The Brattleboro Selectboard set EMS rates and policies, settling on a $1400 cost for a ride in their new ambulance service. Your insurance will pay for most of it, and if you get a bill you can ignore it completely or enter into a payment plan or pay it all at once. It is compassionate, they agreed.
The Town will embark on a search for a new waste management partner, someone who will listen and be responsive, and perhaps take long walks or watch movies together.
The big item for the Brattleboro Selectboard at their next regular meeting will be setting the billing and collection policies for the Town’s new EMS service. The board is setting the rates to be charged and what to do if someone doesn’t pay, among other things.
Also, the Water Treatment Plant’s engineering costs are over-budget and will cost an additional $303k. ARPA funds will be used to cover staff salaries, bids will be accepted for trash collection in town, motions will be assigned for reading at Representative Town Meeting, and you can bring up other items not on the agenda, perhaps, during public participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard bravely took no action against a non-existent problem at their most recent meeting. Panhandling isn’t a problem to be solved, and existing laws cover any other potential issues. Perhaps we will make… a sign!
The Library has a strategic plan, housing development is lackluster, the town might get McNeill’s property to pay off demolition of his building, the public wondered about unusually large raises for department heads given an expected increase in property taxes, and an exhaustive search led the Town to hire Golden Cross’s billing service for EMS billing.
Ooops. A “previously overlooked item” will require an estimated base increase in Brattleboro property taxes for FY25 of 3.6%. It’s on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard.
The Brattleboro Fire Department would like $3000 a month to pay an outside company for EMS billing services. Doing everything in-house is no longer an option.
The board will also hear about a strategic plan for Brooks Memorial Library, and update on how their housing plan has been going, talk of acquiring the McNeill’s property in exchange for the demolition costs, and another discussion of things that can be done about panhandling.
You can bring up almost anything else during public participation unless it is some issue the Chair doesn’t want discussed in public.
Budget season is underway at the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. Reports and budget requests from BDCC, SeVEDS, and the DBA are scheduled, as is the draft FY25 budget. There will also be ordinance changes, software explanations, and an update from the fire department.
You can bring up other issues not on the agenda during public participation. (Except that one issue, whatever it is, that the Chair will not allow discussion of at the meeting.)
** Virtual Meeting – October 30, 2023 **
The State of Vermont, Department of Health, Division of Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Injury Prevention has engaged Emergency Management Matters, LLC (EMM,) to design and implement a Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordination study culminating in a written report to be submitted to the Vermont State Legislature.
This study will focus on identifying issues and provide recommendations for legislative considerations that will sustain and improve the provision of EMS for Vermont. This includes but is not limited to:
The board discussed many things Tuesday but their extended ARPA discussion seemed more like an extended discussion about problems they had with public input on ARPA possibilities.
“I don’t care what the public thinks or the town staff think,” declared Franz Reichsman. “I have a problem having this list from the public be our starting point,” said Liz McLoughlin repeatedly. Chair Ian Goodnow tried in vain to remind them that they had promised an open public process.
Possible ARPA projects, budget planning, charter changes and state priorities will fill the air of the next Brattleboro Selectboard meeting.
You are invited to bring up other items not on the agenda as long as you aren’t Dale Joy talking about the police department.
The “Big Bill,” also known as the state’s funding bill, directed the VT Department of Health to conduct a study on coordinating local and regional emergency medical services. They have hired Emergency Management Matters out of New York to assist in the study that considers:
• Issues related to costs of service, cost effectiveness of various current service models, and cost-effective alternative service models;
• Existing funding models and identify long-term sustainable funding strategies;
• Challenges and opportunities related to local and regional emergency response coordination; and
• EMS district structure, authority, duties, and the number of districts.
I decided to start a list of things the Brattleboro Selectboard chose to overlook in making their EMS decision:
1. A petition of over 400 resident signatures
2. 70+ written pro-Rescue comments on the project web site
3. Public comments against municipal EMS at EMS meetings
What they said:
We’ll have an open and transparent public process. We want to have a great public process. We need to hear from the public. I’m not hearing enough from the public. We’ll give the public a chance to weigh in. This will be an open and transparent public process. Your comments are really important.
Then they said:
The website comments are self-selecting and biased. You’ve already spoken for three minutes! You need to wrap it up. So emotional. Those news articles don’t apply to us. No looking back. Look to the future, now! We know the majority of the public says they want Rescue but we’re voting against it. We have information the public doesn’t have.
