fire

    ARTICLE 10: To see if the Town will authorize the following expenditures from the proceeds of the Police-Fire Facilities Bonds issued in furtherance of Representative Town Meeting’s approvals on October 20, 2012, and on March 12, 2016:

    (a) Approximately $150,000 to construct a Carport at the Police Station.
    (b) Approximately $100,000 to replace the “High Roof Area” at the Police Station.
    (c) Approximately $33,000 to purchase and install a Digital Alarm Receiver at Central Dispatch.
    (d) $64,725 to reimburse the Town’s Capital Fund for a payment to Green Mountain Communications for purchase and installation of a Radio Console at Central Dispatch in 2017.
    (e) $10,000 to Austin Design for design of the Police Station Carport.

    And to further see if the Town will authorize that upon completion of the above listed five (5) expenditures in their entirety, any remaining funds from the Police-Fire Facility Bonds issued in furtherance of Representative Town Meeting approvals on October 20, 2012, and on March 12, 2016, be transferred to the Capital Fund to be used for future capital expenditures at the discretion of future Selectboards and Representative Town Meetings.

    Kate O’Connor (answers question) – carport will help police cars get out faster.

    Art Meiss – snow removal is part of life, and there aren’t a lot of costs with snow removal. This is operational, want to make motion to remove A and E regarding carport.

    Motion to amend and remove carport….

    George Harvey – whenever I see carport I think of solar voltaic systems that can be put on them. This should surely have one, and it would make the Town money. I’d recommend the design be done with that in mind for that purpose.

    Kate O’Connor – I’d ask Chief of Police to speak to this.

    Chief Fitzgerald – this wasn’t a critical issue for us at start of project. We do operational checks out in the elements. It’s more than snow removal. We go through complete inspections each day when it goes out and when it comes back into the station. It’s extensive. Not critical to our operations, but it is important. We have 12 vehicles , 3 officers on road minimum to move them around for plowing. Vehicles covered in snow can’t head out immediately when called.

    Michael Bosworth – if carport goes forward, it should be designed for solar panels. Shortsighted if not. If we don’t spend it on this, then what would we spend it on? It’s from a bond that has to be spent on this project.

    Peter Elwell – design has already been done to get us this estimate, and is a commercial carport. It looks some work to keep the costs down. $10k to Austin is owed to them already. The solar was a part of our design requirements. It can take it in the future. It’s ready for that.

    Alex Fischer – police is just one responder in town. We have others – so could we improve roads with that, so emergency vehicles could get around more easily. Something for all emergency responders rather than just police?

    Dave Emery – I was on committee for Police Fire project. These proposals were discussed and approved by the committee. I’d urge you to not take these out. Protecting cars is good, and money is already there for this. It’s not new spending.

    Daniel Quipp – would having carport have effect on lifespan of vehicles?

    Chief – we rotate vehicles. We do have three vehicles that get less mileage than others. Last replacement was for rust, so yes it would have some effect, but it would be minimal.

    Summer Burch – as a nurse, I depend on police for speedy response in emergency room. It’s important.

    David Schoales – oversight committee has always recommended we do this. A long process. The building is designed to hold solar panels.

    Richard Campbell – just used as a carport, or also for search and seizure?

    Chief Fitzgerald – we do have sally ports, so we can process indoors. Cruiser pulls in, port door closes, and that was designed for safety. Officers search cars each time before going out. Need to know everything is safe and working.

    Mr. Chapman has called the question.

    Debate ceases on motion to amend to remove carport from proposal?

    Nope. 89-46. Debate continues…

    Anne Moore Odell – money comes from bond – don’t we have to spend it on this project?

    Kate O’Connor – it would be on capital projects determined by RTM.

    George Harvey – I should have known the design included the solar. Sorry for earlier comments.

    Nancy Barber – the issue of response time is really important. If they have to clear off snow, that increases response time. I say leave carport in.

    D1 guy – have we had a carport before? Police are in vehicles so aren’t they already cleared, so would it increase response time?

    Chief – not a carport at previous facilities. Layout prevented it. Yes, if there is a major incident, we have officers on road but if we need more, a carport will reduce response time.

    Dr. Tortolani – we have to pay off work already done, so we should take that out of this amendment. (E).

    Kathryn Turnas – I get impression we’re going to get easy snow – we get ice storms and that makes a big difference in response times. They need to be able to leave safely, and on time.

    Andrew Marchev – estimate of time we’re currently spending now because we have no carport?

    Chief – depends on size of the storm. Have to move 12 vehicles for the plow to go through, then move them back. Not best use of your law enforcement resources.

    Arlene Distler – it makes sense to me to have a carport, but wish we had a drawing of it. It’s a lot of money for a carport. Why so expensive?

    Peter Elwell – it is a substantial design, to last a long time and to support the solar eventually, if we want. One thing that got changed is it was a cantilever design, but posts were now included in a staggered manner. Structural elements caused it to cost more. We got it down to this price.

    Michael Bosworth – town gets 80% of solar thru agreement with landfill, there may be a way to add to electricity going out to the grid. We could make money selling electricity from solar panels.

    D2 – It says staff recommends a carport, but a strong recommendation for the roof. Why is the roof a strong recommendation, but not for carport?

    Elwell – that’s from language when we considered the carport. Since project has been completed, this older part of roof that wasn’t replaced has been leaking, so it needs to be done. The 33k for the fire department dispatch – for $2,500 we can move from 1990’s to 2020 technology, to upgrade alarm connections. Current piece is worn out and needs replacement. So that’s essential. Carport – we think is really important, the committee agrees, the chief agrees, staff agrees, select board agrees.

    Sonia Silbert – I think it should go to roads for all emergency responders. That’s $150k is almost what we are giving to social services. I appreciate that it is annoying to check cars outside each day, but not a priority for the community.

    D1 – I’ve been on both sides. If we don’t spend it now, not sure what we’d spend it on later to benefit people with lower incomes. A faster response would help benefit those in domestic violence situations or need officer quickly…

    Abigail Mnookin – I support amendment and a progressive vision. Put our money where our mouth is. Spending the same for a carport that we spend on human services is obnoxious. Is there a real issue with response time now? Are people complaining about icy vehicle delays now?

    Call the question – cease debate on amendment?

    Debate ceases on amendment. 102-32. Now to vote on amendment.

    Take out the carport? Amendment defeated.

    Vote on original motion.

    Lissa Weinmann – any surplus has to be spent on capital expenses. Can’t be social services, right? (yes)

    They vote – it passes.

  • Whining about blocking the view

    Thanks, BCTV, for your usual great job. Now I’ll whine.
    The large ID plaque across the screen blocks out watching all the interaction amongst the attendees. It’s a great part of watching TM, who’s talking to whom, and not being able to see the human interaction takes away part of the hubbubbing aspect.

  • Article 11 - the 1% Local Option Sales tax

    The representatives return from a 15 minute break to discuss the following:

    ARTICLE 11: To see if the Town will assess a one per cent (1%) local option sales tax in accordance with 24 V.S.A. Section 138.

    Tim Wessel – I’ll steal a line from Josh Steele, I bet you are tired of hearing about this from me. The reason this keeps coming up is that select board’s spend time with the budget, looking for revenues. It keeps coming up because it is a good idea. A good penny. I’ll coin that phrase. Bad joke. It is in your hands. Why now? We have an advantage now – we don’t have to fear the sales tax on the internet. Is is coming in. If you shop online, you’ll be assessed a tax. We need to alleviate the tax burden. People are deciding to buy houses in surrounding communities. Concerned about division of haves and have-nots, and every segment needs to be considered. This will have little effect. Tax shoppers, illegally shopping elsewhere are already lost to Brattleboro merchants. Adding 1% won’t break anything. People don’t shop based upon sales tax. No vacations are planned on taxes. It’s not perfect. There is tax on shampoo and sunscreen. I have a chair that needs a screw, and I don’t use the perfect tool. Someday I’ll use the perfect tool, but right now, this is the tool we have for property tax relief. I hope people consider this penny for Brattleboro. This body has recently decided to fund a new sidewalk plow, a tripling of skatepark contribution… so there is a responsibility to tend to the revenue side of things. It shifts the burden to those who can afford it, and to visitors. Remember who you serve. many struggle to pay taxes and rent. This will help us out. We’ll hear later of 12% rise in health care costs. An expense we must deal with, and part of that is on the revenue side. We need it and I hope you consider it.

    CRISPE – any discussion on this?

