BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Selectboard has approved a request from the Brooks Memorial Library to apply for an $8,000 grant that will help pay for videoconferencing equipment.
If the library wins the grant the town could have a downtown videoconferencing facility.
The board approved the loan request at its Tuesday meeting, but had a discussion about the potential use of the room.
Town Manager Barbara Sondag said the library was only taking its first step toward building the facility, and there were still details to work out about who would be able to use the equipment and how the library would be able to schedule outside businesses, nonprofits and residents who want to use the public space.
Sondag said the videoconferencing equipment would likely be installed in the library conference room, which already maintains an active schedule.
She said town committees and departments would have priority for using the equipment, and the library would have to develop a fee structure and system for scheduling the room.
The town is applying for the grant from the Vermont Department of Libraries and Google. The $8,000 grant would pay for equipment, installation, equipment warranty and training. The videoconferencing equipment will utilize the new broadband connection that the town and library hope to have in the coming months.
Area residents already have access to a state-of-the-art videoconferencing studio at
The VABEC studio is open to the public, but charges between $100 and $200 per hour, depending on the services that are used.
At the meeting Tuesday the board also accepted a $100,750 Radiological Emergency Response Plan grant from the Vermont Department of Public Safety.
About $60,000 of that money will be used to replace the outdated radio equipment at the town's communication building at Pleasant Valley.
A $23,304 Homeland Security Swift Water Rescue grant was also accepted by the board which paid for a four day training course.
Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery co-owner Tim Brady came before the board, which acts as the town's Liquor Commissioners, to ask for an outside consumption permit.
Brady said the owners want to open the rooftop deck this weekend for drinks and a limited menu, while they continue working on the interior of the new eatery.
The Liquor Commissioners also issued their first commercial catering license.
The new license was approved by the Legislature this year and allows commercial caterers with a commercial kitchen to sell liquor at a function previously approved by the town.
Tristan Toleno, representing Entera Catering and Rigani Wood Fired Pizza, applied for and was granted the town's first commercial catering license from the Liquor Commissioners.
Thirty-one businesses in town will have to pay $100 fines for failing to file Business Personal Property Forms with the town.
The board read the names of the businesses that did not file this year.
The fine will be included in the business owners' tax bills.
Flat Street will be the scene of two different festivals in the coming months, after the Selectboard approved two road closing requests.
On Aug. 3 Lynde Motorsports will hold its annual Art on Wheels festival which celebrates the beauty and art form of the motorcycle.
And on Sept. 7, between 4 and 8 p.m. a number of Flat Street business owners will hold a block party and celebration of the revival of Flat Street following the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Flat Street Rising will focus on youth after school programming and is timed to coincide with the opening of the school year.
The town will once again partner with the school district on purchasing heating fuel, and this year's bid came in about $35,500 cheaper than what was budgeted for.
The board once again heard from residents who are upset with the March 21 shooting of a dog by the Brattleboro Police Department, though Sondag said it was time to start talking about the responsibilities of dog owners, and not the response and responsibilities of the town or the Windham County Humane Society.
The board received updates on the fiscal year budget, which will end on June 30, and the $32 million wastewater plant, which is expected to come online this fall.
Both budgets are running close to projections.
The town is expecting to end the year with an approximately $200,000 surplus. largely due to the refinancing of two leases with TD Bank that resulted in about $405,000 in savings.
The town also received help when the federal government approved the state's request to FEMA to fund 90 percent of the costs associated with Tropical Storm Irene.
The move saved the town about $25,000.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer .com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279.