Remember the quote attributed to Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Now, consider the Starship’s lyrics, “It’s not over ’til it’s over; It’s not over ’til we get it right.”
Please review the following articles in September 27, 2023 edition of the Commons:
A squandered opportunity by William E. Kraham
Use of ARPA funds can only be seen as evidence of its bad faith by F. David Levenbach
Brattleboro town department heads ‘blindsided’ by Barbara Mellish
At its 2023 meeting, RTM approved a motion calling on “the Selectboard to develop and implement a dedicated community engagement process for allocating [ARPA} funds before any further funds are spent.” Before that meeting and since, and during Selectboard meetings, members of the public have asked—really, begged—the board not to obligate ARPA funds until there was a systematic effort to ascertain public preferences for the spending of those monies, and we were given assurances that such a public process would occur before drawing on ARPA funds. The Selectboard’s vote last night to draw on 51% of the ARPA balance, without promised public deliberation, can only be seen as evidence of its bad faith.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will be using $1.3+ million of ARPA funds to set up a municipal EMS system. The vote was unanimous to give the emergency medical services ‘contract’ to the Brattleboro Fire Department.
The Town Manager told the board why municipal EMS would be best, the board told the public their decisions as to why they would vote in favor, and then the public was allowed to weigh in with comments.
The SelectBoard meeting scheduled for Tue, Sep. 19 promises to be of great significance … Details regarding attendance are here: https://www.brattleboro.org/
The Sep. 5 SelectBoard meeting recessed to Sep. 7 due to technical difficulties. Near the end of the meeting which lasted beyond 11:00pm SelectBoard member Elizabeth “McLoughlin motioned to have a discussion of the transition of care and intergovernmental coordination, interagency coordination by the town staff in recognition of consultation with the town attorney.” “McLoughlin discussed rescinding her motion. The motion was not rescinded” and the “motion passed, as presented. 3-2 (Goodnow and Reichsman opposed)” Case, Quipp and McLoughlin in favor. Minutes pp. 10-11 in the Backup Materials
In the September 11 edition of the Reformer Selectboard member Daniel Quipp is quoted as saying “a pretty clear vocal majority,” referring to those who “would like the board to contract with Rescue again.” Majority of what is not clear, so I checked with Daniel. He told me he meant the majority of those who have expressed their opinion on this matter to the board. When I checked the Town’s “Fire-EMS Transition Project” web page (9/12): a quick run-through of the feedback submitted by email does show an overwhelming majority of Rescue supportive comments. I counted 75 out of 77.
Here are some thoughts from a member of the minority expressing an opinion. I hope they resonate with the majority of citizens that have been silent on this matter.
The Brattleboro Selectboard has one item on the agenda for discussion at their next regular meeting: whether or not to accept the recommendation of Town staff to proceed with a municipal EMS system, or to support a regional system favored by others in the community. During last week’s public forum, the public was encouraged to attend and comment at this selectboard meeting.
You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
I think defining what is a personal attack, and how it differs from a strong but fair statement is often not understood.
Today, on the Brattleboro Facebook Discussion page, Steve West accused me of having make a personal attack because I had written that a deceptive statement about the Rescue EMS response time was allowed to stand unchallenged by town department heads and the town manager at Tuesday’s EMS forum.
While trying to gather names in support of keeping Rescue, Inc. ,at the Senior Center, I was informed that this was not allowed. This was not a partition for any political party, it was a partition involving the health and welfare of the people of Brattleboro.
Let us go back just a bit. Originally the Town Representatives voted for monies to go to Rescue, Inc. not to be put in the Town Budget as an axillary line item. So they hire a Town Manager, who we find out later that had ties with Golden Cross. When this happened why did this not alert our Selectboard to question these ties. Instead of admitting that they dropped the ball they continue to try to ram this down the throats of the Brattleboro residences, even with the multitude of responses that we want Rescue, Inc .
Last week, the Brattleboro Selectboard voted to reveal the major issues with Rescue that board members have known about but have not shared with the public. At the time, Chair Ian Goodnow said “It will be a meeting prior to our decision with ample time for public participation,” and “We’ll have a new schedule with plenty of notice for everyone.”
The public meeting to tell the full story from Brattleboro’s point of view took place in the middle of Tuesday’s EMS Public Forum, in comments made by HR Director Sally Nix.