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Brattleboro Ad Hoc Futures Committee Organizational Meeting


At the Special Representative Town Meeting on June 2, 2014, Town Meeting Members voted to establish an ad hoc committee for the purpose of bringing forth a proposal for the establishment of a futures commission. An organizational meeting for the Ad Hoc Futures Committee is scheduled on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 5:30pm in the Hanna Cosman meeting room at the Municipal Center.

Jan Anderson
Executive Secretary
Brattleboro Town Manager's Office
(802) 251-8100

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Looking Back to the Future

The last time Brattleboro really experienced a true boom in wealth, jobs, services, infrastructure and so on was after the Civil War, starting about 1870. We rode that wave until about 1930.

What brought it on? We had a game-changing form of transportation, the train. We had the industrial revolution, and a belief that with machines we can make anything. We had extremely cheap and plentiful resources, and creative and hard-working people eager to make things from them.

With this, businesses grew and expanded here and around the country. People were hired. Money was made. Cultural resources expanded. Tourists summered here.

Businesses then contributed more to the community, and the wealthy paid more in taxes. A big local business could sponsor a fire company (The Estey Steamer) and provide equipment and manpower to fight fires. Private citizens could pay for sewer lines and sidewalks.

There weren't as many national standards to comply with, no one sought grants, and control was significantly more local.

What's the scenario this time around that could cause an economic boom?

 
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The scenario this time around to cause an economic boom?

"What's the scenario this time around that could cause an economic boom?"

"People were hired. Money was made."
Do any of these top 10 Best Jobs apply to Brattleboro? With nearly 62% of best job growth going to Biomedical Engineers, we'll have to come up with future economic growth from another angle.

http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/

Listed: Job title, Median pay, Job growth

1 Biomedical Engineer $87,000 61.7%
2 Clinical Nurse Specialist $86,500 26%
3 Software Architect $121,000 27.6%
4 General Surgeon $288,000 24.4%
5 Management Consultant $110,000 29.1%
6 Petroleum Geologist $183,000 21.2%
7 Software Developer $88,700 27.6%
8 IT Configuration Manager $95,800 28.5%
9 Clinical Research Associate $95,100 36.4%
10 Reservoir Engineer $179,000 17%

 
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Hard disciplines

The new technology centered world doesn't seem to take the breadth of human potential into consideration when it decides what it values. But I do know one thing. Money makes money, no matter what else it does. These job titles must figure into very profitable business models.

 
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Youth Vote

If the thinking that a better educated person will make good voters, then preparing kids for their future has a stake in good education support by the state.

“For what it's worth, though, the below map -- also compiled by FindTheBest -- uses ACT, SAT, AP and National Assessment of Educational Progress scores to show which states have the highest achieving students”:
Vermont ranks 94 (NH ranks 100).

“A new map compiled by research engine Findthebest.com shows which states provide the most funding for students' educations. New York state tops the list, with average funding per student of $21,168 , while Utah comes in last, with average funding per student of $7,388.”
Average funding per student in Vermont: $19,251

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/state-public-school-funding-_n_...

 
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Thinking about the future

I think we have it drummed into us that we can never know the future which makes us leary of even trying. But I think we should and here's why: knowing where we think we're going might help us make better long and short term decisions, and break us out of thinking only in terms of one or two fiscal years at a time. I worry that RTM and the SB are applying a short term approach (cut costs and raise revenues) when a longer term, multi-pronged approach might be what's needed. The only way to come up with that new approach is to get people to think and talk about it. The future that is. Which is where this committee comes in. I hope they have productive, open ended conversations that we can all share and participate in, in various ways.

One thing I'd like to know is where people think we are in history? what trajectory are we on? up or down, and for how long... If we think things are going to get better, when and why? Can we hold out that long on current strategies? And how about some fresh ideas seriously considered, even if they do require legislative action. Change starts at the grassroots level and you don't get much more grassroots than small town Vermont.

 

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