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To The Editor:
I want to thank the Waitsfield Select Board for bringing the town office bond vote back to the voters. For those of you who think that we are being asked to vote on the same proposal that we saw in March, take a second look as the project has changed. How so?
First, in response to concerns that the original project was too big and too expensive, the conceptual plan was reduced by 900 square feet; consequently, the estimated costs are now $350,000 less than the March proposal.
Second, the town secured a $750,000 grant from the state for the town office at the Farm Stand location. This grant reduces the costs to taxpayers from an estimated $1.25 million to $500,000. The select board met with a representative from the state who clarified that the grant is not transferable and that it is only available for the Farm Stand location. If the July 30 bond vote fails, the town loses the grant. There is no guarantee that a grant will be available for an alternative project.
Third, at $500,000, the town can get a new energy-efficient town office for less than any other appropriate solution. Even leasing one of our community's underutilized properties would cost more when you calculate the cost of a lease across a 20-year period.
The members of the select board voted unanimously to put the bond vote back in front of the voters. Let's turn out to cast our ballots. I know that I'll be voting in favor of the bond vote.