    Craig Miskovitch – my concern is that this is put on backs of locals who buy things. 30% of the tax will go to state of Vermont. So we’ll only get 7-%. It’s regressive, taxing the first dollar. Same tax paid regardless of income. The property tax is progressive. I have a 400k house and pay 4x as much tax as a 100k house. There are income sensitivities built-in, too. If we move it from municipal to consumption tax, I’ll get four times the benefit. Rich people will get the benefit from moving forma progressive real estate tax to regressive tax on locals. Locals spend money in community. 17% comes from visitors. We’ll be taxing ourselves. These aren’t non-essential items. Local people buy them in local places. It is inefficient, regressive tax on local people who buy local items, replacing a progressive tax on high income people. I’ll benefit by $100, but it is a bad idea for the town of Brattleboro.

    HB Lozito – People who live here paying the most, is there a way for locals to opt-out of this by showing something?

    Town Atty Fisher – the state laws determine who gets taxed. No ability to amend to exempt local residents. A matter of state law.

    Daniel Quipp – I was wondering if it was possible for retailers to choose to reduce the price of their goods by the amount of tax to compete… we could choose to price our items lower.

    Mollie Burke – Some other things – there might be other options. One thing is transportation committee is considering extra money to town highway aid fund, so more money coming to reduce taxes for roads in Brattleboro. Another thing – the limited self government issue, that might give opportunities for other revenue. Keep it in mind.

    Mike Hoffman – hard to believe there will be any significant benefit to the property tax. Maybe a little at the end of the year. Less of a tax and more of a cost-of-living fee for living here. People will drink no mater what the tax – a sin tax works well. Marijuana would be a potential tax that exists. I could be in favor, if I knew what we were going to do with it. What are we going to do with the money? Is it a tax or a fee?

    Ralph Meima – I remember when this came up six or seven years ago, and there was impassioned debate on both sides. I find myself torn. I got a call from a DBA member to vote against it. The more I read, especially from finance committee, I leaned toward supporting it. I’ve been looking for more info. One worry, there is a reconciliation of tax section in our booklet. If you look there, on Dec 31, the balances. It looks like an increase in uncollected taxes. Is there such a trend. Is property taxes uncollected a growing number, or a blip? Other question is a reference to an 85% tax burden without this tax. What is typical for a hub town on a state border – are they also at 85%, or what? Can you help us interpret these numbers?

    Elwell – first is easy – uncollected taxes. Yes. The Town recovers all taxes owed through tax sale process. This is pretty low compared with other towns. Not really relevant. The 85% burden is relevant, but different towns make different decisions about fees and funds. Bennington has a number of volunteer fire services, unlike here. We have a better centralized quality of service and we pay it though our taxes. Hard to compare. Here in Brattleboro, property taxes are 85% of our revenue today, and if services remain the same, there is limited ability under state law to reduce the tax burden without reducing services or adding taxes.

    Josh Steele – I agree with BDCC. I understand how vulnerable businesses are in town. Please reject this.

    Juni Pereira – have you consulted with organizations that are against this proposal – have they offered up any viable proposals as alternatives?

    Kate O’Connor – when selectboard voted, there was no public participation. We had two meetings, I voted against it. We didn’t ask anyone about it. Didn’t ask merchants or public.

    David Schoales – Not the first time this came up. We heard much the last time this came up. The most important part is we continue to support this. We get people all year long asking for things, and asking for lower property taxes. The thing we hear the most is high property tax. It’s the only thing we have available.

    Tim Wessel – this body has approached this several times, and we respect this body, and this body must make the decision. Not much discussion was needed at selectboard, since this body makes the decision.

    Chris Chapman – I voted in favor of this tax. I have since regretted it. I wasn’t as informed as I was on the issues. It is speculative that out of town shoppers will increase our revenue that much. The matter of property tax as a reduction in business taxes that come into the town. It’s been shrinking. It’s increasingly on property owners to fund the town. Taxes are used to change behavior – we got an article sent yesterday to us- over the years, sales taxes have shown a difference in growth in VT vs NH. We don’t match their growth. Amount spent per capital is lower in VT than NH. Formation of businesses has been greater on NH side. A comparison has been made to rooms and meals tax spending – they are more competitive with NH at 9% to our 10%. I feel I should not vote in favor of this tax, even though the reason was similar to the board’s point of view. You see reasonable expenses, presented by professionals. When they ask for something you have to balance what they need and what property tax payers can afford. A big gap there. More hope in this idea than reality.

    Cassandra Holloway – Tim, you sent an email to us. You thought this would be $54, or $100…

    Wessel – the effect… the municipal side of things… a reduction of 1.5% in municipal side tax. vs 2.7% increase. The $54 per $100 was the savings on the municipal side. When you double that it is about $108 in savings for a $200k house.

    Holloway -a $200k would need to spend $10k a year in local payments to start to not see a savings.

    Wessel – yes. Visitors to Brattleboro, too.

    Holloway – people who have less money tend to consume less. WE doin have to travel to save money, but try to buy locally. The likelihood of me spending $10k in town is unlikely, so I’ll vote in favor. I’m trying to save on property taxes.

    Jesse Kayan – progressive vs regressive. I don’t see this as progressive, especially for renters. We have a tight vacancy rate and rental market. For property owners will see this tax but I doubt it will be passed on, who will also pay the extra 1%. What is most likely, the people at the lowest end will pay twice – in rent and purchases.

    Georges Herzog – we like idea of tourists paying our taxes, but we can’t expect them to pay that much. State of VT gets their share. The contribution of tourists would be about what the state of Vermont charges us. (A wash)

    Jim Maxwell – this is tough, and board has thought long and hard about this. Impressed. It’s a complex machine. Can’t just think of the lever – also need to think of where the marbles come out. If we lose retail, we lose the tax and lose incentive to open stores here. I see empty stores. Can we assume our retail environment will be vibrant, and if not, the tax es won’t be there and a new retailer might not start up.

    Pal Borofsky – I’m one of the owners of Sam’s. 62 years. It’s been there 87 years. We debated this 1% sales tax at least twice before. We used to be more like Keene in 80’s. Now they’ve grown. Lots of car places in Keene. Lots of places opening on edge of NH. This will increase the tax burden. A third goes to the state of Vermont. You save shopping in NH. WE have stores in other states, and have parking lots with free parking at them. Internet is hurting some business, but Hadley and Keene are growing. Brattleboro is not. We’ve lost volume, and having trouble meeting costs to operate. Brattleboro is only in business because of other two. WE’re selling our building. I bet that in 5 years we won’t be in downtown Brattleboro. We’ve lost people when C&S moved to Keene. Keene and NH has volume and no sales tax. Incentives to come to Keene. Variety for the whole family. They have traction we don’t have in Brattleboro. When you have negative problems up front like traffic and parking. We lost Bakers (since the 30’s) – no buyer. Fireside is downsized. Lost Netwon Business machine. Radio Shack. Lost 5-6 in last year and a half. Used to have lots more. A host of stores downtown. We’ve lost almost all retail atmosphere. You are driving business out of the community with these taxes.

    Everingham(?) – wouldn’t you need to spend $15k because of what we have to pay to the state? The inefficiency is the issue for me.

    Oscar Heller – The idea that the tax is inefficient – to me, that’s an administrative fee. Otherwise we’d have to collect the tax and pay for it. It’s not important of how much goes where, it is what is the projected revenue after their share. The state share isn’t that important. sales taxes are regressive. It does exempt groceries and clothing. If we vote down the tax I hope we remember it when complaints about property taxes come up. I plan to vote for it. Likely to do more good than harm. It is an experiment. We should come back next year willing to repeal if it did more harm than good, though that will be hard when it is part of the budget.

    Robert Clements – both arguments have merits. Perceptions. Merchants have most interaction with residents and tourists. Merchants will take a new tax into consideration. Many shoppers go to NH or internet, now face opposition from local government.

    Tom Franks – I don’t know what we’ll do if we don’t pass this. I voted against this last time. IN my own life, sometimes don’t just do something, sit there is a good idea. We may address this in other ways later in this meeting. Our problems are that we are a hub town. We have great services. The richer people will make out better with this. I always regret using the wrong tool. Let’s wait for the right tool, rather than just use what’s at hand.

    Brandie Starr – I don’t like to compare VT and NH, because we have Act 250. Many factors go into NH and VT comparisons. How are we helping the retailers? We’ll help with Article 14 – be open to benefit many people. Marketing money for downtown. I’d like more for human services. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Our job is to benefit everyone across the board. This will help property owners. Rental inspections will help renters. Marketing money will help downtown retail. I’m going to vote for every sector, because that is my job and it is your job too.

