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By Neil Johnson
According to the measurement practices at Waitsfield, if you have a house and then add a walkout basement, your house got taller. Creating walkout basements doesn't make your house taller; covering up a walkout basement doesn't make your house shorter. Adding backfill around a house doesn't make it shorter, it just adds an avenue for bugs and animals to enter your house. This is a prime example of zoning and regulation run amok. Think of all the real time, money and effort wasted on this nonproductive activity. People have to hire engineers and attorneys to defend against this nonsense. Time and money could have been used for something else, building a business, helping the poor or sick. Oh, I'm sure our town will be so much better off with zoning rules like this. Perhaps with our new town hall, we'll have more room to write laws like this, more room to squabble and fight over inane things. Please stop harassing homeowners and business; what will this leadership get us?
The farmers mentioned in last week's Valley Reporter do us proud. Aaron Locker and Pete Johnson are true leaders. They understand the implications of finance, how it may affect their neighbors. This is the point I've been trying to demonstrate in some of my letters. There is no question that the money received for our new town hall is a financial boon to us. But what is the cost? The cost to others is way too high; others are in dire need of disaster money and we really don't need it or deserve it. Will our town become an economic tour de force with a new town hall? Will more people start a business, retire, raise their families because of the new town hall? If we built a pyramid we could at least get some tourism money. Let's not abandon small-town finance; it is the bedrock of a fiscally solid government, it makes sense, it works, and it's in harmony with natural law. Our efforts and our money are being expended in the wrong direction with little real returns. Do we really want to adopt Washington's sense of money management?
Big money and the love of it is the problem not the solution, Washington can give us many examples. However, we can see them here in Waitsfield, too. Example? We spent huge money on the city water system for our small town. We could have drilled everyone in town a new well for the money spent. We could have drilled new wells for the problem people for less than what people paid on hookups. Now we find we aren't using it enough to keep it contamination-free. Does anyone see the irony? If we had to spend our own money, we never would have done this. Why? Because it doesn't make financial sense! In sports, business and finance, it is not just about winning. You can't break natural laws for long without consequences. You can't defy gravity, you can't continue taking performance drugs all your life, you can't continue overspending or increase actual benefits if they don't really exist. I know we need a town office and I'm behind that, but I'm still voting no.
By voting no, we won't lose anything, despite all the scare tactics. It might take a couple of months more, which is true and painful, but the outcome will be so much better for all. We have an opportunity to be fiscally prudent, to be a government that is responsive to the people, to actually be green by reusing an existing building, to be a government/community not run by special interests or scare tactics, to be a government that looks at the actual returns for our investments, so for that I'm voting no. Please join me; we'll all be better off.
Neil Johnson lives in Waitsfield.