Updated: Oct 5
September 30th, 2022
September has been a busy month. Shortly after our last newsletter, the mayor scheduled a special meeting for another executive session, subject “personnel”, on Monday, August 29th. Although this meeting was only scheduled for executive session, concerned citizens had learned that town meetings of this nature are still open to the public to
witness the council members in attendance and watch as the meeting is called to order and the council votes to go into its executive session. Several town members attended the special meeting on August 29th and wanted to voice some concerns about the nature of these special executive sessions. One of the main concerns was that the town council and
mayor were holding executive sessions but were not holding standard monthly meetings for the public to hear about general town business. The mayor noted the request.
This special meeting was a spectacle to be sure! Kelly Goins went right into a motion for executive session. Town Recorder, Susan Troutner, requested to speak before the executive session was commenced. Kelly Goins elected to walk away from the meeting in a huff. He did not return for the remainder of the meeting. Rufus Morgan was not in attendance for this meeting. During Susan’s time speaking, she provided some very important information about how town meetings should be handled, specifically related to executive sessions. According to Mrs. Troutner, the last executive session was mostly related to some of the town council members being scolded by the mayor, including her. She asked that if this executive session was to be a continuation of that meeting, that it be held in public. Town council member, Mandy Fink, indicated that the last meeting was a lot of arguing amongst the council and she had requested that they meet up again in executive session to work through their differences.
There was a lot said between the town council and the citizens in attendance. The meeting lasted around an hour. In the end, many were able to voice their concerns and requests about how the town meetings are being handled. A collective request was made to start having the regularly scheduled monthly meetings for the town again. I would encourage any Bramwell citizens that would like to have a full recap of the meeting notes from August 29th, please request them from the town hall. The notes were reviewed and approved by the council.
A standard monthly town meeting was scheduled and held on September 12, 2022. Approximately 16 citizens were in attendance, including some citizens that have not previously attended the meetings. It was great to see new faces in the audience. Council members Rufus Morgan and Kelly Goins were not in attendance. The citizens were eager to hear the updates on the two main agenda items: the contract for painting the town hall and the newest report on the status of the dam. Unfortunately, the mayor had no updates on either. She reached out to one paint contractor less than a week before the meeting and he was unable to provide a quote before the meeting. Likewise, the company that is monitoring the dam had no report to provide. It’s uncertain why these two items were on the agenda if there were no actual action items or updates to discuss.
However, the mayor did have two other items that had JUST come to her attention that need decisions IMMEDIATELY, with no real time to review and decide. The first item was a request to take action and approve the Region I Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is updated and approved every five years so that areas are eligible for government assistance if natural or environmental disasters were to occur. None of the council members have reviewed the mitigation plan but moved forward with approval under the assumption that there were no issues with the plan in prior years. Mrs. Troutner did abstain from voting until she can properly review the documentation provided. The other item added to the meeting that was not on the agenda, was a letter from the Attorney General’s office requesting that the town of Bramwell, vote to either refrain or agree to be included in the lawsuit against Rite Aid for the opioid crisis within the state and Mercer County. The town council elected to be a party in the lawsuit.
The town council was provided with copies of the meeting notes from the last few meetings, to review and approve. They were also provided copies of the town’s financial statements for the last three months. The council members were asked to review for questions or concerns and approve. It did not appear that the members had these statements prior to the meeting and did not have adequate time to thoroughly review them for any concerns, but none the less, they were provided. The police and fire reports were presented for the last three months, and our newest police officer has qualified to carry his firearm. The fire department is working on the renewal of the town’s ISO rating. This rating is very important to all town members. The lower the rating received, helps improve the cost of property insurance for our area. The fire department’s last rating was a “6”. They are hoping to keep the same rating or lower it. There was mention that no volunteers live within town, so call times have been delayed. If anyone is interested in volunteering at the Fire Department, please reach out to them for more information. The mayor would like to hold a Miners Festival in the spring and is looking for volunteers. Please reach out to Mayor Stoker or the town hall if you are interested in helping in any way.
There are some events coming up in October!! Carolyn Hartley will be at the Exclusive Events by Erin office on Main Street for a book-signing/research session on October 19th. Her book series about Bramwell has been very popular. Please stop in for a visit. There is also a chili cookoff planned for October 29th at the train depot. You can be part of the
competition or come and taste test all the chilies. If you have any questions, please reach out to a member of the Bramwell Theatre Corporation.
October 1st is a day away and I think we can officially consider this fall season. I am ready for the change in weather and the new vibrant colors of the leaves during this time. Every new season makes me think about how every day, things are changing even if we don’t always notice right away. Change can be hard for a lot of people, maybe even scary. But it can also be good, like a fresh start or a new outlook. Let’s really enjoy the next month or two. Fall is always too short. The cold winter will be here soon. The sidewalks will be rolled up and we will all be hunkered down inside until spring. Get out in the cool crisp air and celebrate nature, holidays, and sweater weather.