    Michael Bosworth – I get it that retail is rally tough, and a big difference between VT and NH, and respect studies done to show effects. But, I don’t buy that raising the tax 1% will make much of a difference. I do accept that town and property tax could benefit from additional revenues, but also arguments about his being regressive. I can afford property taxes here. I’ll probably vote in favor of it this time, but agree it would be wise to examine this in a year. This has been a rich debate. I appreciate what the Chamber has put out, what SeVEDS has put out, and leadership of selectboard on this.

    Colby Dix – I lived in Dover and helped get it going there. It is a resort town and so much comes from out of towners, and we had a specific use for those funds – events and economic development. I have a hard time justifying this to see this money wash away into property taxes. I’d like to see it tied to specific projects’ endless of a benefit to the well off. Killington just rescinded their 1% sales tax and they are a resort town. Just some information. I’d like to see this earmarked for something other than property tax relief.

    Greg Worden – lotta good thoughts going into this. I’m a downtown retailer, for over 30 years. We’ve seen this come top at least 4 times before now. Yesterday I walked around town for an hour and a half and gathered 49 signatures from merchants and employees opposed to this tax. Whether it is actual or not, the effect is perception. We’re down here every day, the front lines for the face of the town. We tell people where they can stay, eat, or maybe enjoy living. A vital downtown is key to attracting people. This 1% doesn’t feel good for shoppers and people downtown. Just had an increase in parking fees. Employees now paying more to work for us. A new tax on top of that feels like another nail in the coffin. Most businesses are filled, but if they start to decline and grandest goes down, the property taxes will go up even more. I hope you vote against it. These are some of the worst times for retail. Maybe home rule will help. Vote against this.

    Paula Melton – The last time we voted it down, it had gone through a referendum. One thing I like is that residents and businesses that rent, it could help stabilize rent, but I have some skepticism about it. Does selectboard have authority to put in rent stabilization?

    Fisher – haven’t looked into that.

    Melton – if possible, I’d ask for the Selectboard to look into it.

    Cade Glover-Yellovich – calls the question

    Shall debate cease? It doesn’t look like… lets’ see. 44-88, so debate continues.

    Crispe – a reminder to keep remarks to about 2 minutes. Many want to talk.

    Amir Flesher – if you shop in NH, pay the tax.

    Spoon Agave – reminder, a progressive tax is assessed on ability to pay, a regressive tax is equal on everyone regardless of ability to pay. In principle, I oppose any regressive tax. However, if someone said, if we pass the 1% and raise this for a health clinic open 7 days a week, I’d consider. Or $660k for affordable housing, or free bus service, or internet service for all… but to raise that money, mostly from local shoppers, has never worked in the history of the country to give money to property owners and think we’d benefit. Look around. I oppose this tax.

    Deb Zak – haven’t made up my mind. Hearing that economy is fragile, for residents and retail business folks. How do we solve this issue. Are we thinking as creatively as we should? We are a small community, and we have three dollar stores. And an ALDI”s. They all seem to be thriving. We also have a transportation system that takes people to Walmart. Residents can’t afford to shop in downtown businesses. How do we support people in community who are financially strapped. It puts pressure on other services. So, part of our responsibility is not only to ensure a balance budget but that we are caring for well-being of people in community.

    George Harvey – I’ve lived around here much of my life and moved to town in 2004. I was shopping at Sams in 1957. People in Winchester doesn’t have sales tax, and they see stores that depend 100% on people who drive into town to buy things cheap. I know what it is like to be poor in both places. I’ll spend 1% extra when I buy soap, books… 1% really? What will I get? WE might see property taxes go down, or up, or we might see services increase or not… there’s no item that is ties to where the money is going. I expect that I’ll pay extra for soap, but will not see my rent decrease, and landlady property taxes probably won’t go down, and benefit will go to other people.

    Alex Fischer – Article has nothing about how money will be spent? Is it select board’s discretion in new fiscal year in July?

    Elwell – if adopted, later today, you could approve property taxes less assuming this revenue is coming, or the sb can spend it after July 1.

    Fischer – in regard to all the emails we got before the mtg, how may business owners live in town?

    Kate O’Connor – don’t know.

    Fischer – many people weighing in aren’t Brattleboro residents and were lobbying us. Debate should happen here. Not sure how I’ll vote. I work with many businesses as accountant – many issues face businesses…rise in rent downtown, health insurance, family leave act. I don’t see this as a huge hurdle. Businesses will move forward.

    Virginia Goodman – can we direct these funds to human services? (n0) Only for reducing property tax or something general?

    Crispe – this is whether to assess the tax. Later you can’t introduce new funding. The selectboard could consider it.

    Elwell – With the budget, you can set the amount but selectboard sets the details. But, today we have a human services article… and under that article, the body could approve the 1% here and increase the human services funding, then we’d need to advise you of the impact of your changes.

    Emily Kornheiser – the 30% going to the state get returned to the citizens as services for all of us. Could we amend this article to ask this go into a special fund?

    Crispe – no, not germane.

    Atty Fisher – how it is spent is a matter for the selectboard. I agree with moderator.

    Kathy Dowd – hopeful we adopt this to raise more money to invest in town and schools. We did not welcome big box stores and they relocated elsewhere. Many downtown businesses have online shopping. A portion of taxes go to support tax stabilization, veterans, and tax exempt properties. I’m a homeowner and landlord. I managed the Welcome Center. I see why visitors come to Vermont, and to Brattleboro. We shouldn’t be defined by neighboring states.

    Wendy Levy – 1% tax to disincentivized local shoppers? Unless we advertise it, most people won’t know. I’m low wage, and not a frequent shopper. What guides my purchases – quality, distance, can I afford it or do I wait? 1% is not going to change my mind.

    Terry Carter – when was the last time the tax… 7 years ago was the last time the tax was implemented? This 1%, next year we can end it, right? Renew it or not? We can end it in a year?

    Kate O’Connor – this body can do anything it wants on anything.

    Terry – ending it if it doesn’t play out well, and exploring other options. Second home owners should pay more in property taxes. People either have a big income or are scraping by. I’m not an expert, but these are options we can explore and re-address this in another year.

    Prudence McKinney – we’ve talked about the self rule article – will that allow us to raise more revenue?

    Elwell – it is a possibility. Pending legislation and not sure of final form, but we aspire to get more flexibility.

    Stuart Copans – Does anyone know how much is spent from Brattleboro for online companies – we have no idea how much money this would bring in. I spend a lot on books. The tax will be on mail order and locally. It would just impact money being spent in NH. NH is boring. It may be cheap but it is boring. I’d rather spend money in Brattleboro. I don’t shop at Walmart or Keene. MA used to have police at border, and NH had plainclothes folks watching who was buying beer. I was against the bus to Walmart, but Spoon changed my mind – most money is spent by those with cars. We need to protect our merchants from those who shop in Keene and don’t pay taxes.

    Emmanuel Keppel – I’m slightly weary of bringing this up every few years, then complain about property tax. There is an element that people don’t like taxes, and there is no perfect solution for everyone. I do worry about endless cycle of looking for perfect solution. One question for me is how will the 1% impact people going to NH. Any consumer studies? 1% seems to be a small amount.

    Wessel – I know what Kate will say. Research is a little suspect, because it was funded by interested parties. Put brain with guts… people who are going to NH for tax shopping to save 6% are already lost to Brattleboro merchants – how is adding 1% going to change?

    Kate O’Connor – study done by Art Wolf, PhD in Economics – VT sales tax at 3% first, then up to 6%. Per capita retail spending in NH was higher. Before taxes, it was equal.

    Mary White – it has been 2 hrs so I call the question.

    Cease debate? Looks like it. Yup. 90-37.

    Vote on article 11….looks close. They’ll have a division. where they count more closely.

    Adopted! 75 – 62

    1 hour recess. Til 2:05 pm.

  • Thanks Chris

    As ever, you document RTM so well.
    I’m glad the 1% increase went through.

  • Article 12 and 13

    ((Apologies for typos. I’m typing fast, folks, and spellcheck sometimes does weird things that I don’t notice. I’ll read over this all later… : ) ))

    Quorum in place and they move on to:

    ARTICLE 12: To see what salaries the Town will pay its Selectboard members.

    $3,000 each, and $5,000 for chair.


    ARTICLE 13: To see if the Town will transfer from the Unassigned General Fund Balance to the Capital Fund the sum of $295,000 for the purpose of replacing the windows in the Children’s Room at Brooks Memorial Library at an estimated cost of $25,000, replacing the swimming pool deck and warming shelter boiler at Living Memorial Park at an estimated cost of $100,000, and replacing a dump truck for the Public Works Department at an estimated cost of $170,000.


