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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Responsibility, and the (Mad) river city.

By Neil Johnson

I have a job, a place to live, able to meet my needs. What would you think if you saw me in line at the food shelf? An able-bodied man, taking food, because it's allowed? Meanwhile, there are poor in the line, single parents struggling, people less able. What would you think? People donated this food for the needy out of their own pockets, their hard earned money. What would you say if I drove in with a Mercedes and did this? What would you say if I were stinkin' rich, on top of having a Mercedes, and did this? Would you think it was my responsibility to pay for my own food?

Our town was flooded; there is flood money to help those in need. I'm sure I don't need to repaint what happened in other towns.... It was horrific. Dare we compare our damage to any towns further down the river? Our flood problem could be solved with $25,000 automatic-closing flood doors. But we can get so much more money! We have no justifiable reason to take someone's flood money. On top of that we have to ask, what are Waitsfield's responsibilities?

What things should a town pay for? What should they be responsible to purchase? Anything? What should they fiscally plan for? Personally, I think the town should pay for their own town offices. It is a town office. Not a federal office, not a Granville town office, not a Waterbury town office. But we've needed one for 20 years! Really? We haven't saved one dollar for this purchase, in 20 years! But then it's easier to spend someone else's money; let's look at our costs.

$300,000 per individual office space is a bit pricey, perhaps even by New York City standards. $300,000 per office is about 6 to 10 times the average rate in Waitsfield. It's about $50,000 more than the average house price across the state of Vermont. Our per office price is above the sale price for most entire commercial buildings. Ninety percent of all residential buildings sell for less than $335,000, in Washington County. See? It's easy to spend someone else's money.

Some people think the money is for free. I ask, when has this ever been true? Someone always has to pay. If we were given some sane options, there wouldn't be so much infighting. However, a small group of people think there is only one option out of all possibilities. You see we've done a study. If we were given some sane options we could write our own check and not even have a mortgage. Because of this only one option, on the entire planet and a tin ear to the public, we've got trouble, right here in (Mad) river city.

Neil Johnson lives in Waitsfield.



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