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To The Editor:
Though not a voter in Waitsfield, I am a taxpayer as part of Jamieson Family Partnership for our office building on Route 100. The following are random (and rambling) thoughts on the topic of the purchase of the Flemer Barns.
To paint a background for the big picture, consider that there are 101 million Americans on food assistance now. We have had 54 straight months of 7.5% unemployment (or above), the longest since 1948. Of the 11.8 million jobless in June, 4.3 million had been out of work six months or longer. There are 90 million Americans not even looking for work. 10,962,532 people receive federal disability payments (April 2013) – more than the population of Greece. In January, 17 percent, or one in six, were living below the poverty line, though most receive food assistance, housing assistance, heating assistance, etc.
In tiny Vermont, 70 percent of the property owners do not pay the full bill for their property taxes, due to "equalization" or income redistribution. I opine that they either have too much property or the property taxes are too high, or both. This week's Valley Reporter announced that tax rates are up (again) in all three Valley towns.
Waitsfield has a new water system, new sidewalks, and is proposing a new municipal office building at a cost of somewhere north of $500,000 and probably closer to $650,000, not even considering the "free money" provided by a grant of $750,000. I can't help but wonder where the grant money came from – it certainly isn't "free."
Jim Boylan's letter in last week's paper where he poses the tipping point question is right on the money. There has to be a point where the taxpayers who are paying full price stand up and say, "Enough is enough." One can certainly rationalize the need for a municipal building out of the floodplain and clean water is a necessity and even the people who oppose paved roads like the new sidewalks, but any proposal to create more municipal buildings is pure folly or bad timing at the very best.
Thanks for listening.
South Hero, VT