Selectboard Meeting Notes – Vacant Building Permits and Municipal Housing

The Brattleboro Selectboard had a first reading of a new ordinance regarding vacant buildings around town. If a building is vacant for 180 days, it must get a permit, and the cost of the permit doubles each year. Will it finally put some pressure on the empty Home Depot building? Not as written. It will be exempt.

In a discussion about possible municipally-owned properties that could be candidates for new housing developments, Liz McLoughlin mentioned a confidential plan that might include both the Municipal Center and the High Grove parking lot. She didn’t explain further.

And, your water rates will go up 5% rather than 1% this October.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – I See Those Rates and Raise Them , Too

selectboard may 7 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard is contemplating just how much to raise Utility rates, specifically the cost of water. Rather than a 1% increase in FY25, they are thinking of raising it 5%, and 5% every year until 2030. But, it might go up even more because of the new expert study of utility rates they will commission for $75,000.

In good news, all the major roads of Brattleboro that the state has a hand in will be repaved in 2025-2026. And the Charter Commission is taking a deep dive into all sorts of issues related to Town Meeting and asking for your input.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Trash Talk

The Brattleboro Selectboard heard two overviews at their short Tuesday meeting. The first was regarding the very long process of relicensing the dams along the Connecticut River. They got the overview and agreed to send a letter to FERC outlining local desires for the relicensing plan.

The second overview was about the major changes to trash, recycling and organic waste collection in Brattleboro after July 1. The sole bidder for the collection contract, Casella, wants to use one-person trucks that use joystick-controlled grabbers to pick up new, special trash receptacles. Town staff will be gathering information from residents about how much more they are willing to pay, and if they’d like to contract directly with Casella, if all waste should be picked up every other week, what to do about already-bought bags and containers, and other important issues.


Selectboard Meeting Notes: We Don’t Like the Cost of the Bridge We Ordered

selectboard april 2 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard took issue with new costs of a bridge project requested by an earlier board, and sent VTrans back to their offices without an approval for their design of the Western Ave bridge replacement near Melrose. VTrans is invited back when the project won’t cost the Town quite so much. No one mentioned the increases that will inevitably occur between now and 2028 when the bridge is scheduled to be completed.

The board also took up some start-up and general housekeeping issues. New Chair Daniel Quipp pledged earlier meeting end times and more public participation in the coming year.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Ambulance Rides To Be $1400

selectboard feb 20 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard set EMS rates and policies, settling on a $1400 cost for a ride in their new ambulance service. Your insurance will pay for most of it, and if you get a bill you can ignore it completely or enter into a payment plan or pay it all at once. It is compassionate, they agreed.

The Town will embark on a search for a new waste management partner, someone who will listen and be responsive, and perhaps take long walks or watch movies together.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Some Interesting Updates

A possibly short meeting with potentially interesting topics ahead was actually not so short due to technical difficulties, but it certainly was interesting. A respite from budgets, for sure.

Sustainability, food security, downtown safety, bridge fixing, and more were all discussed. Some with slide presentations!


Selectboard Meeting Notes – We’ll See Your $80k, and Raise You $80k

selectoard jan 16 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard heard a request from two organizations for an $80,000 a year part time position (and some data collection) and decided to double it. They gave them $160,000 and two years for a “proof of concept” showing that this investment attracts new businesses to Brattleboro.

The board went on to discuss their ARPA plans and FY25 budgets.


Selectboard Meeting Notes: The Last UDAG

selectboard jan 2 2024

The Brattleboro Selectboard were, until Tuesday night, the last keepers in the United States of something called an Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) Program grant. Before them was $2.3 million that has matured, and the board voted to transfer all of it away from UDAG into the Town’s Revolving Loan Fund.

The board was also pleased with their progress on a number of issues, and happy to hear the monthly fire department report.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Hey Buddy, Can You Spare A Sign?

dec 5 brattleboro selectboard

The Brattleboro Selectboard bravely took no action against a non-existent problem at their most recent meeting. Panhandling isn’t a problem to be solved, and existing laws cover any other potential issues.  Perhaps we will make… a sign!

The Library has a strategic plan, housing development is lackluster, the town might get McNeill’s property to pay off demolition of his building, the public wondered about unusually large raises for department heads given an expected increase in property taxes, and an exhaustive search led the Town to hire Golden Cross’s billing service for EMS billing.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Discusses Big Issues with State Delegation

Repeat Offenders

The Brattleboro Selectboard held an extended conversation with members of the state legislative delegation, handing them a long list of things that Brattleboro would like help with – money, staff, changes to laws, and so on.

