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Why is this proposal so controversial? Some people are unwilling to step back and look at other solutions; it’s that easy. People in the surveys at the meetings questioned that perhaps this was an expensive project for such a small town.
The town spent much time, money and effort to promote what would be one of the nicest town halls in most any town, let alone a town of 1,500 people. That, I believe, is the real problem; it’s a luxury town hall by any shape or size. Then they put their town hall proposal up before the town and the town clearly voted the project down, but some are not satisfied with the people’s vote.
At the last select board meeting, there was serious discussion that the town put up the previous proposal along with a proposal that costs a million more and have the town vote on that. There was talk about a 50-year mortgage to pay for the property; this alone is one of the most irresponsible financial proposals I’ve heard in years. We should be able to write a check for our town offices; however, we’ve known that we’ve needed a town hall for 20 years and saved absolutely no money.
People have suggested we get free money from FEMA or the federal government. This is taking money from some poor New Jersey resident who still is living in the cold from last fall’s hurricane. Remember those ridiculously small checks from the feds? It’s because someone else got a huge grant.
Government assistance to build something we can and should do with our own money is really depressing. We should seriously be a bit more responsible. Taking this “free money” is exactly why we can’t balance any state or federal budget. Nothing is free; we need to think global and act local on fiscal policy, too.
There are plenty of quality options in this town, starting easily for less than $400,000, complete with vault. Unless you want them spending $2.6 million and putting up a 50-year mortgage in your name, I encourage you to vote, see “pick your own town hall” at local locations, or come to the next select board meeting. Come early; it was packed last meeting.
Neil Johnson lives in Waitsfield.