  • Article 14 - Promotion Money

    ARTICLE 14: To see if the Town will appropriate the sum of $42,119 from the Unassigned General Fund Balance for joint promotion of Brattleboro by the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance.

    Daniel Quipp – (BCTV sound problems)

    Crispe (sound problems) (gives it to the board to talk to the motion while sound problems worked out)

    Shanta Lee Gander – (sound problems) (It sounds like she is questioning the need for this…but I’m not certain) she gets applause.

    (BCTV’s mics are hissing, and it is almost impossible to hear anything right now. And coverage had frozen.)(Must be Russian interference in our democracy…)

    The screen is unfrozen, but now the hissing mics continue. Kate O’Connor is saying something. Retail is fragile…. we just passed a sales tax…. still hissing. Oh wait, it stopped. Yea!

    Jim Verzino – we owe it to merchants to give them this after passing the tax. Given what we’ve done, we owe it to them. I’ll vote yes, they need it.

    S. Rice – how will we know this is effective?

    Kate O’Connor – I can’t give you exact numbers…

    Rice – campaign for western ave a few years back…

    (sound still isn’t quite right)

    E. McCloughlin D3 – member of finance committee – finance committee report says it is skeptical. More info is needed about what it is for and who will do it, and how to measure it. WE recommend a budget be established like the sustainability fund. We suggest this article be modified, to be disbursed by selectboard after acceptance of satisfactory plan is presented. Chamber and DBA can create more detailed plan, then receive the funds.

    Crispe – is that an amendment? (yes)

    Discussion of finance committee amendment.

    Franz Reichsman – the finance committee thoughts on this. When this first came up, I was taken aback and shared concerns about vagueness and lack of specificity. On further reflection, it is a pretty good idea and takes us in right direction to move forward and gain in tax receipts, so we’d like to support it, but we don’t know what it is yet. So we thought we’d pitch it back to the selectboard. Board should look at this when ideas are presented. There is a bit of lack of focus for this plan, so we support it with stipulations.

    ?guy – if the body voted yes to the amendment and proposal, would that mean the money is allocated for that purpose and the board would just review the proposal?

    McCloughlin – yes, that’s what we envision. The town would get a plan and the board would review it. When the chamber and DBA came to finance committee…

    Dan Jeffries – concern about wording of “plan” – eliminate reference to the evaluation.

    McCloughlin – the wording says “acceptance of satisfactory plan for use of funds and evaluation of results…” the plan would show the plan and the measurement of results.

    Jeffries – I appreciate the explanation.

    Michael Hoffman – if we do this right, we can use these funds as a fee to create more funds. It will create more by bringing in more through taxes. WE could tun it into 100k if we do it right. Then we could really do something with the funds.

    Robert Oeser – $43k is 10% of the rooms and meals tax. In this room, on Dec 7 2006 we had a motion to assess the 1% on rooms and meals. The supporter said that many taxpayers were struggling and this proposal is an option to reduce tax burden. That’s the stated purpose of the local option tax when create. It’s probably not a legal obligation, but that was the rationale for the motion. The question I have is coordination. This is 42k for a marketing plan. The 80k for DBA. Then 24k for SeVEDS… marketing in all of those. Look at all of them and hopefully they could all coordinate on a marketing plan that helps Brattleboro.

    Brandie Starr – I was a marketing person at the bank. It can be challenging to look at numbers to spend on intangibles like marketing. We could write any plan… it is important to keep some flexibility. We can measure things better now. I’m fine with looking at a plan. Some people might not understand and micromanage. I’m in favor of this, for merchants.

    Elissa Weinmann – the DBA budget does include marketing. As for the amendment, the money raised for rooms and meals, what is that used for?

    Crispe – not germane.

    Elwell – some sound problems with the broadcast sound. Money isn’t for a particular purpose. General revenue.

    Weinmann – This is supposed to help downtown business, but there was no plan then and no plan now. For $40k, we should have some sense of what it will be spent on. I have to do more to get a small grant. They should provide us with some sense of what we’ll use it for. Some should go to arts, to allow 3% of this 10% for the arts. Create a project that can be marketed by the Chamber and DBA. We should know where the 40k is going.

    Oscar Heller – you can spend unlimited amounts in any direction…

    Brenda Siegal (from outside the gallery) – I went to DBA to talk about collaboration with arts. They will market arts project, and I’m not against this, but I ask that arts be included.

    Amendment passes. Selectboard review of funds!

    Back to original motion. To give $43k or so to marketing.

    Tom Franks – DBA and Chamber have long history of promotions. We are discussing whether they should work together to market things.

    Alex Fischer – when I see plans…I don’t know if this is enough without seeing quotes. Is this even in the ballpark to benefit Brattleboro? There is a lack of people of color… so who is promoting Brattleboro, and the leadership of that? They are non-representative of what we want. Every issue starts with leadership. I’m careful about who leads a charge.

    Kate – the Chamber has different, diverse members. I can’t tell you their ethnic or sexual orientation. I hear what you are saying, but the organization is broader.

    Alex – yes, but I’m talking about the leadership and who is making the plans. It’s not a personal attack. Just need to be thinking about it as a town. We have a choice to decide how we want Brattleboro to look.

    Stephanie from DBA – we represent residents and businesses. It will fund the arts through marketing. Rooms & meals brings in money, and we want to make sure we look at this revenue and make sure locals come to Brattleboro, visitors…. if it is a secret, they will never come. This promotes Brattleboro and the community, not what I think. We did an outreach to two people but they don’t want to do an rip until money is approved. They can work with any amount. We’ll do the best with what we have.

    HB Lozito – I’m concerned we won’t promote some things…

    Andy Davis – the public private partnership – what is the rough promotion budget for each organization without this money? What are we adding to?

    O’Connor – we’re small so about $10k a year but also some donations for other things.

    Schoales – individual businesses can’t do this kind of promotion. this kind of promotion can attract businesses. The DBA has a track record.

    Wendy Levy – Article 14 is an idea, not a proposal. Bring us substance.

    question is called…

    Shall debate be ceased. Looks like it… 95-34 yes.

    Vote on amendment now. It passes. Marketing money!

  • Article 15- DID

    ARTICLE 15: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of $80,000 through special assessments on properties within the Downtown Improvement District (as approved by Town Meeting March 19, 2005, and as delineated in the Town Ordinance entitled “Municipal Act to Establish and
    Regulate the Downtown Improvement District”) to be used for capital and operating costs of projects of the Town’s duly designated downtown organization as reflected in its work plan and budget.

    Weinmann – this special assessment – how will it be made? Who is impacted?

    Kate O’Connor – not a tax on everyone. Just on property owners downtown.

    Shanta Lee Gander – where does someone see where this money is going?

    Stephanie Bowman, DBA – I’m the director. The 80k is part of our 120k total budget. It funds the downtown organization, in the DID. It covers programs and events, improving downtown, and leading downtown. We have a community calendar we bought software for. Working issues We have someone that feeds meters. It’s fun. Work on safety at Transportation Center. Signs. Art installations. And we track where we are headed. We’re going to a conference about downtowns.

    Weinmann – I appreciate the DBA work…

    The article is approved.

  • Article 16 - Mountain Home

    ARTICLE 16: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of $223,276.47 through special assessments on property within the “Mountain Home Park Special Benefit Assessment Tax District” (as approved by Town Meeting, March 24, 2007, and as delineated in the Town Ordinance entitled “Municipal Act to Establish and Regulate the Mountain Home Park Special Benefit Assessment Tax District”) for the purpose of paying debt service on the capital improvements to the water and sewer lines serving the Mountain Home and Deepwood Mobile Home Parks.

    (BCTV sound still has interference.. like a radio signal bleeding through now in one channel.)

    Jeffries – how has debt service been paid before (annual appropriation) Okay.


  • Article 17 - Human Services (and Articles 18 and 19...)

    ARTICLE 17: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of $147,300 to support human service programs and facilities for the residents of Brattleboro to be allocated among service providers in the following manner: Aids Project of Southern Vermont – $2,000; American Red Cross – NH and VT Region – $2,000; Big Brothers Big Sisters – $7,500; Boys & Girls Club – $15,000; Brattleboro Area Adult Day (Gathering Place) – $4,000; Brattleboro Area Hospice – $1,500; Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition – $5,000; Brattleboro Centre for Children – $5,000; Brattleboro Senior Meals – $7,000; Family Garden – $2,500; Green Mountain Crossroads – $5,000; Green Mountain RSVP – $700; Groundworks Collaborative – $20,000; Health Care & Rehabilitation Services – $3,500; Meeting Waters-YMCA – $7,500; Senior Solutions – $3,000; Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc. (SEVCA) – $12,000; Turning Point – $12,500; Vermont Center for Independent Living – $1,600; Vermont Family Network – $1,500; Windham County Humane Society – $1,000; Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center and Southeastern Unit for Special Investigations – $2,500; Women’s Freedom Center – $7,500; Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Summer Food Program – $7,500; Youth Services – $10,000.

