Well, well, well. The Brattleboro Selectboard has decided at the last moment that it would be good for them to explain to the public all the secret EMS BFD Rescue relationship information they have known about, information the public has asked them about for over a year and half and the board has remained steadily tight-lipped about. Until now.
Former Chair Liz McLoughlin cracked and said she wouldn’t let Rescue, Inc. control the narrative anymore, and that she wanted a meeting to reveal everything the board knows that the public has been kept in the dark about by her and her fellow board members. Chair Ian Goodnow warned the board that the town attorney told them they should not discuss these secrets with the public, but they voted to hold a special meeting anyway. The plan is to let the public know all the reasons that Rescue and BFD don’t get along.
This throws the public forum and decision-making meeting dates into question.
The Brattleboro Selectboard got off to a late start then quickly put their meeting on hold for technical reasons. Forty-five minutes later, the meeting was postponed until Thursday to give BCTV and Facebook time to fix themselves.
Those interested in discussing EMS and downtown safety will have to wait.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will be spending most of their first regular September meeting discussing town safety and EMS options for Brattleboro. They will review the EMS proposals received and learn about EMS insights from other communities. They’ll also discuss wrapping up the process, holding a public meeting, and then making an EMS decision.
Twelve items are packed into the consent agenda – a possible record, and good thing! You may bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The two recent special meetings, held in executive session, were, as many have speculated, to discuss the EMS situation. Both were held without Brat FD members present.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2023
SPECIAL MEETING – 5:15PM
The Town of Brattleboro has been exploring its options for providing Fire-EMS services. In addition to considering a fully municipal Fire Department approach, the Town has received two proposals from private companies to compare. The Town is thankful to both companies for putting together thoughtful and thorough proposals.
American Medical Response of Springfield, MA proposed a turn-key approach that would not require any first response services from Brattleboro Fire Department staff. They would dedicate multiple ambulances to respond within the town to meet desired response times.
Rescue Inc. of Brattleboro, VT proposed an approach like the Town’s previous model that shared emergency response responsibilities with the Brattleboro Fire Department. They would rely on Brattleboro Fire Department paramedics and EMTs to respond to priority one calls, such as cardiac arrests and vehicle crashes, with the private company responding to all other types of emergency calls and transporting the priority one patients. Rescue Inc. would utilize multiple ambulances that are deployed across the fifteen towns that the company serves.
A taxpayer asked SelectBoard members a question: “What is the actual dollar cost for the Fire Department to respond with one fire truck, one ladder truck, and one ambulance to a medical call?”
The Brattleboro Selectboard held their August public EMS discussion at their regular meeting on Tuesday. The board is happy with their progress though one member said that the public doesn’t understand what decisions are to be made,. They will make their EMS decision in late September. Two more public meetings will be held prior.
The Town Manager said the EMS project web page has had over 1600 page views since May. (This site averaged 7,750 pages viewed per day in August for comparison). The board had questions about the Fire Department’s large overtime budget and the public had questions about downtown cameras and sheltering people without homes this winter.
Brattleboro’s Town Manager will suggest changes to the budget process at the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. One proposed change to the schedule is intended to increase public participation.
EMS discussions continue, with one more chance for the public to weigh in on aspects of pending EMS decisions. The board will also hear a financial report and will spend nearly $60,000 for a Pool Engineering Feasibility Study. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
OK. One final kitten update, then I’ll cover the EMS portion of the Brattleboro Selectboard meeting tonight for you.
If you missed the recent article , “Brattleboro faces blaze of firefighter departures amid town EMS takeover debate,” here is the link:
The takeaway quote, I believe, is: “ …since … June of last year, 16 staffers have departed. Of the latter firefighters who quit, five had worked multiple years before leaving, while 11 had been hired just days, weeks or months before their departures ….”
The Brattleboro Selectboard will be holding their July moments of public participation for anyone wishing to provide feedback and comments on the EMS plan.
