Anyone that has told you that Shires Housing is recruiting low-income individuals to live in their housing units is either lying to you or misinformed.
Anyone that has told you that the Shires Housing project on Apple Ridge is for people who are not working or don’t have an income is either lying to you or misinformed.
I am a member of the Board of Directors of Shires Housing. I have been a board member for over 16 years.
I am extremely proud of the work that we do. Several people have come up to me and said they are opposed to our project because "Bennington doesn’t need any more low-income housing, we need jobs ... " And when I point out that this project is for people that have incomes between $25,000 and $36,000 a year, they reply, "that’s not what I heard. I heard Shires was recruiting welfare people from out-of-state to come here." And when I assure them that Shires does not recruit people from out-of-state or anywhere (we already have a waiting list) and we follow strict income requirements, these people just repeat the same allegation to me. It’s as if facts don’t matter and the truth doesn’t matter. It is very frustrating.
Our housing projects improve Bennington. The neighborhoods look better, the housing units are well managed and maintained, and the tenants are decent, hard-working, law-abiding citizens. Studies show that this housing project will actually create jobs, both in the short term and long term.
How could this happen?
After reading the article in the Bennington Banner, dated Aug. 16-17, titled "Pownal board urges filing of grand list," it seems as if the listers had been granted two extension but missed the Aug. 15 final filing deadline.
As a former lister, I ask how could this happen? The Town of Pownal has three elected listers. Still does, as no one has resigned. The position has gone from seasonal and by appointments to an unlimited time and budget position.
According to the news article, Nelson Brownell said the listers have been working on the preparation for four months. The listers work year round, every day and any hours they choose, to update the grand list. That is their job.
Surely Selectman Brownell should know who’s working and who isn’t, as he signs the warrants approving their pay or he and any other Select Board member could look at the "log book" the listers keep.
However, what can you, the Board of Selectmen, do about it?
In my opinion, not a damn thing.