    Kate O’Connor – the human services committee reviews applications and comes up with this list.

    Robert Oeser – I’d like to suspend rules to consider other articles at same time, adding 18 and 19…

    Crispe – that requires 2/3 majority…

    Orion Barber – as I hear it, we’ll talk about all three then vote once?

    Fisher – no – you’d discuss all three, but you can’t pass over an article, so you’ll not on each one.

    Kathy Urffer – when we go back to vote, is there an opportunity for more discussion? (yes)

    Crispe – suspend rules and talk about 17, 18, and 19 simultaneously?

    Yes! 97-38

    ARTICLE 18: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to $4,000 to be added to the FY20 budget to support KidsPLAYce for the residents of Brattleboro.

    ARTICLE 19: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to $12,200 to be added to the FY20 budget to support Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire for the residents of Brattleboro.

    Franz Reichsman – this came up. The process is that requests to human services budget be submitted for review. This year, some missed the deadline and is why they are separate. Finance Committee feels those agencies are important, but missed deadline. The upshot is we didn’t think they need to be penalized, but not rewarded for missing deadline either. We looked at what percentage was granted by human services agency – about 80% – so to amend 18, the sum be changed to 80% of what’s requested (3200). Same with 19.

    Crispe – let’s discuss now and amend later.

    George Harvey – I offer amendment to increase all requests by 100%, due to new tax revenue. Each amount increased proportionally, and same for other articles.

    Crispe – up to $294,600…

    Tom Franks – we’re discussing, not amending, right?

    Harvey – I’m giving notice I intend to make these amendments.

    Ralph Meima – an idea about article 11 and bring up a discussion of adding to what’s already cited the sum of 632,000 as what is anticipated form 1% local option tax. There’s no question that our society is dealing with opioids, the amount allocated for human services are tiny compared to what is needed. More work to be done. We can wait for others to help us, or we can dip into our coffers by using resources we just created. A specific revenue article… let’s see what we can do with this idea.

    Margaret Atkinson – I appreciate this body’s impulse to support all the organizations in the town. It’s a great out-of-box idea to use the 1%. There are models for doing that. The committee spends time with a process that works well, trying to balance needs. One thing generally true is that we meet everyone’s request, and generally don’t give more than what they ask for. People ask for what they need from us. This year there were several that missed the deadline, so we didn’t consider them. The first article is recommendations. the other two have not been vetted. Selectboard put them on the agenda. Do you want a committee making recommendations or go back to putting all on agenda?

    Mary White – the suggestion to increase by 100% or to 100%?

    Harvey – BY 100%. I’d be open to changes. I want to make sure that we allocate where some of the new tax money is going.

    D3 – Was it the same process this year?

    Atkinson – the process was not different than years before. Met in August, had public meetings, – why did they miss deadlines? The deadline is very clear on the application.

    D1 – we can’t/shouldn’t change committee decisions.

    Visiting Nurse Guy – I’m sorry our Visiting Nurse request was late. We serve many patients. Similar request as previous years. Brattleboro funds more non-profits than other towns, but lower. Most give 17-18%, Brattleboro gives 5 %. You give to more, but you give less.

    Robin Morgan – how we spend money to benefit property owners, and business owners… these organizations support the most vulnerable in community. I’d like to request all human services requests be funded as requested, but bring it up to $181,300 by adding the others in.

    Crispe – we have article 17 on the floor. Now accepting motions to amend…

    Harvey – I made amendment to increase the amount, and we should clarify a bit.

    Crispe – you made the suggestion.

    Harvey – proper thing to do is for me to consider as a friendly amendment.

    Crispe – to raise total sum from $147, 300 to $181,300 (Morgan amendment)

    Article 17 amendment discussion?

    Emilie Kornheiser – I have been on committee, get some this funding, and work at state level. Generosity is encouraging, but work is consuming for committee. Youth Survives – we ask for not what we need, but what we’ve gotten before. We’re scared and don’t want to appear too greedy. At 100%, it still isn’t all that is needed. Just the hubris of each grant writer. We should find a way to increase requests to get requests for what people need, and fund more.

    Andy Davis – just giving everyone what they ask erases the process. 80% is average amount granted. Value the process and the work, and make more funds available to them.

    Oscar Heller – already dif views on how to spend the 1% tax. We want to give more but respect the process, so can we increase each amount by a percentage? It would respect process but give more.

    Spoon Agave – last year we asked about a 1% base for services. Why wasn’t it proposed? It’s now being proposed. All my life, I can’t think of how many excuses and reasons for why you can’t give more money to people who need it. Not good for economy, not good for rules… it’s almost as if we can’t have it. When my landlord sees his tax bill, he will immediately reduce my rent. (laughter) I will forgo my rent decrease so someone else can have these services. In every school board meeting, we hear of devastation of poverty. We vote ^30k of property reduction for upper half and argue over 30k of that for the human services.

    (Hey the mic works right again…)

    Spoon – we are the living, example of white priviledge.

    Micheal Bosworth – a bit worried about proposed increases…going back tot he idea of the 1%. What would 1% of FY19 be?

    Kate – $177,000

    Bosworth – can we direct it to the committee, or tell them to use that figure?

    Vanessa Sanchez – social justice didn’t submit their request? A friendly amendment that they get their $5,000 in funds.

    Crispe – when we get out of this amendment we can do it…

    Prudence McKinney – I’m against it, and in favor of the process. This is a small portion of these organizational budgets. Problems are immense. We could spend 10% and still have a problem. We need to focus on primary services town can control.

    Jim Verzino – calls the question.

    Cease debate on amendment? Yes. 82-37.

    Vote on amendment to increase to $181,300 to fully fund request of all. Chair is in doubt and requests a division.

    It’s 63-71. It fails.

    Back to original human services motion.

    Leo Shiff – I appreciate the work of the committee, and want to honor the process, but we have some issues mixed in. My default would be to penalizee those who are late, but that can be harsh. Committee is lacking guidance on how much it ought to offer as expenditure amount. An amendment to total 1% of the budget to human services, including the two that are late, proportionally.

    Crispe – that’s complicated because we have to take them separately. Find out what the 1% would be for each article.

    Elwell – 1% of the budget was $179,149 today, but we can’t tell you what you will adopt today. It would be helpful to give guidance for next year under other business. $180,00 is close.

    Oscar Heller – a friendly amendment to increase by 15-20% ….

    Crispe – that’s not a motion…

    Heller – let’s give up on 1% and go for 15% increase for everything in the list. Easy way to do the math.

    A motion to amend up by 15%.

    George Burrows – would the committee able to allocate this? I want them to have a say. They fully funded a few, and not others. Could they be given the charge to distribute it? I don’t like bypassing he committee?

    Heller asked if 15% increase could be allocated by committee… (yes)

    Weinmann – I very much support this. We want to increase human services budget. Merchants deal with social services as front line. Allocating more is another nod to the businesses.

    Mary Casey – we have to good mathematicians figuring out the numbers. maybe they figure them out so we know what we’re doing? We need actual numbers, not percentages. We’re using estimates. Don’t want to wait until next year.

    Kate O’Connor – $184, 299 would be total amount by increasing by 15%, then 15% of the 80% for each of the other articles.

    Oscar Heller – so this article would go up by about $22k (yes)

    Fisher -if we add that in, then maybe just amend to increase to new amount of $169,395, with committee to allocate.

    Tom Green – do we need to put it back to the committee? They’ve already done the work. Would they prefer we directly up the amounts proportionally.

    M. Atkinson – so, here’s the thing. If you see the chart, some got 100% of their request, and some got a portion. The work of the committee had to do with other factors, and capacity of organizations to seek other funds. We value all work that is done, but that’s the discussion. Across the board increase means some may still not get what they want, and some will get more than what they ask for. Maybe the committee could meet again? Or, be directive.

    Crispe – the body wants the committee’s input.

    Atkinson – for me, I’m not able to have another few meetings on this. Hey, join the committee! Volunteer! I won’t be doing it again, though. Rock on.

    Crispe – We want to rock on to conclude this and I want to take a recess. Heller amendment to increase to $16ok or so… and human services will allocate the additional sum.