They will also approve new land use regulations, and hear a report on plans for improvements to Living Memorial Park. You can sometimes bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation, if the Chair allows.
The town proposed a Request for Information (RFI) process on May 12, 2023 to identify potential EMS providers for Brattleboro. Vendors can provide input on the RFP’s structure, criteria, and requirements.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) will be developed based on feedback from the RFI responses, which the Select Board will review on July 25. Rescue Inc. enters Brattleboro EMS chat, Brattleboro Reformer, July 14, 2023.
The Brattleboro Selectboard approves union and non-union pay raises and contracts for town employees at Tuesday’s meeting, they will talk finances and financial software, and they will approve enterprise fund budgets and a rate decrease for those who use water.
I’ll skip that stuff and give you a kitten update, then join the board for their discussion of EMS after 7 pm.
Brattleboro employees will get raises and taxpayers will get a 5% reduction in water bills at the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard.
Parking and Utility budgets will be approved, the monthly EMS update will be given, and the public’s chance to weigh in at the 2nd meeting in June regarding EMS services will be on the agenda as well. You might also be able to bring up other items not on the agenda.
A combative public greeted the selectboard to kick off their Tuesday night meeting. The quick version: downtown is unsafe and your website sucks.
After that was out of the way, the board was treated to a discussion of I-91 exit 1 bridge repairs next spring and summer, emergency housing plans, and about EMS transition items such as potential municipal revenue, the RFI process, and a new project-related website.
At the May 2 Selectboard meeting, the board endorsed a proposed schedule of information-gathering prior to deciding on Town EMS services in September.
The board thought they had a good plan, but what they presented turned out to be confusing to anyone trying to follow along. Sadly, in an effort to be extra open and transparent, the board ended up making things murkier.
The Official Path – Meetings and Correspondence
Town Manager John Potter presented the official EMS decision-making schedule, which gives time for public discussion on the topic at the second Selectboard meeting of each month. This is the official time for the public to come and weigh in on warned EMS agenda items. There will also be a public forum scheduled just prior to the board’s vote in September.
Municipal EMS potential revenues will be open for limited discussion at the next Brattleboro Selectboard meeting. The board begins their official EMS decision making process, which they continue to call a “Fire-EMS transition,” and will ask potential 3rd party EMS contractors to give the town information. They’ll also announce a new project website, a new taxpayer-sponsored and government-generated news program, and an email address!
The board will also discuss emergency housing, cemetery changes, and a new plan to fix the I-91 pile of rust… er,. bridge at Exit 1.
You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation, if the Chair doesn’t read your mind and forbid you from speaking on issues he doesn’t want discussed.
Brattleboro Selectboard endorsed a plan put forth by Town Manager John Potter that offers an aggressive summer schedule for gathering input from board members, staff, EMS providers , other towns, and the public. It kicks off at the next board meeting and will be a regular item for the second meeting of each month until decisions have been made.
Brattleboro will celebrate Juneteenth henceforth. The Agricultural Loan Fund has been updated to serve more people and the board held a first reading to find out the details. And green burials and properly-oriented Muslim burials will soon be options at the local cemetery
I was advised the link in the other story does not open. Here is the copy I submitted to The Commons which was published 4/26/2023:
An April 7, 2023 Commentary in the Reformer, Brattleboro EMS: Fact vs fiction, asserted that “Rescue notified the town on March 25, 2022, that it would not be providing service to the town beyond the June 30, 2022,” citing Rescue Inc’s letter.
That is misleading. The full statement by Rescue from that letter reads:
“Given your stated position and unwillingness to pay for emergency medical response, Rescue Inc will not be able to continue providing that service to the Town of Brattleboro beyond the June 30, 2022 contract end date. If the town would like to come and speak with me about an agreement for service beyond June 30, 2022, please contact me no later than May 1, 2022, to schedule a meeting.”
In The Commond this week
April 26, 2023
Need to do the math on Brattleboro EMS funding