Hi all. It’s a selectboard meeting night and usually I’d willingly volunteer to sit through the 3-4 hour thing and type up everything everyone has to say. It’s a bit hard for me to do tonight, though. I’m tired, slightly injured, and would rather tell you about a dream I had about the selectboard. It’s a good one!
I’m tired because I just got back from a weekend in Buffalo, cleaning out the family home of 80+ years. It was built by my grandparents, was the first place I was taken after being born, the site of many a Christmas and visit, as well as family weddings, births, Thanksgiving dinners and more.
Public restrooms were a major topic of discussion for the board at the regular Tuesday meeting. Nothing, of course, was decided. The board also allowed the Assessors ask Representative Town Meeting Representatives to agree to a town-wide re-appraisal of taxable properties.
There were financial and EMS updates, and a discussion of further revising meeting agenda formats to reflect anticipated times of agenda items. (Good luck with that… says this reporter.)
The Brattleboro Selectboard held their first regular meeting of the new year, and new Town Manager John Potter was on hand to answer questions and advise the board.
They discussed changes to the liquor license application requirements, backing off a previous BAPC suggestion that hasn’t had the desired results. They also had an extended discussion about the type of Representative Town meeting to hold this year, and heard from the public about homeless people and cold weather.
The Brattleboro Selectboard held their final regular meeting of 2022, taking up issues of finance, cannabis, and EMS services. The AP Triton report gave the board four options of EMS services. The top recommendation of the consultants, though, was to get Brattleboro Fire Department up to national performance standards asap.
The board also heard a well argued critique of their recent police budget discussions.
A long night of budget talk, with nods to McNeill’s. Plus, Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland admits he forgot to add in repayment of a bond in the preliminary budget.
Should we fill more potholes? Should we build a year-round pool? Will homes get re-assessed soon? Is it called global warming? These are the issues of the day.
Quite a few business and organization directors had harsh words for the Brattleboro Selectboard regarding downtown crimes, especially at the Transportation Center. Almost all mentioned break-ins or thefts, and quite a few reminded the board that the Transportation Center is town-owned and municipally- controlled. In other words – it’s your problem.
After many hours, the board voted to get price quotes on a new camera system for the Transportation Center, and possible consider some other steps, maybe, after we do a timeline and budget season is coming up, y’know. Can’t promise anything, but we feel your pain.
The new bike ordinance was almost adopted by the Brattleboro Selectboard, but it looked strange upon a second review, and was delayed until the next meeting.
Reps from AP Triton said they, too, would not be giving much weight to community input gather by their own community survey on EMS feasibility. They will present four options, but not a preferred choice, and will leave it to the board to come to their own conclusions. They are also 75% done with their work, but would love to hear from the public at their Wednesday night meeting.
The board bought their simulation machine, and started a Charter Review Commission at the last moment possible, despite earlier requests to get the process going multiple times in the past few years.
The Brattleboro Selectboard continued to celebrate their EMS decisions, and voted to make a third ambulance and 24-7 AEMT position permanent.
The board also discussed diversity and inclusion, especially as it relates to Republicans, and contemplated the best way to interview and appoint committee members.
The Brattleboro Selectboard got into a rather detailed discussion of DV Fiber’s plans to provide high speed internet throughout southeastern Vermont. It stated out as a simple request for some closet space, but expanded into a description of the network and coming plans for service.
The board also approved a grant application for housing assistance and accepted a grant for bike paths.
The Brattleboro Selectboard continued their careful consideration of abortion rights. They heard testimony about the possible town resolution from the Town Lawyer and a State Representative in addition to members of the public. In the end it was decided to do nothing, the safest option for now.
Brattleboro will be getting energy saving incentives and rebates as part of a special program with Efficiency Vermont. They especially want to hear from renters!
The Brattleboro Selectboard discussed their own powers of resolution and whether they could do anything at all on the issue of abortion rights. They decided their lawyer-approved resolution needed more teeth, but also no chance of disruption to the State, and maybe funding, but not any special funding, and maybe something else as yet undetermined. They’ll take up the urgent issue again at their next meeting.
There were grave concerns about data collection and not sharing any data with bounty hunters. A bit later, board members were impressed by the ambulance data being collected locally and asked for even more EMS data from the Fire Department.
It was a gloomy and restless mood amongst many members of the public. Many expressed feelings of impending doom. Two asked for a special session of Representative Town Meeting.
It was a really long Brattleboro Selectboard meeting with not much getting done! They heard about downtown safety issues, but took no action. They approved a mural design they couldn’t see. There will be more places to buy liquor. The preferred bridge design was selected. And then it was 10:30 pm with discussions of a woman right to choose and EMT issues, among other things, still awaiting ample discussion. They ended up postponing much of the agenda to a future meeting.
The Brattleboro Selectboard agreed to the Golden Cross contract addendum of a free 90-day extra staff and ambulance offer, which the Fire Chief explained came at his suggestion.
They also held a first reading about fines and penalties for rental housing violations, heard public comments about cameras, announced a possibility of a downtown police substation, learned about Tri-Park’s current situation, and more.
The Brattleboro Selectboard held one of their longer meetings in some time. The public was active! Complaints about downtown crime, lack of action on climate change, and open meetings kept the board busy until after 10:30pm.
Of note, the Town acknowledged their violation of open meeting protocols and adopted a new two-part process to make sure it won’t happen again. This wasn’t enough for most people, who wanted a more detailed accounting of the EMS decision making process.
The board changed RTM districts to conform with state updates, adopted Utility and Parking budgets, and poured luke-warm water on a suggestion to bring back the electric trolley.
Members of the public scolded the Brattleboro Selectboard again for poor communication regarding their recent EMS decision. After, the board discussed removing some mentions of transparency and openness from their goals while patting themselves on the back for already having an open and transparent process.
They discussed other goals, then heard presentations about some exciting, possibly large housing projects going through the planning process. They also discussed improving the parklet program.
The Brattleboro Selectboard heard details of the Windham Regional Commission’s past year work as well as an overview of Brattleboro’s new Housing Action Plan, which tells us that Brattleboro is in a housing crisis. 500 units or more are needed immediately just to catch up with current needs. More if Brattleboro want to grow.
Peter Elwell and Steve Barrett were both commended for their years of municipal public service, the Brewer’s Fest got their annual permit, and liquor on town property rules are being tweaked.
The Brattleboro Selectboard met to discuss liquor license renewals and a safe drinking water system loan Tuesday evening
They granted licenses and accepted free money in record time, withholding most commentary and cutting right to the chase. This qualifies the evening as one of the shortest regular meetings.
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.
The Brattleboro Selectboard began 2022 with new Town Manager Octavian Yoshi Manale at the helm. He remained relatively quiet, letting staff do most of the explaining while he adjusted to the new surroundings.
The board made a few FY’23 decisions, punted a few others to another meeting, and helped approve some articles to go before RTM at what they cautioned might be another virtual town meeting.
At the first regular meeting in-person at Central Fire Station the Brattleboro Selectboard discussed funding requests for the downtown organization and SeVEDS, then looked deeply at planned capital improvements, including new plans for Living Memorial Park on the horizon.
The board also contemplated using infrastructure funds to replace all the sidewalks in town.