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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Selectboard Meeting Notes - A Dump Truck, Street Sweeper, and Potential Energy

The midsummer night’s selectboard meeting was relaxed and productive. Brattleboro is getting a new dump truck and street sweeper, businesses received liquor licenses, police and fire facilities are coming along, and committee members were appointed.

The Energy Committee gave the board a heads up on two potential project they hope to discuss more fully in September. The board responded with some questions they hope would be answered when they return.

They also decided to be on call for the remainder of the month, with the next official meeting coming in September.


To begin the evening, Chair Kate O’Connor urged everyone to slow down and look out for one another a little more. She was referring to the recent pedestrian death in West Brattleboro, and commenting on a recent newspaper editorial.

John Allen noted that he noticed another town experimenting with pedestrians waving and making eye contact with drivers. “We should look into it. We could do a campaign on it.”

Town Manager Peter Elwell asked those impacted by the dozen or so construction projects in town for patience. He hoped the community would feel grateful rather than disrupted, and to think of the long term benefit of maintaining our infrastructure.

Elwell also wanted people to know there would be reduced hours for Town employees on Friday for the annual Town Employee Picnic.

David Schoales hoped the public would pay attention to upcoming agendas and big topics in September. “Come and talk. We need everyone’s ideas.”

Brandie Starr noted that it was World Breastfeeding Month (and week) in August, an annual reminder for safe, comfortable places in workplaces for women to pump or feed, and for a more general normalization of feeding children this way.

Public Participation

Dale Joy said she wanted to apologize to the board. She said she gets out of hand and has been told to be politically correct until she graduates. “You are doing the best you can do.”

She said she and others are forming a Tenant Association. “We’ll come as a group with complaints, since we’re not being heard.”

Rebel Pete Nickerson said he remained politically incorrect, and that he had been on the watch for “errant plastic bags” making their way toward the Connecticut River. He said he’s seen one bag, rolling away from the river. “I threw it away.”

Liquor Licenses

Acting as Liquor Commissioners, the Brattleboro Selectboard approved two First Class liquor licenses.

The first was for World learning/SIT. The school will be doing their own food service and alcohol operations as of August 13. They are eliminating the contracted services of Sodexo by doing it this way. 

The liquor is for catering private events, not for the students’ campus dining.

The other first class license was for Andrea Papanek and Kevin Napaver, the new owners of the Brattleboro Bowl, the local bowling lanes at 865 Putney Road. They moved nearby three years ago, love bowling, and plan to run the lanes in a very similar, community-supporting manner.

Facilities Updates

Town Manager Elwell gave the board a “brief and exciting” regular update on the facilites being renovated for the police and fire departments.

The Black Mountain Road police station is almost ready, and intense and varied finishing work is underway, with a completion date of August 11. The police will move in over the course of a month, to maintain operations during the transition. There will be a ribbon cutting for the public in September.

Central Fire Station on Elliot Street is on schedule for November completion. The department will move into the new and renovated spaces in September while the final work is being done. There will be some work done to modify the Spring Street/Elliot Street intersection (to allow larger fire trucks) and some of the parking on Elliot Street will be re-arranged.

If all remains on schedule and within budget, about $200,000 should remain in unspent bonds when it is done.

Street Sweeper Bids

The Brattleboro Selectboard bought a new street sweeper for the Department of Public Works. It’s a Johnson, from Delurey Sales & Service in North Hoosick, NY, at a cost of $259,385.

This one comes in under budget by just over $5,000. We got $20,000 in trade-in for the 2005 model it replaces.

Hannah Tyler called the sweeper “a vital part of our operations” that does each street twice a year, keeping rocks and dirt out of the storm system and waterways and making roads safer for bikes and pedestrians.

Tim Wessel hoped the new model would be slightly quieter than the old sweeper.

If you’d like to look up specific details, it’s officially the “33,000 GVWR Minimum Heavy Duty Conventional Chassis with Chassis Mounted Johnson Model VT651 Dual Sweep Vacuum Street Sweeper.”

Dump Truck Bids

The DPW will also be purchasing a new dump truck. It’s a Dodge Ram 5500 from Goss Dodge Chrysler in Burlington, at a cost of $115,425.

This cost is over what was originally estimated by $425.

The Dodge Ram comes with a Dump Body Assembly with 19,000 GVWR and a plow. As one would expect.

Michael Bosworth said that electric trucks aren’t quite ready, but aren’t that far in the future, either.

Gibson-Aiken Window Replacements

Brattleboro’s Recreation & Parks department was given approval to proceed with more improvements at the Gibson-Aiken Center on Main Street. In this phase of improving (Phase 3), 44 double hung windows will be replaced: 8 in the Senior Center, 33 on the second floor, and 3 on the 3rd floor.

The new windows have a .27 U value rating, and a lifetime warranty.

There had been $30,000 planned to spend on this project, and the low bid of $25,520 from Vermont Vinyl saves the town a bit of money on this one.

