I am writing this letter to say that I have decided to support the upcoming water bond vote on Tuesday, June 17. I know that this will disappoint many people who believe as I do that the cost of municipal water in Bennington is already too high.

I am changing my vote for a few reasons.

1) The cost of the project has dropped 10 percent.

2) The select board provided engineering information in a more informative manner so that I and others could understand the scope and location choices.

3) There is a proposed detailed 5-year water budget.

4) This project will not go away and will become more expensive.

5) We have a commitment (not a promise because the select board changes yearly) that rates will not go up at all in 2015 and then will go up 3 percent per year through 2019. We also heard that there is intent to build a reserve to help pay back the bond.

After 2019 there are no certainties but truthfully we know nothing about any of the other costs in our lives and what they will be like in 2020. These are all small but positive steps.

By our "no" vote we have made it clear that future increases need to be looked at much harder and need to be explained much better. It will not be okay in the future to casually propose anything related to water and sewer increases.

One of the primary reasons for this project is to make sure there is adequate pressure in the event of a major fire or other drain on the water system. In a community that experiences frequent large fires, I do not want to take a further stand that threatens people or homes.

I continue to urge the select board to review the charter so that it more closely aligns with 21st century thinking; specifically separating the cost of infrastructure expansion from maintenance and use; as well exploring the future impact of unmetered water use. To paraphrase some of the comments made by another speaker from the audience: Let’s try to be ahead of the problem instead of behind it.

ABBY SHAPIRO

Bennington Lend your voices to Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day

While the five-year survival rate for cancer overall is 68 percent, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer remains bleak, at just 6 percent. In fact, a recent Pancreatic Cancer Action Network study indicates pancreatic cancer will become the nation’s second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2020. Time is of the essence if we are going to keep this prediction from becoming a reality.

On June 17, advocates from Vermont will join nearly 500 individuals from across the country on Capitol Hill for the eighth annual Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day to meet with their members of Congress and urge them to stomp on pancreatic cancer by stepping up federal research funding for the National Cancer Institute.

Please join me in contacting Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter Welch on June 17 for a National Call-In to add our voices to those in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.pancan.org/nationalcallin.

It’s time for Congress to Stomp on Pancreatic Cancer and step up federal research funding!

RON RUSSOTTI
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Community Representative Volunteer

Vermont