WSESD Board Meeting Agenda and Minutes

I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – Kelly Young, Board Chair


• CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – December 14 (pending), January 25 (pending), March 8, March 10, March 15 (pending)

Selectboard Meeting Notes – Mask Rules Lifted, Sidewalk Rules Enhanced

brattleboro selectboard march 1 2022

The Brattleboro Selectboard lifted town rules requiring masks. People and businesses are free to once again do as they please with caution. The mask rules can come back if things get bad again.

The board also passed a new rule requiring downtown property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow within 24 hours of a snowstorm or face fines and costs. It may be a while before this is tested, though, as winter is wrapping up for the season.

Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda & Notes – March 1, 2022

A potentially short regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard is scheduled for Town Meeting Day (election day). They will hear about new plans for liquor for the Latchis Pub & Underground, they’ll talk about wearing masks a while longer, and they’ll amend the ordinance change regarding downtown snow removal. You can add to the meeting by bringing up other items not on the agenda during public participation.

Selectboard Meeting Notes – No Business Likes Snow Business

selectboard february 15, 2022

The Brattleboro selectboard had strong words for downtown property owners over sidewalk snow removal. It was a good old-fashioned Selectboard -DBA battle for a while there, when the downtown organization tried to pass responsibility for clearing snow to the Town.  No, insisted the board. Building owners have always been required to clear it, and if the downtown organization feels it is a shabby job, perhaps they should pay to use a more professional service. Take that.

They also raced through some public hearings, updates and reports.

Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting – Agenda and Notes February 15, 2022

At their next regular meeting the Brattleboro Selectboard will consider changing the rules about downtown snow removal, possibly ending the practice of removing snow for building owners and charging them after for the work.

The board will revisit the mask mandate, take care of some grants, appoint some people, and consider use of ARPA funds to replenish the parking fund. You can, as always, bring up pther items not on the agenda during public participation.

Masking Smartly Makes A Difference

Are people who are getting infected and re-infected with COVID using masks? Are they using masks correctly? When we hear about numbers of cases or individual cases there does not seem to be any reporting about mask use. This got me to wondering if people who use masks are using them to maximum benefit.

I have read a number of peer-reviewed medical journal articles and I also looked at data from the CDC and the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) to determine the most effective masks and how they should be used.

Selectboard Meeting Notes – Peter Elwell’s Final Meeting, Mask Mandate Modified

peter elwell

It’s the final regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard for 2021, (if any meeting this year could be called “regular.”)

The board reconsidered the mask mandate, reviewed FY’23 matters, looked at annual audit results, considered financial reports, and bought some trucks and equipment repairs. More interesting to me, though, was that this was the last “regular” meeting for outgoing Town Manager Peter Elwell. That’s kind of where my thoughts are tonight, more than on budgets and such.

And, for that reason, I don’t plan to transcribe everything word for word tonight. Instead some thoughts…and a bit of the meeting.

Brattleboro Face Coverings Required

At its November 23 meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard passed a resolution that established a rule requiring that face coverings be worn by all employees, customers, and visitors in any store, office, or other indoor setting where the public is invited. The adoption of this rule was made possible by the State of Vermont authorizing municipal legislative bodies to adopt rules requiring individuals to wear face coverings while indoors at locations open to the public. The Vermont Legislature passed a bill to that effect in special session on November 22 and Governor Scott signed the bill into law on November 23.

Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda & Notes – November 23, 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at 6:15pm over Zoom. The Municipal Center (230 Main Street) will be open to the public with limited seating spaced six feet apart and face coverings will be required. The public is encouraged to participate in the meeting over Zoom. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.”  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.

Selectboard Special Meeting Notes: Masks Redux

brattleboro selectboard august 17 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a new rule requiring face covering indoors, subject to the approval of Dr. Levine and the Vermont Department of Health. If Levine doesn’t approve, the board strongly recommends, rather than requires, the face coverings. This is all in response to a rapid rise in regional COVID cases, more Delta variant, and a fluctuating CDC rating of viral transmission.

In a related action, the board recommended to everyone who is able, please get vaccinated.

Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting Agenda – New Mask Requirements

The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Brattleboro Municipal Center (320 Main Street). The public is encouraged to participate in the meeting over Zoom. The Municipal Center will be open to the public with limited seating spaced six feet apart and face coverings will be required in the meeting. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.”  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.

