The parking garage, a.k.a. the Brattleboro Transportation Center, had center stage at Tuesday’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. Is it safe? Is it energy efficient? Is it bright enough? Should we add a permanent art project? How big is that ceiling? Is there something we can do instead of paying half a million for reflective paint? These are the issues of the day.
There was quite a bit of public discussion throughout, new energy projects were approved, and the vehicle for hire ordinance is on hold. But really, it was mostly about the parking garage.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will declare the Police-Fire Facilities project complete at their next regular meeting, even though more work may be done using bond funds.
The parking garage will get a wood pellet heating system, the library an upgrade to the air handling system, and an art project will become permanent. The big changes, though, are ordinance amendments merging the concept of taxi and vehicle for hire, and a discussion of changes to parking rates, rules, and safety.
You can, as always, participate by attending.
The Brattleboro Tree Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, at 6:30pm in the Mezzanine Meeting Room at Brooks Memorial Library.
The Brattleboro Traffic Safety Committee will meet on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at 8:00am in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center.
I’m going to argue for free parking in Brattleboro.
The main reason we have to pay for parking here and not in most other towns in Vermont is to pay for our parking meters, parking enforcement, and parking infrastructure. Other than helping to pay for parking lot paving and snow removal, this is a silly, unnecessary burden for locals and visitors, and could instead be money spent in downtown stores.
Because it is summer, and hot, and we’re all tired, this week’s selectboard meeting notes will be provided to you in traditional 5-7-5 haiku form. Same news, just barely any details! Your overview:
Hot summer night in August
Nickels and dimes ya
The Brattleboro Selectboard will be altering the parking system at their next regular meeting at the Municipal Center. Rates are going to go up to help cover the costs of credit card service fees. Parking changes comes after a parking survey that gave them feedback on parking-related issues, and special requests by the downtown organization.
The board will also consider licensing of transportation network companies, requiring app-based ride services to comply with modified local taxi regulations.
Brattleboro will also buy a bunch of trucks, protect us all from the evils of liquor, buy heating oil, and replace Rod Francis on various boards and commissions.
You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
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.
It’s happening. At their next regular meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard will hire a company to do the designs for the skatepark at Living Memorial Park.
The board will discuss repairs at the Waste Water Treatment Plant, discuss parking, talk about loans and grants, approve an annual contract with Rescue, Inc., and proceed with the loan for the new fire truck. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
Groundworks Collaborative gave the Brattleboro Selectboard a report on the seasonal overflow shelter. They admitted they don’t have the resources to develop a temporary work program, though a new effort by Youth Services might be able to pull it off, perhaps by fall. Youth Services might get a new name, too, but that’s for another time.
The board adopted the FY19 Solid Waste and Parking Budgets, but left some decisions about parking meters, apps, and credit cards for a later discussion. Progress on energy audit matters was detailed, citizens pressed for more to be done, the skatepark is close to the fundraising finish line, grants have been applied for, and citizens were appointed to various Brattleboro committees and boards.
Also, two mentions of John Allen.
The Brattleboro skatepark project will receive $15,000 from the Thomas Thompson Trust, and Brattleboro Goes Fourth will get a permit for a parade at the next regular meeting of the selectboard.
The board will continue with the FY19 parking budget, hear a report from Groundworks Collaborative, review energy efficiency projects and town investments in renewables, and hire a roofer and a tree remover. Grants for child protection services, Bradley House, and intralibrary loans will be discussed, and annual committee appointments and dog warrants will be announced. You can add to the fun by bringing up other items not on the agenda during Public Participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard has a full agenda for their next meeting, having postponed a number of matters from their previous meeting. Financing of the fire truck purchase, improvements to the new police station and Union Station, and reviewing Solid Waste and Parking budgets are among the topics.
Brattleboro’s Town Plan gets a second public hearing and possible adoption if no one objects. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during Public Participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard scheduled too many weighty issues for their Tuesday meeting at the Municipal Center. As the meeting went on, agenda items were jettisoned in repeated attempts to keep the length of the meeting somewhat reasonable.
Those issues that were discussed were discussed in detail. The board learned about the Utilities Fund budget and possible rate changes in coming years, discussed goals for the coming year, received a presentation on the results of a Downtown Parking Survey, and held a public hearing on the Town Plan revision. They attended to Department of Transportation paperwork, settled a lawsuit, changed the name of a street, applied for grants, and more.
Also, a mouse.
Brattleboro’s Police Department might be getting a carport. It’s one of the final recommendations of the Police-Fire Facilities Committee and will be up for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard.
The board will learn of improvements to the Union Station train station in the near future. They will discuss the FY19 Utilities Budget, initiate final designs for the waste process water line at Pleasant Valley, hold a public hearing on the revised Town Plan, learn about the downtown parking study, review the Solid Waste budget for FY19, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation, too.
The Brattleboro Parking Department would like to announce the lifting of the winter parking ban. Starting 04/15/18, at midnight, overnight parking will be allowed on all streets EXCEPT in the downtown area. The following streets are never available for overnight parking:
Elliot Street (from School St to Main St)
Brattleboro’s Town Manager revealed the results of his summer explorations of issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. He got generally good reviews for the summary of his report, but more than a few requested some additional specifics be included. Brattleboro seems to be in a good position to make progress over the long term, but benchmarks and budgets might help.
The pesky panhandling sign returned in a semi-uncertain form, with wording in question and sponsoring organizations and services asking for their logos to be removed. The private effort was to be a collaboration, but appears to have offended a few too many.
The board also signed a statement in support of other climate agreements being signed around the globe. (For Kate O’Connor’s sake, I’ll say here that Brattleboro has been working on climate issues for a long time, is committed to action, and will continue to be so.)
All this, and possibly more.
A significant project to improve the Gibson Aiken and Harris Parking Lots is about to get underway. The scope of the project includes replacing all pavement, new sidewalks and curbing, improved drainage, and fresh paint. The public should expect these lots to be closed for public parking throughout the majority of the estimated four week project.