    Marshall Wheelock – the committee was established to cut out all this back and forth in the body. I suggest that we turn down the motion amendment, vote for the motion as presented, and decide what to do for next year. 1% of this year’s budget? 1.5%? That’s my suggestion.

    Sylvia Lyon – I support what Margaret said. There are volunteers picking up loose ends. We have people and organizations providing hot meals for overnight shelter… on their own time, cooked in volunteer’s homes. It covers some costs. Honored to be part of this town.

    Daniel Quipp – I get that this conversation is frustrating, and get that many are feeling effects of opiod, homelessness, generational poverty… I think what this conversation is saying, and last year’s, is that 1% of town’s budget is not enough. These organizations are life and each organizations. We’re kicking around process, but these are vital parts of the community. let’s get a figure on ending homelessness and decide what to do about it.

    David Emery – calls the question.

    Vote on ceasing debate on Heller amendment. Yes. 99-28.

    Vote on amendment – to increase a bit… it looks close, so they will do a division and count.

    It is close – 63-62. It passes.

    Carvill – we’re to give guidance and I worry about a quorum. I beg that we add an amendment to the motion that is advisory on this.

    Crispe – not germane, but I can be overruled. Now vote on amended article 17.

    Tony Duncan – this is a reason I wanted to be a Town Meeting Rep – some places do spend 10x this amount and are more effective in results. I’d like to expand public service for people who need it. These aren’t inevitable. But I don’t believe in throwing money at problems. Need to know about organizations before funding them. I want to support this. I want a community wide discussion on mobilizing to solve these problems. There are things that have been tried and worked. I’d like to be on this committee or help others solve these problems.

    Crispe – the request to amend the budget to add $5,000 for social justice program… can’t do it under our rules. Not germane. It’s out of order, because we can’t add a new subject or object to a given article. I suggest you work with human services committee so organization is included in future years.

    Ann Moore Odell – people writing grants ask for random amounts. Let’s go with original funding and look to new way for next year. Think about it in a different way for next year.

    Vote for amended motion – article 17 is approved.

    crispe – we’ve been going 3 hours. Let’s get these last two human services done.

    ARTICLE 18: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to $4,000 to be added to the FY20 budget to support KidsPLAYce for the residents of Brattleboro.

    Franz Reichsman – I had said we might want to adjust these amounts, but don’t see a reason to decrease now, so approve as is.

    George Haverill – are we still under suspended rules? (not really)

    Maya Hasegawa – a comment. The selectboard is being very generous to fund these two organizations. Several years ago the boys and girls club missed the deadline and got no funding. Stick to deadlines!

    Alison – KidsPlayce helps many kids and families. The original amount should sustain or increase so we can do maintenance. To $5,500?

    Motion to increase to $5,500.

    Tim Ellis – I support Kids Playce, but hate to see the process broken. People do make mistakes, but there is a deadline that must be respected. The idea of deceasing s a penalty makes less sense, and maybe there should be one chance every five years. I don’t think we should increase the amount because it will break the process.

    Motion to increase by $1500… fails.

    Original motion for $4k to KidsPlayce…it passes.

    ARTICLE 19: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of up to $12,200 to be added to the FY20 budget to support Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire for the residents of Brattleboro.

    Visiting nurses guy – started her in Brattleboro, funded through schools. Recently, we were getting 35k to about 10k, and we’ve been requesting a lower amount. Raising the limit is wise.

    It passes.

    Crispe – we’ll take a 15 minute recess to 5:30 pm.

  • Article 20 - Sustainability

    ARTICLE 20: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate a sum not to exceed $10,000 to be added to the FY20 budget and to be spent at the Selectboard’s discretion for energy efficiency and/or sustainability purposes.

    Crispe – before we do this, it is 25 minutes to 6pm. We’ve made arrangements for 30 pizzas and 50 salads so we can keep working.

    Abigail Mnookin – I feel like this is no bigger issue, though there are many important ones. Stark and shocking picture of our world if we do not act on climate in next 12 years. This is bold, dramatic action. I’ve been disappointed that last year’s 10k has not been spent and unsatisfactory answers when asked about it. $10k is not enough, but it is something, so I amend it to go to $40k for full-time coordinator.

    Crispe – you can amend for 40k but not the full-time coordinator. You can increase the amount to $40k, and make it known your intention. But not germane to actual motion. So, increase the budget to $40k?

    Orion Barber – Is it true that there is $10k in general fund from last year that is not spent?

    Elwell – last year there was a one discussion of energy committee and energy coordinator vacancy – that situation has continued. The 10k for a non-profit has not been spent during the current year.

    Barber – if this is proper, a friendly amendment to use the unspent $10k from last year be transferred to a sustainability fund, and the $40k proposed also go into that fund, so there is enough there for sustainability. There are so many ways our sustainability is threatened. I’d like to suggest that not long ago, a bear was in a tree near Green Street School. Bears loves beehives. I’d like to see the town to start a town that would look at flat roofed buildings downtown and make it possible for beekeepers to keep bees on the roofs out of the reach of bears. We have apple trees but no apples. Blueberry bushes but no blueberries. Pollinators are dying, and they don’t have enough pollen to stay alive. When pollinators die, we will die. That’s sustainability to me.

    Unspent $10k is added to amendment….

    Mnookin – is that 10K added on top? (yes) Great! Perfect!

    Ralph Meima – I’m on the energy committee and when I look at this article, I think that these issues all demand attention, but there is a spreading out and duplication of efforts. There are attempt to grapple with a huge problem, but going in differentiations directions. I’m concerned we are focusing on subset of problem. Still haven’t decided what we’ll do with it, and if it is effective. Just raising the issue… I’d suppose that there be some sort of clearing house or rationalization of what’s going on. There are lots of efforts that need to be combined and coordinated, so we don’t give money here and there. Need to tackle how town deals with sustainability.

    Fisher – you can’t set up a reserve fund unless it has been warned as an article.

    Elwell – we can accomplish the same outcome without the fund. The 10k that hasn’t been spent will fall into fund balance. You can propose 40k for this year and 10k … you could raise it to $50 rather than 40k, and we’ll have the $10k fall back into reserve.

    The suggestion is accepted, if not fully understood.

    Amendment is now to bring it to $50k.

    Emilie Kornheiser – could I find out cost of full time position?

    Elwell – it will exceed $50k… we all want to move in a more active direction with these issues. The next step is for a group of community working on idea of sustainability officer to bring idea to board this summer, then will be in next year’s budget. Next year you may create the position. $50k won’t do it. It’s up to you whether we should wait a whole year, or whether you want us to get started.

    Ann Moore Odell – if energy coordinator is more than $50k, are there grants for this air would it be paid by taxpayers?

    Elwell – $50k would be meaningful, but full time position would be more involved and cost more.

    Moore Odell – I’d hope we don’t delay doing something and we take action sooner. Maybe something like Human Service committee to be more action oriented.

    David Schoales – when we worked on budget, energy committee wanted the position and we talked about it. Realized we didn’t have enough info for this year’s budget. Group is meeting to better define this for next year. Get a job description together. Tom Franks told us of other towns doing this, mostly paid for by towns. We contacted over a dozen of them. Got good info. We have a draft of the responses to give you. Examples – establish utility funded position, built bike accommodations, green energy and zoning. Small homes on small lots. bans of synthetic pesticides. Control invasive plant species. Renewable energy and zero net carbon goals. Energy use and monitoring program. Community solar, energy acquisition strategy. Affordable housing, transportation options, jobs, workforce development, civic engagement, arts, and so on. The coordinator will work on issues larger than just energy, so that’s why we are going slowly to identify what we need.

    Michael Bosworth – I want to see a sustainability officer in town, and am disappointed it isn’t in current budget, if we accept this and raise to $50k, we could hire later for second half of the year… maybe this is enough for salary and benefits. Or could be a project to be done. Like promotional $40k for promotion… the board could decide what is effective use of funds.

    Mollie Burke – this is the most important thing we can talk about right now. Distressing to see our carbon emissions in VT have gone up. Focusing on helping Brattleboro cut emissions. Transportation and heating is the hardest. Low income weatherization is important. I thank Mnookin for bold idea. Looking forward to sustainability officer.

    Spoon Agave – I’m 72 – I can afford to go slowly. If you are 20-50, or with kids, you cannot go slowly. If Mnookin is agreeable, I’d amend to $90k, plus the 10k, so we can start looking now for someone to pay to get things going now. You don’t have another year to think about it. You may loose too much ground. You may have already lost two much ground. Gorget the old geezers. take control and start changing things.

