There were many big issues at Tuesday’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard but the biggest of them all was an extended discussion about dismantling a racist system by defunding the Brattleboro Police. Citizens were rather clear and consistent in asking that the General Fund budget be voted down, and that funding for the police be reassigned to social services.
The system moves slowly, they were told, and their attention should be placed on next year’s budget process. The board committed to making a re-evaluation of community safety a priority in the near future, but passed the budget by a 3-2 split vote.
Brattleboro utility rates will be going up at the next virtual meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. New water and sewer rates, the parking and general fund budgets, and salary increases will be approved.
The Town Manager will give a COVID-19 update, Brattleboro will consider joining a communications district, the Municipal Center renovations will inch forward, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda, of course, during public participations.
The board discussed final tidbits relating to the FY21 proposed budget, and consider other items as well, such as giving themselves a raise, giving election workers a raise, demanding an overhaul of the health care system, and then some wondering about who is getting raises and why they are getting them.
The biggest news of the Tuesday meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard came not from the agenda but introductory remarks. The Town manager announced that Planning Services Director Rod Francis was leaving Brattleboro in the next couple of weeks.
This was followed by an unscheduled but surprisingly active discussion of aggressive panhandling in the downtown area.
Beyond those matters, the skatepark hired a design firm and got some extra cash, contracts and grants were approved, the utility budget passed, a long resolution was adopted, and more.
There will be no Town panhandling sign. That was the split decision of the Brattleboro Selectboard Tuesday evening.
The board had an active and long night. Much of it had to do with financial matters and planning, such as approving a letter of intent to rent space in the Municipal Center, reviewing long term financial plans, buying a fire truck, debating the thickness of single use plastic bags, and contemplating energy issues.
Budget season starts officially at the next meeting, but it peeked its head in and said hello this week.