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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . ," said the renowned Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities.
And that seems apt when one considers what's going on in Moretown and Waitsfield – even though they are towns versus cities.
Moretown's town offices were destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Waitsfield's town offices were flooded during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and also during the flood of 1998.
Both towns sought and received Community Development Block Grants earmarked to help move critical municipal structures out of flood-prone areas. Waitsfield received $750,000; Moretown received $700,000.
The estimated cost of Moretown's new offices built adjacent to the school is $865,286.
The estimated cost of Waitsfield's town offices, built at the Farm Stand parcel comes in at $1.2 million. With the grant, the out-of-pocket costs to Waitsfield could be as low as $450,000 – although voters approved bonding for up to $650,000 for the project.
Waitsfield's vote will have to be reconsidered with a second vote next month due to a voter petition.
A few miles up the road, Moretown carefully considered possible locations, collected insurance and FEMA funds and will ask voters to pass a bond vote of $40,000 to use with the grant, insurance and FEMA money. Moretown has other funds to bring to the project and the voters' out-of-pocket costs could be as low $5,461.
No one is looking the grant gift horse in the mouth in Moretown. Waitsfield is another story. In Waitsfield it seems that some members of the select board are not on board with the fact that the town's grant – according to their own minutes from June 10 – is specifically earmarked for the Farm Stand site.
The net result is that this "confusion" over the terms of Waitsfield's grant – which the majority of the select board understands to be specifically for the Farm Stand site – is to muddy the waters in advance of the October 22 reconsideration.
The Dickens' quote continues:
"...it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness."