Brandon SB discusses Town Plan and appropriations


BRANDON—In its brief regular meeting on Monday evening, the Brandon Selectboard approved the Town Plan prepared by the Brandon Planning Commission.  

The Plan lays out a broad vision for the next several years in Brandon.  It must be updated every 8 years in order to keep Brandon eligible for certain grants at the state level.  None of what it proposes is binding or indicative of any current or future projects.  Instead, it acknowledges areas in which the town seeks to make improvements and/or changes.

The Plan that was approved on Monday was the result of over a year of work by the Planning Commission, including several public workshops and hearings during which the Commission took comments and suggestions, many of which were incorporated into the final version.  The last hearing was held on January 29 and, according to Planning Commission Chair Cecil Reniche-Smith (who is also on the Brandon Selectboard), there were no substantive changes that necessitated further hearings.

Some attendees, however, still held that the Plan failed to address the needs of the town’s disabled residents and those living in poverty.  Of particular concern was the Plan’s omission of any proposal for a laundromat in town.  The last operating laundromat in Brandon closed during the pandemic.

While the Board acknowledged the call for a laundromat, with Board Chair Tracy Wyman expressing a need for two facilities (one in downtown Brandon and one in Forest Dale), Ms. Reniche-Smith emphasized that the Town Plan was a “macro” document that focused on the “big picture” rather than on specific details.  Board member Tim Guiles and Town Manager Seth Hopkins also noted the difficulty already encountered in trying to get someone to open a new laundromat.  Some attendees suggested offering financial incentives, such as discounted water and sewer fees.

Ultimately, the Plan was adopted without the inclusion of any specific plans for a laundromat.  The document will now be forwarded to the state.


After Mr. Hopkins finished his report (the text of which is reprinted in this issue of The Reporter), Board member Brian Coolidge noted that if all of the appropriations on the town ballot were approved by voters, the amount needed to be raised by taxes would exceed $250K, in addition to the $3,271,510 already proposed in the town budget.  Mr. Coolidge said he simply wanted the public to be aware.

If approved by voters, the total amount requested in appropriations would represent approximately $92 per voter in additional tax liability for the 2024-25 budget year.  (The Town Office mailed out 2,700 ballots to voters this year.)

The appropriations on the ballot are meant to give voters control over spending for services and organizations such as the American Legion, the Brandon Area Rescue Squad, and the Brandon Library, among others.  All the organizations seeking appropriations this year also sought and received appropriations last year.

Other business

The Board unanimously approved the appointment of David Martin to the Energy Committee.  Mr. Martin will take the seat being vacated by Claire Babyak Shick.

The Board unanimously voted to grant the Highway Foreman the discretion to decide when to post road closures due to impassability.  The warm winter is creating early mud conditions on roads in many areas of town.

The Board’s final piece of business for the evening was the unanimous approval of two warrants, one in the amount of $494,874.21, to cover town expenses and obligations, and one in the amount of $1,885,000.  The second warrant represents the town’s operating fund, which is being moved from Bar Harbor Bank to the National Bank of Middlebury to take advantage of superior interest rates.

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