Letters: No picnic in Pownal -- different perspective
Not sure what particular burr is under Kathy Gaffney’s saddle. As far as I know, I have never met her. I do think she could use some perspective.
Historically, life in Pownal has never been a picnic. Even during pre-colonial times, the fertile land along the Hoosick River was hotly disputed among native tribes. In the early 1700’s, it was a war zone for Native and French raiding parties en-route to settlements in the Connecticut valley.
Following the French & Indian war, Pownal was focal point for the land ownership dispute between "Hampshire Grant" claims and the Dutch, French and German settlers of New York colony that gave rise to Vermont. During our war for independency, Pownal was the home of many "Loyalists" who fought with the British at the Battle of Bennington. They subsequently had their lands confiscated and were kicked out of the country as punishment.
In post civil war era through the early 20th century, children labored in deplorable working conditions at the North Pownal mills. The legacy of that operation was eventual child labor laws, and a superfund hazardous waste site the town inherited.
In recent times, Pownal has struggled with what to do to revitalize the local economy and the fate of the defunct former Green Mountain Track. The town also has to deal with many other significant problems: ongoing high poverty rate, the need for affordable housing, the high cost of educating our children, just to name a few.
This auditor’s dispute about relatively small sums going back over ten years has not been substantiated by the independent, outside CPA’s the town pays to annually audit it’s books. Ms. Gaffney’s inflammatory claim that someone has a hand in the cookie jar has not been verified by any state agency who have seriously looked at this. I guess we should officially remove the "Red Herring" for the endangered species list.
Ms. Gaffney claims there is no health enforcement here. Well, perhaps she will recall that our town select board managed to get EPA and state grant money to put in a town wide sewer system and state of art sewage treatment plant. That was a huge project and a major coup for Pownal. It has significant positive impact on keeping well water clean; and, has saved homeowners astronomical sums in not having to upgrade defunct and failing septic systems.
From my experience, all the folks who do work for the town (and a lot of it is volunteer), whether secretaries, clerks, road crew, or even the selectmen, do a damn good job under difficult circumstance. They are not overpaid. They are, in my opinion, very helpful, responsive, competent and hard working folks. And, I regard them as family in this small community. I don’t always agree with them, nor do I always get them to vote my way, but I do respect them for what they do. Every day, they put up with a lot of flack when anyone is annoyed at a decision that doesn’t go their way, or is otherwise unhappy.
Maybe Ms. Gaffney should file a petition to run for office. Would like to see what she would do if she gets elected. If they ever elect me, the first thing I would do it demand a recount.
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