In a close vote Tuesday, Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting representatives have decided to add a new layer to town government in what will surely represent a new era in governing the municipality.
“We felt that Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting is the best form of town meeting in the state of Vermont,” said one member. “If representatives are good for the general public, we thought we should use the system ourselves within Representative Town Meeting.”
I’ve started a thread here for Representatives and others to share what went down at RTM this year.
What was the tone? How long did it last? What were the big discussions? Anything we need to know?
For many years it was assumed that the pool of selectboard candidates could be increased by increasing the compensation for the position. The idea was that maybe people who are single parents or working multiple jobs would run if only there was enough compensation to make it worthwhile. A corollary was that perhaps the board has been dominated by only people well-off enough to have the free time to serve.
Representatives at Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting would have this discussion at each RTM when the compensation article would come up. Eventually the arguments prevailed and the stipends went up. A board member now gets $8000 plus money to pay for child or other care during meetings. The chair gets more.
In an effort to promote citizen involvement and help RTM members better represent their constituents, there will be a public forum for District 3 residents at 3 pm on Sunday March 13 in the social hall at Trinity Lutheran Church, 161 Western Avenue. This citizens’ forum is intended to allow people who live in District 3 to express their concerns and to ask questions about Town issues in advance of the RTM meeting on March 19.
I would encourage RTM members from District 3 to attend to hear from their neighbors.
Complying with a vote of Representative Town Meeting in 2021, RTM’s Finance Committee has prepared a “Guide to the Brattleboro Town Budget.” The guide is posted on the Town’s website under the Finance Committee’s page and the RTM Resources section, both of which are accessible from the Representative Town Meeting tab on the left menu bar. Also newly posted is the annual report for RTM’s consideration of the FY23 budget.
Brattleboro Town Selectboard will hold a pre-town meeting information forum on Wednesday, March 9 via Zoom beginning at 7:30pm. Representative Town Meeting articles will be discussed, including the budget.
Beginning at 5:15pm (District 1), 6:00pm (District 2), and 6:45pm (District 3), town meeting members of each district will be available to meet with constituents to offer residents an opportunity to share their views and discuss articles to be voted on at the annual meeting. Also, at those times, each district will be accepting nominations to fill meeting member vacancies for 1 year.
The 2022 Brattleboro RTM Finance Committee Report on the Town FY23 Budget is currently available online on the Town website, Brattleboro.org. Paper copies are also available at the Town Manager’s Office at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street, Suite 208).
Kurt Daims is running for Moderator for Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting.
Tell us about yourself and why you’d like to be Moderator of Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting…
What sort of moderating experience would you bring, if elected? What’s your style?
1. Approval of minutes
3. Review of Town Finance Committee Report draft
4. Other Business
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.
• Call to order
• Agenda review
• Approve last meeting minutes
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.
Review and approve minutes
Review draft Finance Report sections (continued)
David Gartenstein is running for Moderator for Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting.
Tell us about yourself and why you’d like to be Moderator of Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting.
I’d like to serve the public good by moderating Town Meeting in a way that is fair to all, with governing procedures followed, all persons having a chance to engage, and decisions made after full debate and consideration of all available information.
The Brattleboro Selectboard approved an FY23 budget to send to Representative Town Meeting. They also warned that meeting, so representatives will get to vote on the budget and other items.
There was a bit of discussion about the value of holding Representative Town Meeting once again by Zoom, but the option to do it that way was approved unanimously.
Everyone in Brattleboro who planned on running for Selectboard has returned petitions to the Brattleboro Town Clerk’s office. The big surprise this year? No surprises at all. All the names are familiar incumbents.
Daniel Quipp will run for a three year seat. Jessica Gelter and Tim Wessel will run for one year seats.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 6:15pm in the Second Floor Meeting Room at the Central Fire Station (103 Elliot Street). Everyone will be required to wear a face covering and maintain social distance. 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.
The RTM Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 6:00pm in the Brattleboro Co-op Meeting Room and over Zoom. Information regarding how to access the meeting remotely are included in the attached agenda.
The Brattleboro Selectboard did some final tinkering with remaining FY23 budget items, with a discussion about bike paths and whether waiting six months is worth $16,000.
They approved some sidewalk improvements, Human Services requests, and a tax stabilization idea to encourage solar projects on already-developed land was discussed and sent along to RTM.
Speak now or forever hold your peace – on the FY23 budget. The Brattboro selectboard will be doing a final look at the FY23 budget they plan to send to Representative Town Meeting for consideration. Also for RTM, they will also review the annual Human Services funding request, consider an article to allow tax stabilization for alternative energy projects, appoint officers, and review draft warnings for upcoming elections and meetings.
The board will also have a public hearing for some safety improvements and hire a company to do some sidewalk repair. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.