Reps said they were working on many items already, but were eager to stay involved and work together to find solutions to housing, justice, addiction, mental health, crime, and other issues plaguing the ‘boro.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – We Said We Wanted Public Input on ARPA Funds, But Not Really

brattleboro selectboard oct 23

The board discussed many things Tuesday but their extended ARPA discussion seemed more like an extended discussion about problems they had with public input on ARPA possibilities.

“I don’t care what the public thinks or the town staff think,” declared Franz Reichsman. “I have a problem having this list from the public be our starting point,” said Liz McLoughlin repeatedly.  Chair Ian Goodnow tried in vain to remind them that they had promised an open public process.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Fire Department Gets Their EMS Service

selectboard sept 19 2023

The Brattleboro Selectboard will be using $1.3+ million of ARPA funds to set up a municipal EMS system. The vote was unanimous to give the emergency medical services ‘contract’ to the Brattleboro Fire Department.

The Town Manager told the board why municipal EMS would be best, the board told the public their decisions as to why they would vote in favor, and then the public was allowed to weigh in with comments.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Former Chair Decides Now Is Time To Reveal Longstanding Fire-Rescue Relationship Issues

sb sept 7

Well, well, well. The Brattleboro Selectboard has decided at the last moment that it would be good for them to explain to the public all the secret EMS BFD Rescue relationship information they have known about, information the public has asked them about for over a year and half and the board has remained steadily tight-lipped about. Until now.

Former Chair Liz McLoughlin cracked and said she wouldn’t let Rescue, Inc. control the narrative anymore, and that she wanted a meeting to reveal everything the board knows that the public has been kept in the dark about by her and her fellow board members. Chair Ian Goodnow warned the board that the town attorney told them they should not discuss these secrets with the public, but they voted to hold a special meeting anyway. The plan is to let the public know all the reasons that Rescue and BFD don’t get along.

This throws the public forum and decision-making meeting dates into question.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – The Meeting That Wasn’t

sb sept 5

The Brattleboro Selectboard got off to a late start then quickly put their meeting on hold for technical reasons.  Forty-five minutes later, the meeting was postponed until Thursday to give BCTV and Facebook time to fix themselves.

Those interested in discussing EMS and downtown safety will have to wait.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Summer Public EMS Discussions Wrapping Up

selectboard aug 15 2023

The Brattleboro Selectboard held their August public EMS discussion at their regular meeting on Tuesday. The board is happy with their progress though one member said that the public doesn’t understand what decisions are to be made,. They will make their EMS decision in late September. Two more public meetings will be held prior.

The Town Manager said the EMS project web page has had over 1600 page views since May. (This site averaged 7,750 pages viewed per day in August for comparison). The board had questions about the Fire Department’s large overtime budget and the public had questions about downtown cameras and sheltering people without homes this winter. 


Selectboard Meeting Notes – EMS: Municipal Revenue Projections

selectboard may 16 2023

A combative public greeted the selectboard to kick off their Tuesday night meeting. The quick version: downtown is unsafe and your website sucks.

After that was out of the way, the board was treated to a discussion of I-91 exit 1 bridge repairs next spring and summer, emergency housing plans, and about EMS transition items such as potential municipal revenue, the RFI process, and a new project-related website.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – The Plan for the EMS Process

selectboard may 2 2023

Brattleboro Selectboard endorsed a plan put forth by Town Manager John Potter that offers an aggressive summer schedule for gathering input from board members, staff, EMS providers , other towns, and the public.  It kicks off at the next board meeting and will be a regular item for the second meeting of each month until decisions have been made.

Brattleboro will celebrate Juneteenth henceforth. The Agricultural Loan Fund has been updated to serve more people and the board held a first reading to find out the details. And green burials and properly-oriented Muslim burials will soon be options at the local cemetery 


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Bike and Pedestrian Plan Adopted

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved bike and pedestrian plan that, when implemented, will create a network of sidewalks and bike lanes throughout the town. 

The board debated possible changes to budget meeting times, considering a return to the days when budgets would be held on off-days at odd times rather than regular Tuesday evenings. They also approved a one year extension for Golden Cross ambulance service.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Board Chair Suggests Further Limiting Public Comment

selectboard april 4 23

New Brattleboro Selectboard members Peter Case and Franz Reichsman attended their first regular meeting since swearing-in. They were treated to discussions of rules and goals, the Windham Regional Commission, Representative Town Meeting, hazard mitigation, and more.

Town Manager John Potter suggested the board have a retreat to discuss short-term and longer-term goals and budgets, to which the board readily agreed.

Chair Ian Goodnow had an unusally rough night. He was 40 minutes past his usual 8 pm break time as he explained to the board his new goals for keeping the meeting on schedule. This included his new desire to limit public comments to just two minutes per person, per agenda item.