Annual Community Justice Center Grant

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a $150,000 grant for the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. The money comes from the Vermont Department of Corrections, and pays for Justice Center programs.

There’s a 10% town match required, which will come in the form of donated space rental and utilities.

Fire Department Grant Application

The Brattleboro Selectboard retroactively approved the Town manager decision to apply for a grant on behalf of the Fire Department. The deadline came before Tuesday’s meeting, so the grant was submitted earlier. The action is now officially approved.

The grant is a request for $3,213.53 from Vermont Homeland Security to replace water rescue equipment, including  water and ice rescue rope, and handheld GPS unit, and winter personal flotation devices.

Climate Accord Resolution Preliminary Discussion

The town’s Energy Committee gave a brief overview of a Climate Accord Resolution they hope the town will sign on to later this year.

After President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, they explained, other initiatives at the national, state, and city level began. “We’re sorting through to find the best fit for Brattleboro,” said Chair Michael Bosworth.

Kate O’Connor suggested the committee get them the proposed language of whatever resolution they’d like to pursue “sooner rather than later, so we can digest what you are asking us to do.”

Downtown Brattleboro Building Energy Project

The Energy Committee also gave the selectboard an update on the Downtown Building Energy Project, a campaign to encourage and support private and non-profit building owners to undertake major energy conservation measures and adopt renewable energy systems.

The committee hopes this helps Brattleboro and Vermont reach state, national, and international climate goals, such as the possible resolution mentioned above.

“We’ve focused on Town buildings,” said Bosworth. “This is for private buildings.”

Tim Wessel asked if this was duplicative of the work done by Efficiency Vermont, and to what extent taxpayers would be funding the project.

Efficiency Vermont, he was told, is a potential partner in the project, and that the project would include other renewables such as wood heat.  The Town’s contribution could be as little as staff support in finding and implementing grants.

John Allen asked if the program would be mandatory. The committee assured him they work with “carrots, not sticks,” and had no way to compel people to participate.

Wessel asked if private homeowners would be included. Tad Montgomery told him that they could be, if the program is fully funded.

O’Connor asked if there were other ways, beyond the proposed program, to reach energy goals. 

“There are always other things,” said Montgomery, “but this is a concrete step that can bring us far very quickly.”

Dale Joy asked about municipal buildings that might be leased by tenants and was told that there were some possibilities for tenants and owners to work together on subsidies, and that might lower the cost of a lease.

David Schoales hoped that the program would be made up of grants rather than loans. “I encourage you to find grants, so people can use the program.” O’Connor agreed that grants were better than loans.

The Schoales Concern

David Schoales missed the last meeting and board members had questions about his written comments supplied for that meeting. Chair O’Connor granted him some off-agenda time to explain himself.

He said his concern was about communications. “If there was some place... a website... a place to store information about the work we’ve done so far....

This portion of selectboard coverage is sponsored by iBrattleboro.com, a place, a website, where anyone can contribute anything about Brattleboro, anytime. Since 2003!

Board members wondered about the Town website, and ways to improve it.

“Who maintains out website?” asked O’Connor. Town Manager Elwell explained that it was very decentralized , there was no IT staff, and departments did their own updates.

Brandie Starr offered to log in and look at the CMS (the very municipal GovOffice.com), and John Allen thought they could use the library for tech information.

This portion of selectboard coverage is sponsored by MuseArts - designing, building, and maintaining websites for clients big and small since 1997. Our 20th year!

Wessel reminded that information going out should be accurate.

“The information is out there,” said John Allen. “You can, if you have ambition, find it.”

Possible Cancellation of August 15 Selectboard Meeting

Shall we cancel selectboard meeting for the 15th? Yes, we shall.

Dale Joy cautioned that Fantastic Wantastiquet could need festival permits for the upwards of 20,000 people that might attend.

Enough board members will be nearby in August so that if something requires action, they can be convened and have a quorum.

Committee Appointments

The board ended their summer meeting witha couple of committee appointments. Matthew Rink will be joining the BASIC committee, and David Whittle was chosen as an alternate on the Development Review Board.


Comments | 4

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Slight error

Small correction. It's a Johnston street sweeper. Not Johnson.

I caught this mistake while watching the old model wobble by today.

The meeting warning and motion were for a Johnson. (Officially, we approved purchasing something that doesn't exist.)


Planned omission

You've heard of the silent 'T?'
Hasten to moisten the apostle's whistle.
This must've been using the invisible 'T.'


cost overrun

How much would it cost to purchase the missing letter "T"? Seems like a reasonable added expense.

Thank you again, iBrattleboro, for such a careful presentation of our local Selectboard meeting. You provide an invaluable service to the community.



Thank you Chris

I share your notes out on my Selectboard page the morning after the meetings. I always feel confident doing that because you do a great job of summarizing the meeting, including getting details correct, and giving a good understanding of the tone in the room.


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