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By this time next week the outcome of Waitsfield's town office bond vote will be known and town officials will either be moving forward with building new town offices at the Farm Stand site or regrouping.
This has been a highly charged and contentious discussion, getting to this point. The town is asking for a bond not to exceed $650,000, which will be combined with a $750,000 grant to build its new town offices. The actual voter-funded figure will likely be less than $650,000, probably closer to $500,000.
At the same time there is a vocal contingent that has presented a strong argument for rehabilitating the former Methodist Church and if not rehabilitating it, readapting it for use. Historical readaptation and renovation of the church are more expensive and although it is possible that the town might qualify for a grant, it is not guaranteed – hence the select board's bird-in-the-hand desire to bring the Farm Stand forward for a vote.
As always, regardless of which project one favors, it is critical that voters turn out to let their opinions be known. The select board needs to hear clearly what voters want in terms of their new town offices. The current town offices have been flooded twice in 13 years. It's time to move forward in some direction and get the important and historical town records in a safe place. Let's not forget what happened in Moretown during Tropical Storm Irene when the town offices flooded destroying town records and land records stored in the vault.
When voters head to the polls next week they will also be asked to authorize the town to borrow $200,000 to extend the municipal water system to Eagles Resort where low-performing wells are no longer providing adequate water.
This item should be a slam-dunk yes. The cost of extending the project to Eagles Resort will be completely covered by the fees paid by Eagles' users. It may even generate more revenue than the loan costs while adding more users to the system, which reduces the cost of every user, and extending the fire service protection area that much further south on Route 100.
But what really needs to happen for both articles next Tuesday is for voters to show up. How amazing would it be to see lines of people queuing up to vote on these issues?