Suggested Representative Town Meeting Improvements

I’ve been watching Brattleboro budgets for quite a while, through multiple selectboards, three Town Managers and one Interim Town Manager. I’ve watched many Representative Town Meetings as well and participated in a few.  That’s a lot of meetings.

While I’ve come to the conclusion that Representative Town Meeting doesn’t really work, I know that it has become cherished and it is unlikely that abolishing it will be on the ballot anytime soon. Therefore, it should be improved.


Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting Agenda – BCTV, Brownfields, and FY20 Budget

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center.  It is anticipated that the Board will enter into executive session at 5:30pm to discuss contracts, labor relations agreements with employees, the negotiating or securing of real estate purchase or lease options, and the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee.  The Board will reconvene the special business meeting at 6:15pm.  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.


Selectboard Meeting Notes- Dozer Decision Delayed, DPW Starts On Long Path To New Facilities

Selectboard-dec4-2018

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.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – December 4, 2018

Is Dozer a dangerous dog? Must Dozer be contained, leashed and muzzled? The Chief of Police says yes, the owner says no, and the Brattleboro Selectboard will get to decide at their next regular meeting on Tuesday.

The DPW will begin looking at options for improvements to their facilities on Fairground Road, the shiny discs on the parking garage will become a permanent installation, SeVEDS will review their year and ask for money, the Assessor’s Office will talk FY20 budget, and the board will approve some grants. You can bring up other items, of course, during public participation.


Local Option Tax Increases Brattleboro Revenue, But Property Taxes Will Still Rise

At Tuesday’s special meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard discussed adding a 1% Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) to items purchased in the ‘boro. Adding this additional revenue stream to the Town coffers has been attempted before. Most recently it barely passed as an advisory vote, but was ultimately rejected.

The main argument in favor of the tax usually involves the expected revenue. In 2015, the estimate was $600,000. This, in theory, could offset property taxes by that amount.

But, taxpayers have seen these property tax reducing “deals” many times before, and property taxes do not go down. Spending rises to meet the new income.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Thanksgiving Edition

brattleboro selectboard nov20

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.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – November 20, 2018

It’s the return of the 1% Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) at the next Brattleboro Selectboard meeting. The board will try once again to convince residents and businesses to add a 1% sales tax to purchases in the ‘boro, despite competition from online shopping and nearby states.

The Downtown Brattleboro Alliance will give their semi-annual report and present a budget for the coming year, a private drive will be named, finances reviewed, and the board will discuss housing, and economic & community development.

You can bring up other items not on the agenda, or a side dish, by attending the meeting at the Municipal Center on Tuesday.


The Brattleboro Budget Process and You

The Brattleboro Selectboard officially kicked off FY20 budget season at a meeting Tuesday night, in which they learned about the Police and Fire departments and where the Town expects to find revenue to pay for the budget.

It’s nice that the Selectboard reviews these matters, but this is really about you — the Brattleboro resident or visitor.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Budget Preview, and Blinking Lights Baffle

Brattleboro Selectboard

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.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – November 6, 2018

There are citizen complaints about the new flashing lights on Western Avenue near Cedar Street, and the Brattleboro Selectboard will hear them at their next regular meeting.

The Town has complaints, too, against a property owner on Oak Street. The Town Arts Committee has concerns about the bookshelf mural in Harmony Lot, the FY20 budget overview will be presented, and a solar array might be coming to a parking garage near you.

You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Special Meeting Brattleboro Selectboard with Governor Phil Scott and Members of the Cabinet

Everyone is welcome to join Governor Phil Scott, members of the Cabinet, and the Brattleboro Selectboard, from 10:30 – 11:30 am on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for a special meeting in the Community Meeting Room at Brooks Memorial Library. Discussion topics will include (but might not be limited to):

Summary of Current Projects and Events in Brattleboro
Thank You for State Partnership and Support
Opportunities for Additional Shared Successes
Regional Economic Hubs
Transportation Matters
Matters of Social Equity and Public Safety


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – October 16, 2018

Parking rates are set to go up after the next regular meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard.  They’ll also be repealing the begging ordinance that caught the recent attention of the ACLU.

Brattleboro will buy sand and salt, get some bulletproof vest upgrades, and the board will review their goals as well as bulky item trash pickup. You can bring up other matters during public participation.


Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting – Youth Vote Public Hearing

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center. It is anticipated that the Board will enter into executive session at 5:00pm to discuss pending or probable civil litigation or a prosecution to which the public body is or may be a party, and then reconvene for the special meeting at 6:15pm.  An ASL interpreter will be present for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – October 2, 2018

The Brattleboro Selectboard will begin to repeal an Anti-Panhandling ordinance at their next regular meeting at the Municipal Center. They’ll take up the issue of Youth Voting, raise parking rates, and spend $260,000 on a new parking system. Tri-Park will get a master plan, a grant for disc golf will be approved, and will schedule the meetings for review of the FY20 budget.

You can, as always, bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation, or join the discussion of items that are on the agenda. It’s up to you.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – September 18, 2018

At their next regular meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard will take some early steps toward work on the next Hinsdale Bridge. The new bridge begins with relocation of some utility lines near the project and some signing of agreements, at least as far as Vermont is concerned. NH is building it.

Vehicles for hire will again be on the agenda. New vehicles will be purchased, financial reports will be heard, litigation with Retreat Farm will be resolved, Hermit Thrush will get a break on loan payments due to their product recall, bulky waste collection will be discussed, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Selectboard Meeting Notes : The Parking Garage, Safety, and a Pause on Vehicles For Hire

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 Selectboard Agenda and Notes – September 4, 2018

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.