A visit to the Fayston town garage this week to understand the town’s need to embark on a two-year planning process for upgrading that space was enlightening and not just because it demonstrated the ability of the road crew to carefully park many large vehicles in a very small space.

The visit illuminated some of the challenges of having small towns with distinct boundaries and distinct road maintenance duties and multiple town garages and a fair amount of redundancy in equipment.

Road foreman Stuart Hallstrom was explaining how his crew communicates through cellphones and radios but can’t consistently communicate with each other or with members of the Warren, Waitsfield or Moretown road crews. The local road crews don’t have the type of repeater antenna that the fire departments use for communication. But perhaps they should.

Perhaps if we didn’t have town boundaries our ability to maintain our roads (and fight fires) could be more efficient.

This week’s visit to the Fayston town garage at the very top of North Fayston Road and hardly central or convenient to anything – let alone cellphone service – called to mind a conversation with John O’Keefe, the town manager for Manchester, VT.

O’Keefe was interviewed to pick his brain about how Manchester adopted a local option tax and how it was used. He was curious about how the proposal currently being considered locally – a three-town local option tax – would work logistically given the shared geography and watershed and three distinct towns.

“King George didn’t have a topo in the 1600s and 1700s when he was parceling out towns. There were no topo maps back then. If there had been they’d have drawn a big circle around your Valley with its river and two mountain ranges. I often ask people why they let the King of England define their town,” O’Keefe said.

It’s an interesting question to ask ourselves. Why do we let King George define our towns? Our towns all have their own important and distinct histories and identities and that is to be respected. But these lines drawn around towns that bear no relationship to topography may no longer be the best way for us to define things.