    Mnookin – if I approve the 90k, and it gets voted down, could we then vote on the $50k? (no)

    Crispe – you can have two amendments. Yours and Mr. Agave’s so it gets voted at 90k and at 50k

    Elwell – the 90k and the 10k… the amendment should be $100, because there won’t be a fund with the $10k. (okay!)

    Rio Daims – I’m asking that we move the discussion on this to a date certain in the next few weeks, including article 25.

    Fisher – voter can’t make motion…

    Crispe – you aren’t a member so you can’t make a motion. You can speak to it, but not make any motion.

    Daims – I’m asking a members to call for a new meeting on this important topic. A new time with fresh minds after more time to think about it.

    Crispe – it would have to be properly warned. Not properly germane to issue before us. Even if someone takes up that motion, it couldn’t happen without proper notice. It requires warning. Your comments are heard.

    D2 – what are the increases we have allowed so far today?( $138,295, including this) What’s the tax impact? We had been talking of a reduction of community.

    Elwell – the value of the change you made so far is about 1/3 of a penny, but up to 1.25 if you add this.

    George Harvey – I started work at 3am this morning, so I could get here by 8. I start early to be done by 8 am. I’ve done it for 7 years. I search headlines for energy and climate news. I find things that are truly shocking. Our environment is in big trouble and people a have no idea. We had no ticks here, now we have ticks giving lyme disease. Thousands of people each year. Moose have never lived where there are ticks, so they don’t know how to groom themselves. A fully engorged winter tick is the size of a grape. Moose have been with 70k of these on them. Moose kill moose claves every year. These are things that have already happened. Emerald ash borers, and more. I haven’t even mentioned storms, droughts, and California dealing with upcoming firefighters. The oceans are the hottest they have ever been. That gave us big storms and big hurricanes. There is no item before this body that is more important. The success in other places – Greenfield had an energy coordinator and they have 100% renewable energy and costs went down. We can benefit from that kind of thing. A sustainability officer goes beyond energy. Food resources , whether we can heat houses.. we need someone to address these things. In favor of the amendments. Let’s go ahead with this. $100k is small potatoes when we have problems, and we have problems.

    Maciel – we gave money for carport. To vote down this amendment would be foolish.

    Kathleen White – feeling in agreement with going ahead and getting $100k for position. Having passed the 1% local option tax, we don’t have to worry so much about paying for this. We have a new source of revenue.

    Chris Chapman – some perspective. I don’t disagree with George Harvey. He has the facts and there truth of where the world is today, but Brattleboro has come a long way. This building has energy improvements. We’ve spent money on waste water clean up. Much improvement. Our electricity comes from the sun. We did town energy improvements. The one thing that troubles me – a classic throw money at the problem. We don’t have a plan in place. I agree that this is a crisis, but VT doesn’t burn oil or coal for electricity now. We are making progress, but right now, we aren’t prepared to spend this money in an effective way. No job description exists. The 90k is too much. It is rash. The 50k is okay. The beekeeping idea is a good one. There are good resources to get started. There is a beekeeping group in Keene. I recommend is against this amendment.

    Emmanuel Keppel – calls the question.

    Debate ceases? Yes…. 87-27.

    Vote on amendment to bring it up to $100k… it is close. Chair is in doubt. A division! 69-47. It is amended.

    Vote on article for $100k for sustainability and energy efficiency?

    It passes!

  • Article 21 - the Budget, pt 1.

    ARTICLE 21: To see how much money the Town will raise, appropriate and expend to defray all of its expenses and liabilities, in addition to any funds authorized for any other Articles in these Warnings.

    They pause to do some math. Crispe says pizza has arrived and people can grab slices.

    Agave – I’d like to say in all the years, I’ve not seen a town report as large and well written as this year. Our town report is a historical record of the town. In many years, people will look back to see about our community. I thank everyone for a great own report.

    Kate O’Connor moves $17,488,773 to be raised to defray expenses for FY20. $14,786,000 or so from property taxes. Etc.

    The original article $17, 350, 478. Article 17 increase Human Services Budget, then 18 more for Kids Playce, then more for Visiting Nurses, then $100k for energy… $138,295 added. We would collect $15 million, but you added these so it becomes $15,416,495. We assume you want the $630k of the 1% to defray taxes, so we subtract that and you get $14,786,497 to be collected through property tax.

    Crispe – let’s take a 10 minute recess to eat.

  • Article 21, the budget, part 2.

    (Note: They do not send free pizza to those of us watching and typing. I can go eat only after they finish! And we have more articles and other business to get to. I’ll likely depart before this is over if it goes on much longer. It is now 7 pm.)

    ARTICLE 21: To see how much money the Town will raise, appropriate and expend to defray all of its expenses and liabilities, in addition to any funds authorized for any other Articles in these Warnings.

    Crispe – we have four articles to deal with. There is plenty of pizza left out there. Also, a reminder to stick to the two minute rule. We’re running late. I’ve tried not to interfere. if we are to finish today, we have to confine remarks to two minutes. So, the motion…. for the budget.

    Elwell – numbers as mentioned above. Where we stand right now – with all actions today, you will approve a budget to decrease tax rate of 0.8 cents, about $8 dollars on the tax bill per $100 of value.

    Arlene Distler – on behalf of the working group for a town arts fund. I move to increase it by $15k which is 0.013 cents. This some would be used to create town arts fund, administered by arts council of windham county, to bring public art projects to fruition. It’s in the town plan. Much data points to arts importance to tourism. This supports a sector of this community that helps economy. We believe in arts and need to invest at a town level. Time for town to step up, apart from promotion. Funds can be used to leverage grants. Would create new vetting authority for funds.

    Crispe – you can increase budget but purpose isn’t binding.

    Brenda Seigel – not a resident – director of dance festival and vice chair of arts council. we approve of administering the money. Town plan calls for funding arts. NEA says 4.2% of overall GDP came from arts, in VT it was higher. Added value to the economy. People pay $44 per capita when coming for events in town. Important to fund the arts. Other communities have funded arts. Montpelier just did $20k. project creation is part of town plan. Not an extra but a path to prosperity. A full house at the Latchis brings us $30k total to town. Travel and tourism should be treated same as arts.

    Elizabeth McCloughlin –

    Rikki Risatti – starts to talk but is interrupted.

    McCloughlin – when elected, I looked at Brattleboro poverty statistics. Those statistics don’t talk about industries, Most in poverty are in children. people raised more human service money for needy causes, but arts aren’t well thought out. It feels like an ambush on the budget process. We need a more thought out plan, like we had earlier with the marketing plan that will market arts. This idea is not well thought out, and an idea that is hub-related. The burden of planning for arts for region is born on taxpayers of Brattleboro.

    Rikki Risatti – I was on ballot to be a rep and as a write-in, but because of fascist process I was not appointed. As I sit with public, I don’t respect chains separating us, nor the seating where boards are facing us… I have 30 seconds. Please reconsider how officers are elected. What is no taxation without representation? 200 people not being represented here.

    Crispe – the issue is $15k amendment.

    Gander – on the surface it looks like a last minute ambush, but we discussed something like this earlier. We still have a town arts committee that isn’t allowed to be funded. For years there is talk of a town arts fund. If not today, giving some serious thought to it is important. We benefit from arts here. Arts committee has no funding and can’t do much. This would be step in the right direction, and could engage youth.

    Mollie Burke – Not popular to add money to budget, but I’m in favor. We offer free art for children in low income houses. Murals in Hannah Cosman Room were done by Clark Canal community students. They’ve held up. Those are things we can think about. How can we bring arts into the underserved communities?

    Tortolani – this is a small amount to give – a good ambush! I support it.

    HB Lozito – we can adjust the budget but not for a purpose? (yes)

    Lissa Weinmann – the money for promotion of town. I had suggested so that they get 7% and town arts get 3% to show relationship and to create things to promote. To give 42k for promotion with no plan, but human services have to apply with forms and such. Content development is essential before promotion. They go hand in hand. Arts orcas help promote town. I seriously support this measure.

    Prudence McKinney – love the arts, but a concern about windham county arts… we need to fund things in Brattleboro. I’d hope this would be Brattleboro focused.

    Brenda – the arts fund would be for Brattleboro arts.

    Elwell – this is a proposal to increase the budget. How it is used is advice to the selectboard. You control the amount.We follow up on town meeting items. We’ve heard the intent and we’ll consider how to implement it.

    Gander – one thing would be making sure info would be accessible to everyone – an open call for artists, and people would submit , then arts council would decide.

    ?- concern about process…. just springing this on us. They need to be discussed before hand. I will vote for it, though.

    Elwell – haven’t seen this happen before. Boards take intent seriously. They get held accountable. No guarantee that they’ll use this money this way.

