Read on for coverage of the Brattleboro Selectboard’s regular December 4th meeting. The mini-trial in the middle of the meeting regarding Dozer the Dangerous Dog took a turn when the owner made claims that it was not Dozer, but Buddy, her other dog. This led to much confusion in the courtroom.
In more substantial and long term news, the Department of Public Works got the go-ahead to do a feasibility study to see what new facilities would entail. Nothing will be built anytime soon.
A full meeting for the Brattleboro Selectboard just prior to Thanksgiving. Discussions of the FY20 Budget, the Downtown Alliance, affordable housing, downstairs tenants driving someone nuts, and more took place, plus there was the introduction of a new 25 year plan for replacing town equipment, as well as a new suggestion to put some money aside, like a layaway plan, to buy future fire trucks.
The Brattleboro Selectboard cancelled a few possible contentious items on the agenda (the Harmony Lot mural and the Health Code violation) but still got an earful from a couple concerned that blinking safety lights on Western Ave are unnecessary and lower the value of their home. The Wessel Baffle might prove to be the solution.
Town Manager Elwell gave the board an overview of the coming budget request from Town staff. Of note: the expected 4% health insurance increase is actually more like 17%. Ouch. Call a doctor. Police cars are being uplifted, a new solar project is being considered, and more.
I’ll be live-blogging the meeting again, so follow along and feel free to ask questions. They’ll be getting started soon, and I’ll be adding regular updates in the comments below.
Tonight’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard is being live blogged here as it happens. For fun!
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.
Brattleboro’s hoped-for deal with the State of Vermont for long-term lease and improvements to the Municipal Center has officially fallen through, according to the Town Manager. New options are being explored.
The Youth Vote will get a special meeting, Brattleboro’s bus schedule and routes are changing, two new dump trucks are being ordered, odors will be studied, and more. Plus disclosures.
The Brattleboro Selectboard began discussing a repeal of a 2011 Town Charter change to stop counting local write-in votes unless the write-in candidate had declared an intention to serve.
The board heard a semi-annual update from the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, approved of paving, police cars, body cameras for police officiers, and disc golf improvements. Snow sports at Living Memorial Park will continue, we have a new road in town, and new members were appointed to committees.
Taxes are going up, as they always seem to do. The Brattleboro Selectboard adopted the FY19 tax rates for property owners that were approved by Representative Town Meeting representatives earlier this year. The $14.8 million budget includes both the essential items suggested by the Selectboard as well as some optional extras added in by the representatives.
There’s also a new community collaboration that you can be a part of. Project Care is a new effort in Brattleboro to help addicts recover and do well.
And, in case you are curious, setting the tax rate during a heat wave calls for casual attire.
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.
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.
Brattleboro’s Town Plan revision was adopted by the Brattleboro Selectboard at Tuesday’s meeting. It was one of many items in a packed agenda that included financing of the new fire truck, preliminary design work on a possible police carport, and likely train station improvements.
The usually dull Parking Fund overview was spiced up by a request for a comprehensive look at the parking system, with public discussions, prior to approving any capital improvements. The FY19 Solid Waste Budget was introduced, finances were discussed, goals were adopted, and we learned that Brattleboro has a new Indian restaurant.
Finally, Brattleboro’s two confidential employees received a 2% raise, along with other non-union positions.
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.
It was a night of big things for the Brattleboro Selectboard – a big, new fire truck was ordered, and plans for a possible big $32.5m dairy processing facility were presented.
The board got an update on skatepark finances and schedule, tires in the wetlands will be cleaned up next fall, a letter about Act 46 stalled, the leaf pickup schedule is being re-examined, and goals and plans for the coming year were discussed. The board discussed energy matters, compassion, and diversity.
Oh, and for anyone seeking to get a message to Board Chair, don’t send email…
Permits, plans, and policies dominated the first regular meeting of the newly-formed Brattleboro Selectboard.
Flood plain models and measurements were at issue for a significant portion of the meeting, with little that could be done except make a federal case of the matter. In the end, an agreement to reach an agreement with a property owner was agreeable enough to allow the board to acknowledge the project they have no say in. It was that sort of an evening.
The skatepark approaches, but has not crossed, the fundraising finish line. A revised Town Plan is nearing completion, a re-application for the Downtown Improvement District relies on the Town Plan being approved, and the Heifers have permits to go strolling again this year.
The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a new contract with Brattleboro firefighters Tuesday evening. Negotiations began in 2016, stalled, resumed, and just recently wrapped up. Firefighters will be getting a retroactive raise going back to when the process began.
Liquor licenses, a finance report, a grant for bulletproof vests, and an update on Windham Regional Commission were all punctuated by news that this meeting was John Allen’s final regular selectboard meeting.
At the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard, five local establishments will discuss recent liquor violations and corrective actions taken since. If the board is satisfied with their responses, they’ll be granted their annual liquor license renewals.
The board had a discussion of winter road conditions, causes of potholes, methods of repairing potholes, and specific reasons why Western Avenue has so many of them.
The board considered a letter to state education officials asking to support the results of the vote against a school district merger, as it would negatively impact Brattleboro taxes. The Brewer’s Fest permit was approved, Brattleboro Words are being explored and celebrated, and a pile of tires near the Marina is a problem for plants and animals in the vicinity.
The Brattleboro Selectboard held a meeting full of exciting twists and turns. From a sudden interest in municipal broadband to a re-examination of requiring write-in candidates to pre-register, the meeting was full of surprises.
There were the scheduled issues as well with liquor licenses renewed, an animal control officer appointed, grants accepted, and so on, but even these provided curious side paths. Consider, for example, that the board decided to willingly challenge what they felt was an unfair ordinance, all in the name of compassion. Or the matter of the fly in need of rescue… In short, it was an eventful meeting.
The Brattleboro Selectboard held a mostly happy meeting Tuesday night. Most seemed happy that their budget meetings were behind them, John Allen was happy he only had a few meetings left on the board, and all were very happy by somewhat surprising news of a very large grant to help pay for the waste water treatment plant.