Why Don’t We See More Masks?

Engaging in usual forms of commerce makes one believe that the pandemic is a thing of the past. I find it extremely frightening that more people are not wearing masks in public because the science does tell us that not enough people have been vaccinated to provide the kind of herd immunity that we might need to protect all of us.

Fifty four percent of the U.S. population has received a first dose of vaccine and 47% have received a second dose. That means that as you go about your daily business about half of the people you see should be wearing masks. Of course, the vaccination numbers vary by state. Vermont has a vaccination rate of 82% for a first dose and 75% for a second dose. Massachusetts is at 70% for a first dose and 61% for a second dose.

Even with those numbers we still should see a quarter to a half of the people we engage with on a daily basis wearing masks. It is just not happening. Most places, as well as the CDC, have lifted mask restrictions for vaccinated people and have let the unvaccinated rely on their conscience to do the right thing.
Guess what? It ain’t working. The daily numbers of new COVID cases and deaths are declining but more than 600,000 Americans have died from the disease and it has become clear that most of the recent deaths are in people who have not been vaccinated.

Town of Brattleboro COVID Update June 4, 2021


• Effective today, the Selectboard has terminated the Townwide emergency order that required face coverings to be worn inside all facilities (public, private, and non-profit) where the public is invited. Individual organizations and building owners can still require face coverings at their own facilities. 

The Town of Brattleboro thanks everyone for complying with the Townwide “mask order” during the 54 weeks that it was in effect. 

• The public may now enter the Gibson Aiken Center without an appointment. 

The number of spectators is still limited for indoor programs. Masks are still required at all times while in the building. 

• At this time, masks are still required inside all Town of Brattleboro government facilities. “

Selectboard Meeting Notes – Police Hours Change, Mask Mandate To Expire, Water Treatment Plant Contract Approved

Brattleboro Selectboard june 1

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a plan to let Brattleboro Police switch from an understaffed three shift system to a two shift system that will reduce hours and stress. Brattleboro will go without patrol staff for certain hours of the week.

The water treatment plant is going ahead with approval of a firm to build the new plant, despite a bad reference and previous bad town experiences with the company. The local mask mandate will be lifted on Friday. And State Senator Becca Balint described the huge piles of money coming to Vermont in the near future.

Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – June 1, 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard will take up matters relating to COVID at their next regular meeting. State Senator Becca Balint will give an update on ARPA and other funding sources, the board will discuss what to do about the mask order in town, they’ll talk about in-person meeting possibilities. and whether to continue deferring Small Business Loans.

Hiring a firm to help find Brattleboro a new Town Manager is up for discussion, as will approving a nearly $12 million big to build a new water treatment plant. You can bring up other items not on the agenda, and/or ask for your $12 million, during public participation.

Town of Brattleboro Mask Order Still In Effect

The Brattleboro Town Manager’s COVID-19 update today says the following:


At its meetings on May 19 and May 26, 2020, the Selectboard adopted the following resolution. The resolution was reviewed and reaffirmed at the Selectboard meeting on June 16. On May 13, 2021, the United States Government issued new guidance that says fully vaccinated people can safely choose not to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors. Today, Governor Scott reiterated that guidance to Vermonters. The updated guidance states that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” The Town of Brattleboro’s face covering order remains in effect at this time. Moreover, it is important to remember that many people are not yet fully vaccinated so individual businesses may choose to continue to require face coverings on their premises even after government-issued face covering orders have been rescinded. “

A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special

covid christmas special

I promised you a new holiday treat for this year, and here it is: A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special.     It is a super cute animated Christmas story made especially for a special year, featuring a masked snowman, masked singers, socially-distanced Santa, toy shopping, Mom, and a decorated tree by a fire. And lots of mask jokes.

I didn’t set out to make a new holiday special. I was working on some Christmas card ideas and Lise saw what I was doing and suggested they might make for some nice animation. That got me thinking, and before long I was able to string together a series of card ideas into a parody of a couple of my favorite holiday films.

Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – November 3, 2020

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a limited regular meeting on Election Night. They’ll issue a statement in support of American democracy, consider and reject a request to relax mask-wearing rules in local businesses, hear an overview of the FY22 budget, and set a schedule to discuss it in detail. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.