    Heller – the DBA and arts proposals were both brought to the board, one was voted down and one was put on warning. I can see how we got to this point.

    Shall we add $15k? Oh, it is close again. A division. Counting! 59-49 – approved!

    Elwell – Now budget has gone up by $15k… decrease of .07 cents now.

    The new amount – $17,503,773 total.

    Meima – questions about budget. Greatest increase were in solid waste payments? Because we do so well at recycling? Any increase in bag prices? (laughter)

    Elwell – no

    Meima – no discussion of capital budget? If you look at scheduled cap expenses keep doubling each year. Is that because you are pushing off planned expenses, or match anticipated revenue?

    Elwell – where we are with equipment planning vs project side. We can be precise with equipment. That plan is pretty solid for 25 years. Not at same place with project planning. Still reacting to emergencies that pop up. Like water on Main Street.

    Micheal Bosworth – this covers budget, both revenues and expenses… does it include new local option tax? (yes)

    Elwell – Total budget is $17, 503, 773. Taxes to be raised are $14,801,497. The levy will be a reduction of about 2/3 of a cent in property taxes.

    Kayan – what about hiring human resources director? to make progress toward equity and diversity in community?

    Elwell -we did a search but didn’t find anyone. Lots of interest, but couldn’t hire anyone. Now starting over. Adjusted how we’re doing it. Hope to be successful this time. Training is being increased for next year to $20k, in this budget tonight.

    D1 – staff salaries – overall there are lots of increases and benefit increases. Condifent in those numbers?

    Kate O’Connor – we do feel this is okay. Labor agreements have the raises in them, health insurance and benefits are going up. Good job keeping costs down.

    Elwell – largest increase is fire dept 6% increase – most is in overtime line item for inspection program, offset by revenue from fees. Health insurance costs go up… market situation and our experience with small insurance group.

    Sonia Silbert – I thought if we passed the tax it would be spent by selectboard, but it was just taken out of expenses?

    Elwell – you decide whether the money is additional revenue for selectboard or discounted from taxation, and so far it is to do discount taxation.

    Sonia – can I suggest the other one? Maybe a large conversation? Lots of priorities today – I move we use a portion of 1% tax revenue go to survey of priorities of town, but have a portion go to opioids and homelessness in town.

    Crispe – I have issues – it has to be a fixed number, not “a portion”. Can’t direct money toward something. Had no notice to taxpayers on how that is allocated. Not germane.

    Fisher – I agree. Vagueness. You might increase amount to raise with property tax without knowing…

    Sonia – how about 50% is reserved for selectboard to use for expenses to use for homelessness and opioids.

    Crispe – no notice. Same issue. You can raise the budget, but can’t designate what it is used for. Unless it is warned.

    Sonia – is there a way to use it as an expense side rather than reduce property taxes.

    Elwell – if you want to do that, increase the taxation number by $315k, then that revenue would be there as an excess yield. You can choose to do that.

    Franz Reichsman – not sure what the motion is being discussed. Total budget?

    Crispe – there might be an amendment….

    Reichsman – difficult to know how to comment without something to comment on. Oh no, not another learning experience! This is a learning experience. many hours go into getting to this point. The time to focus on a big proposal is during that process. Looking at this and trying to craft a motion on the floor is not best way to use our time.

    Pereira – is 1% tax to reduce taxes or be used by selectboard?

    O’Connor – up to you. We used it as tax relief. But you can do whatever.

    Crispe – if you want more money in budget, you say you want to increase the budget.

    McCloughlin – purpose of 1% local option tax was clear to help some with pressure of property tax, and for people choosing to move here. It was a large ask. It wouldn’t have beeb asked unless that segment of population needs property tax relief. To do otherwise would be harmful to town as while and to retail businesses dealing with a 1% tax. It negates a strong purpose why it was enacted.

    Question is called…

    Vote to cease debate. Cease? Yes. 90-21. Debate ends.

    Vote on budget… it passes!


    I’m getting hungry, and a bit tired, and it is after 8 pm, so I’m going to stop now. I call on you, representatives now reading about the meeting, to tell us about the ending and the following articles.

    Thanks! Let me know how it turns out!


    ARTICLE 22: To see if the Town will authorize the expenditure of $25,000 from Program Income (a revolving loan fund that disperses proceeds which originated as Community Development Block Grants) as a contribution to the operation of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS).

    ARTICLE 23: To see if the Town will join the Selectboard in expressing strong support for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ proposal to the Vermont State Legislature to create a Limited Self-Governance Pilot Program for Vermont municipalities.

    ARTICLE 24: To see if the Town will formally establish the Human Services Review Committee with members of the committee to be appointed by the Town Moderator for FY20, and thereafter elected at Representative Town Meeting, with the authority of the Town Moderator to fill vacancies throughout the year.

    ARTICLE 25: To see if the Town will adopt the following non-binding advisory resolution:
    1. It is hereby resolved that Representative Town Meeting shall advise the Selectboard that the Selectboard shall not commission additional studies on fossil fuel consumption, carbon footprints or efficiency of insulation, heating or air conditioning systems until the
    town implements common sense practices to reduce fuel consumption in town buildings, including practices such as:

    a. Lowering the thermostat setting during the winter to a significant degree, and wearing long-johns, sweaters and other warm clothing.
    b. Mounting and sealing of doors, windows, and storm windows
    c. Raising of thermostat in the summer or use of electric fans instead of air conditions, and wearing cool clothing – avoiding layered suits and blazers.
    d. Other common sense measures per the discretion of the energy coordinator.
    2. It is hereby resolved that Representative Town Meeting shall advise the Selectboard that it is of utmost importance to replace the Energy Coordinator as soon as possible.
    3. It is hereby resolved that Representative Town Meeting shall advise the Selectboard that the Selectboard shall enlist the Energy Coordinator in implementing sections 1a through 1d of this ordinance and shall be responsible for submitting a report to the town manager indicating the implementation of these practices and recommending further energy studies if any might be in order.
    4. It is hereby resolved that Representative Town Meeting shall advise the Selectboard to adopt an ordinance requiring conservation measures to be taken by businesses and residents of the Town consistent with the above stated resolutions.

  • Into the 13th hour

    Was this the longest TM? I think it was 2004 that was 12 hours. Is there any place to find this sort of record?

    • It is certainly close

      The Town Clerk would probably have records of start and stop times for all the meetings. (She’d certainly have the start times – they are warned.)

  • Admirable fortitude but...

    I appreciate the patience and fortitude of Brattleboro’s town meeting reps but I have to question how the meeting could have possibly dragged on for over 12 hours. That seems beyond the pale of what can reasonably be expected of anyone, including the moderator. My brain turns to mush after a third of that time.

    If it really takes that long to go through Brattleboro’s annual business, maybe there needs to be more than one meeting.

  • The results on Articles 22-25

    This is unofficial because I was really tired, but here goes…

    Article 22, SeVEDS: There was some debate. It passed.

    Article 23, VLCT’s Self-Governance Pilot Program: Very little debate. Town Manager and Selectboard explained that it can help towns, like Brattleboro, develop other revenue sources. But, it won’t happen soon. First the Legislature has to approve it, then the SB has to apply for Brattleboro to participate in the pilot program. It passed.

    Article 24, Human Svcs Committee: Quite a bit of debate, and during other agenda items, about increasing the amount the committee allocates to the various organizations. This article passed.

    Article 25, Turn Down the Thermostat and Wear Different Clothing: Some debate. Someone pointed out you can’t tell municipal staff what to wear etc. without going through the union. Some lecturing and grandstanding about climate change. This article was defeated.

    The Selectboard honored Shanta Lee Gander for her service on the Selectboard. David Schoales pointed out she was the first person of color to serve on Brattleboro’s SB. This representative’s eyebrows went up at learning that fact.

    The Selectboard honored Kate O’Connor for her service on the Selectboard, and noted O’Connor was the second generation of her family to serve as an elected official.

    The meeting adjourned right around 9:30pm.

    • Thanks!

      A appreciate the summary of the final few articles. What time did it all wrap up?

      I like the renamed Article 25.

      Pretty sure Gander is first African American to serve. (Question for old timers – did we have someone of Asian descent in the 90’s? Or was that not the selectboard?)

      • You're welcome!

        The meeting adjourned at or just before 9:30pm.

        Even though I’m no longer a journalist, I can still report on municipal stuff. 🙂

        The renaming of the articles was all my own creation and should not be taken as any official public statement. My original name for Article 25 was “Overly Long Well-Intentioned Micromanagement” but I’m trying to be polite.

Leave a Reply