Letter: Chairman of Select Board responds to critics

To the Editor:

After five years on the Select Board, I have become pretty much immune to the continual pontifications emitting from a few members of our community who fancy themselves as activists and investigators of our government activity. They, along with few of their minions, have seen their role as one to challenge or question the management of our town at almost every turn.

While this is a right and a privilege granted to all, when an individual attacks the integrity of the Select Board alleging the board knew or was complicit with management on the sand and salt shed project let me say without qualification this was not the case in whole or in part and will not be condoned without response. The manager has repeatedly indicated the Select Board was not aware of the permit issue. Any continued effort to suggest or infer otherwise by any individual will not be tolerated by this member of the Select Board.

It is unfortunate that the activity surrounding this particular project, which incidentally is now substantially complete and is in full compliance with all permits, has provided a degree of shade on the high leadership quality the town has enjoyed for many years from our town manager, Stuart Hurd. Without Stu's experience and management, this town would still be struggling to recover from Hurricane Irene. We would not have an ongoing wastewater treatment plant project at a cost significantly less than other municipalities, or have completed extensions to our municipal water services bringing our community into compliance with the state's requirement. Also, at a very attractive price negotiated by our manager, we now have a public works facility that will allow related departments to be housed under one roof, which should prove economical.

Most importantly, all of these accomplishments have been achieved while keeping the tax rate in check. In point of fact, the rate for the next tax year may increase very little if at all as a result of management and the Select Board working in harmony to keep the costs of providing municipal services in check.

Finally, while some of these pseudo commentators appear to have done their best intentionally or by negligence to sabotage the efforts of the private investors to commence the redevelopment of the Greenberg block, the good news is the anticipated construction should commence in the spring. The new TIF district will serve to augment the redevelopment and would not have come to pass without our town's management team's ability lead through the approval maze, so we now have this important development tool.

Tom Jacobs

Chairman, Bennington Select Board


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