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To The Editor:
I am a longtime Waitsfield resident, business owner and village property owner, and I am writing for the second time to encourage Waitsfield voters to vote yes for a new town office at the Farm Stand site on or before October 22.
There are several reasons I support this project. First, Waitsfield has received a one-time-only grant of $750,000 for the project in addition to a recent donation of $100,000 to purchase the site. Both the gift and grant are only available for the Farm Stand site and not transferable to other properties. Having a grant and gift totaling $850,000 for this project makes this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a town hall at minimal cost to local taxpayers that will serve the town for the next 100 years.
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 better 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 site.
Not only will the construction costs be much 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, easily accessible for all, and will be served by the new sidewalk that will link the Valley Health Center with the sidewalk in front of the Valley Players (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.
I hope all Waitsfield voters will vote yes on October 22.
RayLar Buildings Inc.