Selectboard briefs

State takes a pass on Municipal Center rental

BRATTLEBORO — BRATTLEBORO - Town Manager Peter B. Elwell announced at the Aug. 21 regular Selectboard meeting that the town won't lease part of the Municipal Center to the state.

When the Brattleboro Police Department moved to their new building at 62 Black Mountain Rd. last fall, the town needed a new tenant.

Communications between the state and the town, including a letter of intent from the State Commissioner of Buildings and Services Christopher Cole, pointed to the Department of Labor likely moving into about one-quarter of 230 Main St., and signing a 10-year lease.

“After literally a couple of years of effort, off and on, [the two parties] were unable to reach an agreement” on renovations to the building and the terms of the lease, Elwell said.

Elwell told Board members his staff have “moved on to other options” and will report back to the Selectboard in the fall with more details.

“We are committed to something that results in a long-term relationship and a capital upgrade,” Elwell said.

Fire Department receives state award

BRATTLEBORO - Fire Chief Michael Bucossi and 15 of his 21 staff showed up in their dress uniforms to receive the 2018 First Responder Service of the Year Award at the Aug. 21 regular Selectboard meeting.

In June, when the award was announced, Bucossi told The Commons, “It was a very proud moment for me and I'm not afraid to admit it - I have a great staff.” [“'This is the type of thing that just makes everything that we do seem right,'” News, July 4.]

Dan Batsie, EMS chief of the Vermont Department of Health Emergency Medical Service staff, appeared at the August meeting to present the award.

He explained that nominations for the annual award come throughout the year, the person who nominated the Brattleboro Fire Department wishes to remain anonymous, and they had ample praise for the department and its dedication to the community and to public safety.

Batsie also had many positive things to say about the BFD, including their frequent support of the state EMS system, making them “a model for other First Response agencies to mimic.”

“They were the first First Response agency to join the inspection process,” said Batsie, who noted when the state announced the program and sought volunteers, “Chief Bucossi's voice was the first one we heard, saying, 'You can come down here and inspect any time you want,' and we have.” This, said Batsie, helps make a great state EMS system.

After Batsie presented the award to the BFD on behalf of the Department of Health and the EMS Office, town staff gave the BFD a standing ovation.

Elwell says town finances keep improving

BRATTLEBORO - Town Manager Peter B. Elwell had good news about the town's financial forecast.

At the Aug. 21 regular Selectboard meeting, he updated the Board on the long-term financial plan. The Town Manager presents a five-year forecast shortly after the start of each new fiscal year.

The gist of it is, the town is doing a better job living within its means and not borrowing money for capital improvements and equipment, Elwell said.

One important milestone, he said, is that within a few months, by the next budget season, the town should have $1 million in the “cash commitment to capital investment” budget. He said he set this goal for the town several years ago.

It's taken a few years to get there. In Fiscal Year 2016, the budget had $357,000 in this fund. It went up by about $150,000 to $200,000 every fiscal year since then, and the current budgeted amount is $965,000.

By budgeting to move real-time revenues into this fund, it takes the pressure off “always having to find large chunks of money to catch up,” when capital improvements and equipment are needed, Elwell said.

He cautioned the Selectboard against resting on their $1 million laurels. That amount, he said, “is the bare minimum,” and doesn't quite meet the town's needs. “We're still doing a lot of catching up from the years of unmet needs,” he said. But, he noted, “we're making real progress by doing this as a recurring effort."

One of the challenges the town has faced, he said, is the difficulty in raising non-tax revenues. The town has had more success in saving money on the “expenditures” side of the budget. “We're finding ways to meet our needs with fewer tax increases [...] than in the prior years,” Elwell said.

“We still have hard work to do every time in each annual budget process, but the results from long-term plan to long-term plan have been positive,” he said.

To view Town Manager Peter B. Elwell's complete Long-Term Financial Plan, visit

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