The decision is final
Editor of the Reformer:
In response to a pair of recent letters to the editor ("Sneakyboard, not Select Board," April 18, and "Taxpayers repeatedly being ignored," May 12), the police-fire facilities project that is now moving forward is the result of literally decades of public review, discussion, and action here in Brattleboro.
In the most recent round of review and consideration, from September 2015 through March 2016, this matter was considered at 19 Select Board meetings (all of them open to the public and televised on BCTV), three informational meetings for the general public (one of them was televised on BCTV), two informational meetings for Representative Town Meeting members (both of them open to the public and televised on BCTV), and two Representative Town Meetings (both of them open to the public and televised on BCTV). The Select Board repeatedly solicited general public input on the project and even conducted a formal community survey that was widely distributed and discussed during January 2016.
After the project was approved by the Select Board (by a 4-1 vote in January) and by Representative Town Meeting (by a 111-27 vote in March), citizens had the right to petition for a town-wide referendum in which all registered voters could vote. The Town Charter (itself approved in a town-wide referendum in which all registered voters were eligible to vote) provides that such a referendum is held only when either 50 Representative Town Meeting members or 5 percent of all registered voters sign such a petition. In this instance, some citizens did collect some signatures. However, their petition did not obtain enough support to meet the requirements of the Town Charter. Therefore, the decision of Representative Town Meeting is now final and we are proceeding with implementation of the project.
As with most issues of importance in any community, there are some people in Brattleboro who do not support this project. We understand and respect that fact. However, this project was not approved by "three members of the Select Board without public input." It was approved by an 80 percent majority of Representative Town Meeting members at the conclusion of a long process of public review in which every interested member of the public was repeatedly invited to participate.
Peter B. Elwell, Brattleboro, Town Manager, May 16