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.
The results of the Brattleboro Selectboard board retreat will be discussed at their next Tuesday meeting. Hint: they have established their five top goals of the year to be good transportation center parking, the town pool, the community safety plan, safety zones, and housing.
Tax rates and utility rates will be set, housing and land use will be discussed, and you can bring up any other items not on the agenda if the Chair allows under Public Participation.
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.
Surviving in the Rough Handbook:
For those living unhoused in Vermont who either have been or are due to evicted from the motel/hotel program or have otherwise have already been abandoned to the streets, woods or elsewhere with nowhere else to call home.
A living, work-in-progress, document anonymously co-written by various peers (those with lived experience, knowledge and insights, because we have been there and have done that).
In solidarity. Don’t give up!!!
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.
For those who were not already aware of it, Brattleboro resident and author Matt Whalan will be among two speakers at an event on homelessness held at Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier this evening at 6:30 PM and aired live by ORCA Media (via YouTube):
Although I have since discontinued engaging in activism and advocacy (save for continuing to focus on access to public restrooms and related matters for a few more months or so), in case you missed it and it is of interest, I just stumbled upon this commentary of mine that is in the legislative record concerning attitudes regarding people living houseless (i.e., unhoused aka homeless), fyi:
The Town of Brattleboro will vote on a ban to No Cause Evictions in a referendum on March 7, 2023. Landlords and managers of rental properties are strongly opposed to this ban.
The term “No Cause Evictions” is a bit of a misnomer. There is always a cause when a property owner or manager does not renew a lease. And these are not exactly evictions, they are non-renewal of leases at the lease terminations. Tenants are able to leave at the end of a lease, why should the owner or manager not be allowed to ask the tenant to leave?
No Cause Evictions are a tool used by property owners and managers to ensure the safe and quiet enjoyment of rental properties by all tenants. Taking a tenant to court for a “For Cause Eviction” is extremely costly ($5,000 to get started), take many months and offer no guarantee of results.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold two public hearings to discuss a Charter Amendment. The first public hearing will be held on Friday, February 3, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street) and the second public hearing will be held during a scheduled Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard meeting room.
In case you have not already come across it yet, a book on the subject of homelessness to consider obtaining and reading is:
“Homeless Anything Helps” by Vermont author Matthew Vernon Whalan; An Oral History (2021; Hard Times Review Press; paperback):
In case it is of interest, fyi:
Archived video: Montpelier Homelessness Task Force Listening Session (12/22/2022):
In case it is of interest, fyi:
Essay: Never Take Anything For Granted: Elevating Mindfulness (on what happened while exiting an ailing elevator):
Root Causes of Homelessness Presentation hosted at the Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier last month, archived video, fyi:
Kellogg Hubbard Library – Root Causes of Homelessness (via YouTube):
In case you missed it and it is of interest (Wednesday, August 31, 2022), fyi:
Scott administration announces abrupt halt in rental assistance for more than 8,000 Vermont households
(via Vermont Public):
Supporting Brenda Siegel
Last Autumn (2021), when most Vermont residents were able to enjoy having a roof over their heads to stay warm and dry underneath, a comfortable bed to sleep in, nourishing daily meals to eat and proper hydration with which to attempt to stay healthy, Brenda Siegel and others were holding vigil on the steps of the State House in Montpelier on behalf of those most in need who live without such means.
For my part, I joined them there for a single evening and it wasn’t easy or fun by any means. They did so for 27 long days and nights until the governor and his reluctant administration finally relented to their demands.
Brattleboro officials notice the housing crisis: 500 units are needed — NOW. But recent proposals for construction of a dozen or so units are a pathetic response.
The selectboard and committees are fixated on new construction, as if that is the only way.
Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) proposed rent controls and just-cause eviction controls (JCE) two years ago, and town government has done nothing. BCS is also proposing emergency measures to create new housing by increasing occupancy limits and allowing RV’s to be rented as bedrooms and mini-houses in private driveways.
6:00 Call to Order
6:00 – 6:10 Announcements
6:10 – 6:15 Minutes of May 2, 2022
Discussion of Edits, Motion to Approve
6:15-7:15 Zoning for Neighborhood Housing
The Brattleboro Selectboard, under new management of Chair Ian Goodnow, had their first regular meeting of April and their first long discussion. It was about goals and what they want to do in the coming year. They also had their first meeting in the Municipal Center in quite a long time, sitting closely without masks and wondering where members of the public might be.
The board approved of a catering license, loaned some more money for new housing, allowed short term rental in the parking garage, and more.
A rather routine agenda awaits the “new” Brattleboro Selectboard at their first regular meeting of April 2022. A liquor license, lease agreements, board goals and assignments, and loans. The board will also discuss raising the fee for recycling.
You can bring up other items not on this agenda during public participation.