The Brattleboro Selectboard will attempt their first “consent agenda” at their next regular meeting. It is an effort to move things along at a slightly quicker pace than before by grouping items that are simple and require no discussion.
Bigger issues for Tuesday’s meeting include an update to inform the board that Community Development Block Grants cannot be used for direct aid to tenants, SeVEDS will give their annual update and appeal for funding, the Energy Committee will offer up their revised goals, and the FY22 budget exploration gets underway with a discussion of revenues, capital projects, and capital equipment needs. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
The Brattleboro Selectboard spent the bulk of their primetime evening discussing a proposal from the Tenants Union of Brattleboro. They heard from tenants and landlords about a wide range of issues, realized the problem was bigger than what Brattleboro can solve by itself, but pressed on to work on an ordinance limiting what landlords collect and how that money is used. A new board will be created to hear rental housing security deposit disputes.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen many landlords taking a stance against the Tenants Union of Brattleboro’s (TUB) recent proposal to limit tenant move-in costs to a maximum of two month’s rent (first month plus security deposit). In a housing shortage that’s only getting worse and an environment where over half of Vermonters are rent burdened, this is an important and simple step toward making housing accessible and affordable for all people in Brattleboro.
Yet, we continually hear confusion from landlords about why we can’t just get along and why they are perceived as “mustache twirling villains”.
The Brattleboro Selectboard discussed affordable housing at length Tuesday evening. A new affordable housing project downtown on Flat Street, a town-wide zoning change to create more rentable units, and a discussion of an ordinance to limit what landlords can collect up front from tenants all indicated difficulties for the 60% of residents who rent in Brattleboro.
The DPW also shared a bit of the spotlight, with road grants and a new mower attachment.