Brattleboro petition calls for town-wide vote on police-fire project

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BRATTLEBORO >> An announcement regarding plans for police and fire department facility upgrades could bring back memories for Select Board members who saw similar plans stall a couple years ago.

"I am doing a petition to bring the decision on the police-fire project to a town-wide vote," said Town Meeting member Dora Bouboulis, District W3, during public comments at Tuesday's Select Board meeting. "Just for people to know, that's going to be out there."

Signatures need to be obtained and submitted via petition 10 days from Sunday. Bouboulis said anyone who wants to collect signatures can contact her.

On Saturday, Town Meeting Representatives endorsed, in a 111-27 vote, the police department's relocation from the Municipal Center to the Reformer building on Black Mountain Road. Under the deal, the newspaper would continue to operate there as a tenant.

That vote reflected the Select Board's 4 to 1 vote on the project, pointed out Select Board Chairman David Gartenstein. He said he thought the decision was "really the culmination of two years' worth of work, recalling the rejection of the budget in April 2014 by a town-wide referendum that delayed similar projects from going to construction.

Saturday's decision, Gartenstein said, "represented the perfect example of how our government should work," meaning a "broad-based careful consideration of a range of alternatives."

Bouboulis raised concerns about taking out the entire project amount all at once as three presidential candidates are discussing potential infrastructure funding opportunities.

"We really must borrow it all at this time," replied Town Manager Peter Elwell, referring to scheduling constraints. "The decision will need to be made early on (beginning of April) if we go to the bond banks or commercial banks."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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