The Brattleboro Women’s Chorus will perform their 25th annual fall “singalong concert” via Zoom this Sunday, November 22 at 4 pm.
As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, the chorus will be singing songs about rivers, welcoming the ancestors & healing, led by Director Becky Graber. Some of the songs are very easy to join along with, and Becky will teach a song or two to all. Singers will be muted, though we will hear harmonized vocal tracks, so feel free to sing along in the comfort of your homes, if you wish.
• In compliance with Governor Scott’s instructions on November 13 for offices throughout Vermont to “reinstitute, to the maximum extent possible, … telecommuting or work from home procedures,” Town office operations have transitioned this week back to the way in which we operated during the “Stay Home Stay Safe” period in March and April of 2020. Office employees are working from home most of the time. Some employees are coming into their offices occasionally when it is necessary to accomplish a particular task or to provide a needed service to a member of the public. Since Town employees and the public we serve all have learned to transact most of our business electronically or by phone, we have found that the vast majority of our Town office work can be performed at our homes.
• Town field services also are transitioning back to the way in which they operated during last spring’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” period. For now, the way in which the public receives those services is relatively normal, but the work is being done in accordance with many special procedures required by the State of Vermont and recommended by public health officials. As we move into even more restrictive practices for the protection of employees and the public, we will identify those changes in future “COVID-19 Response Status” updates.
Brattleboro Selectboard meetings have become very long. Too long, really.
It isn’t the number of items on the agenda. Even a short agenda can lead to a very long meeting.
Holding the meetings online might be part of the problem.
First, it adds time to each meeting to explain how to participate. It adds time to invite people to speak and wait for them to work out technical issues. Almost every virtual meeting has delays due to the meeting being virtual. Sometimes they are short delays, but they add up.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, using Zoom (with no physical location due to the ongoing social distancing requirements of COVID-19). The Board will convene at 5:15pm and is expected to enter into executive session to discuss the negotiating or securing of real estate purchase or lease options and the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee, and to enter into deliberative session to deliberate on the Hinsdale Bridge takings and eminent domain matter involving the lands of Tullius on Left Bank Way. The Board will reconvene at 6:15pm for the business portion of the meeting. The attached agenda contains information about how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.” Information about how to connect to the meeting is also posted on the homepage of the Town’s website. ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.
Proposed facility will feature track changes and the first level boarding platform in Vermont
BRATTLEBORO, VT – Amtrak today announced it is in discussions with the Town of Brattleboro, NECR Railroad and the State of Vermont on its proposal for a new, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant Brattleboro Station, including a new station building, platform and track changes. The new station will feature the first level boarding platform in Vermont. Measuring approximately 48 inches above track, the proposed platform will allow customers to move on or off a train without having to step up or down. Additional ADA-compliant amenities include parking, ramps and steps up to the platform level, lights, signage, a new waiting room with an attached restroom and covered outdoor seating.
“Vermont’s weather presents challenges to travelers all year round. Amtrak’s investment in an ADA accessible platform and station will ensure that all rail passengers in Brattleboro will have a safe, warm, welcoming place to wait for and board the train. In our rural state, passenger rail represents a vital link for Vermonters and tourists alike. This new station in one of the gateways to Vermont will be a worthy addition to our transportation system,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.
The Selectboard Show was on Tuesday night with a special extended edition.
It was their first consent agenda, with a review of SeVEDS current projects, a talk about renters and landlords, an Energy Committee proposal to align with state emissions goals, and a review of FY22 capital projects and equipment.
WHAT IS NEW TODAY
• Governor Scott’s updated executive order earlier today includes the following:
“All businesses, not-for-profit entities, and municipal entities in the State shall reinstitute, to the maximum extent possible, … telecommuting or work from home procedures… [A]ll meetings should be held by telephone or electronically to avoid in person meetings whenever possible.”
In furtherance of this directive, Town of Brattleboro administrative offices will transition next week back to the almost entirely remote operations that we put in place during the Stay Home Stay Safe period last March and April. Starting Monday, November 16, some Town offices will be unoccupied. By Friday, November 20, most Town offices will be unoccupied most of the time. As was true last spring, some employees will come to the offices on some days just to perform tasks that cannot be performed from remote locations. We found last spring that we could adequately meet the public’s needs while performing the vast majority of our work online, via email, and by phone.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will attempt their first “consent agenda” at their next regular meeting. It is an effort to move things along at a slightly quicker pace than before by grouping items that are simple and require no discussion.
