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By Leo Laferriere
During a spring characterized by constant reports of flooding and washouts, we are forcefully reminded of why we need to relocate the Waitsfield town office. On Tuesday, July 30, voters have the opportunity to capitalize on an outstanding package of advantages.
Office construction on the Farm Stand site has been scaled down to reduce costs. Despite the ills of Tropical Storm Irene, its clouds did contain a silver lining in the form of a grant of up to $750,000 to even further reduce that cost. Considering the additional interest expense if this sum had to be borrowed, this grant is worth a million dollars to our community. And, for the additional monies which will have to be borrowed, interest rates are at historic lows.
The Farm Stand site is an attractive gateway and logical addition to the town-owned former polo field. Constructing the town office there solves two problems through elimination of the flood hazard threat and it enables the library board to implement its own plans to better serve the community.
A yes vote takes advantage of extremely favorable financial factors and a clean uncomplicated site; solves several problems for both the town and the library; and enables construction of an office designed for the intended purpose by local talent and with citizen input. Compared to the Methodist Church option, the Farm Stand choice avoids evicting people causing serious delays of up to two and one-half years and a minimum of $80,000 in additional expense and resulting in an oversized building with much higher short- and long-term cost and greater long-term debt.
At the Farm Stand, and utilizing the grant, there is good cause to think the new office can be built with only $510,000 in borrowing. The result is a finished project. At the church, that same $510,000 would cover only the purchase price and part of the tenant relocation cost. The entire deconstruction and renovation would remain to be done. And, since the grant is not available for use at the church, that entire cost would be financed through additional borrowings by town taxpayers.
Folks, a new office at the Farm Stand makes good practical common sense – let’s go to the polls and vote yes.
Laferriere lives in Waitsfield.