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To the Editor:
I have been a second homeowner and part-time resident of The Valley for more than 30 years and cherish the wonderful memories of this beautiful place and its formerly abundant facilities. Considering the events of the past few years, however, I am reminded of the popular TV show, "Laugh-In," which used the catch phrase, "Sock it to me! Sock it to me! Sock it to me!"
Last week I received the Sugarbush Golf Club brochure including the new 2007 fee schedule, which described a 600 percent increase for golfers who play three times a week, Monday through Friday. The program is ironically described as "Give More," with a lame description of the so-called benefits, which makes one wonder exactly who's giving more, the club or the golfer.
Last summer, letters to <MI>The Valley Reporter<D> complained about the hostility of Vermont real estate taxes toward second home owners, particularly in areas such as The Valley where the high percentage of non-resident property owners with no school children cause the three Valley towns to be classified "rich" towns. Residing in Fayston, where there are no municipal services at all (no water, sewer, police, fire, library, recreation, etc.) but real estate taxes are four times higher than the actual local and county expenses, the thrust of one letter writer's advice to a friend, "Don't come to Vermont," is the unhappy message to all Vermont second homeowners.
Responses to those letters included a sympathetic letter from Win Smith, who emphasized the benefits of tourism and second home ownership to The Valley and the entire state. Apparently the tide has turned, as we watched the facilities at SHARC deteriorate, lift ticket prices skyrocket and more and more local businesses failing - and now Win Smith himself telling us, in effect, "We don't want you here."
There was a time when The Valley had a lot to offer; little by little it has been taken away, and all that's left is "Sock it to me!"