Brattleboro police relocation not to go to re-vote

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BRATTLEBORO >> Not enough ink hit a petition calling for a town-wide vote on police department relocation.

"I worked really hard. I got a lot of people to sign," said Representative Town Meeting member Dora Bouboulis, of District 3, who had until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to submit the petition. "With a little more time, I would have gotten more people to sign."

According to Town Clerk Annette Cappy, there were 344 unverified signatures on the petition. Needed were 400 signatures or 50 Town Meeting Representatives.

On her way to Cappy's office to make sure no one turned in a petition that she gave out to someone else to secure more signatures, she told the Reformer she was happy with her efforts.

"I am very thankful to all the folks who did sign the petition," she said. "It's ridiculous that citizens have to petition to vote on something so big like this."

Bouboulis began the petition after Town Meeting members approved of moving police to Black Mountain Road in a 111-27 vote at a special Representative Town Meeting on March 12.

At annual Representative Town Meeting on March 19, a budget including upgrades to two fire department facilities and renovations associated with police relocation was approved by Town Meeting members. The police are expected to take up residence in the Reformer building and the newspaper will become a tenant under the deal. Altogether, plans at all three facilities are expected to cost $12.8 million.

Not getting enough signatures is not going to stop Bouboulis from pushing for change. She plans to work towards changing the town's charter so petitions, like hers, would match statutes put forth by the state.

Bouboulis wants to see 30 days allotted rather than the 10 days she had.

"That I definitely will take care of," she said.

She expects a petition will bring those changes to the charter via the general election ballot. She will have 30 days to do so.

"The town could do it but at this point, it just comes from the people. It's part of Bernie's revolution," Bouboulis said, referring to Vermont senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. "It's giving more power to the people. I already promised everyone I would be doing this. I got a good number of signatures. I got close."

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


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