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To The Editor:
This letter is addressed to Waitsfield voters:
Your participation at the Waitsfield Select Board’s Town Office Task Force (TOTF) December 2012 public forum showed far more support (3:1) for the adaptive re-use of a fine, old, civic structure in the center of our well-loved village of Waitsfield than the alternative of a new building at the Farm Stand site. The TOTF recommendation and the select board’s action was to put the Farm Stand site on our March 2013 ballot despite the lack of support. The agenda of a few people with lots of control and authority has temporarily won over the voice of the people. As my mother would say, “By law they are required to hold a public hearing but they are not required by law to listen”....and they haven’t.
The newest sales pitch for a town office building at the Farm Stand site is “it’s cheaper.” Evaluating such a project on cost measures alone is ill-conceived. As citizens of the Mad River Valley we share an interest and enthusiasm for local farms and businesses, eating local foods, shopping and employing locally and doing all that we can to keep our cultural, physical and natural environments healthy and sustaining – including active participation in re-purposing our old and historic buildings. This Valley character trait stems from our constant consideration of value along with cost. We want leadership in this community and municipality to exemplify this trait and efforts to do otherwise are shortsighted and destined to fail.
I hope other readers and voters will join me in voting a big no to the town office scheme at the March 2013 Town Meeting. If you won’t be there please weigh in by absentee ballot which can be picked up at the town clerk’s office. Through the select board’s decision, the community has lost the primary supporters of town office relocation. Now, we will say no. Too bad. Better listening next time.
P.S. Developing plans for a $600,000 addition to the town garage prior to resolving the town office issue and sidetracking our town office project to be a Flemer lands purchase project are also shortsighted. K.S.