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To The Editor:
I am a longtime Waitsfield resident, business owner and village property owner, and I urge all town voters to vote yes for a new town office on July 30.
There are several reasons I support this project. First, through the hard work of town staff and the select board, Waitsfield has received an extraordinary, one-time-only grant of $750,000 for the project. This money is only available for the Farm Stand and cannot be transferred to other properties. The savings to local taxpayers that this grant provides will likely be lost if we fail to pass this bond.
In addition, as a contractor I have renovated several historic buildings in the village area and my experience has shown that a new building makes much more sense than investing in the uncertainty and hidden costs of an old building, especially one that could require $100,000 to relocate existing tenants. The town has long encouraged businesses and residences to be located in the village and we shouldn't reverse that now by evicting three families and an established business. Taking the Methodist Church off the tax rolls would also cost the town nearly nine times more in the lost tax revenues than the Farm Stand and, as Jim Boylan pointed out in his letter on July 11, the town owns enough historic properties.
Not only will the construction costs be lower, but the town can design an attractive building that fits into the character of the village and meets the town's space and operational needs. A new building can be designed with green, energy-efficient construction technology that will result in significant annual cost savings for many decades to come.
Finally, the Farm Stand property is a great location for a town office. It is near the center of the village and will be served by the new sidewalk that will link the Valley health center with the sidewalk in front of the Valley Players Theater (paid for with 100 percent funding from the Safe Routes to School program). The property also backs up onto the town-owned Flemer Field, which will significantly improve the town's ability to use that heavily restricted property for recreation and other community functions. It doesn't get much better.
I hope all Waitsfield voters will vote yes on July 30.
RayLaR Builders Inc.