Bigger issues for Tuesday’s meeting include an update to inform the board that Community Development Block Grants cannot be used for direct aid to tenants, SeVEDS will give their annual update and appeal for funding, the Energy Committee will offer up their revised goals, and the FY22 budget exploration gets underway with a discussion of revenues, capital projects, and capital equipment needs. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard held a first reading of a proposed ordinance to limit upfront rental costs, but decided not to move ahead with a second reading. Instead, more research, new ideas, and data will be explored.
Groundworks got a big grant which enables the completion of their project on South Main Street, and the marketing initiative to promote Brattleboro was discussed.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will have a first reading of an ordinance to limit upfront rental costs at their next regular meeting, which will be held on 10-20-2020. (And probably end at 10:20.)
Police cars will be purchased, health insurance will be renewed, leases will be extended, grants will be applied for, and the skatepark committee will be disbanded now that their work is through. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The Brattleboro Words Project is proud to formally announce two new partnerships in the publishing and printing of the much anticipated book, “Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words.”
In a culmination of three-years’ of dedicated work, the book, due out this fall, will be published by the Vermont Historical Society, Inc. and printed by Howard Printing in Brattleboro.
Brattleboro Energy Committee
Monday, October 12, 2020
NOTE: This meeting will be held with no physical location using Zoom.
The Brattleboro Selectboard spent the bulk of their primetime evening discussing a proposal from the Tenants Union of Brattleboro. They heard from tenants and landlords about a wide range of issues, realized the problem was bigger than what Brattleboro can solve by itself, but pressed on to work on an ordinance limiting what landlords collect and how that money is used. A new board will be created to hear rental housing security deposit disputes.
The Town of Brattleboro just sent out this announcement:
“Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell has announced that Finance Director Andre Jaeger did not successfully complete his probationary period and is no longer employed by the Town of Brattleboro. Elwell said the Town will contract with the accounting/auditing firm of Melanson Heath to provide interim finance director services, just as during January-May of 2020 after the retirement of former Finance Director John O’Connor.”
I can’t recall another hire not successfully completing their probationary period…
Five proposals for community safety review facilitation have been received, twenty six applications to be on the committee are in hand, and the perhaps re-organized Brattleboro Selectboard will decide next steps at their next Tuesday meeting. Committee members will be interviewed and appointed at a special meeting.
Grants and bid awards are also on the agenda, as is the purchase of a new salt shed. You can add other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The first installment of the 2020 Brattleboro Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes will be due on September 15, 2020. Payments made after September 15, 2020 will have an additional 1% interest added to the unpaid balance.
Payments can be mailed to the Town of Brattleboro, 230 Main Street, Suite 111, Brattleboro VT 05301. Payments can also be made by dropping an envelope containing your check (no cash) into a locked “mailbox” labeled “Town Business” in the parking lot behind the Municipal Center. An official postmark of September 15, 2020 will be considered on time for tax payments. Please include the quarterly payment stub to ensure your payment is applied properly
Please see here for the “unofficial results” for Brattleboro’s State Primary election. These are the results from the ballot tallies, not including write-in votes, and not including other towns’ results for the Primary races.
Thanks to the amazing poll workers and the American Legion who made today possible! Considering our number of absentee voters, we had a lot of voters coming through the doors, and record voter participation for a state-wide primary. The day was smooth and safe!
It is very revealing that in all the comments of sympathy and advice about one family’s difficulties in finding affordable housing, a post and thread appearing very recently on fbook, not one asks if it is possible for us, as a community, to house ourselves.
The population of Brattleboro has decreased slightly from what it was in 1960. Although there is a relatively small number of new units built every year there is a very large number over that span. As far as I know not one Selectboard in all these years has tried to deal with affordable housing other than approving federally funded projects when one happened to be brought before them. Most of that money dried up long ago. Sixty years have passed and we have more people struggling with housing than ever before.
The Brattleboro Colonels’ mascot is again being questioned. As it currently exists, it is a cartoonish characterization of a southern colonel, along the lines of something you’d see at a fried chicken franchise. It should be retired and replaced.
That said, the current version is not quite what was originally intended.
Joe Rivers, local history teacher and a president of the Brattleboro Historical Society, explained that for the first half of the high school’s existence there was no sports team name or mascot. “When the school was located in what is now the municipal center the sports teams were just known as Brattleboro. The sports editors assigned nicknames, often associated with the last name of their coach, but there was not an official name until 1950.”
WHAT IS NEW TODAY
• Here are links to 3 important COVID-19 financial relief programs offered by the State of Vermont for renters, landlords, and sole proprietor businesses:
o Emergency Mortgage Assistance- https://www.vhfa.org/documents/images/vt_map_flyer.pdf
o Rental Housing Stabilization Fund – https://www.vsha.org/rental-housing-stabilization-program/
o Vermont Sole Proprietor Stabilization Fund – https://www.vermont-cdbg-cv.com/