Letter to the editor: Are the Brandon Energy Committee members solar advocates or profiteers?

Lately the town of Brandon Selectboard (SB), in conjunction with the Select Board appointed Brandon Energy Committee (BEC), have requested the taxpayers of Brandon to financially support the lease/purchase of electronic vehicles (EVS) for use by our local police department. However, not all the SB members are approving this direction.

This proposal is under the Town Municipal budget and not in the bond. This is what caused the significant increase in your tax bills. The BEC and several members of the Selectboard have been promoting this endeavor to taxpayers as the be all and end all for green transportation. Several members of the Brandon Energy Committee have quoted posted thoughts which support this direction regardless of contrary information published by alternate sources which do not support the use of EVS at this time for law enforcement patrol vehicles based on equally viable concerns.

The BEC has also recommended the development of a “solar array” and use, where promotion of the array is discussed as ‘the’ positive direction for the town, contrary to other objective sources stating this is not an appropriate avenue for the town to take. The array iwould be funded by a self-funding bond that would increase the town’s debt by up to $500K. Projected payback of the array has varied as widely as the sun and the moon in discussions (and spreadsheets) on FPF and elsewhere. And one has to wonder what the BEC is up to. In the agenda for the 2/5/24 meeting at 4:30 p.m. (a meeting that may or may not have been properly warned) under Education, there is a topic HOW TO PROMOTE SOLAR BOND SO IT’S APPROVED EVEN IF THE TOWN BUDGET IS REJECTED. At 5:15 p.m., the SOLAR ARRAY BOND and INDUSTRIAL PARK LEASE UPDATE are also on this committee’s agenda. This direction comes during a time of financial strain for many Brandon taxpayers when town AND state taxes are proposed to be raised substantially. Remember our town slogan…Brandon – Unhurried. Unspoiled. Unforgettable.? Maybe we should add “Unaffordable?” The solar array special project (why is it always a ‘special project’?) smells like special interests and personal agendas. And we have just as much right to say NO as to say YES. Contrary data doesn’t make their view right and ours disregarded as wrong. We do and should have the right to say how our tax dollars are used.

Brandon has historically been a town with a diverse set of perspectives, income levels, and interests. If we vote in a budget with over 13% increase (of which approximately 9% will hit our tax bills on the Town line on your tax bill), as well as a risky, special interest/agenda solar array special project, there are townspeople who will not be able to afford their bills. Gentrification and profiteering appear to be alive and active in Brandon Vermont. Please look at who you vote for and who is buttering whose bread before supporting the proposed budget and these projects. Maybe we should vote in a SB we trust to consider ALL of the town’s interest and let them come up with a better budget proposal by voting this one down.

Karen Rhodes


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