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Meeting members to be briefed on water facilities project, other issues

Town schedules informational meetings ahead of ARTM

BRATTLEBORO—Town Meeting members and members of the public have two opportunities for a deep dive into questions, including funding for a $12.5 million Water Treatment Facilities Project, that will be decided at Annual Representative Town Meeting (ARTM) on Saturday, March 20.

Meeting members, new and returning, will also have a chance to practice the technical and logistical procedures for conducting the ARTM on Zoom.

“March will be busy,” Town Manager Peter Elwell said.

First on the calendar is the ARTM general informational meeting on Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m.

There, board members will provide an overview of the proposed fiscal year 2022 municipal budget and other warned agenda items on which they want more information. Meeting members can also ask questions.

Next, on Saturday, March 13, at 8:30 a.m., the town will hold its technical and logistics informational meeting to prepare meeting members to hold the ARTM on Zoom.

The town held a similar pre-meeting check in September before the town’s first digital Representative Town Meeting.

The March 13 meeting will serve “as a refresher to people who did participate in September, and as an opportunity to new members, to better understand the procedures we follow and how to use Zoom for the RTM,” Elwell said.

Finally, on Wednesday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m., a virtual meeting will focus on the Water Treatment Facilities Project.

“We intend to actually present the project fully,” he said of the capital improvement project. Debate will take place at the ARTM, with voting via Australian ballot the following week, Elwell said.

While the Selectboard has reviewed the project at multiple meetings, it will probably be new to most members of the public and Town Meeting representatives, Elwell said.

“The question for RTM will not be related to the design of the project but rather to the financing of the project,” Elwell explained.

Still, staff consider the project and its funding are crucial to the town’s infrastructure, and they want meeting members to understand why.

“The project team and members of the Selectboard will be available to RTM and members of the public to answers questions that evening,” he said.

District caucuses scheduled

District caucuses will happen prior to the informational meetings.

Caucuses are separate from the informational meetings but happen on the same night. Because they also will take place via Zoom, the caucues will be sequential, starting with District 1, Elwell said.

Those interested in joining the caucuses should use the same Zoom link as the ARTM link, posted in the warning for the meeting at bit.ly/599-ratm.

Town Meeting Australian ballot

On Tuesday, March 2, all Brattleboro voters can go to the polls to vote on town officials and to decide four other ballot questions.

Voters will weigh in on whether the town will permit sales of cannabis products.

Local approval is part of the cannabis regulation legislation passed in the 2019–2020 Legislative session and enacted into law.

The ballot also includes two articles related to the potential dissolution of the Windham Southeast School District.

Voters will be asked whether the town should withdraw from the district, unified under the provisions of Act 46, and whether to “conditionally approve and ratify” the withdrawal of Dummerston, Guilford, and/or Putney from the union.

Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the American Legion, 32 Linden St.

The warning for the ballot questions can be viewed at bit.ly/599-bratt-ballot.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #599 (Wednesday, February 10, 2021). This story appeared on page A3.

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