BRATTLEBORO -- At the Selectboard meeting Tuesday, the board members decided not to move ahead with a plan to temporarily install new stop signs near the entrance to Living Memorial Park.
David Gartenstein, the Selectboard representative on the Traffic Safety Committee, was asking the board to approve an emergency ordinance that would have allowed the Department of Public Works to put up the stop signs on Guilford Street near the entrance to the park.
The emergency ordinance would have given the town 30 days to see if the new stop signs slowed down traffic, but after hearing from three public officials who all questioned the move, the board decided to table the issue.
Department of Public Works Director Steve Barrett read from a federal traffic manual which stated that stop signs should not be used to calm traffic.
Police Chief Gene Wrinn said placing the signs near the park would only move the speeding problem, while Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte said at the height of the summer season, children are walking and biking up and down Guilford Street and the signs might actually make it less safe.
Gartenstein said he was asking for the emergency ordinance because speeding has been a consistent problem for area residents and park visitors.
Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray supported the motion.
He said it made sense to give the new signs a 30-day trial to see if it helped slow down traffic.
DeGray, however, said the board should not expect a report, or too much more information than they already know about the traffic patterns along Guilford Street.
"This would be temporary and I think we should try it," DeGray said. "Doing nothing is not a good solution."
Lolatte also said if the board was going to make changes it made sense to do it soon, while the park was busy with summer activities.
In the end the board decided to let the proposal sit for now.
In other business
-- At the meeting Tuesday the board also set the next date for a public discussion on the proposed renovations to the police and fire facilities.
The board will talk about the plan on Monday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m.
Engineers put the cost estimate for the project at $14.6 million and the board had plenty of questions at the first meeting which was held on June 7.
The board asked Assistant Manager Patrick Moreland to make sure updated information was available before the Aug. 6 meeting.
The board hopes to schedule a representative town meeting later this year to vote on the bond and is hoping the public comes out to the initial discussions to learn about the project.
-- The board also continued its discussion on adopting a new policy to regulate the use of social media among town departments.
Board member Ken Schneck gave the board a primer on the various social media platforms available. He said various committees and departments use Facebook and Twitter, but they do so with different controls and interactions with the public.
Schneck said the town was already using the social media sites so it made sense to adopt a policy.
"Right now there is no defined process for authorization," he said. "We need to do this to protect ourselves."
Schneck said it might be necessary for the town to authorize an employee to oversee the use of social media, but that caused some board members to question what it would cost, and whether the town would receive benefits that would justify paying a town employee to monitor the sites.
Schneck said he would come back to a future meeting with more information and the board agreed to talk about the issue again next month.
-- The co-owner of The Blue Moose announced that the restaurant would soon begin serving dinner and the board approved a First Class Liquor License for the High Street eatery.
-- The town’s $32-million wastewater plant project is inching forward and the board received an update.
Project engineer Gene Forbes said it is hard to say exactly when the project will be completed.
Many of the plant’s internal systems will be operational in September, though he said the complete plant not be working until December.
-- The board approved a permit for Aug. 26 for the annual soap box derby on John Seitz Drive.
-- Grants for the Justice Center, the police department and fire department were also approved at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.