Please allow me to express my own unbiased opinion regarding the Shaftsbury garage. Two well-known and often quoted expressions are "throwing good money after bad" and "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." There are two sides to every story and it is the voters duty to choose the right side.
1. Before hiring a high-price construction engineer to tell us the 45 year old garage is in sad need of repair, the committee is already loaded with building contractors who can do the same thing free of charge. Every home owner knows that maintenance and repairs are a continuing process. Builders are always searching for fixer-uppers, and here we have one with no bidders. Why not ask our committee experts to submit quotes based on their evaluations and cost estimates?
2. Lunch break. Having to eat lunch in a garage with fumes is an unhealthy choice. Joining the sweet-smelling ladies in the Town Hall could be more enjoyable and productive for the rest of the day.
3. Salt shed cost can be eliminated by taking a lesson from small Vermont dairy farmers. Dig a big hole, fill it with salt instead of silage, line and cover it with a tarp and use tires free from the dump. Far less costly than building a new silo.
4. Appropriations have been discussed year after year. Nearly 3.6 percent of our budget goes to various organizations. Comparisons should be made with other towns to determine if we are high, low, or average.
5. Excess equipment is a serious consideration. Growing road crew demand is important. Modern equipment with technical improvements are more efficient and productive, allowing the crew to handle the increased load.
6. Poor location as well as high costs are the main reasons for the bond rejection by less than 1 percent of the voters. Telling voters that cost estimates were maximized and that actual costs may be lower was a strategic error causing 40 voters, expecting a more conservative presentation, to vote no instead of yes.
7. Negotiations for the adjacent lot next door should be resumed. Personal differences between negotiators should be set aside for the good of the town. Prime commercial land with a neverending supply of fresh town water and power does command a higher than average price, especially in Shaftsbury. Price per acre comparisons should be made with other major million-dollar projects in the area. For example, HomeDepot, Carbone Auto, Tractor Supply, three Dollar General stores to determine fair market value. One small lot on Northside Drive in Bennington is priced at $1 million.
Let’s ask the committee to rework the numbers using the same plan on the contingent lot next door. Truck traffic at the school will be unchanged. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their party.
JOHN J. BILLOW,
U.S. Navy World War II veteran
Shaftsbury In support of a union
I have been a childcare provider in Bennington for almost 10 years. I have worked more than full-time AND gone to college at the same time to increase my education and improve my program. I am a professional. I am a provider because I love children and want to make a difference in children’s lives. I am in support of the union because as a provider we need a voice. I feel as an individual, my voice is not heard as well as in a collective group with my colleagues.
I encourage senators Sears and Harwell as well as representatives Campion, Corcoran, Mook, and Morrissey to hear my voice as well as those of the many other Vermont Early Educators United providers and pass our legislation. More information is at www.kidscountonme.org.