Bristol selectboard debates Hub status

BRISTOL — Staff from The Hub teen center on Monday updated the Bristol selectboard on its data-recording project, increased enrollment and recent activity.
Hub Director Jim Lockridge and Bristol Recreation Director Darla Senecal also made the case for extending Hub assistant Ryan Krushenick’s hours. Krushenick — with a background in music — offers free music lessons at The Hub, helps oversee Hub activities and organizes events.
Krushenick’s extended hours would be funded completely by state and federal grants with no cost to the town of Bristol and would help The Hub expand and improve its programs, Lockridge and Senecal said.
The selectboard voted to extend Krushenick’s hours, but only after lengthy debate. Chair Joel Bouvier, who was the only board member to vote against Krushenick’s extended hours, wasn’t entirely sure why Krushenick was offering free lessons at The Hub.
“Why aren’t those (music lessons) being taught through the Rec. Department and (have people) pay Ryan for those lessons?” Bouvier asked Senecal.
“Because most of the kids that go to the teen center can’t afford lessons,” she replied. “That’s why they’re free.”
Bouvier was also concerned that The Hub was focusing too much of its energy on music, rather than on developing other skills, like carpentry, for example.
“What if we had another (assistant, like) Ryan, come who loves to do carpentry and build things. So we buy a bunch of hand tools and power tools and build sheds and bird houses and things of that nature,” he said. “My point is (Ryan) you’re doing what you love to do and teaching the kids music and booking bands and things. If that goes away and something else comes, where does the mission for The Hub go?”
Senecal countered Bouvier’s statement by explaining that The Hub organizes programs in accordance with the teens’ interests. And the teens, she said, aren’t interested in carpentry, they’re interested in music.
“Kids are the ones who direct what happens at The Hub … So if they were interested in carpentry or what not, we’d find that venue for them. It’s not just about the skills that this staff brings to the table. It’s what the kids are interested in,” she said. “I think what’s important to understand (is just) because we may, as old fogies, think that something is of interest, doesn’t mean it’s at all of interest to kids.”
Another concern that came from town resident Lance Perlee was that Krushenick’s extended hours might lead to future tax hikes.
“A lot of (The Hub) is funded by grants, but grant money isn’t forever grant money,” said Perlee. “For instance, you’re going to fund Ryan’s hours with grant money, but what happens next year (if) that grant money’s not there?”
Board member Peeker Heffernan replied, “If the grant money dries up, the position dries up.”
Krushenick, too, vowed to stick to this principle. 
“I would not accept that money or even want to put Bristol in a position of having to pay me past what its budget is if that grant money dries up,” he said.
After an executive session, the board voted 4-1 in favor of extending Krushenick’s hours.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the Bristol selectboard:
•  OK’d a $4,500 net increase in the Bristol Fire Department’s budget; $2,500 of that number is expenses, like the $1,500 for a new fire hose (the most recent hose was purchased in 1993, said Heffernan), an additional $500 for building maintenance from last year’s $2,000 line and $500 for maintenance of the brush truck (a vehicle used to fight brush fires). A $2,000 line in expected revenues from this year will be absent because the town wasn’t able to bill for heavy rescue services due to complications with the insurance company.
According to last year’s town report, the current year’s spending plan is $133,826, and the fire department experienced a $35,826 spending surplus in 2010-2011 and a $4,604 surplus in 2009-2010.
•  Approved a warrant for the impoundment of unlicensed dogs. This means Bristol police can enter a person’s home and impound their dog if it doesn’t have a license.
Bryant explained that a letter would first be sent to the owner informing them that his or her dog needs a license. Then a police officer would issue a warning. And if the owner still doesn’t comply, the dog would then be impounded.
“There’s a good reason we require licenses,” said Bryant. “It has to do with rabies shots and verifying whether a dog has them when a person gets bit… No license, no collar, we don’t know where that dog came from.”
•  Were reminded by town activist John Moyers that the regional Act 250 board’s initial ruling on Jim Lathrop’s proposed gravel extraction operation did not meet numerous legal criteria and was ruled to be potentially “unsafe” and “unreasonable.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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