“Everybody, take a deep breath. Dick, no making voices. If I hear you mimicking anyone on the board again, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’ll pull my hair out, and I don’t have that many left,” said Duxbury Select Board chair Kevin Garcia amidst a heated debate over funding repairs to the Duxbury Town Garage.
At a select board meeting on October 26, select board member Dick Charland used a high-pitched voice to mock board member Mari Pratt about her proposed solution to fix the town garage all at once with a bond, rather than piece-meal style without a bond. With a bond, the ballpark $200,000 project could be paid off in just over 13 years at $15,000 a year.
Charland, knowing a bond would take time to pass, proposed taking the $70,000 that the town had already allocated to the town salt shed and used it instead to start fixing the garage now.
“That project is not going to go for two years,” said Charland, speaking about the salt shed project. He continued to say that using the salt shed money to fix the structural part of the town garage roof, “which is priority number 1,” would be a common sense solution.
Pratt argued it would be wrong to use the salt shed money for the town garage. "I have a problem with using that money because the voters argued the point at Town Meeting,” said Pratt. “I want to respect the people of this town because they spoke and said they wanted to use the $70,000 for the salt shed.” Pratt used an analogy to describe the situation: What if your mom gave you $20 for gas and you spent it on something else?
“Yeah, if you spent it on something stupid,” responded Charland. “But what we’re doing is exercising our common sense and our judgment. We have a report that specifies the need for the structural improvements. You’re telling me that the townspeople are too stupid that they can’t understand that?”
At this point in the discussion, Duxbury resident Dawn Poitras spoke up to share her support for Pratt’s plan. “Dick, I would like you to refrain from calling people stupid. I’m backing Mari on this,” said Poitras. “The townspeople made it very clear where that money is to go. If you guys decide to use that and try to pull the common-sense card people will vote down your budget left and right.”
Garcia also supported the idea of fixing the garage all at once instead of doing several separate $50,000-70,000 repairs. “What I’d like to do is attack the whole garage as one unit. If we bring it before the town and present it to them at Town Meeting, I would be more comfortable with that,” said Garcia. “Bottom line, the garage is a priority. Paying for it is a point of contention.”
Ultimately, the board decided to continue the garage discussion at the next Town Meeting on Monday, November 9.