I am not voting for the garage bond because I feel that the people of Shaftsbury are taxed to the limit. This is not a problem that has appeared overnight. If previous selectboards had set up a reserve fund for a new building there would be no problem now. In a letter to local educators dated Nov. 26, Gov. Peter Shumlin notes a decline in student enrollments that shows no sign of decreasing until 2025 and forcasts a .05 cent increase in costs both this and next year for school taxes.
Another letter from Mary Peterson commissioner of the department of taxes to house Speaker Shap Smith also dated Nov. 26 says the same and more about student enrollment declines. I write this letter to inform the voters of the rates in state taxes this is in addition to anything added locally. If the bond passes voters are tied to paying for it for the next 20 years. No matter what other expenses there are. Is $400,000 interest better than no interest? The decision is up to the voters I have complete confidence in their wisdom.
Harrington is not all wrong
We read all the rhetoric about Ken doing a great disservice to the Town of Shaftsbury. Here’s what Ken is doing: He’s representing and serving the working people of Shaftsbury who have to scratch to pay their taxes. There are still working people in Shaftsbury. Sometimes it’s hard to believe.
Shaftsbury Garage vote
Mr. Harrington stated as far back as February that he ran on and was elected due to the result of the last garage vote. In essence, he seemed to represent that he was speaking for those parties who had voted No last time because of the cost.
As such, he came to the select board and more specifically the garage committee in order to work with the current committee and shepherd the project through again with a more limited budget. He’s had nearly a year to discuss every single detail of that garage; the garage committee cut parts of the proposal due to his input. And in that time he never once, to my knowledge, stated that this project was contingent on anything else happening.
Committee members who have spent a year working on a committee without previously expressing unresolvable doubts have a responsibility to endorse the work of that committee. If Mr. Harrington was not going to support their proposal he should have left the committee months ago and made room for someone who was interested in seeing it succeed.
For Mr. Harrington to run for select board on one issue, and then basically on the eve of the vote withdraw his support and in fact urge the town to vote no is disgraceful. Mr. Harrington should go beyond resigning from the committee and should resign from the select board. How he can look any of them in the eye after this conduct, or asked to be trusted as a member of that board, is beyond me. As they plan for the town budget, is he going to participate in the process and at the last minute urge the town to vote it down, and then walk away again? I have to question the judgement of someone who would pull such a stunt once.
If the town garage vote fails, Mr. Harrington should be held responsible, and if he will not do the honorable thing now and step down from the board, I think the Shaftsbury town people need to explore a recall vote and find someone who is committed to working for the community, from the beginning until the final vote.
Thorns for Mr. Harrington.
JARED DELLA ROCCA