The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet for a Special Meeting on Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Brattleboro Municipal Center (230 Main Street, Room 212). At the conclusion of the meeting the Board will meet and is expected to immediately enter into executive session to discuss contracts, possible litigation, and evaluation of a public employee. No action will be taken in executive session. The public may also participate in the meeting over Zoom. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.” ASL interpreters or closed captioning will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.
WSESU Business Administrator Frank Rucker shared and reviewed a document: “Windham Southeast School District FY25 Proposed Budget Summary.” Highlights included:
• The Finance office recently received some new statistics and information from the Agency of Education.
• There have been some updates Mr. Rucker has received since the prior draft:
◦ The state is essentially requiring the District to “pay itself,” by making Brattleboro Union High School (BUHS) pay the Windham Regional Career Center (WRCC) for the approximately 63 students that will attend. The Legislature is reviewing the funding formula.
◦ An addition of $150,000 for the Oak Grove capital project, due to bids being slightly higher than anticipated.
• The Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) statistics are fiscally unfavorable. If there are no changes, this will have a negative affect on the homestead tax rate.
The Brattleboro Selectboard heard a request from two organizations for an $80,000 a year part time position (and some data collection) and decided to double it. They gave them $160,000 and two years for a “proof of concept” showing that this investment attracts new businesses to Brattleboro.
The board went on to discuss their ARPA plans and FY25 budgets.
At their next regular meeting , the Brattleboro Selectboard will approve budgets for FY25 to send along to Representative Town Meeting, including their plans to use what remains of ARPA funds.
The board will also hear from the Downtown Alliance and Chamber of Commerce (two of several organizations that foster economic growth, attract new business, and enhance the overall economic well-being of the community) for new funding to pay for someone to “foster economic growth, attract new business, and enhance the overall economic well-being of the community.”
You can bring up other items not on the agenda, if the Chair allows, during Public Participation.
The Brattleboro Tree Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 4:15pm in the Hanna Cosman Meeting Room at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street).
The RTM Finance Committee will meet on Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 6:00pm in the Hanna Cosman Meeting Room at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street).
Frank Rucker presented the current WSESU FY25 Proposed budget.
On a motion by Kerry Amidon the board voted to approve the FY25 WSESU budget as presented in the amount of $30,541,647.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will take up reviewing the revised FY25 budgets at the final regular meeting of the year. They will be examining the general fund, the capital fund, and the ARPA budgets – the only agenda item they plan to discuss in detail.
The consent agenda, however, has some interesting items. Notice the small grant to add EV charging stations to town properties, the grand list errors, and 47 lost land record binders, among other things.
You can bring up other items not on the agenda 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.
WSESU Business Administrator Frank Rucker shared and reviewed a document: “Windham Southeast School District General Ledger – Elementary FY25 Proposed Budget [By School].” Highlights included:
• This document is on the website.
• It contains two different summary formats: by school site, and detailed.
• An explanation of how the two different summary formats are organized.
• The total spending on this part of the proposed budget is $26,450,000, up from the current year’s budget of $26,437,000. This is for all three secondary school sites: BUHS, BAMS, and WRCC. This budget is almost level-funded.
• FY25 goes from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.
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.
The Windham Southeast School District Independent Budget Review Committee Meeting will take place Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 5:00pm in the Cusick Conference Room at BUHS
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.)
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 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.
The Brattleboro Selectboard is easing into budget season while wrestling with the safety of retuning to in-person meetings. They got an update on the Water Treatment Plant upgrade, paid for some emergency repairs, gave out a liquor license, and discussed Town Manager Elwell’s final Long Term Financial Plan.
There was more – there will be new stop signs coming to some corners, a discussion of ARPA fund possibilities was quick, and a discussion of blinking crosswalks took quite a while.
The Brattleboro Selectboard willl take up a number of water treatment plant issues at their next regular meeting. This includes emergency replacement of a blower and other emergency repairs for wells, a project update, and a loan application. The board will continue discussion of adjusting COVID rules, hear an update on ARPA funding, consider some traffic safety measures, and contemplate Town Manager Elwell’s final Long Term Financial Plan, FY23-27.