The stockholders of the Arlington Water Company (AWC) have decided to sell the private utility that provides water to the center of Arlington, East Arlington, and parts of Sunderland. The Town of Arlington has been offered the opportunity to purchase the AWC for fair market value. The Arlington Selectboard has determined that the value of the company, the pros and cons of purchasing it, and how the purchase might be financed must be thoroughly evaluated before a decision can be made by the Arlington voters to purchase or not.

About 460 residential, business, and municipal addresses in Arlington are water company customers, including the schools, the library, the town buildings, and many businesses. All the water hydrants for fire fighting are served by the AWC. It is essential for preservation of the value of customer properties and for future economic development that reliable water service continue to be provided. Since the AWC stockholders have decided to sell, the Town must consider what the implications of having different private owners might be for the cost and quality of this important service.

If the residents of Arlington choose to buy AWC the town would have access to state financing for the purchase, and to better state and federal support for future improvements than a private owner would have. The town would likely plan to operate AWC in a self sustaining manner, in which the water customers pay the full costs of the service, just as they always have.

To fully investigate the option of purchasing AWC the Selectboard has placed a $10,000 spending item in the budget to obtain a professional appraisal of the condition of the physical assets and the financial value of the company. The Selectboard believes this appraisal is essential in order to make a good decision about the future of this important community asset, one way or the other.

THE ARLINGTON SELECTBOARD

Keith Squires, Dan Harvey,
Reggie Jennings, K. John Smith,
Cynthia Browning

Arlington Re: Jackie Prue’s letter

This letter is in response to the letter by Jackie Prue, Feb. 24, urging everyone to vote "yes" on the school budget. I on the other hand am urging everyone to vote "no" on the school budget. If you are living on a fixed income, vote no. If you are retired, vote no. If you are out of work, vote no. If you can’t find work and are having a tough time making ends meet vote no. If you are just sick and tired of seeing your taxes increase every year, vote no.

The school board, the select board and all of our politicians in general must have the idea that we tax payers have a magic money tree in our backyards, and that we can just go out and pick a handful of money for them any time they ask for it. Otherwise they would not be asking for double digit increases every year. A 13 percent increase is way too much to ask for, especially with the prices of everything going up! up! up! The board members had better come back down to earth with the rest of us and look reality in the face. We cannot afford these increases every year ... Get the message? People and businesses have been and still are moving out of Bennington and ever increasing taxes are a big part of the problem.

STEVE PRATT

Bennington