Letter: Request for tax exemption by the Shaftsbury Community Grange

To the Editor:

Our Grange is asking the community to extend our property tax exemption for the period of five years. As a small organization it enables us to keep our hall as our membership is smaller than it used to be but we still are proud to help the community in any way that we can.

You may have noticed very nice signs have been placed in our five cemeteries. All are in place except the village cemetery and this should be taken care of in the spring. These cost $300.00 each. We are also planning to rejuvenate the benches near the memorials at the Town Hall.

The wood on the benches needs replacing with composite material. We are unable to physically do the things we used to but we want to make improvements wherever we can in the community.

Our Grange has been in the community for 87 years. We extend our thanks for your support in exempting us from property tax in the past. Without this help we probably would have had to sell our hall. We purchased the hall in 1945 and there were many dances, receptions and Grange suppers over the years. As our membership has grown older, we are unable to do some of the projects we did in the past. For many years we ran the Farmers Market at our school. We have honored more than 35 local people with the Community Citizen Award. For many years we have given dictionaries to our Shaftesbury and North Bennington Schools. This program is called AWords for Thirds@ and has been warmly received. On another project one of our Grangers

worked on mapping the old part of Grandview Cemetery.

About 10 years ago we were financially in a bind with little income and bills to be paid and we planned on closing the hall in the winter months as we could not afford to heat the building. Fortunately, Jackie Myers approached us regarding renting our downstairs for the Lil Peeps School. To meet the requirements of the Vermont Fire Marshall we were forced to borrow $32,000 to put new siding on the building due to a lead paint condition as well as replacing all the door and windows in the building and made other necessary improvements. All the downstairs windows were donated by Grange members. Now all the building is up to code.

We rent for a nominal fee and of course our insurance is expensive as this is a large building. As it has a slate roof the upkeep of this is also expensive but it is in very good repair.

We hope you will vote for this property tax exemption so we may be able to give to our community, keep our hall in good repair and be of service to all our taxpayers.

Merton J. Snow




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